The Judges, Focus Through the Prism

There’s been quite a bit of work to do behind the scenes of the special Focus Through the Prism Challenge since the quilts arrived in January.

During the month of February we hung all 244 quilts that made there way to my home onto a deer fence.  The weather couldn’t have been worse – it was sunny and in the mid-20’s.  The snow on the other hand … was deep!  We happened to pick a fence (based on the direction of the sun) that had drifts 2.5 to 3-feet deep!  This made things a bit more interesting … snow pants were definitely needed and we all definitely got our cardio in – oh and of course – we got the tractor stuck.  My father-in-law always says he isn’t having fun until he gets stuck. I’m not sure my mother-in-law (or husband) agrees with that.

photo by Karmen Lindner Photography

Here’s the fabulous group of people I wrangled up to help get all the quilts hung!  I’m so lucky to have such a great support group … there’s no way I could have done it without them!  When I hooked Karmen Lindner into photographing this display I may not have mentioned just how many quilts there would be (there’s no way I could have known!).  When she arrived I think to say she was surprised would be an understatement.  But – she took it like a champ and the photo’s she took are just beyond stunning!

photo by Karmen Lindner

I also took individual pictures of each of the quilts that qualified for judging (Diane, Trisha and myself were out of judging for fairness) – both full on and close up shots.  These photos were all uploaded into a secret group that only the judges could get into.  The only information included with the quilts was the name of the quilt (not the maker or the story behind them).  The quilts were posted in seven group corresponding to the seven challenges along with the rules of the challenge clearly stated. 

The Rules of the challenge:

  • Each final project should read predominantly as one color in the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, or violet.
  • You must use ONE fabric from the ROYGBIV challenge bundle in each quilt which should correspond with the color you want your quilt to ‘read’.
  • Any other fabrics from your stash may be added.
  • You must use the month's block – Monkey Wrench/Friendship Star/Log Cabin/Pinwheel/Flying Geese/Nine Patch/Snowball - as an inspiration for your quilt.Qu
  • ilts must finish 20” square.

This was the online guidelines given to the judges.

Who are the judges?  Let’s meet them!

Katy Cameron

katy cameronI'm Katy Cameron from The Littlest Thistle and I've been quilting for 4 1/2 years.  As well as being a member of Brit Bee, I enjoy taking part in online swaps and the odd quilting competition each year as well as teaching beginners quilting locally in Glasgow.


Barbara Raisbeck

barbara raisbeckBarbara Raisbeck is the owner and operator of Quilts by Barb.  Barb does long arm quilting on a computerized machine and makes custom order quilts for customers.  She specializes in T shirt and memory quilts and hand dyes fabric for use in many of her own quilts and her customers.  Barb has been teaching quilting for over 20 years and has judged a number of quilts shows throughout the state.  She hosts a Quilt Retreat Getaway Weekend each November. The website for Quilts by Barb is


Karla OverlandKarla Overland

Karla Overland is the owner of Cherrywood Hand Dyed Fabrics in Brainerd, MN. She has been the "colorist" for 16 years. She has been sewing since she was 10, and has evolved from making barbie doll clothes to 4H garments to altering wedding gowns to designing quilts to dyeing fabric. Her background is in Graphic Design and she really enjoys how this crosses over into her business today. When she is not traveling around the country to quilt shows, Karla spends time with her husband and three kids.

Cheryl Sleboda

cheryl slebodaCheryl Sleboda is a fiber artist, teacher, and author of "Heirloom Sewing Techniques for Today's Quilter"  She is also an award winning quilter and teacher who has juried into many national shows, a BERNINA ambassador and has co-curated three shows for International Quilt Festival/Quilts Inc.



Kim Niedzwiecki

Kim N

Kim Niedzwiecki {aka Go-Go Kim} is a blogger at My Go-Go Life, mom of four, grandmother of two ( I am old enough…I swear) and thrill-sewing quilter with projects featured with Liberty of London, Pellon, Moda Bake Shop and in the book Kitchen Stitches. This crafty dynamo and professional encourager of others is a social media maven with years of experience as the former Social Media Coordinator and Creative Director for Aurifil. Kim has had the great opportunity to view thousands of beautiful quilts both in person and online and has a great respect for all quilters. In her spare time, she carries on a love affair with red shoes, coffee, fabric and if she had to own a pet it would be a Chinchilla!

These five talented quilters and fiber artists had quite the daunting task ahead of them … they had to pick their top five quilts in each challenge.  I gave their top choice 5points, 2nd choice, 4 points, all the way down to 5th quilt 1 point.  These were then summed up and the quilt with the most points was the winner of each category.



I also tend to overbook myself but luckily Diane Lapacek agreed to make the ribbons for the winners of the quilts!  Here’s just a quick picture from my ipad … but they’re seriously awesome!  Ribbons will go to the first place quilt and the quilt taking home “Best in Show”. 

Stay tuned to see which quilts won each category! 


  1. Wow what an amazing display - awesome work!

  2. Can't imagine how you pull all of this together! It is such a gorgeous display....hope the deer liked it too!! The ribbons are awesome and the winners will be so proud of theirs.

  3. Tell Diane that the ribbons are awesome! I wish she made the ribbons my dog won at agility. Diane's are so much prettier than the ones that come from the store.

  4. Wow that is amazing - so beautiful to see the rainbow of quilts on the fence! The ribbons are so pretty. I'm sure it is going to be incredibly difficult to choose the winners.


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