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Pokey's Fabric Winner & A New Quilting Arts Series 700 DVD Giveaway

14 Jan 2011

I had every intention of posting the latest winner this past Wednesday but then you may have seen in the news that Boston got hit with a pretty huge snow storm.

I worked from home that day, but not without spending a good amount of time trying to dig myself out!

Your Quilting Arts editor is nursing a pair of sore biceps, but I'm stronger for it.

So congratulations to Marlin2! Please email your snail mail address to Lindsey Murray ( and she will get your bag of fabrics to you!

Next Quilting Arts @10 Giveaway Question!

OK, since I've got snow on the brain, I remembered a spoof video I made a couple of years ago with my pal, managing editor, Helen Gregory. Take a look (and you'll see what I mean about 1 minute into the video):

Helen has been with us at Quilting Arts for almost four years now, and although we do like to have fun once in a while (like the above video), we spend 99% of the time hunkered down, editing magazines or planning QA TV. She is someone I count on to critique my own art that might go onto QA TV or appear in print somewhere. I appreciate her honesty, and how she can sandwich her critique. First she'll say something positive, then perhaps something that needs improvement, and close with something positive.

So my question to you is, do you have a quilting friend or critique partner? How often do you get together? How do you find the critiques useful? What's not helpful when critiquing a piece of work?

I will randomly select a winner on Monday to win another DVD set of Quilting Arts 700, which begins airing nationwide next week!

Featured Product

Quilting Arts TV Series 700 DVD

Availability: In Stock
Was: $39.99
Sale: $35.99


Its another exciting season of Quilting Arts TV! Join Pokey Bolton and guests to see fresh ideas for contemporary quilt design. Explore fabrics, surface design, piecing techniques, and much more.


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on 14 Jan 2011 12:37 PM

My critique experts are my co-workers.  Everytime I have a new creative project to share I bring it into the office and the wonderful people I work with give their thoughts and ideas.  I feel pretty lucky to have an audience that always wants to see what I am up to and willing to share their comments.  I often times see things from another point of view and I think that is important.  Sometimes you can get "tunnel" vision in the studio and having someone critique your work can open up the opportunities for new ideas and possibilities.  I have always found critique as a good thing, I learned a long time ago everyone has their own tastes and interests and not to take negative critique personal.  It has taught me to appreciate others interests and's just a good thing:)

cousette wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 12:52 PM

My whole family has got a solid artistic and intellectual background, therefore they're my critiques before all. Then, those of my friends who are a bit involved in arts. My husband and my daughter have a more classical perception, so  their opinion  expresses this point of view. Whereas my brother and myself, my son and my grandson ,all of us have a more trendy,anticonformist  and creative conception. It's important to me to listen to everyone...and after mixing up everything, I  do what I feel like, knowing what the reactions will be. When everyone agrees with my work, I know it's quite good.

To sum up, I think it's useful to have the others' perception but we have to feel free to express ourselves !  there's no creation without freedom.  

canary523 wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 1:08 PM

When it comes to quilting, my Mom is my critique partner.  I'm new at this so I don't mind hearing what she has to say because I learn a lot from her.  She is very honest and I know that she wants to help me put out the best product that I can put out.  We have very different styles, and go about things in different ways, but I can count on her to let me know when I need to do or look at something differently.   Thanks MOM!

Maria Elkins wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 2:09 PM

I depend on my daughter for honest critiques. She never fails!

sharon@280 wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 4:16 PM

I am a winter Texan. Arrive here in November and faithfully meet with two friends once a week just to try out new techniques.  We really love your Quilting Arts mag.  Its where we get lots of ideas to experiment with.   Meeting once a week keeps us  inspired.  I think we really learn lots.  Not every project turns out so great but it gives us an opportunity to try lots of things we might not try on our own. We are not able to get your TV program this year but we will buy the DVD as we hate to miss out..

coollabtech1 wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 4:34 PM

I don't really have any critiquers...just friends who I often give stuff too who seem to love whatever it is!!!! I don't think I am ready ready yet for real critiques yet since I am still trying to find my way. Taking workshops does help me since there is some critiquing involved there, and such critiquing has always been of an encouraging nature because of the positive attitude of the instructors I have had so far...

jabotquilt wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 6:24 PM

My critique partner is not near me, so it is all done via email.  With lots of photos and chatting.  I love her comments, she is positive and can still tell me the areas I need work on, but give me a reason why they need to be improved.  Love that!

Jody Johnson wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 8:46 PM

My sister is my critique partner and I often refer to her through the creative process. She is honest and will point out what is and is not working. I find while I know something is not working I will often be unable to put my finger on it. She always pulls out and brings to the forefront that one thing that was bothering me.

Jody Johnson wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 8:46 PM

My sister is my critique partner and I often refer to her through the creative process. She is honest and will point out what is and is not working. I find while I know something is not working I will often be unable to put my finger on it. She always pulls out and brings to the forefront that one thing that was bothering me.

Jody Johnson wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 8:46 PM

My sister is my critique partner and I often refer to her through the creative process. She is honest and will point out what is and is not working. I find while I know something is not working I will often be unable to put my finger on it. She always pulls out and brings to the forefront that one thing that was bothering me.

robinnn wrote
on 14 Jan 2011 9:05 PM

I do not have a quilting friend - sure would be helpful, as I'm a newbie. :)

on 15 Jan 2011 1:25 AM

I don't have a critique partner but I probably need one!!

Dale Kathryn wrote
on 15 Jan 2011 2:02 AM

My husband is my critique expert. He has an excellent eye for colour and form and can usually be found somewhere close so I can ask him his opinion. Sometimes I agree with him - sometimes not! If I don't like his opinion, then I ask my friend Valerie!

cronelv wrote
on 15 Jan 2011 2:38 AM

My critique circle consists of two friends....we do not see each other every week but we do email, with pictures, almost daily. The critiques are both pointed/personal openions/reactions and  questions about the piece that need a response from the maker. Both friends are talented artists but our work is very different. Keep us all fresh and gives us insight at whether we are on the right track.

Ann in Las Vegas

on 15 Jan 2011 5:23 AM

Hi Pokey,

Looking forward to spring already.

My best critique is my sister.

She has the best eyes and can spot when

something needs a change and tells me where.

I cherish when she says "Wow thats great" than I

Know it is good to go.

Its good to have sisters.

Mary Ann

Laurel30 wrote
on 15 Jan 2011 6:55 AM

The thing about quilters is that they are all ready and willing to help!  If I need help with layout or balancing colour, I turn to my friend Bobbi, who has a great eye for design and balance - she's my go-to girl

gjeneve wrote
on 15 Jan 2011 8:18 AM

I belong to a critique group culled from member of the Art Quilt Association in Grand Junction, CO.  We meet once a month.  We are now starting to add a learning exercise to our meetings in hopes of improving our quilts.  We offer comments and support to each other.  But I have also learned to trust my instincts as well, even tho they may not agree with the group.

on 15 Jan 2011 8:28 AM

I have a critique friend and we got together weekly for a creative group and had at least monthly field trips to go explore some art in Italy, where we were living.  Now she lives in Washington State and I live in Indiana.  So we talk on the phone, via facebook, and best of all we met up for CPS CREATE.  We feed each other and by the end of a conversation we both have another 5 project ideas.  I miss her terribly and soon will be adding skype to our communication methods.

jojo wrote
on 15 Jan 2011 8:37 AM

My husband is my go-to guy.  He's honest to a fault. . .yep, sez the things you sometime don't want to hear but in the end, he's right on.   I love him so:)

Ellen@72 wrote
on 15 Jan 2011 8:38 AM

I usually ask my two daughters for their opinions.  I don't know if I'd say they were critiques though, they always say they love everything I do !!!!

lbeckert wrote
on 15 Jan 2011 9:37 AM

My critique expert is my daughter.  We brainstorm all our projects.  She is so creative and can figure out all the hard stuff!  We have a lot of fun sewing together!

on 15 Jan 2011 11:42 AM

My guild members are my critiques.  We meet often.  Critiques are given only when asked for which is nice.  They're honest and uplifting.  

on 15 Jan 2011 12:12 PM

Hey Pokey - No partner for me. The only people who critique my work are my kids...and sometimes I wonder if the fact that I feed, clothe, and provide their shelter, makes them biased in any way. Naaaahhhh. ;)

Thanks for another great giveaway! :) xx

on 15 Jan 2011 6:34 PM

One of my coworkers at the quilt shop I work in is an especially good critique partner.  She has asked my advice on her projects and I have appreciated the advice she gives me.  I recently took a piece to her and said "I don't like it, something is wrong."  My friend took one look and said exactly what it needed.  A lightbulb went off in my head and I knew she was exactly right.

Critiques that aren't helpful are the ones that aren't really a critique but an opinion, such as "That's Nice," or "That's Ugly."  I want to know why you think it's nice or ugly.  A good critique should be about what a person thinks is best for the piece.  My best critiques have been when I am able to step back from the piece, tell the person what I was trying to do and then listen to their ideas and suggestions.  I don't always take their suggestions but I try to value what the person has to say and I try to not take their critique's personally.  

DebbieM66 wrote
on 15 Jan 2011 9:24 PM

I don't have a critique partner. When I need feedback on something I'm making, I usually ask for help on my blog. What's not helpful is when you show something to someone IRL and they say "That's really nice", instead of telling you the truth!

on 15 Jan 2011 9:39 PM

I have two teenage daughters and they are brutally honest about letting me know if they like something or not! My husband is a little more gentle but still he lets me know what's on his mind! LOL I guess that's a good thing. No false pretenses there;  just good old plain honesty mixed in with a little sugar.

cindyrquilts wrote
on 16 Jan 2011 4:25 AM

My family members are my best critiques. My husband, an engineer, and my oldest daughter can't look at my work without checking the perspective. Artistic license is not a relevant excuse. The lines must be right or the work is rejected and sent back for corrections... Though somewhat drastic, I find their critiques helpful and true. My son-in-law has his own way of viewing my work. His overview is also very helpful as well. Together with my son and youngest daughter they are all my cheering committee. Without their support and belief in me I would not keep going. Thanks all of you!

AnnLR wrote
on 16 Jan 2011 6:36 AM

Do I ever!  I am so lucky to have a talented artist friend who has done everything from design recycled sweater purses of monkeys and bra purses to freelance work for M&M to Nickelodeon.  She has such a keen eye for design.  I show her everything I do and I can count on her to tell me if it works visually or not and suggest design and embellishments improvements.  She's a gem!

SuzanneG@5 wrote
on 16 Jan 2011 8:31 AM

Wow, this is a great giveaway especially this winter where, even in eastern NC, the weather has given this southerner a taste of what New Englanders live with every year!

I really need some helpful criticism from another artist but haven't found a group or individual who can put up with the limitations my health puts on travel.  I will be attending at least one group meeting each month this year - that's my 2011 resolution!!  Until I find an understanding friend, my daughter is my best friend in matters of taste and beauty.  Otherwise, I trust my gut and try to learn something new every day!

Thanks for the chance to win and here's to the sunshine!

on 16 Jan 2011 8:53 AM

I prefer to use the word, "champion," not critique. Everyone needs  an advocate or defender of their creative passion! In addition to my my 3 fav's: my sweetheart, my daughter, and my best friend, I have two groups of sewing friends that meet once a month. We share our enthusiasm and encouragement, comments and compliments, ideas and imagination... hugs and laughs, too! My design wall is my best 'critique.'

ravenwind_us wrote
on 16 Jan 2011 10:22 AM

I don't really have a single person who is my critic. I live in a very small community with no art group or close artist friends here that I hang out with. So my critics are the few close artsy friends and family that I connect with by phone, internet and periodic (though not frequent enough) long distance visits.  My other critics are the seasonal bazaar customers and individuals that I give handmade gifts to.  I love getting kudos for beautiful work but I also worry that my critics aren't hard enough because they are too kind.

quornborn wrote
on 16 Jan 2011 2:11 PM

Since moving to Mountains and away from quilting groups I haven't had quilting friends to critique for me.  I rely on my husband who has a great eye for detail or my daughter who is not home often enough but is honest and spot on when she is here. Occasionally a quilting friend will visit and we can swap ideas and share advice.  I don't like it when people just tell you what they think you want to hear or don't listen to the story behind the piece before giving advice.

candy49 wrote
on 16 Jan 2011 4:48 PM

My quilting friend/critique partner always tells me the truth.  I've found her comments to be helpful when I'm not sure something is just right...and she reassures me it looks great, or when something isn't quite right, well I can count on her to tell me what the problem might be. I also belong to several small groups, and we are all honest, (I hope) with our comments. It is always encouraging to have the critiques, good or bad (helpful).  It's not always helpful to hear...I just don't like it.  Some reason...color, line, composition etc...specifics are very helpful.

Penelope14 wrote
on 16 Jan 2011 8:54 PM

I'll often ask my husband for his opinion. He looks at the world from a different angle than I do so he often gives me another perspective and encourages me to try things from a new view.  

tamarama wrote
on 17 Jan 2011 1:28 AM

I have a very good friend in England (I live in Sweden), who is often my critque partner. She's actually a poet and I often find inspiration in her work.

I email photos, or post them on FB and she gives me honest opinions.

She doesn't understand the technical aspect of quilting, but that's good as it often makes me think outside the box for solutions!

Laura54 wrote
on 17 Jan 2011 1:53 AM

Not to have a critique partner isn't a good reason not to take part in the giveaway!

clbarnhizer wrote
on 17 Jan 2011 1:33 PM

I don't really have a critique partner.  I have 11 friends in a small quilting group that meets once a month.  We often bring our "problem pieces" in for suggestions from the group.  There is no pressure to use any particular suggestion; it's more like a group brainstorm to improve or complete a particular quilt.  Also, these are all "quilters" - none of them call themselves "art quilters" - the feedback is limited in terms of technique (various types of piecing, applique, embroidery, beadwork - some hand-dyeing - but no painting, screenprinting or mixed media).  

The vast majority of critique is stated as; 1) If you put X in this, it would do Y for it, or 2) A is doing B do this, is that what you want? or C) I like D about it because it does E for it.   It's all very polite and non-judgmental.  We have one member who hasn't really mastered that yet - She hasn't quite figured out that just saying "Well, I woudn't have done THAT." is not particularly helpful.

ndrennen wrote
on 17 Jan 2011 5:28 PM

I'm a newby and I was adopted by a small quilt group when a square dance friend found me searching in a fabric store. They are great help and actually invited me to help make charity quilts (after I had taken one art quilt workshop); so I said you will need to teach me and they did..That was last

May. That quilt has gone to Quilts of Valour and I have completed several more and several art quilts. Group members are patient and very confident that I can do it all and so I "plunge" in and do it (or rather I do "something").  The greatest help is honest, open, helpful suggestion. It's always positive but it may and often does suggest change or new direction. I am really appreciative of the suport of these four women.

susu52 wrote
on 18 Jan 2011 2:32 AM

My two daughters are my partners.  I always ask their opinions and suggestions when laying out a design.  They haven't had time to sew with me lately but we hope to change that real soon.


meta1 wrote
on 18 Jan 2011 4:12 AM

I would love someone with an eye for it to give me critique. My husband and son are close at hand but they usually like everything I do. Even when they are just samples I'm making!

meta1 wrote
on 18 Jan 2011 4:21 AM

Which doesn't mean that I don't like their opinion. They make me feel quite good!

Munderw761 wrote
on 22 Jan 2011 9:33 AM

I am blessed to live in an area where I am able to participate in two fiber art groups. Both attended by award winning/outstanding artist. The Silvertree  Art Quilters and Northern Michigan Textile Artists. Both groups meet monthly. The critque portion of the meetings are very important to me. I am what I call and advanced beginner so having the experienced artist review my work is invaluble .