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Just a Little Venting...

Just a Little Venting...

Old 08-10-2021, 05:53 AM
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Default Just a Little Venting...

I've been quilting for about 5 years now, and I know I'm not the best...I've made some beautiful quilts that I'm so proud of and some that I'm just not happy with for one reason or another. I've ruined complete quilts trying to FMQ (I have two of those).

I try very very hard to always cut my fabrics perfect, but sometimes, apparently, I don't. I try very very hard to sew 1/4" seams but sometimes, well...you know...stuff happens. Even when I try so hard on these things, when I go to sew rows together I have issues with lining up seams and then I rip it apart.

I love making quilts so much so that I'm running out of people to give them to, so they just sit...unfinished.

So, I'm just wondering...am I the only one out there that has issues? Am I the only one who sometimes doesn't have a completely square quilt? Does anyone struggle with matching seams?



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Old 08-10-2021, 06:35 AM
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Oh you are not alone at all!

Each of us have our own standards and for most of us, they are something to strive to. Part of it is we are so close to the work, both in time and in distance. Personally, I find it rather reassuring that I've never had to deliberately put in a mistake, they just happen naturally for me and I've learned to accept it. After all, when does it really matter if all 4 sides of a quilt are exactly the same? Now, a wall hanging might be different but it's on a bed, and folded up it is good enough.

I love the planning and piecing, I'm not so good on the quilting. My usual self assessment is "another perfectly fine top ruined by indifferent quilting". My technical skills aren't so bad, but there's a whole bunch of issues from equipment to physical space to physical health, but some of it is that I just am not very inspired in my choices of quilting. I have so many tops ready to be quilted down I finally had to do some things, and the first was to analyze what my issues and constraints are. Biggest are budget and space -- and both are small. I've managed to get some free/low cost things that I hope will help -- but just as I got everything set up, my machine decided to go to the shop.

When it gets back, I'm going to be telling myself a lot of finished is better than perfect, and no one but me knows the "perfect" finish I am so far unable to produce.

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Old 08-10-2021, 07:03 AM
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In my loooong quilting adventure, I have yet to make a “ perfect” quilt. Making them and quilting them gives me pleasure and they keep someone warm. That sounds perfect to me.
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Old 08-10-2021, 07:16 AM
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I don't fret over it. I try to do better on the next seam and the next. If I stopped at one mismatched seam I'd never get a quilt made. I put a wide border on a non square quilt and square the border. No one ever notices the difference except maybe another quilter if they look at it close enough. Everyone just sees the color and pattern, not the details. I have entered many quilt show with imperfect quilts.
I entered a quilt in a local show even though it was really bad machine quilting and wonky quilt with too thin batting. I won Best of Show. The public voted. Many guild members were not happy. I joined the guild after that show. At least they knew who I was. LOL

Last edited by Onebyone; 08-10-2021 at 07:22 AM.
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Old 08-10-2021, 07:19 AM
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KarenShu---what you said is the exact reason that for years I never attempted a quilt. I have a very rude and vocal MIL and anytime I would bring up wanting to start a quilt I would get listed the reasons that "I" would never be able to do one. I re-upholster furniture and did so for a business, I sew drapes, custom home fashions etc, and I always wanted to do a pieced top quilt--but despite my knowledge of sewing, I was swayed by the "policing" she would always tell me.

I personally believe many people have forgotten what quilts were intended for----to keep people warm and alive. Yes quilting groups were a socially motivated creation allowing for many advanced conversations on many topics in England 100's of years ago, but for the most part a quilt was made to keep people warm. Used horse blankets or other wool textiles were used as batting, flannel shirts from the men in the fields, feed sacks from flour, sugar etc were the fabrics. Quilts were meant to be used. One never would see a quilt as a wall hanging in the 1800's or even the early 1900's--unless it was used as a division between spaces for privacy. Quilts are not perfect, and no one will take a tape measure up to them and measure each square. Fabric is not a solid entity that will stay true to size over the years. It will live the life along side of you.

There is an unstated tradition within the Amish and Mennonite communities that each quilt has a "mistake" in it. This is because no one person is perfect except God and therefore, no quilt will be perfect.

I have actually stopped watching many you-tube tutorials because I am tired of the "you must do this" it must be perfect. Also so many of the tutorials make useless sized quilts. A 86 inch square quilt will fit what bed? So many are weird sizes that I simply do not wish to do the math to resize for a bed. I do not like fmq or laq for this one reason: I spent all the time creating the top, matching seams etc and then I go and sew back over it with a random machine stitch. To me it is like an artist painting a beautiful picture and then letting a kid-or they themselves scribbling all over it covering up the beautiful original image. Now I understand that LAQ and E2E are the "in thing" for quilting--and if you like that look fine. But for me, the more traditional methods of in the ditch, echoing or tying are best.Yes I use a machine and I do hand quilt, but either way, I want to see my hard work, not see scribbles all over it. I have tried fmq, and I hate it. I have only had one quilt that was sent to a LAQ because that is what my daughter wanted. But for me---I will not gift one that is quilted that way.

Perhaps you could find someone to partner with to help you finish the ones that are just tops and then donate them to either a womens/mens shelter or Foster Care system. Perhaps you could combine 2 tops into one quilt using one top as the backing. I personally love binding and finishing a quilt. The top piecing is the ok part for me. Or perhaps make the top into a duve cover and buy an inexpensive "puffy puff" from Walmart or Target (someplace like that) and then you can switch out your quilts when you feel like it without getting upset they were not finished a certain way.

I too have wanted to vent in a similar way--thank you for posting. PM if you want.
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Old 08-10-2021, 07:21 AM
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Oh no, you aren't alone.
I've been making quilts since the late 80's and sometimes I think to myself "what's your problem?" It's like I'm a beginner all over again!
Don't even get me started on my machine quilting- I started as a hand quilter and boy oh boy what a learning curve to machine quilt.
You're in good company, my friend
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Old 08-10-2021, 07:28 AM
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While I try to keep things relatively square the only time it matters is if you are entering it into competition.
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Old 08-10-2021, 07:30 AM
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There is an unstated tradition within the Amish and Mennonite communities that each quilt has a "mistake" in it. This is because no one person is perfect except God and therefore, no quilt will be perfect.

That idea was from a journalist who wrote about the Amish quilts. The Amish quilter never said it. The Amish said about it: We would never presume to think we could make anything perfect, only God is perfect. This myth has been taken as truth and the Amish really don't like it attributed to them.
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Old 08-10-2021, 07:39 AM
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Quilting, for me, is a hobby. if it's not enjoyable, its not worth it. If i have a quilt that has a very special intention for a speical person that I "need" to have perfect seams, perfect points, etc, then i typically will simultaneously be working on piecing a part of a scrappy crumb quilt that intentionally has no matching seams and size doesn't matter. it's my way to balance my brain and not go crazy! If everything had to line up right all the time, quilting would lose it's enjoyment.
It's also important to note, nobody notices mistakes like we do on our own quilts. (I don't make quilts for other quilters! ...they would know!). the receiver tends to look at it as a whole and is not analyzing every stitch length, seam allowance, or corner point. Don't be too critical. Have your standards and goals, but just enjoy the process!
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Old 08-10-2021, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Onebyone View Post
There is an unstated tradition within the Amish and Mennonite communities that each quilt has a "mistake" in it. This is because no one person is perfect except God and therefore, no quilt will be perfect.

That idea was from a journalist who wrote about the Amish quilts. The Amish quilter never said it. The Amish said about it: We would never presume to think we could make anything perfect, only God is perfect. This myth has been taken as truth and the Amish really don't like it attributed to them.
In every craft I've been involved in - and a few I haven't - I have heard this apocryphal statement about it. I'm not sure if it's just to make people feel better about their own work or whatever, but this is not unique to quilting!

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