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Thread: Ever wonder about the quality

  1. #1
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    Ever wonder about the quality

    Ever wonder about the quality of your quilting or am I too hard on myself? I have been lately comparing my quilts to others I guess. I tell myself not to do that and I know I have improved in my 4.5yrs of quilting, but other peoples quilts is just beautiful. I sometimes think I have just looked at the material to long and by the time I am done, I think it's ok,but not breathtaking by anymeans. Is this common? Your thoughts might help me get a handle on my thinking! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    I found that by the time I've finished with a quilt (especially one that is difficult) I don't have very much appreciation for it at all but when I put it away for a few months and then pull it out, I like it a lot. The same thing happens with my mistakes that I make on piecing a quilt. When things aren't exactly perfect, I can become disgusted with the quilt but if I walk away for a few days, when I come back the mistakes don't look that bad. I also do my own quilting....the last quilt I did, I was very disgusted with my quilting, so I walked away for about a week. When I finally had time to go back and look at it, I found that it looked fine and I am quite satisfied with it. :-) Now I just have to put the binding on it....
    Kathyj


  3. #3
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    You're probably being too hard on yourself. . . but I tend to do the same thing. I KNOW where all of my mistakes are and there's always something, I should have done differently. I guess we tend to be much more critical of our own work, than we are of others'.
    Neesie


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    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    I know what you mean..I feel like an amateur no matter what. That is why when people who have seen my work want me to m ake them something for pay, I feel like I can't make something good enough....i always see every flaw in my own work

  5. #5
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    I don't know what designs of quilts you are making. It sounds like you are trying too hard to copy other's work.
    Try backing off and doing some more simple designs with the use of color and pattern to spark them up. I find this is more satisfying than making the smashing eye catching designs. Then perhaps you will graduate up to more involved quilt designs.

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    We are our own worst critics! I agree with the above poster. I do the same thing.

    Just to share.....when I was visiting the AQS museum, there were 2 quilts that won major awards at AQS. One maker admitted missing hand quilting a motif in her quilt but she decided not to rip it apart and leave the quilt be. It won at AQS. Another quilt was machine quilted......I have seen the quilt several times and this time I noticed that she also missed quilting a motif in her quilt. She also won a major prize at AQS.

    The above observations are not meant to be critical, but it was a light bulb moment for me. These quilts were spectacular but they were not perfect and that's ok. I have decided to quit being so critical of my work and enjoy the process. Also I am afraid to try some new things because it might not be perfect.

    FYI.....I have been quilting for 20 years and I'm still working on changing my way of thinking. I'm hoping you don't torture yourself that long! lol

  7. #7
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I am so guilty of the same thing, I guess we are our own worst judge. I know I am getting better but others work is just so beautiful!

  8. #8
    Super Member 0tis's Avatar
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    I do the same - I am pretty happy with my piecing - but the actual quilting - I wish I could do so much better - I own a longarm - but I still dread the quilting part - I have an idea in my head what I want to do - but from my head to my hands - it doesn't come out the way I want - I know that I need practice, practice, practice - but I would love to learn from one of the quilting pros we have on this board.

  9. #9
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    We are our own worse judge!
    IMHO that's not so bad, if we use it as a learning tool, and recognize our own skills and abilities according to the stage we are at in our quilting journey. And allow ourselves some pats on our backs, as we consider how far we have come too!

    If we don't look at our own work with a judicial eye, how can we get better at what we do?

    If we can take what we are not happy with, and set about to improve on that the next time, then it's the best thing we can do to continue to develop our own skills.
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    I always feel better about the free-style designs rather than trying to follow a pattern, but I always doodle, make notes, say a little prayer before I start on someone's quilt. I like to let it speak to me. Sometimes the quilt sits there on the frame for a day before I start sewing just so I'm in the right frame of mind and ready to start. And I always, always, always practice stitching on a bit of extra fabric or along the edges, off to the side of the quilt top, to make sure my tension is right and the thread is right and there are no loops on the back. And take lots of breaks!

  11. #11
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I have seen many quilts that are much better then my quilts. I just praise the quiltmaker of the better quilts and keep on making mine.
    Got fabric?

  12. #12
    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mighty View Post
    I am so guilty of the same thing, I guess we are our own worst judge. I know I am getting better but others work is just so beautiful!
    I'm the exact same way. I see quilts here on the board & I think mine look like rags compared to the others. I know I shouldn't compare myself to others but I do. But, I do try to do my best work & that's realy all I can do, right?
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    Super Member wolph33's Avatar
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    quilts are an art form.Some of us make beautiful utility quilts and make works of art and most are in the middle of those types.Be proud of what you can do and keep going-you will get better as time goes on.Nothing has to be perfect to be beautiful and loved.
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/Upnorthcrafter

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    I try to take a page out of my grandmother's book on this one - I tend to try to make everything perfect and I fuss over every stitch and can work myself into a lather over every crooked seam and want to trash whole projects...then I remember my grandma - she would deliberately put at least one block in wrong into most of her quilts. Maybe a pinwheel that goes the other direction, or a block in the wrong shade. Not big glaring mistakes, just something sort of subtle but noticeable if you looked long enough. She said it kept her from worrying too much and kept the quilt more fun to work on. It kind of was her signature - her quilting friends would have fun trying to find the "mistake" in her finished quilts and they were always popular in shows. Personally I still have plenty of honest screw-ups in my quilts but some day when I reach her level of skill I just might copy her idea.

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    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    There is a very high standard of quilting that is shown in all the quilting magazines and on line. These are a large exception to what most people can achieve. The average person, who does not quilt for a living or have time to devote entirely to quilting, can not be expected to do show stopping quilting. I quilt to the standard of enjoyment, not perfection. All the truley exceptional quilters started somewhere not so good and worked hard and developed their talent over a time. Thanks to them, we average, self taught people have something to strive towards, even if we don't get there. We can always improve our talent. I remember being told by teachers I couldn't sing, play an instrument, cook, sew or draw. This one selfish act by a teacher can stifle anyones esteem and makes them powerless. How many of us had someone in our lives telling us we couldn't? I am lucky my mom never said this to me even though others did. Keep on spending time doing what you love and love doing it. You are to hard on yourself.

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    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burchquilts View Post
    I'm the exact same way. I see quilts here on the board & I think mine look like rags compared to the others. I know I shouldn't compare myself to others but I do. But, I do try to do my best work & that's realy all I can do, right?
    I see nothing wrong with comparing to others ... it helps us see where we've come from and where we can go in this quilting journey!

    We can learn from others ... why do we think that their quilt is at so much better than our own? What can we do differently? What technique do we need to master? How can we get better?

    The important part is to keep it all in perspective. If we've only been quilting for a year, why do we expect to be as skilled as someone who has been quilting for a lifetime? If we've never done SITD or FMQ on a DSM, why do we expect it to be perfect, the very first time? If we've never done PPing for any length of time,why do we say, it's not for me? And so many more!!!

    All Questions I've lobbed at myself ... then finally I got a grip of reality and perspective and said ... oh I can do those things, I just have to put it all in perspective, slow down, be patient, take the time to learn the skill and practice practice practice!!!!

    Perspective, Patience and Practice ... can help us all work towards Perfecting our abilities to a higher level.
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    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Not many of the great quilt teachers and designers have won in a large juried quilt show. The quilts I've seen win the big ribbons could never be used as a quilt but to hang for show. They are beautiful but your grandchild can't snuggle and drag it around. I have chatted with many show winners and most are thinking about the next show quilt they will make. They have no intention of making simple quilts to be used, it has to be show quality and quilting devoted to only that. Being show perfect is not a goal for me at all.
    Got fabric?

  18. #18
    Super Member SouthPStitches's Avatar
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    We are probably all guilty of being too harsh on ourselves. I have been quilting for 30+ years. No matter how careful I am measuring, cutting, sewing, something is always a little off. I'll never be anything but an intermediate quilter at best. I'll never win any awards, and that's okay. Have gotten pretty good at turning that negative little voice off in my head or I would have quit quilting a long time ago. My motto is "do the very best your can" and appreciate it for what it is. When I look at other's work, I'm not critical of their workmanship, so I need to be a little kinder to what I've accomplished. Be gentle with yourself.

  19. #19
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deedum View Post
    Ever wonder about the quality of your quilting or am I too hard on myself? I have been lately comparing my quilts to others I guess. I tell myself not to do that and I know I have improved in my 4.5yrs of quilting, but other peoples quilts is just beautiful. I sometimes think I have just looked at the material to long and by the time I am done, I think it's ok,but not breathtaking by anymeans. Is this common? Your thoughts might help me get a handle on my thinking! Thanks!
    Are you talking about making quilt tops, or the actual quilting? I had a discussion with my sister just the other day on this very topic. She sends her tops to me for quilting, since I have a mid-arm quilting machine on a frame. She is thrilled with the work I do, but as I'm quilting, I see the flaws, and wish I was as good as some I've seen. She insists I'm too hard on myself. The last quilt I quilted was for myself, and I was terribly disappointed in how it was turning out, until I took it off the frame and applied the binding. Off the frame it didn't look so bad after all!

    You're probably doing better than you think.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!
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  20. #20
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    The missing piece for many quilters is critique. It helps immensely to have others who will look at your work in person and evaluate it honestly...what you are doing well, where you can improve, and how to get there.

    Those mentors should obviously have the knowledge and experience to back up their comments and be able to explain what they are telling you. For your part, you should listen and learn from what they say...not take it as criticism, but as critique. There's a big difference. Constant praise can be numbing to growth and quilting in isolation can make improvement very difficult.

    Think about how artisans and craftsmen have always learned their skills and risen to the top of their art. All along the way they are guided by those with more experience. It's not a thing of the past. Even the masters need feedback from others...face to face, personal feedback.

    It doesn't matter if it's show quilts, art quilts, utility quilts, heirloom quilts, or placemats. If you can find someone whose work you admire, don't be afraid to ask them for guidance. Start a relationship with them, build on the shared love of quilting whatever type it is...you'll both gain from it.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  21. #21
    Super Member trif's Avatar
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    Yes, we are definitely hard on ourselves! So this will make you laugh, I pieced and quilted 4 charity quilts for a local cancer center that are being used for patients during chemo, I intentionally made fun errors on the quilting so that if there would be something for the patients to look at and find during there treatments.

    I could have tried to keep it all perfect, but then I thought, if I was sitting there bored, this would be fun for me.

    We all have our own imperfections that make us unique, and thou shalt our quilts! :-)

  22. #22
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trif View Post
    ........ I intentionally made fun errors on the quilting so that if there would be something for the patients to look at and find during there treatments. ........:-)
    I'm curious as to what you call "fun errors"?
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    I think you just have to decide what is most important to you. To me, that is not perfection. It has never been one of the goals. I enjoy the process and the output, but I don't care if it is perfect.

    Sometimes my husband will come by, see a mistake and say "you aren't going to leave that one in, are you?" That is how I know it needs to be fixed- he lets the little ones slide, but his standards are a bit higher than mine, and I figure if he thinks it needs to be fixed, other people might too.


    Besides, I figure imperfect quilts are more likely to be used. If parents see that the points don't all line up they may realize it was never intended to be an heirloom, and let the baby use it!

  24. #24
    Super Member Bluelady's Avatar
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    I compare myself to others and usually decide that my work is lacking, especially when I attend the big shows, like Paducah. But then I will see some of the quilts entered in local shows and county fairs and think "well hell, I do better work than that!" So, I will keep quilting, keep improving and just enjoy it. There are no quilt police looking at my work, except the ones in my head. The people who get my quilts love them and thats the most important part!

    OK, I just realized this makes me sound kinda schizo. So, judging my own work drives me nuts!!
    Last edited by Bluelady; 06-17-2012 at 08:41 AM.

  25. #25
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    It is always easy to be critical of yourself .. relax about your skills. If you really feel like you are having trouble "turning it up a notch" take a class or find a quilting buddy who has some of the skills you admire.

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