Before you present your quilt you must first 'finish' it. Finishing a quilt that will be given to Uncle Bob and put on his bed, is a very different beast than preparing a quilt to be juried and hung in a show. A quilt which will be judged or exhibited must be able to survive the scrutiny of many eyes, including eyes which will be looking for flaws.
It is in the interest of an exhibition committee that they hang the best selection they can accumulate. This implies they have more than one to choose from. Unless this is a friendly show among a small group, where every quilt is hung, there is some competition involved.
The idea of competition or rejection is enough to keep some people from trying to enter an exhibition. I won’t sport with your intellect here. Rejection is hard to embrace, but it is part of nature of entering a competition. A quilt that is rejected for one show may win a prize in another. So don’t take a rejection personally.
If you are considering putting a quilt forward, you want to give it the best possible chance to get past those judges and be hung. Take the time to look at your quilt critically.
1. Is it stain and odour free? (including perfumes)
2. Does the quilt hang well/lay flat?
3. Are there hanging threads or pet hairs lingering on the quilt?
4. Does the binding and look consistent?
5. Are the corners tidy?
6. Have you kept the quilt otherwise clean?
7. Does it meet every criteria for the exhibition you wish to enter?
In the small print of most entry instructions there is usually a clause saying that accepting a quilt doesn't obligate the show to HANG the quilt. If a quilt smells of food or animal or even perfume (or has been misrepresented in photographs), it will be returned without being exhibited. At the expense of the quilter. Imagine a show with 40 perfume saturated quilts....ugh.
Are there any marks that can be removed? Perhaps pencil marks from marking where you wanted to quilt, or a drop of something you can carefully blot away?? Now is the time to take care of any removable marks.
Really look at that binding. When judging I’ve found some gorgeous quilts with shocking bindings. A careless binding can let an otherwise carefully-made quilt down. Bindings should be flat, of a consistent width, have the batting in them, but not be bulging. Bindings can be removed and redone if necessary.
Anything that can be done to make your quilt stand out as being more professionally finished will move you closer to the potential of having a quilt accepted.
So once your quilt meets these specifications what next? Your quilt should now be ready to photograph.
Next exhibition related -article, Photographing a quilt.