Loving something with its “warts and all” is loving it in spite of any obvious blemishes or scars. Sometimes you make or receive a quilt that isn’t quite perfect, or even a long way off perfect, but it can still be loved, warts and all.
I consider myself an average quilter – I can, if I really put my mind to it, get lovely matching seams and nice flat stitching, but more often than not there are a few missing points, or a block that has been pressed into submission somewhere in every quilt.
This Quiltville mystery Quilt is like that – I was very careful and trimmed most of the block units, but I forgot about one set. A single slightly wrong unit might have been fine, but when there are several in each block, it quickly puts the whole block out of alignment. If it had been one or two small units I would have unpicked, but I couldn’t face doing the whole thing and the ten yard test was fine (step back ten yards and see if you can still see the errors).
In the case of my most recent finish the whole quilt is a mess of mis-matched and badly cut and sewn pieces that meant it was impossible to get it to lie totally flat for quilting.
There was a reason for it being this bad – I had precut all the pieces for handsewing on a trip to New Zealand to spend time with my mother. The spending time with Mum was the most important part, but stitching kept me from getting irritated by long periods of time with not a lot of good conversation. The sewing did also help with conversation, my mother having been a keen sewer in the past. So, my mind wasn’t totally on perfect stitches, and I also didn’t have an iron to keep on pressing seams so many of them weren’t perfect. As each rosette grew, the mistakes magnified. But I kept on anyway, and by the time I left, I had nearly ¾ of the quilt stitched and with it, a whole lot of caring.
Sometimes it isn’t about the outcome, it is about the process.
I posted pictures of the work in progress, and someone I wanted to make a quilt for saw it and loved the colours and the pattern, so I needed to get it off the UFO pile. Quilting it flat was impossible, so I concentrated on keeping the back as flat as I could (using a big extension table on my machine) and squishing down the lumps and folds on the top as I came to them. A random curvy line pattern made it a bit easier, and meant I could deviate over the top of the worst bits to hold them down. I took a photo to post on the UK Quilters United facebook page to show that even the worst piecing and quilting could still look fine from ordinary viewing distance and within a day had about 150 comments and likes – none of them negative.
So my lesson to everyone is that it is always nice to try for perfection (if only because your block will go together easier and so will your quilting), but if you don’t make it for whatever reason, it doesn’t matter. Get that quilt quilted – it needs stitching through all those layers to hold it together so it can be used. Aim at keeping the backing as flat as you can by making sure you use a decent sized extension table on your sewing machine to keep it spread out, but squish those lumps into submission under a medium to long stitch length. Then bind and give the quilt to someone who loves it.