Photo Finish

By Mary Covey

I believe that a good photo is the best present that anyone can give or receive. Every photo represents a moment and memory in time. I try to take as many photos as I can, so that a history can be created of how our family has changed. Sometimes they turn out good sometimes not so good. So isn’t it wonderful when you find a photographer that captures a beautiful photo of your family?

As many hours as we put into the making of a quilt, most of us think of our quilts as family. But have you ever thought of having them photographed? Well, recently I did just that. I used Sarah Chloe Photography studio to make a photo history of my quilts.  Sarah Neumyer is the owner and talented photographer that helped me with my project.

Scrappy Star Quilt with floral backing

Scrappy Star Quilt with floral backing

It was interesting to watch Sarah work. After looking through my stack of quilts she developed a plan. Much like a quilter pulls her fabrics together for a project, Sarah pulled together her props and ideas for the locations. We started at her studio in Bixby. The Scrappy Star quilt was taken on the steps of an old barn behind her studio.

Antique Dresden Plate

Antique Dresden Plate



Photo FinishThen on to a location. Sarah used this old truck as the perfect backdrop for my Antique Dresden Plate. There were lots of pictures taken here but this is one of my favorites.


Wool Partridge Quilt

Wool Partridge Quilt

It was interesting to watch her lay out an assortment of quilts and then edit her selections for each photo. Sarah definitely has a talent for knowing exactly what is just right.

On the Vine

On the Vine

One the Vine is a miniature pattern that I designed several years ago using Moda flannels and a P&B floral print. The sunlight hitting these colors really makes them pop.

Sarah’s specialty is children and family portraits. She did and excellent job of photographing my quilt family. To see more of Sarah’s work or to talk with her about photographing your quilts, go to

#photography #quilt #photofinish


About Being Judged

By Mary Covey

In this month’s International Association of Creative Arts Professionals (ICAP) monthly newsletter, Morna McEver Golletz included an excellent article titled “About Being Judged”.  I found it to give great insight into Quilt Shows and Festivals and how to go about entering your quilt and what judges look for in a great quilt.

I have reposted her blog below in it’s entirety.  I hope you find it as inspiring and resourceful as I did.

September 10th, 2014 by Morna

Fall is often considered the start of quilt show season, though we know you can find a show almost every weekend a year. One of the major shows is in late October/early November — the International Quilt Festival held in Houston, where upwards of 60,000 people from around the world gather to view quilts and buy quilting and art supplies. People who have entered their art are vying for more than $100,000 in cash and prizes. It is a big deal to have your quilt juried into the show. And, of course to win a ribbon or prize, cash or otherwise, quite an accomplishment.

Quilt Show

About Being Judged

 In the end the quilt did not make the cut for the competition; however, I decided to take a step and enter it elsewhere. The quilt’s first stop was a Quilters’ Heritage Celebration in Lancaster, Pa. It was a thrill to see it hanging at a national show and to have people ask to take my picture with my quilt. The biggest thrill was when a highly respected quilt judge told me that my quilt had been her favorite. That quilt led to a feature in a national quilt magazine of several of my quilts. Of course, not all my show experiences were as rewarding. I remember one quilt that I showed at, a local show, and the judging sheet that came back with it. The judge had written that my choice of binding fabric was not appropriate for the quilt. I never really understood her comment — the quilt was a scrappy attic windows and the binding was a paisley print that had been in the quilt. I decided to take the comment with a grain of salt; I did not see the constructive criticism element. I went onto enter other shows and always looked at the judging comments sheets as ways I could improve.

How about your efforts to share your work? I know that you first share it with your family, then with your small quilting “bee” and finally take it to show and tell at your next guild meeting. For some quilters, this is enough. For others, it is not. Many quilters want to see how their quilts stack up against the competition, whether that is hanging the quilt in a local, non-judged show or entering it in a major juried and judged competition. In addition to gaining recognition for your quilts, you also educate other quilters and the general public about quilting and its standards. For local guild shows, this is often a primary reason for holding a show. Additionally, if your quilt is entered in a judged show, you can set goals for improvement based on feedback from the judges or your own comparison with winning quilts. And, of course, you might just win a prize, either a ribbon, cash, or merchandise.

Impartiality in judging is important and one way this is done is through use of a panel of independent judges, usually three. Judges can be trained and certified by the National Quilting Association, or they can be trained through experience. They all adhere to similar standards of judging, although final results will be varied based on the individuals.

Judging can take place either before or after the quilts are hung, and each method has advantages. Judging quilts after they are hung allows the visual impact of the quilt to be better appreciated. Judging quilts before they are hung is usually faster, but visual impact takes second place to the ability to view the workmanship.

Judges often use scorecards or evaluation forms and either a point system, an elimination system or a combination of the two to evaluate the individual entries. The point system uses a predetermined maximum number of points to judge specific areas, for example, up to 20 points for the color and design, up to 20 points for construction, up to 15 points for finishing, etc., with the total equaling 100 points. Each quilt is judged on its own merits, and the quilt with the highest total number of points is awarded the first place.

The elimination system, on the other hand, allows each judge to evaluate a quilt, make comments on its technique and offer feedback for improvement. If the judge feels the quilt should be held for ribbon/award consideration, it is put aside. If not, it is released from the competition portion. After the quilts are judged in this preliminary fashion, the held quilts are compared to others in its category and the winners are determined.

Neither system is perfect. Regardless, judges evaluate quilts against the same standards. Here are just a few of the commonly held standards that judges use:

General Appearance

  • The quilt makes an overall positive statement upon viewing
  • The quilt is clean and “ready to show,” i.e., no visible marks, no loose threads, no pet hair, no bearding, no offensive odors.
  • The quilt’s edges are not distorted. This is easier to gauge when the quilt is hung.

Design and Composition

  • All the individual design elements of the quilt – top, quilting, choice of fabric, sashes, borders, embellishments, finishing – are unified.
  • The design is in proportion and balanced.
  • Borders or other edge treatments enhance the quilt appearance.


  • Piecing is precise, corners match and points are sharp.
  • Seams, including those of sashing and borders, are secure, straight and flat.
  • Quilting stitches are straight where intended and curved where intended.

As noted, judges consider certain “standards” when evaluating quilts – and the list is really quite extensive – but how do they decide which quilts are the prizewinners? And what is more important, design or workmanship? In the end I think it comes down to design, the quilt with the greater visual impact. But even the quilt with the greatest visual impact cannot rescue poor workmanship.

If you want to learn more about judging, ICAP offers three resources recommended for those in judging programs. You can learn more about The Challenge of Judging by Jeannie Spears, Judging Quilts by Katy Christopherson, and a audio recording of a conversation on “The Judge’s Perspective” between Morna McEver Golletz and judges Jane Hall and Scott Murkin on our resources page. We also offer a package with all three of the resources. See the Resources for Judges page on our website. Use code the Judge when you check out to save 15% on any of these resources through September 30, 2014.

Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at

#QuiltFestival #QuiltShow #Judging


What Are You Quilting?

By Mary Covey

What are you quilting? Maybe you just finished an amazing quilt that you want to share with everyone! Maybe it was a quick and easy project for a baby quilt. Is it a scrap quilt? A jelly roll quilt? Or is it something for yourself?

As you can see I have nothing on the machine right now but that will be changing soon. One of the things I love about quilting for others is the variety of thing I get to see.


Long Arm Machine Quilting – Mary Covey Designs


If I am stuck on picking color combinations, I look at what others have put together that I like.


Color Combinations



When I need direction on what to start as my next project I take a trip my local quilt shop to check out the newest books or patterns. Sometimes I get too inspired and come home with more than enough for one project. The project below is a new pattern series that is being taught by Elsie Ridgley at the Cotton Patch.


Pattern Series by Elsie Ridgley


I hope you will share what you are working on with me. Email me a picture of your projects. If you have a question that you think I can help with  let me know. I look forward to hearing from you.


I lot of you have asked about the “Mary Covey Designs” that appears on most of my blog photos. I do not design or make most of the projects in the photos. But I do long arm quilting on them, take the photos, and  tag them with my blog name “Mary Covey Designs”. In the future the text will read “photo by Mary Covey Designs” if I took the photo. It will read “Mary Covey Designs” if the project was created by me.

#Quilt #Inspiration #Design


Quest for Fabric

DSC_7051DSC_7051DSC_7051DSC_7051By Mary Covey

Fabric Row

Fabric swatches designed by Mary Covey –

These small strips of fabric represent two different lines of fabric that I designed for P&B textiles. The pastels in the center where called Watercolor Etchings. I designed the line because I felt there was a need in the market for soft soothing colors to act as neutrals with things like Aunt Gracie’s and batiks. I have seen them used with both types of fabrics very effectively.

The prints on both ends represent a few of the fabrics from my second line called All About Me. The line was a tribute to my three year old grand daughter. Being the first and only grand child on either side of the family – trust me everything was all about her. There were several more color ways in the line -yellow, tans, greens, and browns. It also came with two pre-printed panels pictured below.

Fabric Panel

All About Me Fabric Designed by Mary Covey –

This line could stand alone or be incorporated into many quilts that used other fabric lines as well. Again I thought there was a need in the market for some bright colored prints for babies/children.  Something other than traditional pink and blue.

When I designed each line I thought there was a void in the market place that needed to be filled.  I am now on a quest for the newest void in the quilt/home decorating market. What is there that I cannot find to complete my quilt or home decorating project? I am asking you for your help. What are you looking for that you cannot find? Is it a certain style of fabric? Is it a certain color or colors? Let me know what you think is missing. You can leave a comment or email me at mmcovey I can’t wait to hear from you!

#fabric #quilting #kidsquilt