MQX stands for Machine Quilter’s Expo. It is a large quilt show that takes place in early April in Manchester NH. I have attended several times now because it is literally less than an hour drive away from my home. I have always been in awe of the amazing quilts shown there. So last year I took a “winner’s tour”. A guide walked us through the quilts with ribbons on them and told us why they won and explained the point criteria. Unlike other shows where most of the points are awarded on piecing and color, at this show the majority of points are awarded on the machine quilting and less on the piecing, color choice and binding.
Since I machine quilt for hire, I thought this year I would see if I could even qualify to get into this juried show. So I entered two of my quilts hoping at least one would get in. Well both of them qualified. These quilts were not made intentionally for a show. One was made for my bed at home, while the other was made as a sample for a class I was teaching. Needless to say, I was honored to be accepted into this elite group at MQX.
Liberty Owls was made for a class sample. The class was on curved piecing. I used the Sew Kind of Wonderful rulers and a selection of my cherished Liberty of London prints. It was made quickly and quilted in a very unplanned, ad lib style. It was entered in the “Large Wallhanging” category.
Twisted Tornado also uses the Sew Kind of Wonderful curved rulers. I am a bit obsessed with their patterns. This quilt took me a couple of years to make, is large, and was entered in the “Bed Quilt” category.
I prepared the quilts, made new labels, and shipped them off to NH. When the big day came, I went to the awards ceremony and preview show. It was a great way to see and compare the competition without the crowds of people around. Well, again, I was blown away by the competition. It made my quilts look like the elementary version in comparison to the winners. But I had to remind myself that this was a juried show and I had to pass certain criteria before being allowed in.
The next day I got the judges scores. This was the basis:
10 is perfect
9 is near perfect
8 is national level high quality
7 is national level quality is some inconsistencies
6 average work, room for improvement
5 really needs improvement
4 below average
3 you really should not even think to enter into this show.
I scored all 7’s and 8’s. I guess I could use improvement. Again I had to remind myself that I did not make either of these quilts with the intention of a top notch show. But I did spend time custom quilting them. The larger quilt that I spent way more time on got a slightly lower score than the owl quilt that I threw together quickly. All in all, this was quite the learning experience.
I did get two of these nifty participation ribbons:
Now I await the appraisals to see how much these quilts are worth. And if I really put my mind to it, maybe next year I can achieve some 9’s (nearly perfect)