Non-professional and professional works are judged separately. A professional is a person who is trained through continuous years of experience and education in the field of needlework. This includes designing and/or teaching, holding certification, teaching needlework on a regular basis for monetary remuneration, or those who consider themselves professionals.
- Original: The entrant has taken control of responsibility for all aspects of the entry, from initial concept, through development of the design, to its final execution and presentation. An Artist Statement is required.
- Adaptation: The entrant has taken inspiration from another source, such as a painting, illustration or photograph. An Artist Statement, which provides appropriate credit and source, is required.
- Non-original with Instructions: This includes class projects, kits, charted designs, and pieces with stitch guides or instructions, including embellishment classes. Entrant must provide source of instruction. An Artist Statement is not required, but is recommended especially if any change has been made by the entrant.
- Non-original without Instructions: This includes painted canvases or pieces without a stitch guide or instructions. An Artist Statement is required and should include a description of choices made by the entrant.
- Mixed Media: The entrant has combined embroidery with another art form thereby stretching the boundaries of both. An Artist Statement is required.
- Japanese Embroidery: An entrant should adhere to the 46 techniques of Japanese Embroidery and stitch on ground fabric of obi or kimono silk with Japanese Flat Silk and/or Japanese gold/silver or colorful metallic threads. Works may be original or class pieces. Entrant must provide source of design. An Artist Statement is not required, but is recommended.