Monday, 29 August 2011



I'm going to be honest here. I'm not a perfectionist. I'm a corner cutter. Not all the time, some quilts I'll throw my whole heart and soul in to. I don't know if that makes me love them more. I'm more inclined to think it doesn't, that sometimes those super fast, corner cut, slightly shoddy quilts are the ones I'm less precious about and those are the ones I love more.

Cases in point....

This quilt. It should live on my bed, I spent a fortune on the quilting. I slaved over it until my eyes literally went funny and I couldn't see from hand stitching all the dresden plates onto the backgrounds. It lives in the closet. I use the excuse that it's my winter quilt, but it won't come out in the winter, because it's too good for using.
This quilt. Shoddy points, terrible quilting (I quilted it) - but covered in cat hair, tea stains, and it's used all the time. I love that quilt.
This quilt. I pieced it in a day, that included cutting all the fabrics. It's a permanent fixture on Ginger's bed. It gets dragged outside in the summer, it's been washed and dried a million times, it has pen on it, and cat snot, and only the Lord knows what else. It's a technically poor quilt, the appliqued rocket has bubbled, the zigzag stitching to fix it on was really badly done. The binding is kind of wonky and doesn't miter well at the corners. So what, right?

I'm hoping that with this one I'll break the cycle and use it til it falls to pieces. Despite taking me over a year to piece and being done 'properly', not by cutting corners.

So, here's my confession of the day - I was planning on making this quilt on Elizabeth's blog. But I wanted something small for Ginge to use on the couch, not for his bed. Or even to hang on the wall for Halloween. I started printing letters, and I realised I was going to have to piece tiny little squares to get a good patchwork effect in the size I wanted. Then I'd lose all the cool Halloween prints, I may as well use any old 'Halloween coloured' fabrics. So I thought, and I scratched my head and I realised I could cut corners, whip something up really fast and not piece any of the letters at all.


So, again, it's not perfect. It's not going on show, none of my quilts are. They're for using. Even the ones I don't use because I actually made real effort with them and didn't just go bang at it for a week til it was done.

So, 'fess up - I'm a corner cutter - I don't give a rat's ass that my points aren't perfect, I won't unpick to get a sharper point (not usually anyway). I just love to cut and piece and have something finished.

What's your confession?

(fabrics above are Eerie Alley from Lola Pink fabrics and kona coal from Simply Solids)


cauchy09 said...

would it be impolite for me to say that with your letters you are making your own quilt design? just because you might have been inspired by hers doesn't diminish the awesomeness that you are creating. i don't think you are cutting corners because her way isn't the only way; nor is hers--by many many light-years--the first quilt with words on it. can't wait to see what your quilt will say!

i also have a log cabin quilt that i made with my mother that i use ALL the time. the other quilts seem too precious to touch, which is ridiculous, of course.

pinktrees said...

i hate quilting...whew! there, i said it! i hate the long process of it all but what's my go-to gift? a quilt. do i make baby clothes or bibs instead? nope. quilt. my friend is buying a house. yup, made her a quilt! a FB friend, (someone i don't even know in person) tells me she lost her grandma's quilts to hurricane katrina. yup, she's getting a quilt too. the hubby has a teeny, sloppily pieced, quilt i made him 6 years ago that he can't even fit under and jerrett doesn't even have one at all! guess what their christmas will be this year?

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

I pick my nose when at the traffic lights.

Sara said...

Honey---I am right there with you! I am TOTALLY thinking that today as I quilt my purple "Majestic" top. My swirls aren't perfect and I have gone through 3 spools of different purples. I think though that the different shades and wonky swirls give it my special stamp.

Yes sometimes I even sew the backing folded in the quilting by accident--oops (did that an hr ago);) Luckily, SO lucky it was only a few inches of stitches to pick out.

YEP. That's it!!

That is why I like your blog you are HONEST!!! AND "you don't give a rat's ass." he,he,he

Megan said...

Well I guess I must confess that I'm in the same boat as you are. By perfectionist standards I am truly a sucky quilter but ask me if I care. My points almost never match up and my actual quilting sucks too. Stitches are uneven and there are always puckers on the back. But all of the quilts I love are used so I guess that's a good thing.

I have obviously never finished my Single Girl. Bad quilt-alonger! I think the fussiness of it all drove me crazy during my pregnancy. By the way, if you don't use Hexy MF after you get it back I will fly to England to break into your home and steal it out of your dark closet!

Sarah said...

Pretty much the same as yours! though I could add that I dont actually enjoy the "quilting" part all that much... Its back breaking, I'm not all that good at it, and my table is tiny! I'd rather cut and piece and just have all my tops magically transform into quilts overnight ;-)

BumbleBri said...

you are JUST like me! everything i crcohet has some stupid mistake in it. if i were a perfectionist, i would unwravel it and start all the way over to make it right...but seriously, what a waste of time and money! the only thing that really really matters is if you enjoy what you are doing and if the end result makes you smile. if you answered yes to both parts of that last statement, i would say you are in great shape. i can't wait to see the "worded quilt"!

Susie said...

Holy Schnikes! You're HUMAN! Who knew? :-) My favorite line above and I think one that SOOOOOO many people out there that quilt tend to forget is the following.: (referring to your quilts not being for show..."They're for using."

Isn't that supposed to be the whole POINT behind making a quilt? So that it can be USED by someone? I don't spend my time & energy making a quilt for someone so that it can sit in a closet "hiding" because it's "too pretty to use." Pfffth! Forget that. You're SUPPOSED to get it dirty, repair the holes and let it look worn. That means it was loved and used it was meant to be.

So, yeah. I'm not a perfectionist either. LOL

Cristin said...

Amen sister! I get a kick out of just FINISHING a quilt, much less making sure its show-worthy. None of my quilts will never ever (probably) be in an exhibit, so no one is going to notice if its not "perfect" in our eyes. I have very few quilty friends in town so they're impressed that I even know how to use a sewing machine :-)

My confession: I hoard fabric and don't use it because I love it so much. BAD! My resolution from now on is to USE all my fav fabrics in quilts, bags, EVERYTHING! I can always buy more... um, in the winter when the reprinted FMF comes out :-) haha

amy smart said...

I'm totally with you on this one. I am not a perfectionist. I'd rather just go hard, finish and move onto the next project. :)

My confession: I let other people quilt my quilts. I just don't like that part of the process (in fact, I hate it). And I don't feel bad at all. Hobbies are for fun and relaxation and taking a break from all the other necessary in life. So why waste zen time on something I don't like doing?

MN2NM said...

Hey Katy - great post! I can definitely identify. I like to call it fudge-ology: the art and science of fudging it. One time I was quilting with my cousin and I chopped off a piece to make it fit and she audibly gasped and said, "that is so wrong." And that's why my blog is called Type B :) My quilts are no less snuggly because they aren't perfect!

bloominworkshop said...

I wholeheartedly believe quilts are for using! Quilt on Katy!

Rachel said...

Oh yes, I'm definitely a corner cutter! Quilts are made to be used and loved. BTW, the little quilt you made for Joe is still in constant use on his bed, he sleeps on it even though his feet hang over the end now!
R x

Mrs. Monkeyboy said...

I hate the quilting parts!
I love the process for the rest of it, so I suffer through quilting.

Honestly, my points and seams do not always match either. I just chalk it up to learning the process and experience. my quilts all go to someone I love and they love me for me and all of my imperfections.
So, it's all good. Just carry on doing what you do! You are an inspiration.

trash said...

I hear you on the using thing. The quilts we have are on people's beds ALL the time, have been used to make dens inside and outside the house and provide warmth and comfort for big, hairy collies and grumpy-faced assistants as much as the people they were made for. So long as the stitching holds strong I refuse to be too fussy.

Flying Blind... said...

The 'next' quilt will always be the one I get right and do perfectly x

Archie the wonder dog said...

My confession? I use the rotary cutter the wrong way...I cut towards myself and everyone that sees me do it gasps in horror!

Karen said...

I don't know if it's possible to be a quilter and a perfectionist - at least not for me...I'd never get the dang things done! A little off, wonky, non-matched points are a good thing and truly say love!

Prof. S said...

Hooray! It's so refreshing to read something like this -- and I agree completely: sometimes there is *great* pleasure to be found in just diving in, sewing away, and not worrying too much. Even as I write that I feel a pang, because I also have to admit that a point comes in the making of every project that I question everything, and am convinced that this time I have screwed it all up...but in every case it has come right in the wash (sometimes literally). My worries evaporate, imperfections remain, and the sweetness of a fully finished, highly usable object wins out over all else.

Loved this post :)

Andi said...

The only quilts in our house that don't get used are the ones I don't like anymore. (And I've been quilting long enough to have a few of those).
Every corner of our house has a nice little pile of quilts waiting to be snuggled under on the couch or in bed. Or to be used as a picnic blanket or cubby house. They all go in the wash and I ADORE seeing them being used. That's why I made them.
If that dresden quilt isn't being used at your place, you must send it to me immediately to be regularly used and much loved!!!!!
My confession? I just spent another $175 on fabric. Do NOT tell my husband ;)

kelly said...

hell no i won't unpick to get a sharper point! i WILL unpick if a block is obviously facing the wrong way. that's about it. i love quilts that look like human hands have made them. i do not love quilts that look like they came from a factory, or like they were made by a pursed-mouthed old woman who would judge me for my sloppy points.

Yoshiko said...

Confession: I just gave my aunt a rather imperfect quilt for her birthday. One of the mitered corners turned out really wonky - lumpy and crooked. A few of the points didn't match either. I was just too lazy to fix it. Plus, my aunt just turned 79, so I figured she probably couldn't see the shoddy workmanship anyway... Is that completely horrible? The good news is that she wraps herself with the quilt when she's watching TV at night.

One Flew Over said...

You shouldn't have to ask to know what I am.

I don't even attempt anything with points.


Mrs Yoastie said...

If a square isn't 9.5 inch (or whatever measurement it was meant to be) I like to fudge the difference in the seams.

There are other confessions but not sure that right here and now is the right place for them :-)

ScissorsandThread said...

Love your honesty (and the Dresden quilt - must have taken forever). My confessions are my 1/4 inch seams aren't very accurate so I end up trimming a lot and I couldn't work out what the seam ripper that came with my machine was used for until I had been sewing for a year!

Laura said...

I'm not very precise either. I'm working on that skill, but for now I'm enjoying making fun quilts with lots of "Amish mistakes".

two hippos said...

I love this post. It helped me realize that the big quilt I just made for a friend -- for which she is so grateful -- is just as awesome as the ones I labor over for weeks. Hell I like this one better anyways, because I like quick. I like finishing quilts. I like petting nice finished quilts. I hate the mess that I make while piecing and quilting, but love love love the final product. Now I just need to make more for me to use.

Meg said...

Oh Katy, you make me smile. And I'm still giggling over Lynne's confession from above.

I'll pass on to you what a very wise quilter once told me. "Done is so much better than perfect." I keep that close to my heart with every quilt, because I'd rather enjoy the process every time, rather than angst over perfection.

My confession? I really love scrappy quilts, and I always have. I like the idea of making quilts in a particular line of fabric, but I get bored with them really quickly and find myself needing to change things up to keep myself interested--when in doubt, add more variety! And I would always, ALWAYS prefer to work right out of my scrap bins than cut pristine yardage. :D

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