It is easy to forget for those of us that may have been quilting for years or even decades, that quilting is a learned skill. We do not come into this world with an inherent ability to pick up some needles and start quilting. So like any other learned skill, unless you are the Mozart of quilting you aren’t going to make perfect quilts from your very first stitch. There are those amongst us that strive for only perfection and of course this is fine. If you feel you have to restart your quilt whenever you make a mistake that is ok, but at the same time never think that your quilts have to be perfect in anyone’s eyes but your own. Quilting as a hobby is for the quilters enjoyment, and constantly getting frustrated over asymmetry or crooked lines is apt to make you want to throw the whole thing away.
If you seek advice when you first begin quilting you will be shown “the right way” of doing things by many experienced quilters and online sources. They may point out the flaws in your quilts and tell you ways you can fix them or improve your technique. Don’t get me wrong the sharing of knowledge and ideas can be a great thing and advice from experienced quilters is often welcome, but at the same time these first quilts you make are markers on the path to you becoming an experienced quilter. Some of these quilts may become your favourites over time due to their imperfections instead of in spite of them. Nothing says ‘made with love and effort’ like a gift that clearly has a few imperfections from hand making. Sometimes what some would call imperfections can even add to the overall appeal of the design. All this aside, if you are only going to keep perfect quilts as a beginner, you are going to do a lot of work most likely without a lot to show for it.
History of beautiful, imperfect quilts
In many cultures and design styles throughout the world, the concept of adding intentional imperfections is implemented. From the Japanese Wabi-sabi tradition, to Islamic art it is often considered more visually pleasing or symbolic to have intentional design flaws in a piece. In a few religious cultures imperfect design is used to be respectful to God, as only God can be perfect so designs should be flawed. This design technique can be seen in modern Amish quilting in the form of the humility block/spirit line.
Photos from pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/474003929516001407/, https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/386394843022437728/ .
So not only can accidental imperfections be fine to go on with in your quilting, many designers actively create these imperfections to add to the overall appeal to their pieces. This is something to keep in mind next time your triangles don’t line up perfectly on your latest quilt attempt. Simply breathe in deep, breathe out and think about the fact that it isn’t your job to create perfectly symmetrical quilts as the textile industry already has that covered. A beautiful quilt doesn’t have to be perfect, and a perfect quilt isn’t always beautiful.
Important note to take from this post especially if you are currently doing the medallion quilt. Remember don’t dwell on any tiny mistakes just imbrace the quilt as you go and enjoy. As you can see on ours the lines aren’t 100% perfect everytime but we still think it looks even better than it would if it was perfect.
P.s don’t forget this advice when sewing any quilt together!