If you know me even slightly, you know am married to a metalhead. My man loves metal music. He lives, breathes and even makes it. The harder and more brutal the better. I’ve listened to him put together songs and record all the different instruments individually. I learned that he has technology that, get this… “humanizes” each element, adding slight imperfections here and there. Why on earth would you purposely make a mistake? Wouldn’t you want the song to sound as awesome and perfect as possible?
The answer is no! Turns out that music that is produced electronically can sound robotic and rigid. “Humanizing” can turn a cold repetitive track into a song that breathes moves, and feels alive. Think of it this way, would you rather listen to The Backstreet Boys… or The Sex Pistols? Right?!
So, what on earth could this possibly have to do with quilting?
This. Have you ever looked at some stellar quilting at a show and thought to yourself “I bet that was done on a computerized quilting machine”. Can you study a quilt and tell the computerized from the freehand? Are you a quilter who has ever been asked “Is your quilting computerized, and it's not?” (take it as a compliment).
When I look at quilts that have exquisite quilting, and can tell that it was computerized, I lose interest fairly quickly. The quilting is repetitive, and all of the feathers and swirls are shaped the same. Quilting that captivates my attention, has sometimes irregular shapes, has expression, and feels warm, organic, and alive. I love freehand quilting!
Don’t get me wrong, computerized quilting is a skill of its own. The quilter needs to thoughtfully plan and prepare, just as a freehand quilter does. The difference is in the stitching itself. Even the most skilled quilter will have imperfections here and there. But it’s those slight imperfections that allow your quilt (and you) to BREATHE.
So what if there was a “humanize” button on a computerized quilting machine, that could infuse this same life into your quilting? Would you use it? My answer would be no. YOU are the ultimate humanized quilter. Why would you need a computer to do what you already can… and that is, make perfect mistakes.
Strive to do the best quilting you can, every time. Don’t compare yourself to the amazing photos that you see on the internet of stunning quilting. Compare yourself to your own personal best. Strive for perfection, but don’t expect it.
Have a look back up at the top of this post at the photo I added. Look at my circles carefully. Are they all the same size? Are they all touching the line on either side evenly? No. They overlap sometimes, and are irregular. This photo was taken very close up to the quilt, and is NOT the normal distance you would view a quilt when finished.
Take a look at this photo below now, of the same part of the quilt but take from further away. Distance changes perspective. Stand back and have a look at your work from a few feet away. Don’t beat yourself up over small imperfections. Remember, it is those little quirks that inject your quilt with your very own heart and soul.
Now get back at it and dare I say.... stitch like a Sex Pistol!