Since the NQA show takes place in Columbus, Ohio, which is only an hour away from my home, I sent off an email to ask if they needed scribes for the judging. I learned that all of the volunteers working during the judging are either NQA certified judges or people going through the process to become certified, but the judging is open to observers. So today we zipped over there and I had the privilege of sitting for several hours while they judged the group category, and then while they judged the special awards such as Best Machine Quilting, Best Hand Quilting, Best Wall Quilt, etc.
I couldn’t hear all of the discussion that went on between the three judges (I wish they wore wireless microphones), but it was interesting to hear the judges comments that will given to the participants. A lot of time was spent on considering how well the quilt was constructed: seams need to be straight, sashing should be a consistent width, binding should be applied correctly, edges should not be wavy. There seemed to be less discussion on visual design principles. I was not present when they judged the art quilts, so I don’t know if similar criteria was applied.I also enjoyed seeing the judges closely examine the quilts that were being considered for special categories. They spent a long time with each quilt, even examining them under a lighted magnifying glass. When each category was narrowed down to just three or four, the quilts were hung up so they all be seen at once from a distance. Each time I made my guess of the one I thought should win that category, and I was pleasantly surprised that each time they picked the same quilt I did.