I made this quilt top in 2004, shortly after buying my first computerized sewing machine, a Janome 6500. That machine was cutting edge at the time and I was so proud and yet so intimidated by everything it could do.
I finished quilting this top yesterday. Yeah, I know. Fourteen years later. There were a lot of unfinished quilt tops on the top shelf of my closet and this was near the bottom of the pile.
My daughter had given me this collection of fabric for Christmas in 2004, so I found a pattern and made it. 50″ square and the size of a baby quilt, but who wants a black and yellow baby quilt?
No one I’ve met so far.
So I am now calling it a wall hanging.
As I was stitching along–sewing the top, batting and backing together– I realized that the points and the matching seams were perfect. 99% perfect. I couldn’t believe it. This was one of my very first–if not the first–quilt top I made after I returned to quilting. And it was perfect? I must have agonized over each pinwheel block, making sure everything was absolutely in line.
I don’t do that any more. So, I pondered as I stitched along, I have become sloppy. Obviously. I no longer sew with 99% precision.
Sloppy. That wasn’t a pleasant revelation.
I kept stitching. Nothing fancy, just outlining the blocks and triangles along all of those lovely straight lines. And while I stitched I kept thinking of the many, many quilts I’d created since 2004. There has been a progression of carefully followed patterns to projects where I’d done my own thing–either playing with a pattern or experimenting with color.
Here’s a quilt (Kaffe Fasset pattern) from 2018, finished last week:
I love this quilt. Banjo Man does, too. He’s afraid I’m going to give it away. I’m not.
It’s not perfect, but that’s not the point. It’s joyful, which is more important. I had such a good time creating it, selecting fabrics from my giant stash, stitching blocks and columns together and then, last week, finally machine quilting it.
It’s not even close to perfection, but I don’t care. No one else I know would either. It’s not going into a show to be judged. It won’t be displayed anywhere for others to criticize.
I’m sure I had a better time making it than I did the little black-and-gold quilt.
I will keep doing my best to match my seams and points, to carefully cut strips and squares and triangles (I love to cut fabric!), to starch and press, to carefully sew with the elusive scant 1/4″ seam. Because after all, that’s quilting. That’s the name of the game.
Seeing each quilt top come together is so much fun.
Which of course is the point. Because creating art should be joyful.
And perfection just gets in the way.