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Sewing With Certainty – Perfection (is over rated)

Posted on: November 26th, 2013 by Lorna McMahon

When it comes to the topic of piecing and quilting, you hear a lot about perfectly alined seams, crisp points on blocks, precise 1/4″ seams, even stitches on your free motion quilting,blah, blah, blah….. These kinds of things can be intimidating.We are all afraid of judgement.If we can’t do it perfectly… then some of us won’t even try. And that… is. a. shame. If we are so afraid of failure that we don’t try,we miss out on all the wonderful opportunities failure delivers.Failure offers us the chance to learn.  To be inspired.  To develop skills AND IDEAS.   

When I made my first quilt for my daughter, I knew there were a lot of imperfections.

But I was happy that I finished it.  It was admired and appreciated.And I learned so much from the experience. I still don’t make perfect quilts.I am a human being and I can accept that I am not perfect.Anything I do will never be perfect (including being a mom).  Imperfect quilts can still be beautiful.  And keep you warm.And be loved, appreciated and admired by the people who you cover with them.  

My mistake – a hexagon that ended up being an oblongagon

 I have also learned that when my nose is 6″ away from my mistake,it is very obvious to me that it is a mistake.  

  But when you stand back and look……it is not quite so obvious.  

  And when you come back a month later, you find yourself searching it out.Where was that mistake now?  Hmmmm…. I can’t even tell.  Funny!  Not only do you learn from your mistakes.  Others learn too.When we, as quilters are not afraid to make mistakes, and not ashamed to share them,we help others to learn and develop and to be inspired by what we make.Mistakes and ALL! 
Are a mistake maker who is willing to share your thoughts on perfection?Write a blog post about it and link up!
 This week’s Sewing With Certainty topic is Perfection.Click on the icon below and visit Jessica’s Quilty Habit blog to read up on all the topicswe are covering and to see what the linkers have to say!  Join us!

And Keep On Quilting On!

23 Responses

  1. Lorna, I could not have said it better myself. There are imperfections in every single quilt I make. I sew for fun! Although I do my very best on every quilt, I don't stress over absolute perfection. When the quilt is all finished, a tiny mismatched seam is hardly noticed!:) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  2. Vicki says:

    Thank you my dear Lorna! Your words are so true. We must love what we do warts and all.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I absolutely agree! The best part about our \”hobby\” is that it (almost) always ends up at least usable. 🙂

  4. Jessica says:

    Awesome post! We thinking similarly! 🙂 I like how you wrote about perfection in your whole life, versus just crafting.

  5. Joyce Carter says:

    Thank you for your wonderful post today. I totally agree with you. We are human so therefore we are not perfect. I am 65 and have been sewing ever since I was around 5 years old. My sewing has never been perfect, but it is good enough for me. I love to sew and enjoy it very much. So I think as long as you enjoy it and do your best, that is all that matters. For myself, if I am happy with it, then it is \”perfect\” for me. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  6. I had three quilt tops finished before i had the courage to quilt one! then… the binding… another 2 months to get the courage to do that! I still have projects that i recognize im procrastinating on because im afraid to do it imperfectly and so therefore i never start!

  7. Rosa says:

    I do agree with your post and your hexie is 3D.Have a great Thanksgiving!

  8. Love your blog topic… I quilt for therapy and get a wonderful hand made quilt in the end… I don't think any will be perfect but I continue to learn, ponder, and enjoy the quilting process anyway 🙂 Love your quilt for Kenya too! Kathi

  9. Cheryl says:

    That was wonderfully put. When I have a mistake (a big one that will take a bunch of time to correct) I try to put the piece aside for a day or two and decide if I really need to get the seam ripper out.

  10. Anne says:

    As long as the person using the quilt (or upside down apron!) loves it, then that's fine by me. :o)

  11. I decide right up front how I'm going to approach a quilt. Sometimes, I think it is really important for it to be as near perfect as possible (< 1/8"), Other times, I dont even really think about matching points and seams. Just depends on what effect I'm going for. Regardless of how hard I'm trying to be perfect – I never am and I'm totally ok with that. I don't want to be a machine after all. 🙂

  12. I am a proud mistake maker. I am perfectly willing to get out a seam ripper when it matters–when the mistake will affect quality or durability, mostly–but if it is a color placement booboo or even a shoo-fly block instead of a \”jewel\” block (I made this piecing mistake recently in my Penny sampler)–I leave it. \”Design features,\” knitters call these mistakes 🙂

  13. Kay says:

    Thanks so much for this!! I really need to know that others make mistakes too as I am very much a beginner. I like to think that as my gifts are made with love no one else will notice or even look for mistakes.

  14. Unknown says:

    One of the first quilts I ever made had a log cabin block in it. I used all MEDIUMS value prints. My favorite fabrics just disappeared! Today I laugh about it.

  15. Glinda ♥ says:

    Hmmm – an oblongagon?!? I think it could catch on, my friend! Great post, you say it so well 🙂

  16. I have gotten better at dealing with my Inner Perfectionist over the last year, but it still flares up occasionally. Like now! So this post is good timing.

  17. Renee says:

    Definitely agree with what you've said here!

  18. It's reassuring to know I'm not the only one with mistakes in my work! I'm hoping others don't see them, much like I don't notice the 'mistakes' in other peoples' work.

  19. Susan says:

    So true, I agree with you. Its not the perfection that counts its the joy one gets from the journey in making a quilt.

  20. What mistake on the tree? I couldn't see anything! Which just goes to show that most of the time mistakes really don't matter that much in the end : )

  21. Lindsey says:

    Great post Lorna! This is something I have to work on daily!

  22. Elise Lea says:

    Wonderful post I completely agree. Sometimes it is hard for me to start something because I am afraid it is not going to be perfect…But you are right practice builds skills and the only person who notices those mistakes are you (when you are looking at it five inches from the tip of your nose)

  23. I'm reading this \”late,\” but it is timely and well written. Thanks.