This year, a record number of quilts were submitted to the Modern Quilt Guild for consideration for QuiltCon 2022 in Phoenix. Along with a record number of submissions comes a record number of emails thanking entrants for submitting their quilt, BUT… ‘unfortunately, we just do not have room for’ your quilt. 

Sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why one quilt is accepted into a quilt show over another. Jurors do have a list of things they look for when considering quilt acceptance into a show, but the reality is that the process is subjective. The personal preferences of the jurors will have an impact on the outcome of what quilts get into a particular show. The MQG says in their rejection letter, “A different panel of jurors choosing from a different selection of quilts will certainly make different decisions.” If you’ve ever spoken with a quilt show juror about their experience jurying, they most often express how overwhelming and challenging the process is and how difficult it is to be looking at so many high-quality quilts at one time. 

The failure to be accepted to QuiltCon has led to an interesting phenomenon on social media. The hashtag #quiltconreject looks to have made its first appearance in 2014 as a way for quilters to show off their efforts to enter the show. The hashtag quickly caught on and has steamrolled its way into being part of the QuiltCon experience. It has also become a virtual quilt show. While the word ‘reject’ elicits unpleasant feelings and the hashtag can seem like harsh criticism of oneself, a quick scroll through the posts attached to the hashtag shows ‘rejection’ hardly describes the quilts attached to it. 

In addition to showing off a trove of amazing quilts, the hashtag has created a community of healing and inclusion. Submitting a quilt to an organized quilt show is a risk and only materializes after a ton of work and personal investment of time and commitment. It’s difficult to put oneself out into the world to be judged. In doing so, you open yourself up to rejection and criticism. When this comes in the form of a rejection letter, it can make you feel terrible. But one of the remarkable things about the emergence of the #quiltconreject hashtag is the creation of a place where people can connect with others who have also recently experienced the same rejection they have. It also provides an opportunity to see that many quilts not accepted into the show are amazing. Knowing that you’re among good company provides solace. 

We have loved seeing the encouragement quilters offer to each other in the comments of the #quiltconreject posts. Our hope is that quilters who have experienced a rejection related to a quilt they’ve made will learn something from the experience and then press forward by making more quilts, finding other shows to submit to, and even consider submitting to Curated Quilts.

Here are some of the quilts we were struck by this year from #quiltconreject:   

Twisting Ribbons by Samantha Krebsbach @krebsbachhubercrafts

Twisting Ribbons by Samantha Krebsbach @krebsbachhubercrafts

This quilt was designed for the Windham Artisan Cotton Fabric Challenge. The design was inspired by a woven basket made by Krebsbach’s mother-in-law. The quilt was constructed using paper foundation piecing and strip piecing. This quilt is energizing and mesmerizing. 

Temperature Quilt by Kristyn McCoy @melonpatch.quilts

Temperature Quilt by Kristyn McCoy @melonpatch.quilts

This quilt was designed for the Temperature Quilt Challenge. The temperatures McCoy represented in the quilt are from each of her September 1st birthdays from 1971 to 2021. She made it as a memory quilt to celebrate her 50th birthday. To select the color shades, she found inspiration from fashion trends, home decor, and color trends from the different years that are represented. Low temps are also represented with blues, greens, and purples. High temps are represented with oranges, yellows, pinks, and reds.  

Limbo by Karen Foster @capitolaquilter

Limbo by Karen Foster @capitolaquilter 

Limbo was awarded Best Use of Modern Traditionalism at Mancuso’s Visuals #4 National Quilt Competition as well as being exhibited at PIQF and PVQA. This quilt is a great example of how a quilt can be recognized and win awards in some shows while not receiving the same recognition in others. Using prints in modern quilts can sometimes pose a difficulty, but Foster has used them expertly inLimbo. This quilt is so full of life and movement.   

Lined by Deb Jeske @aquilterstable and the BeeSewcial Quilt Group

Lined by Deb Jeske @aquilterstable and the BeeSewcial Quilt Group (Leanne Chahley @shecanquilt, Marci Debetaz @marci_girl, Felicity Ronaghan @felicityquilts, Karen Foster @capitolaquilter, Stephanie Ruyle, Ken Smith @thekingslacker, M-R Charbonneau @quiltmatters)

The prompt for this collaborative quilt was ‘fine-lined piecing.’ Making a collaborative quilt look cohesive can sometimes be a tremendous challenge, but Jeske is a pro. The way she has thoughtfully added framing to the blocks with her background fabric adds depth to the overall look of the quilt and helps the center blocks shine. 

Salvaged Signatures by Tina Davis @barkinghen

Salvaged Signatures by Tina Davis @barkinghen

Quilted by Dianne Saugier. PatternBirds in Flight 1984 by Joe Cunningham and Gwen Marston 

We love this modern take on the signature quilt. Davis salvaged and collected 139 women’s signatures from family, friends, and unfinished projects. She also included one XX block to symbolize the 70273 quilt project. She says about the quilt, “In 2016 I began to purchase unfinished signature blocks at quilt show sales, thrift shops, and eBay. I felt these women had made this effort to mark their space; a graffiti of sorts, to say “I was here”. Signatures were penned, painted, or stitched on fabric. Allowing these signatures to be discarded seemed so unappreciated. I felt compelled to finish their story. Having them displayed as intended, a part of a collective effort of women is now a lasting tribute to their individual voices.I imagine I have the support of all these women behind me as I move forwards with my goals.” 

Davis is currently collecting signatures for the next quilt she is making in the series.

Boxed Life by Marisa Wilhelm @marisawilhelmdesigns

Boxed Life by Marisa Wilhelmi @marisawilhelmidesigns

This quilt was designed for the Windham Artisan Cotton Fabric Challenge. Wilhelm says the inspiration for this quilt came from “living in a box during the pandemic, and this box kinda represents my brain. So many things to worry about, so many lines and compartments… but all ‘concise’ inside the box.” The decision to not machine quilt the center portion of this complex floating cube creates an even more alive and dynamic 3D effect.  

The Badlands Quilt: Cali Mist by Cristina De Miranda @shipsandviolins

The Badlands Quilt: Cali Mist by Cristina De Miranda @shipsandviolins

Miranda has designed an ethereal landscape in her Badlands Quilt. The quilt mimics the layers of earth and clay characteristic of dry Badlands terrain. This quilt was featured as the MQG Modern Monthly quilt pattern in July 2020. It is also a pattern you can purchase from Miranda’s websitewww.shipsandviolins.com

You can find a plethora of modern quilt inspiration in the physical copies of Curated Quilts, or connect with us on Pinterest and Instagram

By Brittany Bowen Burton

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