Monday, November 30, 2009


random thoughts about perfection
list style

i've had two quilts pinned and ready to quilt for a couple of months
well, i quilted and bound one last week and got it in the mail
i'm quilting the second one now
as i was quilting the first one i was thinking about perfection
and how we strive for that in quilting
perfect 1/4" seams
perfect corners and points
beautiful quilting
even stitches
perfect binding and lets not forget those corners
and if we don't achieve all of the above?
do you feel bad?
like you let someone down?
did you let yourself down?
does it ruin the process for you?
does it negate all the good in the quilt?
so back to the first quilt i was quilting...
a few seams don't line up
there are a few jerky starts and stops in the quilting
there are a few jumbo quilting stitches
there are lots of teeny tiny quilting stitches
there are a few tucks on the back (gasp!)
and i was beginning to feel like a quilting failure
should i rip out the stitches?
should i not send it?
have you had these thoughts?
i consider myself a wonky/liberated quilter
should i obsess over these things?
is my quilting wonky or liberated?
or is it just sloppy and lazy?
have i done my best?
if i'm doing my best, should i rip out all the "bad" parts?
when is it enough?
why am i making this quilt?
is it to be judged in a quilt show?
is it going to be published?
is it going on tour?
it is for a friend and her husband
i love this friend
the quilt is to share that love with her
it's filled with her favorite colors
has plenty (not all) perfect points and corners
has plenty of nice looking quilting stitches
the binding is good
the "tucks" kind of disappear once it's been washed
as i'm listing the good points, it brings me back to "am i being judged?"
why do we do this to ourselves?
is the "quilting police" knocking on our door?

i quilt because i enjoy it
(gee, does it sound like it?)
i share my quilts to share my love
to share beauty and kindness
i'll do my best
i'll (try to) not obsess
and i'll remember why i'm quilting in the first place

the quilt will live on a couch
not hanging on a wall to be scrutinized

the quilt was mailed
and i feel good about it

do you obsess?

quilty love

my new motto:
i'll do my best.
i'll not obsess.


LauraJ said...

lovely! as always.
what you've written down is are the exact feelings I feel before even starting the project!

LauraJ said...

had to share the second verification word: folie. which means crazy in french. we drive ourselves folie with the self-judgements!
I must confess
I too obsess.
I'll do my best
to clean the mess.
It's you I bless
with quilting success!


I have yet to make the perfect quilt, but I enjoy the process so much it doesn't matter! I am the only one to carry the questions and doubts, which in the end Makes no difference to how it is loved by the recipient... That's what is so precious about making quilts. And As far as being a liberated wonky quilter, I say, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Art comes in every shape and form, and as long as it's stitched together and stay together, it's a quilt. ;-) Cheers to which ever way you choose to express your form! you make lovely things, and I know exactly all the feelings you listed! Keep on quiltin'!

MichelleB said...

Oh yes! I obsess. I just started quilting a quilt - and ended up ripping out my stitches because they were too big and not even. I am in the process of ripping out a whole other quilt that I quilted - I thought it was a quilt I didn't like very much and that I could just quilt it and be done - but I decided that I did like the quilt too much to be happy with the crappy quilting. It's literally taking me hours and hours and HOURS to rip out.

I have stopped obsessing to some extent (really!), but I'm sure I have a long way to go.

Vicki said...

sweet. I love it. I just unpicked quilting on a quilt for the first time ever, last week. I blame it on a BAD machine, otherwise when the quilting hasn't been perfect due to my skill levels or a mistake, I can almost always just leave it.

All of this is great food for thought, thanks!

Valerie said...

I've unpicked too many stitches. We are our own harshest judges. No one else notices those GLARING jumbo stitches, or the points that don't line up, or the wonky corners. They only see the love.

Brenda said...

I do all that you say, but sometimes I can leave it. funny how what's important to me isn't important to the recipient. they see a lovely gift of love, and I see all the mistakes. I try to take my cues from the recipients and not the inner critic. but there's a part of me that says about the wonky bits: It's supposed to be that way!

Magpie Sue said...

Sistah, you speak for a lot of us! Thanks for being the brave one to put it out there so we can all feel better about ourselves in the end. :- )

fisherwife said...

Certain times of the month are worse than others for this perfectionistic behavior you have so eloquently typed. I struggle with this so much more than I realized a few years ago. I am not a type A person in so many ways, but if it is a gift I tend to obsess over minute details. Thank you for refuting this and replacing it with a personal mantra I can remember!

belinda said...

Ooooooohhh..I loved this post!!!
...LOL....boy, have I come a long way....I think starting to quilt has sure helped to tone down my
perfectionism in all the areas of my life...LOL...afterall, you can't have a perfect house anymore if all you want to do is quilt!!!

p.s. and why are we so quick to point out the flaws to everyone??
Most people would never know the
difference if we would just keep our mouths shut!!

True Blue Nana said...

Girl we are on the same page. Yes I obsess and second guess. For much of my life I felt like it was a weakness but as I get older I realize much of my second guessing makes me really examine why I do what I do. Sometimes at night I wonder why in the world I married this man (we have been married 39 years!!). But then I start to think of all the things I like and love about him. I do the same with my quilts. Why in the world did I choose this design? Then I look closer and think oh yes that is why I did it. Freddy Moran says do what you do to please yourself!

Clare said...

Oh goodness - obsessing! No way! Life is too short. We've got miles and miles of quilts to make before we sleep and obsessing about points, seams and stitches won't help matters.

Sarah - you speak for all of us. Love LauraJ's second comment :-)

Marit said...

I can relate

; )

Just de-sashed a quilt and put it together in a new layout. But I have to say I am more pleased with the second take. So, to me this is the dilemma; will you always regret not redoing/ changing the quilt or part of it, or can you live with it?
I guess if time proves you won't be happy, then it's time to give it away. People view things differently...

Loved to hear your thoughts on this, I'll keep on trying to be more relaxed about "perfection" and go for good enough!

iron-hold said...

check also my blogs.. the latest storeis are inspiring.. i will add another new story today. im sure you will like it.. Godbless you

Joyce said...

You said it! Wonky is where it's at in all aspects of quilting for me.

Mrs Moen said...

Finished beats perfect almost any day:-)

Shasta said...

I'm here from Clare's blog. What a lovely well written post. You are right, I definitely take myself and my quilts too seriously. A friend of mine at work used to say, "It's only money" when talking about millions. I try to remind myself "it's only fabric," and not a life and death matter.

bingo~bonnie said...

I forget where I heard it but ....

"Done is better than perfect!" b/c usually those that have to be perfect are still UFOs!

and also the saying "one on the bed is better than two in the head" ;)

I love your new saying - i'll do my best. i'll not obsess.

Love from Texas! ~bonnie

Sharon said...

Boy, you really nailed it. I try to be liberated in both my piecing and quilting, but I always am having an inner dialog with myself that sounds very much like yours. Just how liberated is acceptable?

But I have to tell you...when the quilt is finished, washed and on the bed, I never see those glaring imperfections again. I just love using the quilt! So, was all that obsessing worth the effort? Not usually!

Great motto!

iron-hold said...

did you check my new post? if not check it out.

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

I do my best not to worry about booboos and "coulda done betters." you aren't lazy, just liberated! Me, I really am lazy as well as liberated... ;-)

Mary said...

No and yes, I've learned that most mistakes or imperfections are hard to find once the quilt is bound and washed and I'm always content with my final *product* but along the way I do worry and wish that I was a better quilter after all, I've been doing this for 9 years now I should be fairly good at it by now you'd think.

I love the Citrus quilt.