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.”

and

“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.

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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!  😉