Steph Skardal QuiltsSteph Skardal Quilts

Best in Show at QuiltCon 2018

Best In Show at QuiltCon 2018

Last week, my quilt "Going Up", earned (won? received? was awarded?) the title Best in Show at QuiltCon 2018 in Pasadena, CA. I'm still processing it, so naturally writing out thoughts is therapeutic. Here are frequent questions I've answered in the days since.

Did I know my quilt would receive the title "Best in Show"? No, I didn't know, but the MQG invited for me to come and comped my trip. I accepted the offer, provided that I could bring baby with so I didn't leave my lovely husband with 3 little kids for 4 days.

Was I surprised? I was only surprised in so far that I feel lucky over the subjectiveness of judging design aesthetic. I look at this as an overlap of good intention (as in, I intended to execute this exact design), great technique, and serendipity in what the judges were looking for this time around. I.E., under a different set of judges compared against a different set of quilts, this could have gone a different way because there was absolutely no shortage of amazing quilts in the show. For the most part, I've received positive feedback, but I did see one comment along the lines of "It's just not my thing", which I totally understand.

What was my process for creating this quilt? I design most of my quilts at a compositional level in Photoshop, using shapes (rectangles) and smart objects, because I have experience in Photoshop. I'm familiar with several of the other software tools for designing quilts, but they appear to me to be more constrained to block designs, which doesn't suit my alternate gridwork designs. Once I created this particular design in Photoshop, I reverse engineered how to make it, which usually involves authoring a Google spreadsheet with quilt math. I don't think I did a test run on this, but it was pretty easy to see if my quilt math was correct after I finished the initial log cabin strips.

Do I enter a lot of quilt shows? No. I had two quilts in QuiltCon 2017 (two of two accepted), and three quilts in QuiltCon 2018 (three of four accepted). I have wanted to submit to more local shows, but the timing or specific calls for submissions didn't suit my quilts. Another local quilt show only called for paper submissions, and I was far too lazy to print the submission form and photos in time.

You look busy. How do you have time to quilt? My kids go to daycare. I work part-time. So, I basically have 1 - 2 hours per day to sew *during the week*, and I try to make the most of that time and be focused about it. And in that time, I'm aiming for improving and iterating on technique on only original designs. And I'm always thinking about how to do whatever it is I'm doing most efficiently, because of my engineering brain.

So, you are an Individual Member of the MQG? Yep! There is a local MQG group near me, but at the moment I've found my support people in an open sew group with 5 other professional women of similar ages and our "quilting den mom", who encourages us to explore our creative pursuits without judgment.

Will I create a pattern for this quilt? Probably not, but I may create a pattern inspired from this design. TBD.

Question submitted by my Mom: "Will I get the quilt back?" Yes, mom, eventually, since it will be included in the QuiltCon 2018 traveling exhibit. I didn't choose to sell it.

Question submitted by my 4 year old: "Can I see that white thing (ribbon) from the photo? Why did you win?" The ribbon will come in the mail, I think? Good second question. Luck, intention, and execution!

Comment submitted by my 3 year old after coming home: "I love you Mommy! And Ingrid too." I love you too, but do you have to smother me so much?