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The Perfectly Imperfect Quilt July 25, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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June 2010

I took last Sunday off..did you notice? It was my birthday and I thought what the heck, I’m going to veg out . I did and it was fun…

But enough of my bragging. Today I am going to write a perfectly imperfect post about perfection—well, really the art of living with imperfection. I often think about being perfect since it’s one of my prickly little  demons…the idea that I should be perfect all the time and of course I never am. That ever happen to you?

Making the perfect quilt

What got me started on this yet again was a conversation I had with a new quilting friend named Sue. Sue and I sat together for two hours at a quilt show this weekend and of course we talked about making quilts. Sue is an experienced quilter and I am fairly new to it so it was an enlightening conversation for me.  In making a quilt, it’s important to be as accurate as you can to ensure that you end up with a square quilt—not a wonky one. Unless, of course, you are making an art quilt and then no rules apply. I’ve thought of going that route but I’m really not that interested in art quilts. And I digress…

The 1/4 inch seam

Back to my conversation with Sue. One of the sacred cows of making quilts is the 1/4 inch seam—you have to make your seams exactly 1/4 inch, no more and no less—exact. I’m down with that…and I do ok at the quarter inch seam. At least I thought I did until Sue mentioned to me that she adjusts the position of her sewing machine needle ever so slightly depending on the thickness of the thread that she is using to piece her quilt top. I was flabbergasted! Who’d have thought? Yet another thing for me to obsess about…wow.

Computers make perfect quilts

But here’s what I have come to about my quilt making. (One of these days I will talk about the distinction between quilting and quilt making.) I know going in that I will not make a perfect quilt. I will try my best to pay attention to the important aspects of creating a good quilt and I will be ok with creating one that is the very best that I can do given my skills at the moment. Computers cut perfect squares and sew perfect lines and make totally square quilts. You can purchase one of these quilts in the domestics department of a department store. But I am not a computer—I am human and as a human my work is not perfect. And that’s ok with me.

How do you feel when you think of yourself as imperfect?

Is being perfect one of your demons? Do you re-think and relive those moments where you said the wrong thing or made a mistake? (Ask me how I know about this.) Is it fun? Does it make you a better person? Does it give you a wonderful set of possibilities for the future?  Let me guess…

Don’t go there.

My advice? Just say no. Not ‘no’ to striving to be excellent but ‘no’ to obsessing about it when you are not. Do you want to be happy or tormented?

–Amara

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