Christa’s Soap Box – Embrace Imperfectionism!

I am a budding imperfectionist.

It’s not really a word, but I did find it in a search of the Urban Dictionary. Obviously, it means: “to be good at being imperfect; ie not perfect.”

AQS Phoenix

Having fun and sharing quilts with friends in Phoenix!

I am a perfectionist by nature, which at times has stifled my creative journey. For years, I thought I had to be “perfect” in order to share my work publicly. I hid in the comfort and safety of my local quilting guild, waiting for the time that I would be “good enough” to share my quilts with a wider audience.

Thanks to the online quilting community and especially the modern quilting movement, I’ve realized that quilts don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful! And the more they are shared, the more they are loved. 🙂 I’m learning that perfectionism only stands in my way, and it keeps me from finishing more quilts.

So I’ve decided to work on perfecting my imperfectionism. Darn it, I don’t want to miss out on any more of the fun! Who’s with me?

53 thoughts on “Christa’s Soap Box – Embrace Imperfectionism!

  1. Deb says:

    I went to the Phoenix quilt show this past week (I saw your quilt, it looked awesome). I saw so many quilts that looked so perfect and thought – I could never do that! There were so many quilts that looked like they took months and months to complete and didn’t even get an Honorable Mention! But I’m so glad they entered them so I could have a chance to see them in person. A few months ago I decided that I was spending far too much time trying to get my humble quilts to look “show quality” and I was missing the joy that quilting gave me before I started looking at everyone else’s work. So, I’ll continue to go to quilt shows and marvel at the craftsmanship I see there but I’m also going to try to get back to the “fun” of quilting and, maybe, in the process, I can perfect my imperfectionism too!

  2. Nancy Kavaky says:

    Yippee! I agree. It is about joy and generosity. The Amish purposely make a mistake because only God is perfect. At 73 years young I was taught by the “original quilt police”. They have all died thankfully. I love the new generational thinking. It encourages more quilters, especially the younger crowd. Guilt trips are awful. The more we sew the more we become relaxed without thinking about imperfectionism. WE women are too hard on our selves. Our quilting experiences get more perfect when we do not have set “quilt police targets”. I have become a fan of yours!

  3. Karin says:

    OMG…are you talking about me? I am so ‘with you’ on that one… actually have struggled with the same infliction for years and have not been able to enter my quilts into a show for that reason. Almost made it last year but when it came to it, I came up with all sorts of excuses why I could not possibly do it. It is so annoying! However, through blogging and talking about it I have been able to tackle it a bit more and can now let some things go…definitely working on embracing imperfection. Thanks for the post, this was so refreshing to read.

  4. dlbafamily@reagan.com says:

    You would be proud – in an effort to step out of my own need for perfection which I tend to channel into my piecing- I took a machine quilting class today and we all sucked! Nevertheless we all laughed and tried. I came home exhausted but happy and a lot more imperfect.

  5. Jolly and Delilah says:

    I completely understand your journey. I actually threw perfectionism out the window as soon as I started quilting. Flicking through the first couple of quilting books I acquired, I noticed that very few of the quilts were flawless, either in the quilting or piecing. Imperfection is part of what makes each piece unique. I’m pleased you’ve found a way to embrace it.

  6. Sue Moore says:

    I used to stress about every seam matching & perfect angles etc to the point of never finishing anything I had started. I have since learned to let go & relax so that now I really enjoy my quilting. So what if it isn’t ‘perfect’! 🙂

  7. knitnkwilt says:

    a friend of mine with perfectionist tendencies was told “85% is usually good enough” and shared it. I took it as a motto along with “finished is better than perfect.”

  8. Debi Bielawski says:

    A college prof. Would not give a student an A because he believes there is always room to improve. Since I am always practicing I have to agree.

  9. Regina DeMatteo says:

    As you all have said, I’m with you. I no longer want to make everything just so. I want to stretch and be creative, even when it means non-perfect lines and not coloring inside them. I also agree that the “modern” movement has helped with the stretching!

  10. Stitchgirl78 says:

    Your post has struck a huge chord. I love to plan new quilts and purchase fabrics for those quilts. Unfortunately, my perfectionism paralyzes me into inaction. I now have lots of beautiful fabric for quilts not yet begun. I, too, am working on my imperfectionism, and so I actually took the plunge and began a new quilt yesterday. Yay! Thanks to your post, I now know I am not a freak of nature………lol. I can’t thank you enough for sharing!

  11. elsabean says:

    Wanting things to be perfect has kept me from trying new things and I find myself worrying about what other people think of what I’ve done. Or, at least I used to. Now not so much (but still a little). I’ve been working on doing more and being will to mess up. It’s so liberating! Thanks for the great post!

  12. Molly says:

    Christa I am so glad to see this post. I sometimes feel like I can’t show my things for the same reason
    Most likely no one will even notice the imperfections. I always say only God is . I know of beautiful unfinished quilts out there for this reason and that is a shame!

  13. treadlemusic says:

    Definitely “with ya”!!! There’s way too much focus on achieving “perfection” (whether it be in quilting or physical stature) which is resulting in great loss—-loss of enjoyment, spirit, soul, self and our basic “human-ness”. Although there may be a time and a place for it, computerized long-arm stitching takes away more than it adds. It’s, truly, time to embrace who we are and what makes me “me”!!!!! Hugs…………………….

  14. craftysorcha says:

    I love crafting but I’m sort of clumsy and uncoordinated so I find perfection very difficult to achieve, it does bother me but I have learned to let things go and to just enjoy the thing I’m crafting.

  15. Wendy Rubbo says:

    “Don’t waste your time striving for perfection, instead, strive for excellence — doing your best.” Sir Lawrence Olivier

  16. Nina With Freckles says:

    I’m so happy to hear this! I’m a recovering perfectionist myself and I seem to be happier when I force myself outside of my comfort zone every so often, regardless of how imperfect the results of my crafting endeavours may turn out. It has to be better to try something new than forever hold back because of fear of not doing well (perfect). Patchwork and quilting is perfect (pun intended) thanks to a huge range of new techniques, one more challenging than the previous!

  17. Amanda Best says:

    This post really applies to me. I am always negatively analyzing my work and it really does get in the way of the joy of creating. I know that I need to lighten up on myself, but I do not seem to be able to. I will try and remember your post when I want to be harsh with myself, thanks for sharing, Christa, you are an inspiration!

  18. Jodi R says:

    Now that is some impressive wisdom. Might have to teach myself some “imperfectionism” I am sure I would get more done and more joy from each thing.

  19. Kay says:

    So true. A friend brought a quilt top over the other day to show me and I was thrilled that a couple of her points didn’t meet as I wasn’t the only one that couldn’t manage to be perfect with each point. As she said, it doesn’t really matter because the baby won’t care and it is only other quilters who notice the tiny things. My word for the year is Relax, and that also means relaxing about my less than perfect sewing.

  20. Debbie says:

    I AM! Love the quote, “A quilt isn’t finished until it’s shared.” No matter what we make, it’s a part of us! Love yours hanging in the show – hope you’re having fun!

  21. farmquilter says:

    I’m willing to embrace imperfectionism! It does get in the way of creativity, and I’m tired of it. I think perfectionism is a mask we wear to hide our insecurities about being found lacking.

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