I was sewing the border on the quilt for this year’s Quilters’ Quest the other night while watching the Washington Nationals vs. Baltimore Orioles baseball game on television and I found myself paying more attention to the brick wall behind the batter than the player himself.
It took me back to the last Jinny Beyer Club meeting at the shop. One of the women stood up and was showing a quilt that she had hand pieced. It was beautifully done, but she was a bit apologetic, saying that she knew everything was not perfectly straight. I then had to give her my abbreviated speech on symmetry.
Pick up a leaf and look at it. At first glance, the right and left halves appear to be symmetrical but on closer observation you can see little discrepancies. It is those differences that make the leaf more interesting to look at than if was perfectly symmetrical.
Even though the human face looks the same on both sides, once again there are differences that make the face more interesting than if it was perfectly symmetrical. Look at this photo of Abraham Lincoln and the difference in how the face looks when you make the two halves exactly mirror each other. The face has now lost its character.
To me it is the same thing in quilting. Quilts that are made with strips cut and pieced together and then cut up again into blocks or triangles and made into a quilt can be lovely but there is a certain charm in a quilt made with scraps or multiple fabrics where all the blocks are not exactly the same.
The same can be true of the quilting process. Computer-guided longarms have made it much easier to finish a quilt with perfectly completed quilting designs and opened the door to many who do not have the time in their lives to finish certain projects. But if you don’t try the quilting yourself because you feel you can’t be perfect, you may be missing the joy and pride of making the quilt entirely yours.
As I studied that brick wall behind the batter, I loved the fact that bricks were not evenly spaced and perfectly symmetrical. It gave the wall character and charm, making it much more interesting that a pre-fab brick wall. The same should be true of your quilting projects. Celebrate the little idiosyncrasies, and know that is what makes your quilt unique.