Thursday, May 29, 2008

Errors in Quilts

Honestly, this topic was on my mind before I sifted through my new Bloglines posts today and noticed that a friend of mine had an error pointed out to her and was publicly thanking someone for pointing one out.

Pointing out an error in a quilt is an art, and that's an art that I struggle with. It's something I need help with.

I notice things because when I look at a quilt, my mind immediately starts working to try to figure out how it went together, if it might have been a strip quilt, a speed piecing method, etc. That's just what my mind immediately does, I can't shut it off if I tried. In doing that, I am usually quick to see if a block is set wrong.

Do you say something? Do you not say something?

Does it depend on how close you are to the person?

Does it depend on how far into a quilt the person is? Would you say something before the borders are on, but not after?

Would you say something if you noticed it when the borders were on but before it's going to be quilted? Does your decision change based on if they're paying to have it quilted or quilting it themselves?

What if you didn't know the individual? What if you just happened to be in the quilt shop as the same time they were?

What if you noticed while you were shopping just how long it was taking them to pick the perfect backing, pick the perfect thread, pick the perfect quilting pattern?

Does it matter that you don't know them by name? But you've seen them shopping at the same time as you?

What if you really are having a hard time reading their personality and can't tell if they'd be offended or greatful but could tell that when they notice the backwards block later they're going to beat themselves up every time they look at the quilt?

How do you say in the most tactful way, hey I've noticed a block is set wrong? Or do you say nothing at all? Would you like someone to tell you or not?

Pretend that we don't know each other. Pretend that you are the quilter with the block wrong. Pretend that you pulled your quilt out at a shop to look for the backing and that you're going to have the shop quilt it. You've put your time and a good deal of money into your quilt. Pretend that this quilt is for the most important person in your life. Do you want me to tell you? What is the best way for me to point this out to you without you thinking I'm picking apart your quilting skills? Or, should I say nothing at all??

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this topic.


atbquilting said...

I would want to be told anytime before the quilt was quilted. Once it's quilted, I'm not changing it. You could pretty much say anything to me like "Hey, did you notice that block is turned in a different direction than the others?" Or, "Did you mean to change the direction of that block?" I would thank you for pointing it out. Once a quilt was finished, I wouldn't point out the mistake.

PianoWoman said...

I would definitely want to know if a block was wrong, but only before it was quilted. If you've already done the quilting, there's not much you can do unless you are willing to rip apart all of the quilting to re-set the block.

Regardless of whether I was quilting it myself or paying for someone else to do it, I would want to know if a block or border was wrong before the quilting was started. You can still fix it at that point and correct it if you want. I think I would be grateful for having it pointed out so that the extra work and effort in the quilting wouldn't be done on something that was wrong to begin with.

BitnByAQuiltingBug said...

Right up my alley today, eh? Ok...this might be a long comment. I really appreciated the way this woman told me about my error. She emailed me privately, not on my blog. I'm assuming to avoid embarrassing me. Her email was so sweet, like she hated to have to tell me. I had already spotted it by the time she emailed me, but I really really appreciated her telling me. Now, if you start telling me that my points are not pointing, or my seams don't line up right, ... duh, I know that already. I think it's all in how ya say it. I wish someone had told me or that I had double checked it in the pre-border stage. Once I had all those borders on...forget it. It's going on the frame. I can live with this mistake, but if it was for someone else...I'd have to rip it apart and fix it. Cool blog for today, Jen!

Moneik said...

I would say if it's before the quilting stage I would say something because I know my eyes don't always see mistakes unless they are pointed out. I wouldn't make fun of the person, just kindly say that blog looks like it's turned differently or something. After it's quilted I wouldn't say anything. I think it's all in how you say it. I think most quilters are really nice and would want to be told before they finish the quilt.

Regina said...

I agree with everyone that the approach is as important as the message - right up until the quilting stage...

jillquilts said...

Are you trying to say that something on one of my quilts is wrong??! kidding! I would want to know before quilting, but I would like to think that I could see the mistake myself before that. BUt I am not sure that I would rip borders off to fix something unless it was a HUGE mistake.

Trish said...

I put a block in the wrong spot in my Winnie the Pooh quilt, and the only one who noticed (after the border was on) was my daughter's boyfriend. His comment was "is that block supposed to be in the wrong place?" I was shocked that I hadn't seen it myself. But I was glad that he told me because I could still fix it. I WOULD NOT have fixed it if I had already quilted it. So, I agree that I would mention it, but only if the quilt was not quilted yet.

Carol Van Rooy said...

I'd appreciate knowing. The minute you did discover it, if it were me I'd be wondering why no one mentioned it to me before.

As for whether I'd tear it apart... I can't answer that. I suppose it would depend how far into I was and besides it adds a unique feature.

CatQuilter said...

Great topic, Jen. Being a relatively new quilter,I would appreciate the help from other quilters. But, I think the spirit in which a statement was made means more than the actual correction/statement itself. I read about "quilt police" from time to time and probably would not react well if the criticism was mean or intended just to be-little. Sometimes people are too quick to critique just to make themselves appear smarter or better.

I was hesitant to show my work at the guild meeting because I feared just that happening. Couldn't have been more wrong! I received encouragement and praise.

Bethany said...

Oh..tell me please! I'd hate to go to all that work and realize that I've messed up royally. I don't think anyone would be upset. Usually it takes someone else noticing because we become so absorbed in the project we can't see it.

Michelle said...

I was told about a mistake on one of my quilts as it was coming off the quilter. I guess I would have just as soon NOT known. Now, when I look at my quilt, I know it is not put together the way it was meant to be, but I love it anyway.

If the mistake is pointed out at the stage when I can fix it easily, ok, tell me, but otherwise, please don't, and that is how I will treat the situation should I see it in someone else's quilt. That's just me.

Hazel said...

I agree ,tell me before its been quilted not after .I think you also have to be very tactful no one wants to feel like the quilt police are watching .One of the things I find helpful is taking pictures of the quilt as I'm doing it . You'd be surprised what you will notice on the computer. .

Cindy (aka Peony the House Elf) said...

OMG what's wrong with my quilt top????????? And why didn't you say something?

Freeblady said...

Agreed, let me know BEFORE it's quilted! I am a perfectionist though and any kind of comment may put me into royal stress mode. I would have to get rid of the quilt pretty quickly before a dwell on it forever.

You made me LOL at this part..."I notice things because when I look at a quilt, my mind immediately starts working to try to figure out how it went together, if it might have been a strip quilt, a speed piecing method, etc. That's just what my mind immediately does, I can't shut it off if I tried." My husband makes fun of me for doing the exact same thing! LOL!

kt said...

ok, so pretty much everyone is saying exactly what I would say. before being quilted, totally tell me; otherwise, keep your yap shut! chances are that I would eventually see it and curse a blue streak and then say, "well, I did it that way on purpose because I want you to think about the quilt; I wanted to add some personality." which totally isn't true, but I would need to make up for my lack of pattern-noticing-ability (or to cover the fact that I apparently drink too many margaritas while quilting).

quite frankly though... I do about two to three quilts a year because of all the other activities that I participate in, so if I only did that many... and then 50% of them were wrong... NG. a pleasant heads-up would be suffish... no need to be a holier-than-thou quilt b*tch! :)

great topic of discussion btw... it made me think of something other than my throbbing ankle courtesy of the little 18 year old from last night's soccer game. joy!

Anonymous said...

I personally think that telling a person she has messed up AFTER a quilt has been quilted is very insulting. It would be ok to gently tell her BEFORE but at this point there is litle you can do to change it. Also, why would you want to scrutinize it? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and taking advice from the Amish, they make a mistake in their quilts on purpose. No one is perfect and this will happen occasionally. Do not want to be so blunt, but that is my honest opinion.