On the Blog: Entering your quilt into QuiltCon West 2016

October 24, 2015
image courtesy of QuiltCon

Entering QuiltCon can seem big and scary and difficult, and although the idea of putting something we put so much of ourselves into up for “JUDGEMENT”  might be scary, the actual process can be fairly easy, and I am going to mention some tips, tricks, and resources to help you make it through.

First tip: 
Think of it as Show and Tell. You probably have brought a project to guild show and tell even if you knew it wasn’t perfect or weren’t sure how you felt about the finished project, but I bet it was received well by the guild, sometimes really REALLY well. I would urge you to submit that quilt to quiltcon even if you would still edit it a bit if you could go back. You don’t have to tell anyone you entered, and if you didn’t get in, no one has to know.

Second Tip: 
Because the hard truth is a lot of really wonderful quilts are going to get entered and many of those amazing quilts are still not going to make the cut. But don’t cut yourself out of the running just because you don’t know if it will make it into the show. The only way it will for sure be out of the running is if you never enter it! And don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t get in!!! Your quilt is still great! It won’t be any less loved by its recipient if it never hangs in a convention center.

Third Tip: 
You don’t have to enter it into the main judging. You can submit your quilt for exhibition only which means the main judges won’t judge it–it will only be either included or excluded by the jury. You won’t get a list of other people’s thoughts on your quilt afterwards, and you can let some of the pressure off yourself that way. BUT you also won’t be eligible for prizes. So, that is the trade off.

Fourth Tip: 
Be thoughtful about your artist statement for each quilt, but you don’t have to write a lot, if you are not so inclined. However, it may help an audience or judge appreciate it even more.


  • No, I am serious, read them
  • ALL of them (but don’t let them intimidate you).

The details are there about how and who you must credit for working on the quilt (yes to other piecers, yes to longarmers, no to the teenage daughter you pressed into helping you pin baste it). It also gives you information about the categories which you will select on your entry form (and also the fact that they reserve the right to change their mind and move it to another category if they want) as well as the maximum allowable size and that if it fits the small quilt dimensions, it will be autosorted there (and you only get one small quilt into the show per maker, so maybe don’t spend $90 bucks entering 9 small quilts), and MUCH more. Plus, it would be really terrible not to get in because you didn’t follow directions.
  • The photo business seems hard, but it isn’t as bad as it seems, and they have a tutorial with photos here on how to take them.
  • It is ok to use a camera phone, like not from your old flip phone but your iphone 4 or up and most android phones have pretty great cameras in them, if you don’t have access to a digital DSLR
  • A stack of books or other household goods might make a nice stand in for a tripod
  • It has to be a JPEG. No other file type is accepted.
  • Ask for help either from a fellow guild member or from tech savvy family and friends or from the MQG forums.
  • Here is a great page with details about photgraphing quilts for quilt shows (not specifically QuiltCon) and a VIDEO about resizing photos by Artcall (which has been used in the past by QuiltCon).

You don’t have to be a tech expert to get this, and we all have varying degrees of facility, and you know yours. Don’t procrastinate if you need the time. There are plenty of people in our guild who would love to give you hand, so don’t be shy. Also your very own photo editing and posting genius may live in your own house or family, and they probably owe you the ten minutes this will take (after the photo was taken). Plus the forums on the MQG main site are usually abuzz with helpful people who will get you straightened out. If you are tech savvy enough to use the forums, the help you get there will talk you step by step through it as well as link to free software that will help you if that is necessary in your case (my mac has iphoto which can master all the requirements). You can access the forums here but you will need to be signed in for it to do any good. Also, absolute worst case scenario, your local print shop or fed ex office can email you appropriately sized and filed copies, but it could add up to $20 bucks for the photos for several different quilts, and it may take a day or two to happen.

  • The category details can be found here
  • Entry can be done from this page (as well as viewing a dummy page showing roughly what it would be like and a viedo about how to do it)
  • You have to pay on a separate page found here
  • The specific Quilt show forums are found here (again you must be signed in for this to work)
  • Plus back in the MQG archives is a webinar about photographing your creations (BUT it goes beyond just QuiltCon AND again needs signing in)

I hope this gets you ready to enter. It was great to have the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild represented so well in both the show and the awards last February, and I hope that is true again this year!

– Written by Heather Kinion
– Posted by Erin Davis

Become a new Chicago Modern Quilt Guild member

Photo: Triangles quilt by Erika Mulvenna