LS: Art of Quilting Column September 07, 2008

Hoffman entrants meet challenge

It’s apparent to me that quilters love a challenge. That’s why I was excited to get a firsthand look recently at the 2008 Hoffman Challenge entries at the inaugural Rocky Mountain Quilt Festival in Loveland.

Because the curator of the annual fabric competition lives in nearby Fort Collins, she was able to display all of the juried pieces in one venue for the first time.

Sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Creative Quilters guild, the event at the Budweiser/Ranch Event Center drew a big crowd.

Organizers printed 850 tickets, but those were quickly gobbled up before noon on the first day of the two-day show. I stood in line for a half-hour to buy my ticket, and some stood even an hour longer, I was told.

One couple drove from Hillsboro, Ill., to see two of her quilted wall hangings in the exhibit. They were H. Gene and Nita Markos.

Other top quilters from around the region exhibited their work as well; some of them taught classes.

Vendors’ sales seemed brisk. I spent       7 1/2 hours there and came away with a few goodies myself.

Hoffman curator Kelly Gallagher-Abbott gave a tour of the juried entries, which included quilts, dolls, clothing and accessories. A total of 579 pieces was received.

Her next task is to prepare 360 of them for travel and divide them into 12 trunk collections that will circulate around the U.S.  and Canada to shows and shops during the coming year.

The challenge fabric featured a large peacock design called Green Tea and, not surprisingly, inspired many oriental quilts.

For a look at all of the award winners, go to hoffmanchallenge.com.

I got a sneak peek at the 2009 Hoffman Challenge fabric called Earth Pearl, a multicolored paisley with
brown being the predominant color.

Hoffman Fabrics of California will make it available in fabric stores and online in late October, Gallagher-Abbott says.

The deadline for next year’s contest is July 24, and the challenge will be co-sponsored for the first time by Sulky thread.

As she spoke about the entries displayed in Loveland, Gallagher-Abbott talked about the level of competition.

“Our judges look for perfect points, perfect binding, no wavy borders,” she says. “In clothing, they look at linings and how well the seams are sewn. They are very picky.”

For an additional $10 fee, contestants can request judges’ comments, which can help quilters improve their techniques considerably, Gallagher-Abbott says.

Quilt makers who have what it takes to impress the judges win cash prizes of $500 for first place, $300 for second and $150 for third place.

Awards of $300 go to those with the best hand workmanship and the best machine workmanship.

Are you feeling up to the challenge?

You may want to try your hand, or your machine, at this contest in 2009.


E-mail Sherida.Warner@gj sentinel.com.


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