Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

I’ve been longarm quilting for 10 years now and quilted well over 2000 quilts in that time.  But there’s still something I haven’t achieved….. taking a imperfect quilt and making it perfect.

Recently a new client complained about my lack of design on her quilt compared to another’s she had seen.  The other quilt at the request of the quilter had parrots quilted on it to go with her fabrics and the intended recipient’s interests.   The new client’s was a rather simple design all solid fabrics.  She gave no preference for designs – to do what was best for the quilt.  So based on the size of the quilt, the piecing job, and in my opinion – a generous meandering was best.

I apologized that I hadn’t understood what she had wanted, but overall still felt it was best for the quilt.

Then she complained about some pleats & tucks…. well here I sit after a couple days of mulling this over.

My mentor has a policy – if the pieced top is not square or doesn’t lay flat, loose seams, wavy borders, etc – she returns it.  If the backing is too small, not squared, doesn’t lay flat because it was also pieced, etc.  She won’t quilt it.

Ten years ago – our family was struggling financially due to the crash in the housing market and husband’s job in construction.  I was willing to quilt anything and did – good, bad & ugly.

So over the years I’ve developed a reputation for being quite good at longarm quilting.  I’ve manage to make quilts I received better than I received them.  I’ve learned a few tricks to help ease in extra fullness in borders or hiding it a well place pleat.

But I can’t fix everything.  I can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.


4 thoughts on “Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

  1. Dear Helen, You are an artist with your long-arm quilting, one who has salvaged and made beautiful many of the quilts I gave you. I admire your work. Please do not let the people who constantly complain and nitpick bother you. I agree with your mentor on returning quilts and refusing to work on imperfectly squared quilts. Then again, you’ve improved many quilts that were less than perfect. Remember my quilt with red cardinals that was so lopsided? You machine quilted it, doing the best you could and you made those cardinals sing? The lady I gave that quilt to treasures it to this day. Ponder on all the happiness you bring people. Love you.

  2. Dear Helen, you are truly the best. You have always made my work look
    beautiful . I am always soooo excited when I get one back.
    Some people are hard to please, or maybe done understand quilting.
    Thanks for all you do for me. . Love You, Elaine

  3. OH Helen ! How could anyone not LOVE the work you do on our quilts !!! I have always trusted your opinion of what each quilt should have done 😊 And I have never been disappointed !!
    Thankyou for all your beautiful work – you are a blessing to me 😘
    Love ya Kathy

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