IMperfectionism: the humility block in quilting

Recently, when taking my newly quilted table runner to my quilting group, I mentioned to a few of the ladies what I had been working on and then brought up the subject of my imperfect block.  Comments? Yes, and two of note were:

“What mistake? I can’t see it?  (I point it out)  OH…  just leave it in.”


“Oh, that will be your ‘humility block.’  Just leave it!”  Whereupon she proceeded to tell me about how the Amish always leave in an imperfect block in their quilts because it shows their humility to God.

Well, I went looking for the Humility Block and guess what?  It just isn’t true.  As near as can be found, the concept began in about 1948.  You have to wonder why people make things up like that.  😉

So now, if you go to your quilters guild and ask, they may well tell you the myth, and in great detail, but you will know the truth of it.  Want to know more about this charming, but entirely untrue quilter’s tale?  Then go to Hart Heritage Quilts  (scroll down a ways on this site)  or to Cats Quilt Art to read in more detail.

So, what did I ultimately decide to do?  After reading about how many vintage and antique quilts there are out there with a high value attached to them, and that the imperfections are considered ‘quirks’ of the maker… well, I decided to let it go.  I’ve  bound it, its done, and I’m happy.

The block is called *“Railroad.”  The table runner is machine pieced and quilted, however the binding is hand sewn!

Though I must confess I do sort of like the myth behind the Humility Block.  Old or new to the quilting tradition, the quirky block in even the oldest of quilts stands the test of time, and I don’t care when the myth was begun.   I like it.


So what’s next?
NOTE:  I find that I have called my four patch block the “Underground RR,” and it is actually simply called “Railroad.”  I found the pattern on the Civil War Quilts website, in which Barbara Brackman stated that, “Railroad can symbolize the end of the Underground Railroad, a change in the strategy of escape from slavery.” (Emphasis mine)  The fact that I loved the block and purchased the fabric for it almost a year ago, but was afraid to cut it out for fear of ruining it (!!!) had apparently combined her comment, and the quilts actual name, in my mind between then and now.  So, thank you to Tracy Byers for, indirectly, pointing out my mistake!  😉

Keepin’ busy. How about you?

I have been working feverishly on regaining my sewing skills and over the course of an entire year I have, I think, regained much of what I need to get my Etsy store going.  I have made simple  curtains, a dust ruffle, and a hand tied quilt for the guest room… to which I just put the binding on this past week.

This is the first full-sized quilt I have ever made.  I totally cheated and hand tied it to a wonderfully warm and fuzzy blanket.  I made the binding from leftover blocks I sewed together and stripped.  I owe deepest apologies to my friends Tim and Pam for not having the binding on by the time they arrived… I could hardly stand the fuzz as I worked, I simply can’t imagine sleeping with it.  Sorry!

I made my first apron,  using my own pattern.  It is machine sewn with a hand quilted pocket and embroidery to dress it up.  It is very fifties in style, but the embroidery is a thirties effect.

No, it is not uneven, I hung it crooked!  I will have to be more careful when I’m photographing my items for sale…

For Bob I made two pairs of pajama bottoms from flannel I found at Sir’s in Fayetteville, TN.   The deal with Sir’s is this… if you find it and you like it grab what you need, plus a little extra for later, or it will simply have vanished the next time you go back.

Such was the case here.  Not wanting to wear Hello Kitty, or anything juvenile or pink,   we bought what was left of the blue plaid and I had to get creative with the length.  Using the selvages I cut a cuff, and applied it with a bit of black piping I made.  If there had been enough material I would have been able to match the plaids and put the cuff on the bias.  But then if that were the case I wouldn’t have had to add the cuffs now would I?  😉  He is comfortable and warm so that’s what counts, yes?

And now we come to the portion of today’s post that I am totally in love with… these newly quilted half-square triangles that I made last week.  I am using scrappy looking finds from, you guessed it, Sir’s.

Balkan Puzzle

Chunky Chevron

I was so exited to get these completed, and I really think my work was good, so imagine how disappointed I was when I put the 12 and 1/2 square rule down on top only to find that they were a bit smallish.  My only explanation for it is that my 1/4 inch quilting foot is off.   So, I will forge ahead and remember to not work so tightly along the foot’s edge.

In the meantime, I am debating whether or not to make pillows or incorporate these into an apron.  What do you think?  Other ideas?

I almost forgot!  I made myself a clock too!  Many years ago my friend Andrea was hosting some exchange students from Japan.  I guess in Japan it is simply unacceptable to go visiting with empty hands.  Hence I was the recipient of a lovely silk kerchief.  I am allergic to silk… so the kerchief sat in a my drawer for almost 20 years.  A travesty I say!  So,  I carefully quilted it on the machine with lovely metallic gold thread, and set it into an embroidery hoop.  I then backed the piece with heavy cardboard and inserted clock works into its face.  I have seen many of these on the different quilting sites, but none done in lovely whole cloth silk!

Now I can enjoy my lovely gift and know what time it is as well.



Photo Friday: once upon a time in the west

I have always had a thing for clouds up in the sky.  I used to love to lay in the grass and watch them morph and change, all the while imagining, bird, elephant, ice cream cone, ships.

When I taught young children in California ( ages 6 to 8 ) I tried to sneak in a bit of time for imagination, things to get their creative writing flowing…

They had never been taught about the secrets hidden in clouds, so I made it my job to teach them… even when the principal disapproved of the practice…  Then we had to do it on the sly or at recess times.  After a time, we went in to capture them on white paper.

“Teacher, this paper is white and so are the clouds!  How can we make them on white paper?”

I got out the blue chalk, “Watch.” I said.  And using the blue chalk I proceeded to outline a cloud on the white field.  Then I lay the chalk on its side and carefully filled in the sky all around my cloud, during which I heard such things as…


“Oh cool!”



“Draw the shapes you saw in the clouds today.” I said.

And when they were done I handed them lined paper.

“Now write about what you saw!”  I encouraged.  (At these times, I never heard a complaint from even one about having to write.)

I was such a rebel.

Today I want to share with you a time in your youth when you lay on your back with friends and imagined… the clouds are still there, beckoning to you.  When was the last time you stopped a moment and just looked into the clouds?







Tell me, what do you see?


(All photos are clickable to allow a better view!)



This song by Sara Groves is one of my favorites and seems so appropriate at this time.

You Cannot Lose my Love

You will lose your baby teeth.
At times, you’ll lose your faith in me.
You will lose a lot of things,
But you cannot lose my love.

You may lose your appetite,
Your guiding sense of wrong and right.
You may lose your will to fight,
But you cannot lose my love.

You will lose your confidence.
In times of trial, your common sense.
You may lose your innocence,
But you cannot lose my love.

Many things can be misplaced;
Your very memories be erased.
No matter what the time or space,
You cannot lose my love.
You cannot lose,
You cannot lose,
You cannot lose my love.

Happy Sabbath, may you find peace and rest in His love today and always.

Biblical Sabbath:  Find out more HERE also HERE