The difference between NQS and LQS … at least my theory.

I have a theory on what makes the quilts in  national quilt show different from the local quilt shows… My theory may be half baked… BUT that has never stopped me before.


First let me say, I have only been to one national quilt show but I view all the online posts of trips, slide shows posted through the big  venues  (TQS and QNN and quilt magazines ) and the official web sites.


The majority of the national NQS quilts are original designs made by the quilter.  Rarely are they renditions of someone else’s patterns.  It is not just exquisite workman ship it is the entire creative process that is brought by the participating quilter in the national show.  Fabric selection seems to be exotic and manipulated in some way by the quilter. Hand dyes, batiks, embroidery, thread painting, dying, inking, painting and highlighting of the fabrics are just a few of the techniques used.  Even the traditional block  pattern quilts have design elements created by the quilter that makes it original, often a border or a special feature.


In contrast, the LQS quilts are replicas of a published pattern whether from a book, magazine, or purchased pattern.  ( This does not make them of lesser value or less beautiful, envied or desirable.)  Frequently at a LQS you will see multiples of the same quilt made from a workshop or class by different people.  This can be interesting because you can see different color-ways and interpretations of the pattern by the different quilters.


The NQS quilts tend to be what I call “quilted to death.”   They are meant to be displayed at the show not used in a home.  The extensive quilting removes the warmth and drape-ability of NQS quilts.  LQS quilts will usually be used in the home either by the owner or as a gift for some lucky recipient after the show.  The quilting still beautiful is much less extensive with less of the micro quilting techniques.


I sometime think size is a criteria LQS quilts tend to be larger bed size quilts, while NQS quilts tend to be smaller, squarer ( I can only go by posted measurements ) wall hanging variety.  I find these quilts on display in homes, museums, collections or as wall displays rather than on a bed.


Well this is my theory and I stand by it.  Please leave a comment and tell me why I am all wrong. 


Happy Quilting,




Sorry no pictures included to demonstrate my points.





3 thoughts on “The difference between NQS and LQS … at least my theory.

  1. From TQS…I just checked in and really enjoyed your thoughts on the difference in quilts made for a show or as part of the local shop’s classroom samples. I have my own ideas regarding some of the quilts made to display at shows. They are beautiful and the workmanship is outstanding but they don’t fall under my criteria for what a quilt is. Keep up the blogging!

  2. Hi, I have never been to a national quilt show so can’t really make a comment on the difference but I know I have enjoyed all the local shows I have been to. I found your blog in the forum on TQS.

  3. I know where you are coming from and tend to agree up to a point. I do think that there is as much quilting in the LQS over here in the UK and also smaller quilts are increasing. At our major NQS – Festival of Quilts-last year there were plenty of bed sized quilts both in contemporary, traditional and art categories. Like you, LQS does give the chance to see a ‘class’ project in different colourways and how much that changes its look. As far as originality of design, I don’t know what is original and what is copied anyway so I guess that’s not as important to me. Interesting observations that you have made though.

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