I was perplexed when I realized that there wasn't a Blue Ribbon quilt among the beautiful and meticulous quilts hanging in the crafters hall of the Orleans County Fair. Didn't anyone get a blue ribbon I asked myself and then why? There was a beautiful log cabin style called "Court House Steps," a fascinating three-D dimension window quilt, a colorful farm scene piece and then there was mine. I called it "stars in a cabin" because I made it up. For the back, I used six matching floral genuine grain bags that I had been saving for years. These were the only larger quilt entries besides the smaller wall hangings, crib quilts and lap warmers.
When I questioned the lady in charge, she said, "Quilts are not judged against each other but on their own merits." What exactly does that mean? Merits of the fair in general? Merits of what? I was told it was the merits of the "quilting guild" that has defined a list of merits for passing "their" score.
I am now wondering if us country quilters are being judged on a professional basis. My quilts are not professional. They are, in my mind's eye, meant to keep me and my children, grandchildren and yes, my great grandchildren warm. They are colorful and usually have a theme such as stars. They hold up well after many washings. If I wanted them to be professional quilts, I would join the "quilters guild." At the very least, I would like a list of their merits so I would know what I was up against.
When I go to Orleans County Fair, I go to have fun, meet people who I haven't seen for a while, enjoy "fair" food, the cheerful atmosphere and come home feeling good. I didn't feel good this year. I felt ashamed to have my quilt hanging in that great spacious hall with not even an honorable mention for having courage to enter it in the first place. I felt like tearing it off the wall.
Call me sour grapes if you want. I have won blue ribbons and honorable mentions in the past but I won't grace the halls of the Orleans County Fair ever again.
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