Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sewing With Certainty #2: Perfection

Welcome to SWC #2! Last week, 7 lovely ladies linked up their thoughts on choosing fabrics. Each post was different and (in my opinion) refreshing to read. I highly suggest you check them out if you haven't already!

Topic 2 is dedicated to a somewhat heavy topic and often, the elephant in the room - perfection. To me, this topic is about the inherent expectations that come with sewing and with blogging. To you, it could mean something completely different, and I'd love to read your post about it (link up at the bottom of this post)! All link ups have a chance to win one of two fabric prizes from 1 Choice 4 Quilting and myself! You can also still link up your goals here.

So, perfection... here it goes. As an (almost) 24-year-old quilter, I am always the youngest in a group of quilters, including my guild. While age is just a number, I have always felt a bit daunted by the experience and skill others bring to the table. I also view it as an opportunity to learn, but still - it can be daunting to hear some of my friends say they've been sewing for 20+ years (longer than I've been alive!).

 A tiny project I've been working on lately, which I am so proud of - my seams match up!

This year, my third full year of sewing and quilting, was revolutionary in many ways. I can make HSTs with no problem, and I've gotten to know my new machine (pretty well). When I do patchwork, the seams actually LINE UP! I've gotten much better at both sewing and pressing. I used to fret a lot over how bad my patchwork looked. I don't really know why I fret. Is it because of the sneaking pressure to be perfect?

*Freaking out* this block came out nearly "perfect."

As I've improved, I've developed a mental list of thoughts and suggestions to remind myself NOT to fret.

1. Angela Walters' lecture in June for the CJMQG. Angela encouraged us to make mistakes when we are quilting. Don't worry about pulling out that FMQ that isn't perfect. JUST KEEP GOING! It's all about attitude. Plus, I think the mistakes show that we are always learning. Right? You can read my recap of the lecture here if you are interested. Overall, Angela taught me to just "keep going," whether it's with quilting, sewing, or blogging.

Angela Walters

2. I remind myself to make time for sewing every day. The more I sew, the better I get. Also, it's my stress relief, so even just a half hour to an hour on the busiest days is enough to calm me down. :)

3. In terms of blogging, there is an unsaid expectation to always be creating new, engaging content for your audience and prospective followers. However, I've learned that it's important for me only to blog for myself - yes, selfishly. I enjoy scrapbooking but this method works better to keep track of all my creations and thoughts. I created this series because it was something I felt strongly about, and that I knew I could talk about. I hoped others would feel the same. Even if they didn't, and only one other person besides myself found SWC inspiring or helpful, I would be happy. I refuse to let blogging become a chore by letting myself blog about what I want, when I want (which is why this post is so late on Sunday - I was sewing most of the day!).

4. Another blogging reminder for myself - to continue to worry about me and only me. There are so many amazing quilters and bloggers out there, but everyone is different, and even though I feel like I haven't found my "niche" in quilting, I'm still here, chugging along, and that's really all that matters! Plus, I just hit 410+ followers on Bloglovin and 310 on GFC, so that was exciting (thank you!!!).

Sneak peek at the quilting I'm doing this week... just because a post without photos just isn't the same ;)

5. Here's something I hinted about in point 1. As a teacher, I have seen how even students who have mastered topics are still always learning. There is always something else to learn. I think that's why quilting is so wonderful - there's always a new fabric to try, a new technique to practice, and new thing to create. I might waste fabric, I might use too much thread because my machine acted up (or maybe I acted up), I might have to redo a section of quilting because I didn't realize the backing folded over completely, but it doesn't matter - it's my creation, and I'm still learning. And so are you.

I'll end this post with one of my favorite sayings: just go make stuff! Whatever you want to, just make it. The skills and perfect points and straight seams and gorgeous tension FMQ will come with time. They might never completely manifest, and that's okay, too. Just dive in and try it. And don't worry so much about the small stuff. I'm still learning this every day, and I don't think there's such a thing as perfect sewing, quilting, or blogging. I'm kind of glad there isn't.

SWC Schedule:

  • Sunday, November 3: First Linky Party! Write a blog post about the crafty areas in which you want to gain more confidence, and/or discuss a project you will be working on during the series that will help you gain this confidence.
  • November 10: Choosing Fabrics
  • YOU ARE HERE ==>November 24: Perfection
  • December 8: Approaching New Patterns/Concepts
  • December 22: Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) with Christa of Christa Quilts
  • January 5: Creating Your Own Designs
  • January 19: Showcasing Your Work
  • February 2: Writing A Sewing Blog
  • February 9: Final Linkup! Write a blog post about a project you worked on during the series that helped you gain confidence in your skills.
  • February 16: Prizes awarded from all Linky Parties!


  1. Hi Jess! Great post and good thoughts! I'm 'a little bit' perfectionist with many daily things and with quilting I try not to be! I work carefully and organized but I don't mind if the pints are not perfect. In fact my goal could be to make more randomly and not to arrange the blocks hours and hours.
    I love your quilts! Congratulations for doing so well your quilting and blogging! x Teje

  2. I can so relate to everything you said. The blogging and constantly creating something new have been really hard since I feel I've been working on the same project for months and months and months! UGH.

  3. This is a great post! Even though I've been quilting for nearly 20 years, I've only gotten "serious" about it in the last few years and I fill like I'm at the tip of the iceberg of what I want to do, LOL!!!

    I'll like up a somewhat related post, not necessarily about perfection, but impatience :-)

    Great job on quilting the curvy one - it's looking awesome!!

  4. First of all, I love how your quilting those "ornaments" - or at least that's what they look like to me - beautiful ornaments - great idea! Second, I consider myself pretty young... and am the youngest in my guild by a decade or so... but I laughed so hard when I realized I have been quilting longer than you've been alive! I mean, not like full time straight through, but I made my first quilt as a kid with my mom, so... yeah, that was a long time ago heehee. I like what you said about blogging; I'm still trying to find my stride and it's refreshing to see you standing up for doing it for you, your way : )

  5. so true Jess. We create because we enjoy it, and we enjoy sharing with others who are like-minded and can appreciate what we make. But it is not a place to compare and to compete. I love that the quilting blogging world is in general so kind and appreciative of each other. It feels a safe place to be :-)

  6. Thanks for sharing all those great tips, Jessica! And for starting this wonderful linky. Gotta go make stuff now!

  7. I am really enjoying this series... I feel bad that I don't have the time right now to participate because these topics are so important but I'm reading along!

  8. Thanks for the tips! I think you can learn something from everyone - no matter their age/experience.

  9. Oh, I completely agree! I always say, "It's not fun anymore if I have to sew it twice." Of course... sometimes I do HAVE TO sew it twice. But I try to live with the mistakes when I can and just not make that same mistake again. There's no such thing as a perfect quilt... right??

  10. I am seriously considering making 2014 the year of learning something new (intentionally) every month!

  11. Great post! I love that you put in there to keep going even when you make mistakes. So often it seems easier to just set something aside and forget about it (UFO's anyone?) love the quilting on your quilt so far too!


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