Sunday, October 20, 2013

Slow Sunday Imperfect Stitching

I am going to a quilt show today. I know that I will see many beautiful and perfectly constructed quilts. I will feel a sense of awe and by inspired by the great beauty, and yet, I know I will likely come away from the show feeling a bit defeated about my own quilts. 
Ever since I saw some of the Gee's Bend quilts (my blog post is here) I desire to see quilts differently. I learned that when I look at a quilt, I want to be inspired, but mostly I want to experience an emotional connection, and to have a visceral reaction that is not related to perfect construction. I want to seek out the interesting, the unusual, and the memorable. 
For many years when attending a quilt show I would take 3 photos of my most favorite things - it might be a bit of quilting design, or a combination of colours, and sometimes a whole quilt... but something that made my heart sing.

Unpopped knot at the base of the heart!
It's staying there!
Perfection does not make my heart sing. 
It makes me feel stressed. 
I enjoyed reading Joshua Becker's thought provoking article on "Life is Not Perfect. Fortunately". He said "we can find contentment and joy even in the midst of defect".




Which is one of the reasons why I decided that as I quilt my "Journey of a Quilter" to not use any marking tools. 

I wanted my journey to be congruent with what I believe - that the imperfections are what make each person, each life, and each quilt unique and special in their own way. 


As a result, none of my quilting lines are an exact 1/4" away from the seam, nor are they perfectly straight. I am having a wonderful quilty time on my journey, imperfect stitches/steps and all!



When I get home from the quilt show, I'll be enjoying some imperfect slow stitching on my Journey quilt. 
How about you? What are you hand stitching today?
Link up your blog post below and share your imperfect project with us!






27 comments:

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

I had to chuckle at this post, because I am still such a beginner..I would say that I am in pre-school sewing and quilting. And most people that link up to these parties are far ahead of me and many are masters. Your Journey quilt is something that I look at and see a masterpiece.

I post about quilting and sewing sometimes on my blogs and when I do it is mostly for the novices, like me. Last year, posting on Homespun about some of that inspired a grandmother friend to set to work on not one but two quilts for her grandchildren. Hers are no masterpieces either but she's on her way.

When I link up here I know that some REALLY GOOD quilters might think that what I am doing or trying is pretty lame but I still link up because I feel comfortable here and one of the reasons is because of what you just said :)

Kate said...

Great post, very thought provoking. I agree, it's the over all impact, not perfect details that inspire. If you were to ask any quilter about any one project (even those who have won awards), she can probably point out more than one minor error/flaw.

Enjoy your slow stitching today.

Rita@ Pinpricked Fingers said...

No hand stitching today but thanks for reminding me that it's our imperfections that make us who we are and by extension our quilts are loved.

Laurie said...

What an inspiring post! I read once that an Amish quilting tradition is to purposefully leave a flaw in their work because only GOD is perfect. I never have that problem... lately I have been teaching my daughter and niece to sew and I find that when I look at a project I see the fun we had working on it together, not the imperfections. These memories are much more precious than perfection !

Julie in GA said...

I know that I tend to stress too much about getting everything just right in my quilts. Sometimes it is fun to relax and just let it happen. I love the freehand quilting on your "Journey of a Quilter."

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

I liked this post so much that I linked it on Facebook, so don't be surprised if your readership goes up today! Thanks for this.

Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

Oh Kathie, This is the very reason I love slow stitching. I think that is what makes scrap quilts so wonderful, the ones made from real scraps are the best. Who wants perfectly coordinated fabrics that as Pepper Corey described as oatmeal. When I see an antique heavily quilted quilt, I see years of collecting fabrics and hours and hours of stitching and I always think about what that quilter thought about thru the whole process. It definitely is a journey. Thank you

Sheila said...

Good post, Kathy. Had to chuckle.
My imperfect quilts used to depress me. Then I noticed people that don't quilt, which is most of the population, didn't notice these imperfections. Now I cut up colorful fabrics, mix them up and sew them together with abandonment. A go in the washer and dryer helps, too :D

Missy Shay said...

That is great, no matter how hard I try, I always make mistakes! But that's okay because it is who I am. I love the pictures you shared of your quilt!

Barbara said...

Hand made items should not be perfect, in my opinion. Your quilting is lovely.

Julierose said...

Oh I totally agree with you--there is no way I will ever achieve the perfection of those stitches or quilts. I too was amazed at Gee's Bend quilts and am trying to rid myself of my own "critic". The enjoyment of the "process" is more important than the product...hugs, Julierose

Kindred Quilts said...

So ironic that I read your insightful post today. Just yesterday I was looking at a Halloween table topper that I gave my daughter several years ago. To my surprise, I hand quilted it, something that intimidates me to this day! You know, it wasn't perfect, but it didn't look so bad either! I'm not into this hobby to be perfect... I'm into it because I like how it makes ME feel!

Cathy said...

When I quilt and stitch it is to relieve stress not give me more. And I quilt and stitch to exercise the left side of my brain since I have a job that mainly uses the right brain. I want to stay well-balanced ;-)

I try my best and have fun - perfect or imperfect.

Marei said...

I agree with your take on quilts & quilting. I'm so "over" perfect, intense, highly quilted quilts. Are they beautiful? Yes, indeed. But they don't often speak to me. I much prefer a quilt that looks like "love", whatever that means. I'm all about enjoying my quilting...from the first cut to the last stitch...because it's my artistic release and my mental health therapy. No room there for stressing about perfection.

Deb A said...

What? Stitches are to be even and perfect? Hmmmm.... I never got that memo thank goodness! One of the benefits of being self taught - no one told me how not to do things! I agree with the others - this is my stress relief and as long as a quilt makes me smile it has done it's job. (good thing since I have yet to mark a quilt before attempting to hand quilt it!)
I do love your journey quilt - it will have so many memories for you each time you see it. Hugs.

Tanya Quilts in CO said...

I was trying to find where I could download your Slow Stitching Sunday button. I would like to add it to my blog. Thanks!

kelley said...

Thanks for the lovely post...the process of creating is what I love...so relaxing by hand..

audrey said...

Really enjoyed your post today. I agree with finding the interesting, unusual and memorable, plus the ones that have a story! I am like you and need more than perfection so I've tried to practice that with my own quilting. Sometimes I'm thrilled with what I accomplish and other times I'm discouraged, but as perfection is not my goal, it pushes me even harder to find the key to making wonderful quilts. Thanks for a very thought provoking post today!

Kathy ... aka Nana said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! You said so perfectly what I think but couldn't find the words to express. Quilting is something I do because it gives me peace ... worrying about stitch sizes reduces that peace and adds more stress to an already stressful life. I do the best I can and am happy to be able to spend time with needle and thread.

Teresa in Music City said...

What a lovely way to look at things Kathy! Your quilt is going to be beautiful - all the more so because you are allowing it to just "be"!!!

margaret said...

I so love to go to quilt shows, would love to be in USA and go to the Houston one next week, never mind maybe there will be some photos on someone`s blog. Your letters impress me to be able to stitch without marking them out has worked very well indeed.

Rose said...

Loved your post today. I have found that the more I quilt the more I find myself going back to making quilts the way my grandmother made them. I like the slow stitching, much more relaxing and the quilts have more love in them when they are finished. I like the idea of not marking your quilting lines.

Dolores said...

I would have gone. I wanted to go but I was sick. I hope it was a good one.

Béa said...

My link match perfectly your post: my hand quilting is FAR from perfect !
I LOVE this post, I think like you.

Janet O. said...

What a great post, Kathy. I love your perspective!

Deanna W said...

Kathy thought I would link up even though I am a day late, to show what I have been up to lately. Did stitch on a binding Sunday evening while watching some archived Bonnie Hunter quilt cams!

Josie said...

Great post. I'm a recovering perfectionist.. never thought it would happen but I'm really enjoying the freedom of being 'close' instead of 'spot on' and finding that a bit of 'wonky' makes me smile instead of hyperventilate! Here's to freedom and doing your own thing.