« Not any one thing... | Main | Mishegaas... »

June 23, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Wow. You said it all so beautifully! Our quilts do reflect who we are. My quilts are a bit like the junk drawer in my kitchen. The kitchen looks neat as a pin, but when you see what is inside that drawer, you realize I may not be a total perfectionist. Enjoy the process, enjoy the materials, enjoy giving the end result away. Just do it all with love.

Lisa D.

Loved your post, Carrie, and Nicole's post yesterday. Yes, I strive for perfection, but it's not always attainable. I have one block that got turned around in my Drumbeat/Cupcake quilt and you know what? I still love it! It makes the quilt uniquely my own. I keep thinking I should give that quilt to my mom, who's nickname used to be Cupcake, but I don't know if I can part with it. My memories from that class I took from you at the Buggy Barn makes the quilt extra special to me (and I found some awesome Martha Negley cupcake fabric to put on the back!).


That was a very heart felt posting, I agree.Quite often we pre judge and are not accepting of others work. Quilting to me is the sharing process of skills, thoughts and kindness, not how much better ones points are. Ther is no such thing as perfect it is something to try and acheive.


Beautifully said Carrie. It borders a bit on my quilting pet peeve - judging of quilts for shows.
While we all need to have good skills and should always try to improve, quilts that are judged only by their technical skill without any acknowledgment of the aesthetic (or lack of aesthetic) quality - Makes Me Crazy. Like you said - the most beautiful and moving quilts - the quilts that are truly museum quality are often not technically perfect. Okay, thanks. I feel better now ; )

Karen Grabowski

Howdy, QM Neighbor! I subscribe to the theory that if it will make you crazy, fix it. If fixing it will make you hate quilting and not have fun, then leave it alone! I've told people who made quilts with some of the worst workmanship you've ever seen how beautiful their piece is, and they just beamed with pride. In their eyes, it may be their best work and who am I to say otherwise...hope all is well with you, mom and Miss Rosie! My Daisy is growing like a weed and licked my husband's hamburger bun on the dinner table the other day. Time to start moving everything back from the edge!!! Has Atlanta recovered from your visit yet????


My friend Colleen and I are polar opposites in quilting. She is a perfectionist and likes to take her time and really make it right (she taught me how to quilt). And then there is me… how fast can I get this done? What corners can I cut to get this done? I am always in a hurry! My quilts always turn out okay, but never perfect, and my seams rarely line up like they should, but I don’t care. My joy in making a quilt is the colors and the way the pattern looks with the right colors, I am a color crazy girl. I love quilting, it’s just so much fun. Colleen did teach me to pay attention to my seams when I press, and I do that now at least :D By the way, your patterns have been good teachers for me too, I’ve learned a lot from them. I just finished 3 quilts from your patterns and love them all!

dotti white

Carrie...what a beautiful post, so heartfelt and touching! Thank you so much for sharing!


Very well said!


I totally agree. It is just mean to criticize someone else's work. I have taken a class from a teacher just for the comraderie (spelling?) and not to learn anything, just have fun. Darn, that quilt (really four blocks) looked like crap, but I didn't care. I had fun with my friends. I'll be the first to admit my quilting is not perfect, but there is love in each and every stitch. I still hate triangles, but I still sew them and I really get excited when the points to match, but if they are close enough (90 mile an hour rule applies), that's good enough for me. Life is too short to dwell on perfection. I'll never win a ribbon--and yet I did win a ribbon on a quilt I'm ashamed to say is full of errors-but it was a fun and theraputic (again with the spelling!) quilt for me.


What a wonderful post! I need to print this out and re-read it every so often. I agree with everything, and yet, sometimes I need to be reminded of these simple but "oh, so true" things! Not only do I love quilting with a passion, but I also love discussing and reading about these types of quilt-related topics...what is it about this art that draws so many of us to love pattern and fabric?! Thanks once again for a wonderful post!


Well said Carrie, everything. I completely agree that if it will make you crazy...fix it. But if it is something that is sooooo close you also have to remember that you may not be able to find it yourself after the quilt is finished and layed out in "all it glory". I know, I know...everyone is saying, I know where every mistake is in every quilt I make. Well, I'm only into 18 months of quilting now but when I lay out the 11 of 12 blocks I have done for a BOM, then stand back, I can't find the things that was unhappy with on any but the most recent blocks, and when the sashings are added, the borders are on and the binding is finished...most of those little things I left alone, will have magically disappeared. I love a perfect point and intersection as much as anyone, but as you say, when you lose the joy of it, it is pointless to continue. OOPS...sorry, I fogot to ask if I could use your soapbox. Sorry! One more thing though, your story about the quilt on the magazine cover with points that didn't match...I saw one like that, there it was, close up, dead center on the magazine cover, but my question was...why didn't the photographer or layout designer, just fold the quilt a little differently to hide the flaw on the cover picture because, just like you, when I opened it up to the full view, it was fabulous. Nuff said...give Rosie a scratch for me.


maybe the key is to have lots of non-quilting friends! my ego gets stoked by my friends who ooh and aah over everything i make, non-matching seams, lop-offed points and all! my own joy in quilting comes from the colors, the fabrics, the process of creating, the zen in sewing seam after seam. perfection isn't the goal at all.


Amen Sister! I agree with your post wholeheartedly!


so perfectly stated!! I really do strive to do my best with all of my quilts. I love the whole process and I love the look of a well pieced block and quilt and then to see it well quilted is wonderful!
A few years ago during a very challenging time in my life I cut, pieced and quilted my summer wind quilt in a 3 day marathon ( I needed some be by myself time) and about a year later I noticed one half square triangle in the wrong way...its just a reminder to me that I'm not perfect, I sleep under that quilt every night and it's just right and perfect to me :)

Wanda Sotkowy

Your 2 stories ring very true. It's not what makes the love but what binds it!

All the best.


I agonize over every lopsided triangle, mis-matched seam or imperfect point which results in only a few tops getting done each year. My friend on the other hand, gets several done each week. She feels matching seams and perfect points are simply happy accidents and never bothers to rework or rip out. How I envy her that freedom. I've been trying really hard this year to just "let it go" and keep reminding myself that "done is better than perfect".

Ann- a good yarn

By all means strive for excellence and you may well achieve it. Strive for perfection and you will probably be disappointed. Let's face it, no one and nothing is perfect. I guess if you are entering quilts in a show for a prize, then you need to make a quilt with a high quality of manufacture and finish. If your quilt is for any other reason, then it's probably okay if the odd seam doesn't match. Relax and enjoy your work.


Love your two stories. It really sums up quilting quite well. I also like what you said about our quilts being a reflection of who we are...hmmmm...food for thought.


Eek! You took the words right out of my mouth. I had a woman in a class last month who admitted that she considered throwing her quilt away when she realized that she had cut off some points. Her quilt was beautiful. Thank goodness the rest of the class reacted in such a way that she believes that now. I like to bring it down to three words ... "It's YOUR quilt". But I am also personally happy to know that those who have quilts on the fronts of magazines and books are less than perfect.



Great post! And I have to say, some of the beauty in the Gees Bend quilts ARE their imperfections. I need to be less worried about points, because I'm the only one that notices them!


Love this! There is so much more to having everything "match" or all points being there, etc. The "process" is the best. Thanks, Carrie.


What a wonderful post Carrie! Thank you for venting.


As a teacher I face this dilemna often and my approach is: If it will keep you up at night...For myself I use that measure as well, if it is going to haunt me (and it usually does) I fix it in whatever way it requires. But perfect, heck, not in this lifetime! Beautiful, that I can do because beauty is in the eye of the beholder :0)


Beautifully said!


Bravo, bravo!!


Love this post! Sure, I have lots of perfect quilts.... not that one... or that one... or those... I'm sure I have at least one around here?

I have to say though, to ME, your quilts ARE perfection.

For me, it is all about the love.

Mary Andra Holmes

Hi Carrie, I do not think there is anyone else out there who could have said it better! After working with over 200 students at a high school on Long Island who never quilted or even thought about quilting, I am sure you can visualize some of the finished quilt tops. But watching them complete many quilt tops for Quilts of Valor was thrilling to see. After seeing the look on their faces each time a top was completed, it didn't matter if any of the seams matched. There was usually 3 to 4 students making each quilt and taking turns at the sewing machine. What a thrill for me (someone who thinks it has to be a perfect 1/4" so I applique instead) to be a part of something so beautiful without a perfect 1/4" seam. Enjoy your day....Mah


Loved this post. I have a saying I put in my syllabus for my English 101 students (I teach freshmen comp): The perfect is the enemy of the good. It's not my quote, of course, but the idea is the same as what you expressed so eloquently in your post.

When I used to teach quilting (ages ago) one thing I used to say is they were "galloping horses" mistakes--that is, if you couldn't see them while riding by on a galloping horse, they were fine.

The other thing I'd tell them is that many very early quilters felt that making a perfect quilt be an "affront to God," and if it was turning out to be a perfect quilt, they'd make a small mistake. The reasoning is that only God could make perfect things. Then we'd laugh and say that (mistake) was their homage to the universe, so they wouldn't offend.

I like your stories and your suggestions too. Thanks so much for this post!

quiltmom( Anna)

Great post- as a quilter, I know that there will be others that are more precise and more careful than I. I do my best to do my best work and tear things out only as necessary. The question is always about what is necessary- too much tearing is not the best either. It spoils the process not to mention that it is not the greatest thing for the fabric. There are lots of way to express one's self in quilting- if your intent is to enter a juried show where the judges are going to be critiqing the workmanship then of course it is more vital to be precise. If the quilt is going to be spoiled because nothing lines up and everything looks off then you might want to be making a different pattern. Quilting is a wonderful creative process. The last thing I want to do is make something in which I spend more time ripping things out than creating something beautiful. I have known people who did not continue to quilt because they did not enjoy the process and they were never satisfied with their quilts.
Aiming for perfection may be others goal but its not mine- I rather be exploring and expressing myself with fabric.

Nell Ward

One of the girls in our quilting group used to say of mistakes: "Can you see it from the back of a galloping horse?"
I subscribe to the "done is better than perfect" mentality.
I know that I will never be a perfect quilter but I'll have a lot of fun playing along the way!


Thank you for that. Elequently said.


You made me cry! What sweet stories about those not so perfect quilts. Sometimes I look at my friends quilts and think I will never be that good and it keeps me from quilting. I need to do what brings me joy and not worry about what others do or think. Just enjoy. A promise to myself to really, really work on this. Thanks


Thanks for this wonderful post. When I was a beginner, we had a lady in the guild whose quilts could have won the worst quilt contest. She was so proud of her achievements that if anyone had bought her down, she may have given up on the joy it bought to her. I've always remembered her and the lesson I learned early on.


I just finished a small quilt that I had started decades ago when I was sewing for my kids. By hand, crazy pieces. So I added more scraps from my stash. Some seamed and some applique. When I went to iron the final piece, it was three dimensional. About 8-10" high in the middle. Four darts later, it was flat, and I used the dart fabric from the two biggest ones to fill in the sides.

I don't care. It's a quilt and still looks nice. You can see the dart (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2531/3688453330_3a1575b54a.jpg?v=0_).

Only my second piece, but quilts were made originally for utility and decoration was serendipitous. I frankly think it's cool, and the 3D story makes it even cooler.

Furniture removalists

You look so gorgeous

The comments to this entry are closed.