Perfectly Imperfect Baby Quilts

perfectly imperfect quilts

If you follow me on Instagram (I’m @swimbikequilt), you might have seen a few of these photos like the one below pop up in the last few weeks.


Santa Cruz Quilt

[tutorial originally blogged here]

As we are slowly putting our house together, I am finding all sorts of treasures, including a bin of baby quilts. Most of the baby quilts were almost finished–one needed threads buried, another needed binding, a third just needed a quick press. I had started each quilt at some point in the last few years, and for one reason or another (a popped seam, not perfectly matching points, a wonky back) I had shied away from gifting them to people.


[Originally blogged here, in 2012]

A few weeks ago, I decided that it was better to give an imperfect quilt to a baby that I love, rather than have it sit in a bin in my basement.

I mailed the last one off today. It’s been so fun to share my love and my quilts in the last few weeks. Pulling these quilts back out has done two things. The first–it helps me see how far I’ve come in the last few years!  The second–I am much more critical of my work (and pictures of myself) as soon as I’m finished. If I let it sit, often I come back and the things that bothered me don’t nearly as much. For example, in this quilt (a version of this quilt), I was so disappointed when I realized the back was wonky. Pulling it back out, I think it works. Its fun and graphic and a little off kilter, kind of like the front of the quilt.  I like nearly perfect quilts. Everyone does. But sometimes there is room for a few flaws, or Amish moments, too.



[originally blogged in 2013]

Is there anything that holds you back from sharing your work, either online or sharing the actual finished product? If you have any projects that are imperfect, but done or almost done, pull them out, finish them, be a little less hard on yourself, and do something with them! Hang them on your wall. Mail them to a friend. Donate to someone in need. Photograph and post them. You will be happy you did!

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  1. janequiltsslowly
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I love this blog post. I am guilty of the same faults. If its not ‘perfect’ in some way, then it gets put away. I have been following your blog by email, but just started following on Instagram. Great photos of the quilts! I am sure the recipients will be happy to snuggle a new baby in them.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 9, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the IG follow. And it’s pretty liberating to take the not perfect ones off of the shelf 😉

  2. Veronika
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I love this post so much! And I love your quilts! I love “flaws” in other’s work, I just need to work on loving them more in my own. Also I’ve only been quilting a few years, so I can’t wait to go a few more so I can look back on my projects and see how far I’ve come! :)

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 9, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t that the truth? Here’s to being kinder to ourselves, and gaining better skills in the process!

  3. Posted December 9, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I call it character and personality and out the door they go as a gift or donation. Then my most pressing hope is that they bring their new owners tons of comfort and get loved to threads.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 9, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      character and personality. I love it!

  4. Lisa C in Dallas
    Posted December 9, 2015 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely. Sometimes putting something away for a month just totally changes my attitude. Sometimes just washing a quilt hides what at first seemed to be a glaring “oops.” Either way, no one is as critical as we are but no one is looking at the quilt from 6″ away like we are either! It helps to look at something from a distance. Perspective is everything. A baby snuggled in a finished quilt is much better than a quilt getting lonely on a shelf.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 9, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      I should have washed them first! Love the image of a baby with a quilt instead of lonely on a shelf. Thanks for saying hi.

  5. Posted December 9, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I am actually giving one of “those” quilts to someone for Christmas this year. I think it’s beautiful, but many of the points are….ugh….cut off, mismatched, and way off. I am gifting it to someone who is not a quilter, so I don’t know if they’ll even realize it. (That is if I don’t confess, as I have before — “This really isn’t that great…but I hope you like it!”) And I do worry about a quilter somewhere out there visiting their house and seeing it and noticing how poorly it was done!

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 9, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      I like what another commenter said: character and personality! definitely don’t give a disclaimer, and good for you!

  6. Posted December 10, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    While it’s hard to give something that isn’t perfect, they may not notice. If there is something I’m questioning on a quilt, I ask my non quilty friends or hubby to look at it. If they pick it out, I fix it. If not I just consider it part of the handmade character to the gift. It has to feel wonderful to clear some of those out of your WIPs.

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 10, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      I like your approach! What is the say? No one will notice that from a trotting horse?

  7. Karen
    Posted December 10, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Katie, thanks so much for this post! As a beginning quilter (although I’ve sewn clothing and things around the house all my life), I often find myself unable to even step into my “studio”. I think you’ve nailed what keeps me from enjoying myself–turns out I need to be a little kinder to myself and let go :)

    • Katie Blakesley
      Posted December 10, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      I’m so glad. We all have to start somewhere, and even after making a hundred quilts, you still have moments like that! Go sew 😉

One Trackback

  • By Favorite Things From The Week | Quiltytherapy on December 12, 2015 at 11:53 am

    […] be our own worst critic.  Do you let that stop you from gifting something handmade?  Katie with Swim Bike Quilt talks about some old projects she hesitated giving and sending them […]

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