My grandmother taught me to sew when I was very little-maybe 5 years old. We started with really basic patchwork: squares for days, people. Most of the time I’d sit on her lap and direct the fabric as she worked the pedal of her Singer. I always urged her to, “Go faster, Grandma!” but she’d tell me she was already going fast enough.
From the beginning, I was a quilter who wanted to get a project done as quickly as possible so I could move on to the next project.
I kept sewing, on and off, throughout my adolescence, maintaining my “speed demon” attitude. Did I want my projects to look nice? Yes, but I was always more concerned with getting them finished than all my points being perfect and everything laying flat. I always figured, at the end of the day, if the quilt keeps you warm then mission accomplished!
Fast forward to the end of college when I rediscovered my love for quilting. After moving into my house, I finally had the time and space to really commit to the craft. As I started to work on new quilts, I now wanted to make sure I had perfectly matched points and perfect fabric combinations and perfectly flat quilts with perfectly invisible bindings. Suddenly, the joy of creating that I had experienced as a kid was replaced by an obsession with perfection.
It was then that I made a choice of sorts. I decided to care more about the journey and joy of quilting rather than the finished product being perfect. So now when things don’t go perfectly, I just tell myself,
This phrase does not mean that I won't try to have good points and consistent stitch lengths; and it definitely doesn't mean I won't always be trying to improve. What it does mean is that perfection is not the goal of quilting for me. I had it right as a kid: the goal is to make a quilt to keep me or someone I love warm.
Mistakes happen, and, unless they’re major, I don’t really try and correct them because, well, it’s fine. It's fine because I learned from the experience. It's fine because I still enjoy quilting. It's fine because I don't have to be perfect. It's fine because this quilt will do its job. And honestly, it's fine because it just is.
Quilting is a journey, a process, and a passion. If you forget this and only focus on making things perfect, you risk losing the joy. So tell yourself, “it’s fine” and keep on quilting!