Finished is Better Than Perfect!

QuiltNotes Learning Center

Last Updated June 30, 2018

For most of us, quilting is a hobby, a passion, an addiction. For some, it is a career, a livelihood, a calling. I fit a little bit in all of the above. All of us can strive for perfection but how do we react when we don’t achieve it? I want to learn how to do it perfectly, but I don’t beat myself up when it’s not quite there. My next quilt will be better than the one I just finished. I think finished is better than perfect.

My mother-in-law was a wonderful cook. We looked forward to going to her house for dinner. She worked at getting the perfect pot roast or apple pie or whatever she made. We would be enjoying one of her dishes and complimenting her on how good it was. All she could do was lament about not cooking it long enough or putting in too much rosemary. She didn’t enjoy it. Cooking, especially cooking for her family, was her passion, her joy. Yet she didn’t enjoy the finished product because it wasn’t perfect in her mind. I always thought this was sad.

Strive for Perfection While Working to Finish

On social media I read comments from quilters, especially new quilters, saying their quilt top is not perfect. I say, who cares! You finished a quilt top! Most of us make quilts for other people. Do you think your granddaughter or nephew cares that your seams don’t align or the square isn’t quite square? Strive for perfection, learn how to do things “the right way” and be happy on your journey. By the way, there is no “right way” in quilting. The right way for you to do something is the way that works for you and gets results that make you happy.

While we’re on the subject of giving away quilts, let me add my two cents. Do you have someone in your life that you would like to make a quilt for, but that person is critical of everything you do? DON’T MAKE A QUILT FOR THAT PERSON. Even if you gave them the quilt that won Best of Show and $50,000 in cash, that person would find something wrong with it. Don’t pour your heart and soul, time and money into a project that will not be appreciated by the receiver.

Finished is Better Than Perfect

I look in my closet and find containers of unfinished projects. Most of these are unfinished because I don’t like the technique used to make it. To me, unfinished projects are opportunities. Here is my list of opportunities:

  • The best thing to do is trudge through it, make it a challenge and finish it. What a great learning experience and feeling of accomplishment.
  • Give it away, sell it or trade for something else. The easiest way to finish a project is to give it to someone else. When I was a full time professional quilter, there was no time for my own projects. I traded quilting for piecing quilt tops. I got a lot of quilts finished that way!
  • Make it smaller. If it’s supposed to be king size but you only have 6 blocks made, make a smaller quilt using just 6 blocks. Now you have scraps and possibly yardage for your stash.
  • If you have a project consisting of uncut fabric and a pattern but can’t seem to master the techniques needed, add the fabric to your stash and file the pattern.

For more information about finishing projects check out these articles:

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