Simply Human—We Don’t Have to Be Perfect!

quilting_amish_diamond_centerWhen I was more actively involved in quilt making, I remember reading that Amish women, the makers of some of the most fabulous quilts ever (if you ask me!), always made sure to include a misplaced patch of fabric or a few incorrect stitches in any quilt they made. The thinking was that only God was perfect and that it was arrogant for a human to attempt perfection. Including an intentional mistake was acknowledgement of human fallibility and humility.

In the “loving hands at home” world, mistakes and missteps abound—and the mistakes remind us that we are real and our products aren’t going to be perfect, and it’s okay to say, “Hey, at least I tried!”

In the world of Pinterest, where all the homes are beautiful and all the handmade projects above average, some people are celebrating their imperfection, and maybe, just maybe, creating imperfection for its own sake. Just type “craft fail” in the search bar and look at some of the boards with that title!

I love finding the imperfections that come, it seems, from busy, distracted hands at home. These vintage towels I saw for sale on eBay crack me up.

Firday towelback Thursday towelI can understand the accidental misspelling of “Friday” but how did the word Thursday get stitched backwards? Either the maker a) was majorly distracted, b) was sampling the dandelion wine, or c) had a wicked sense of humor!

I try to be pretty relaxed when I make something that doesn’t turn out exactly as I planned. I want it to be structurally sound (or edible, when it’s food). I want it to be worthy of the time I put into it. But if I make a mistake, I don’t quit the whole thing and throw it away and I usually don’t start over. I try to find a way to incorporate the mistake and move on. After all, I’m only human!

How about you? Are you a perfectionist? I hope you can laugh and accept the missed stitch, the runny frosting, and the little quirks that prove your items weren’t made by a machine!

12 thoughts on “Simply Human—We Don’t Have to Be Perfect!

  1. I am most definitely a perfectionist, but I’ve been trying a lot harder lately to let things go. I take every mistake too personally. I really like the Amish perspective on it, I hadn’t quite thought of it like that before. Thank you for this reminder!

    • I like that Amish angle, too–and the quilts they make are so glorious it helps me realize that “beautiful” and “perfect” aren’t necessarily the same thing!

  2. I knit a lot so my level of perfection depend on the pattern and where the mistake is located. I have a cable sweater where one of the cable twists is not perfect and nobody has ever noticed 🙂 Annie

    • I guess some knitting mistakes could throw everything off–no choice, then, but to fix them. But I like the idea that one of the cable twist mistakes survived!

  3. Interesting post! I didn’t know that about the Amish women and the “mistakes.” I think it’s great that when you make a mistake you incorporate it somehow into the design. I’ll have to try that out myself next time.

  4. I never knew that Amish quilters put intentional mistakes in their beautiful quilts! I suppose that means I have one less thing to think about when crafting – the mistakes creep in without me realising it! 😛

  5. I freely admit I have perfectionist tendencies 😉
    Sometimes when I am not 100% satisfied with a piece I created I put it away for a while. Then, after a week or so I look at it again and think: it’s actually fine!

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