Behind the scenes of judging the winning quilt

PADUCAH – Thousands of quilters are going to be arriving in Paducah soon. The judges for American Quilters Society’s QuiltWeek are finishing up their final looks at quilts.

No matter how many quilts these judges see  they say it never gets old. “It’s like a child being in a candy store the quilts are so spectacular,” said Donna Wilder, a judge for at least 20 shows.

They compare it to the Super Bowl of quilting for anyone who has never been.

These judges hold almost 53 years of experience between them.

“Some of them just take your breath away and boggle the mind a little bit,” said Scott Murkin, who started judging quilts 18 years ago,”to kind of estimate how much time and effort went into those designs.”

Around 4,000 people have already registered for this years quilt show, and 405 people entered their quilts for judging.

“It comes down to very minute little things: tension on the sewing machine, threads that are overrunning, seams, tiny little issues,” Wilder said.

The grand prize for the best quilt is $20 thousand.

They have a very strict list of guidelines they follow when they are judging quilts.

“We actually have some pretty specific criteria of principles of design and workmanship that we’re looking at that are completely separate from our personal taste,” Murkin said.

This is Kimberly Einmo’s 15th year judging quilts. She has judged quilt shows in other states. “The quilts that come to Paducah are always the highest caliber. There’s something for everyone,” she said, “but this has the reputation and just a prestige of being exhibited here in Paducah just carries so much weight.”

By this time next week, someone will be $20,000 richer after taking home the Janome American Best of Show grand prize.

The quilt show starts on Wednesday April 24- Saturday April 27. The hours are Wed.–Fri., 9 am – 6 pm and Sat., 9 am – 4 pm.