Yes I’ve said it! Maybe some won’t agree.
I can often be heard telling customers in the store that finishing a quilt is much better that striving for a perfect quilt that will never get finished.
Now don’t get me wrong, we should all aspire to create a well-made product, putting in the time, effort and our pride into our project. But if you never finish a quilt, you’ll never have the chance to grow as a quilter, you will never have a chance to make the next one better.
Like I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, my first quilt was a straight out disaster. I had made it out of 5 inch squares sewn together from, what I now assume to have been, broad cloth. I mean it was the cheapest broadcloth I could find, no points matched, there were puckers in the quilt and many more mistakes. I can’t even remember now if I actually made just the top, or if I actually quilted it together. That was one of the first steppingstones on my journey to loving quilting. Honestly, if you think about it, it was one of the steppingstones to me now being a shop owner and writing this blog.
We all begin a quilt, whether our first or our 100th, with the intention of it being perfect. We’re diligent in making sure that we take the time to cut each piece perfectly straight, to make sure that the project size will suit our needs. We pick out fabrics that will be a perfect match, sometime spending endless hours and asking endless opinions before making the purchases.
When I remind a customer that a finished quilt is better than perfect quilt, it is usually at the point where this customer has begun to assemble their quilt and has either found an error in their method and wants to scrap the whole thing or just a beginner in the method used that has gotten discouraged and wants to give up. I suggest at this point to keep going and call it artistic liberty!
I’m not saying you should never use your seam ripper, that you shouldn’t fix issues as they arise; but, there comes a point where we need to push pass imperfections and aim to learn from and finish a project. Please don’t get me wrong, Jack and I are friends, we’re good friends.
What I am saying is that if you begin to assemble your pieces together and realize that not all of your points are a perfect match, or maybe you have one piece completely flipped over and the quilt is fully assembled. You can choose to take it apart, you can choose to throw it away but in the end it will never be a finished quilt if you don’t keep going and learn from that lesson.
Every quilt has a story to tell, every quilt has a lesson to teach us. Sometimes the lesson is about patience, sometimes the lesson is about precision and sometimes the lesson is about perseverance in the face of imperfection. I encourage customers to aim for perfection and expect that perfection may not always be reached. I remind them that completion is more important and I stand by that. I will continue to tell people that a finished quilt is better than a perfect quilt left unfinished.
I think that is the real beauty of a quilt shop. We surround ourselves with a community of people who help us aim to get that perfect quilt and encourage us when we don’t quite get there.
When all else fails, you will also hear me say to customers when points are not 100% spot on that the quilting will hide that. Now looking close enough, yes, you may notice that those points are not on exactly even, but you will see them a lot less once it is quilted, washed and fluffed up.
I once heard someone say if you can’t see it from a galloping horse through a window, it’s probably OK.
A gifted quilt to a love one will be much appreciated whether or not the points are lined up. When they sing your praise and tell you how perfect the quilt is, say thank you and move on to your next quilt project.