"Smiles are infectious no matter where or when you see one, and if a smile draws you in, you can't help but feel happy too." We think Heidi Proffetty (Show 2406) captured that feeling perfectly in her quilt Are You Smiling At Me? You don't even notice the approximately 4,000 small appliqué pieces when appreciating the look shared between the boy and the llama.

Are You Smiling At Me? by Heidi Proffetty of Bridgewater, Massachusetts was featured in the People, Portraits, & Pictures category at Houston 2019.


Bouquet Royale by Margaret Solomon Gunn (Image by Jeffrey Lomicka)

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Many of you have made at least one trip to a major quilt show. And one of the highlights of the visit is, of course, seeing the spectacular diversity of quilts on display in the gallery. As you walked through the show gallery, did you ever ask yourself, "If I were the judge in this contest, I would have selected another quilt for X prize." As we discovered in the last lesson, the determination for awarding a Masterpiece Award Quilt by a National Association Certified Quilt Judge, including this stunning winner Bouquet Royale by Margaret Solomon Gunn, involves a wide variety of criteria including:

- A quilt showcasing workmanship and design development that is exemplary and above expectation

- A quilt that will stand the test of time

- A quilt that includes intricate details, excellent contrast, proportion, harmony and a fresh sense of creativity.

- A quilt that is within a specific size, no older than five years, and the maker must be living

But what exactly does it take to become a National Association Certified Quilt Judge? Think of it in terms of the time and effort you put into making a family quilt heirloom. An heirloom quilt requires careful planning, hours of dedicated work, and your absolute best skills. After all, this quilt is something to be passed on for future generations to enjoy and admire. For those who desire to take the plunge, Stacy Koehler's article sheds light on the elaborate, but ultimately fulfilling process.

Conway Album (I'm Not From Baltimore) by Irma Gail Hatcher

The Mechanics of Becoming a Certified Quilt Judge
Stacy Koehler,
Secretary, National Association of Certified Quilt Judges

When the National Association of Certified Quilt Judges (formerly called the National Quilting Association) began their certification program, it was with the intention of awarding a credential to current working quilt judges. This credential would indicate to all, that the recipient earned the distinction through broad and in-depth knowledge of quiltmaking, held themselves to professional and ethical standards, and would reflect well on others who shared their designation. Passing the requirements for certification bestowed a professional legitimacy to a quilt judge.

Notice that I did not mention training or teaching. Candidacy, in the form of major independent study, is the responsibility of the not-yet-certified judge, as NACQJ does not teach how to become a certified judge. This does not mean that NACQJ does not offer opportunities for learning, but the candidate is definitely in control of and responsible for their own judging education. This is an extremely important point. The ability to work independently is the crucial factor leading to certification.

Once an individual enters the program and begins their candidacy, they have five years to complete the process. Generally, a successful candidate is one who has been actively involved in the quilt and quilt show world prior to program entry.

A candidate’s experience outside the program lays the foundation on which they will continue to build their personal professional skills. It is important for the candidate to carefully assess if she/he has the necessary breadth of knowledge and can fill gaps as they are discovered. Virtually all candidates will find gaps somewhere along the journey. Given the need to bolster their skills and experience, and the fact that life can get in the way of anyone’s plans, suddenly five years starts to look a little skimpy.

The certification program requires time spent judging, observing, working as an aide and attendance at NACQJ partner shows. In addition to judging activities, there is a written component in which the candidate demonstrates their quilting knowledge with respect to the operations of a quilt show, professional and ethical behavior, and specific judging points across the entire range of quilting techniques.

The written component should not be underestimated; it is rigorous. Three certified judges review each candidate’s written work independently, to decide if it is a passing effort. If the work is deemed not passable, the candidate may be asked to repeat/correct the paperwork.

Following acceptance of the written work, the candidate sits for an oral evaluation before a three judge panel. The panel will be observe the candidates professional demeanor, the ability to think on their feet and a knowledgeable understanding regarding any technique placed before them. The candidate will also act as judge in a mock quilt judging.

If the candidate passes, a newly minted NACQJ Certified Judge joins the ranks, and there is general rejoicing! Each CJ is required to file an update every three years documenting their pursuit of continuing education and commitment to professional activities. The techniques, materials, tools and trends in quilting are constantly evolving.  A judge who doesn’t work to keep their skills relevant quickly loses his or her edge. 
The challenges are real, but they can be met steadily, step by step.


Click here for more topics related to The Art of Quilt Design prog


With a cavalcade of colors, Rainbow Stars by Clydene G. Sigle and quilted by Joy Johnson is a paper piecing marvel. Featuring twenty-nine star blocks it is almost like a real rainbow, you don't know where it begins or ends.

Rainbow Stars by Clydene G. Sigle of Sylvan Grove, Kansas, quilted by Joy Johnson, was featured in the In the American Tradition category at Houston 2019.


Lisa Walton, textile artist and past President of SAQA, learns about Margaret Solomon Gunn's The Value of Violet which has won many major awards including - Best of Show, AQS Daytona Beach, 2020 - Best Wall Quilt, Road to California, 2020 - Best Achievement in Workmanship, UQSM 2019, and much much more.

You can watch Lisa here at TQS in Show 2503.


This Summer Pillow sewing project by Melissa Mortenson from WeAllSew is specifically designed for kids and teens to practice their pressing, cutting, straight stitching, and pivoting skills. Anyone who’s a sewist will know that all of those things are important to master before moving on to more involved sewing projects.

Click here to go to full tutorial.


Alex goes into even more detail about the good and bad in the creation of her quilting studio.

Alex is LIVE on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, at 10am PDT, 1pm EDT, and 6 pm London. All classes are recorded so they can be viewed later.

YouTube has changed their linking. The best way to see the LIVE is to subscribe to our YouTube channel and get notified when she goes LIVE. Click Here.



~Join Ricky for the Lizzy Albright Quilt Tutorials~
Register Today
Ricky Tims is offering a fifteen-week class featuring 50 video tutorials for making the Lizzy Albright Quilt. The class started September 13th, 2020, so it will be easy to catch up if you register today. You’ll find this interactive course fun because you will have a personal connection with Ricky and other quilters from around the globe.
15 Weeks • 50 Videos • ONLY $99.95 
Save 50% - ONLY $49.95 (with kit purchase)
Lessons are issued each Sunday via email and you can watch them at your own convenience during the week.
This class will run through mid-December. You are urged to share this project with a youngster in your life.

Click here for Complete Details, Class Requirements, and Registration

Watch the introductory video below.
Get your Lizzy Albright Products in the TQS Shop, including:


Alex built her studio on to her home. She did some things right and some wrong. Alex will reveal all in her quilt studio tour.

Alex is LIVE on Monday, September 21, 2020, at 10am PDT, 1pm EDT, and 6 pm London. All classes are recorded so they can be viewed later.


Can't get enough of the Log Cabin Today! quilts by Brigitte Morgenroth? Take a look at a completely different Log Cabin design with Twisted Log Cabin by our 2016 BOM Designer, Lessa Siegele

Star Members can watch Lessa in Show 1801: Piecing Perfection from the BOM Designer.

See the Full Quilt right here!

Want to learn more about Lessa? Click here.

TwistedLogCabinbyLessaSiegele - 35 Pieces Non-Rotating

TwistedLogCabinbyLessaSiegele - 100 Pieces Non-Rotating

TwistedLogCabinbyLessaSiegele - 300 Pieces Non-Rotating

TwistedLogCabinbyLessaSiegele - 100 Pieces Rotating

TwistedLogCabinbyLessaSiegele - 300 Pieces Rotating

Original Photograph by Gregory Case


Can't get enough of the Log Cabin Today! quilts by Brigitte Morgenroth? Take a look at a completely different Log Cabin design with Twisted Log Cabin by our 2016 BOM Designer, Lessa Siegele.

Star Members can watch Lessa in Show 1801: Piecing Perfection from the BOM Designer.

Want to learn more about Lessa? Click here.

Original Photo: Gregory Case

Top 10 Reasons to Join the Quilt Show!

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Learn about
Apliquick appliqué tools!

Watch Show 1912
with Rosa Rojas (free!)

Apliquick Rods


Apliquick - 3 Holes Microserrated Scissors


Apliquick Ergonomic Tweezers