The Quilting Police Don’t Exist

The Quilting Police Don’t Exist

13th Dec 2021

It is hard to believe that it is already December, and we are coming up fast on the end of the year. If you are anything like me, it has felt like the past year has taken 5 years to pass while at the same time feeling like we just were filled with hope in the new year that 2021 would bring on January 1st. COVID has played a huge factor in so many people’s lives which is one reason this year has felt so heavy and hard to keep pushing though. But we made it everyone, it’s time to celebrate with the ones we love and give gifts to family and friends. I’m sure a few of you might be giving the gift of a handmade quilt or sewn item as a gift, so I want to let you in on a little secret. The quilting police don’t exist!

I hear you saying it right now, “But Ian I was told I can do this, that, or the other when making a quilt!” It doesn’t matter! Something that I have learned as I have been on my quilting journey is that no one really knows what they are doing. Okay, maybe that isn’t exactly true because there are some crazy talented people out there who very much know what they are doing. What I guess is a better way to say it would be we are all making it up as we go along. That is one thing I love about modern quilting, all the “rules” of traditional quilting are broken, and I get to do whatever I want. So what if the focal point for my quilt isn’t in the center? So what if I want to use only bright highlighter colors? So what if my seams don’t match up? So far, the quilting police have yet to knock on my door and take me into custody and I don’t anticipate them showing up.

When making a quilt for you or even more so for someone else it can be really hard not to get too focused on the imperfections. The misaligned seems, the points that don’t match up, the “if only I held my tongue a little more to the left while running this fabric though the machine it would have come out better”. We focus on these because we know they are there, and we have this strange fascination with pointing them out to other people who never would have seen it unless we pointed it out. I see it all the time in my quilt guild during show and share, someone walks up to the front of the room and even before opening the quilt starts telling everyone what’s wrong with it. I’m guilty of it too! We must remember though that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. Those who view our work will mostly miss the imperfections and those that do find them can be convinced that they are “design choices”. (Wink wink) When you give your handmade quilt or project to someone more than likely they are going to see the beauty in it. They are going to think about the you spent working on it just for them. They won’t see the imperfections and the mistakes, they hopeful will love and cherish your hard work for many years to come.

The quilting police may not exist, but if you put your work into shows or competitions you know there are still people who are going to tell you things they didn’t like about your work. So what? That is their opinion, and the next judge might look at your work and think completely different. It should always be an honor to have your work on display in a show if you choose to put it in one. Take what the judges say with some salt and think on what they have to say about your work to see if it can improve your work. However, don’t let it stop you from creating your art. To me, a quilt that gets used and loved by the recipient of my gift has more meaning than any blue ribbon ever could. So finish up those quilts you are going to be gifting, but don’t let perfection stand in the way of “made with love.”