Quilt Judge Certification Program


The purpose of the Quilt Judge Certification Program (QJCP) is to prepare and certify qualified individuals as professional quilt judges, upholding, and maintaining the standards of the Canadian Quilters’ Association/Association canadienne de la courtepointe (CQA/ACC). Established in 2009, the QJCP was created to ensure those wishing to judge quilt competitions are qualified to do so.

A program candidate’s quilting knowledge should encompass traditional, innovative, and contemporary quilting styles and techniques, as well as having a solid understanding of the principles of colour and design. Strong analytical skills are necessary for the examination and evaluation of quilts, along with the language skills required to form concise, objective critiques. The ability to effectively communicate with others, and work respectfully and cooperatively, particularly in physically and mentally demanding situations, are necessary attributes. Previous experience with show judging is also required.

General Requirements:

  1. The program must be completed within five (5) years.
  2. Students must maintain their CQA/ACC membership during their enrollment period.
  3. Upon certification judges must maintain a Professional membership with CQA/ACC.

Recommended Computer Skills:

  1. Read and respond to emails.
  2. Navigate to websites.
  3. Basic word processing knowledge (writing book reviews).
  4. Familiarity with cloud-based storage, in particular Google Drive. Student assignments will be uploaded to a shared google folder. A Gmail account is recommended.
  5. Ability to photograph and send images electronically.

Program Prerequisites:

1  An applicant should have a minimum of two (2) quilt judging experiences within the previous five (5) years. This can be as a judge, or as a judging room aide – e.g. scribe, fanner, holder, reader, or runner.

  • One of these experiences must include judging a full show as the primary judge, or a large section of the show as a co-judge. In both cases, a minimum of thirty (30) quilts applies.
    (Please contact the QJCP administrators at qjcp@canadianquilter.com  if you have any questions regarding what qualifies as a judging experience.)

2  An applicant should demonstrate overall quilting knowledge and experience such as:

  • Acceptance into a juried/judged quilt show or exhibition.
  • Attendee at workshops and lectures.
  • Attendance at quilt exhibitions or shows, museum exhibits, or other quilt related events.
  • Participation in other aspects of quiltmaking such as research, teaching, lecturing, or publishing.
  • Quilt volunteer such as board member, quilt show committee, charity quilt organizer.

Program Outline:
Part 1: Independent Research and Study 

  1. Required reading of assigned books.
  2. Complete and submit samples for:
    “Color and Composition for the Creative Quilter” Katie Pasquini Masopust, Brett Barker.
    “Art + Quilt, Design Principles and Creativity Exercises” Lyric Kinard.
  3. Continuing Education – classes, workshops, museum visits, etc.

Part 2: Four-Day Judging Course
Successful completion of the QJCP Four-day Judging Course.

Part 3: Apprentice Phase – up to three (3) years

  1. Individual judging or jurying experiences.
  2. Aiding on an NJS judging floor.
  3. Continuing Education and Professional Development.
  4. Pass general quilting knowledge quiz before advancing to final exam.

Part 4: Final Exam Testing at the NJS
An extensive mock judging exercise at a CQA/ACC National Juried Show.


QJCP Instructors

Elizabeth Spannring

Elizabeth began her crafty journey knitting socks, sewing costumes, and decorating cakes. In 1990, when a sewing friend presented her with a rotary cutter and a bag of scraps, another enthusiastic quilter was born! Entering her first competition in 2002, she has won numerous awards at major shows across the US.

In 2002, she attended the Northern California Quilt Council Judges Training and several months later, she judged her first quilt show. She set out to pursue her involvement in judging and in 2006 completed the requirements to be designated a National Quilting Association Certified Quilt Judge. In 2011, she fulfilled the training and coursework to become a certified quilt judge with the Canadian Quilters Association/ACC.

Her volunteer work has included serving as a board member with the Association of Pacific NW Quilters (APNQ), and the National Quilting Association (NQA). As the Show Director for the Association of Pacific West Quilters, she produced the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Pacific West Quilt Shows held in Tacoma, WA and also served as the Executive Director, producing two Summer Symposiums held at local college campuses.


Carole Gold

In her role as a CQA/ACC certified quilt judge, Carole loves encouraging others to take creative risks, strive for excellence, and learn new things!

Entering a judged show can feel pretty scary, especially the first time. When judges’ comments come back to an entrant, it’s Carole’s goal that they feel safe, respected, and get the sense that their quilt was looked at with knowledge and appreciation.

One of Carole’s first experiences as an apprentice judge was helping to jury the CQA/ACC’s National Juried Show. Jurors are truly kept in the dark about who made what, and every entry is held to the same standards when being considered for the show.

Once the selections were finalized, the process shifted. Jurors were tasked with offering suggestions to further strengthen the design or presentation of the quilts not selected for the show. To Carole, this represented the true value of entering a juried/judged show. Feedback, done with kindness and compassion, is what helps people grow their skills. Fast forward through attaining certification – and the judging experiences along the way – and Carole is now in her third year as the Jury Coordinator for the CQA/ACC’s National Juried Show!

Because she sees the value added by compassionate, experienced, knowledgeable judges, Carole has agreed to work with Elizabeth Spannring to administer/instruct the CQA/ACC’s Quilt Judge Certification Program. With her experience as a classroom teacher, a well informed and forward-thinking partner, and the work done by the program’s previous instructors, Carole is confident that the program will move forward in the most productive and positive way!

Carole lives in Peace River, Alberta, where she happily makes art, teaches quilting and design skills, and runs a thriving longarm business. FreshofftheFrame.com is her home, online.


Fee Structure

For students accepted in to the program January – December 2021.

Application Fee – $25 + applicable tax
Part 1: Independent Research and Study – $100 + applicable tax
Part 2: Four-day Judging Course – $1200 + applicable tax
Part 3: Apprentice Phase – $75 + applicable tax
Part 4: Final Exam – $100 + applicable tax

Total Cost for the 2021 cohort – $1500 (+ applicable tax)

If you have any questions in regards to the CQA/ACC Quilt Judge Certification Program (QJCP) please email Carole Gold and Elizabeth Spannring at QJCP@canadianquilter.com.

Ready to apply?
Application form available here.