“If you don’t want to rip, you shouldn’t be sewing.”
Over the last couple of years, my mom and I’ve spent a lot of time quilting together. According to my husband, it seems like that’s all I’ve been doing. However, I know years from now when I look back on our time together I will say it wasn’t enough.
During these quilting sessions, I write down mom’s words of quilting wisdom. My plan is to share these bits of wisdom with you from time to time in a series that I’ll call “My Mama Always Says..“ I hope you will find them interesting and helpful, too.
My Mama Always Says..:
Where years of experience and bits of quilting wisdom guide me on my quilting journey.
So just why would mom say that I shouldn’t be sewing if I don’t want to rip out my mistakes? I don’t know about you but I make a lot of sewing mistakes. Maybe it’s because I am a perfectionist or maybe it’s because I just want it to look nice. Then again it might be that I just want it to look right or maybe it’s because I am still learning. Nonetheless, I’ve come to the realization that nothing is always perfect. So I’ve begun to hold my seam or block at arm’s length. If I don’t notice that the seams don’t meet just right from that distance, then it’s good enough.
For those times when it’s not good enough, I’ve found an easy and fast way to rip it apart.
If my stitches are very close together, I’ll use this method.
Recently, I showed our exchange daughter K. my latest sewing project and she pointed out a mistake right away.
I had looked at these blocks many times and had never seen the mistake. So I sighed, picked up the seam ripper, and remembered my mom’s words of wisdom, “If you don’t want to rip, you shouldn’t be sewing.” Thanks mom. You are right, as usual.
What I Learned Today:
- Ripping apart a seam by any other name—unsewing, unpicking—is still a pain in the backside.
- That old TV show, Father Knows Best, didn’t tell the whole story; Mother knows best, too.
- No one, including mom, ever said I had to be happy about ripping out those seams.
- I’d rather find the glaring error now before it’s been quilted and too late to do anything about it.
- There is no such thing as perfect; good enough can be just right, too.
- A set of fresh eyes (by that I mean someone else) helps in finding errors.
Question: Do you spend a lot of time ripping apart your mistakes or are you a “that’s good enough” type of sewer? What’s your “go to” method of ripping apart your mistakes?
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I can always spot one of my own mistakes or misaligned seams a mile away so I learned early on that it’s better to unpick and re do!
Sounds so familiar! The ripper is the tool I use the most! Many times I wish I wouldn’t be so strict with myself because as you said nobody is perfect. And it is true that many times the other ones they don’t see your mistakes unless you say it! Have a nice week! Anneli
I have 2 rippers and sometimes when I sew, it feels I spend more time ripping than sewing! Such wise words!
Those are very wise words indeed. Your…our….mother is very wise. I usually rip more than I sew…haha
This is a great post Karen and I love that you are writing down your mother’s words of wisdom. I will rip out seams but it depends. I’m not an expert so I have to be content with good enough sometimes.
Your quilt is beautiful. One of my fondest memories is sewing with my mom at my house during her last years with us. We had a good time even though I didn’t always agree with her method of ‘this is good enough’. I let it go and thought we’ll just have a good time as that is what matters. Sometimes I rip and sometimes I don’t. Maybe it is my mood that day or maybe it just isn’t all that bad, LOL
Thanks from Sweden and Bambi for your inspiration you give us and your linking to Show and Tell Monday.
How wonderful to enjoy quilting with your Mom. I’m looking forward to all her sayings. Great tutorial on ripping. Jack is my ripper and we spend a lot of time together.
I too have a close relationship with my ripper. I just never thought to call him Jack.
Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. It depends on who it is for and whether it can be regarded as a design change or a mistake! Thanks for linking up to #scraptastictuesday!
I rip seams the same way — actually like you, both ways. It depends on my mood and what the purpose of the quilt. If it is going to a child, a few mismatched seams aren’t going to make any difference. If the problem is BIG I rip and fix no matter what.
What a neat idea for a series. I personally try to embrace seam ripping a bit differently: where else in life do you can and undo button? I find it is kind of magical. Sure it takes time, but I don’t really know other places in real life where I can undo something. Thank you for linking up.
Sewing with your mom sounds wonderful. She sounds wise too 🙂
Depends on the scale of the problem. 😉 I’m more likely to rip it out though. I like your scrappy paw prints!
Your blocks are really looking great. I usually try to fix my mistakes. But, every now and then I don’t realize the mistakes until the quilt is quilted. When that happens I leave it.
Thanks for the compliment. I guess that’s just part of being human; “to err is human, to forgive is divine.” I make a lot of errors and catch most. I am guilty of pointing out to others those errors that I don’t catch.
I don’t know why it is…. But I used to do everything I could think of to avoid ripping a seam. But have learned that it is better to just rip it out right away and make it right. I don’t mind doing it now. And you are so right – a fresh set of eyes can spot mistakes more easily. Taking a photo and viewing it on the computer helps sometimes, too. Your blocks are looking so good! Great work!!!
Good idea! I forget to grab my camera or phone to check it. Thanks for the reminder.
Your quilt is coming together great Karen. One thing I have learned is if I don’t like something it’s easier to take it out straight away, otherwise I will never be happy with it and it spoils the quilt for me.
Thanks. You’re right. If I leave a mistake in that I can see, I too am not happy, so I try to catch those and fix them. But there have been many that I haven’t discovered until it’s too late. Then I call it a design element.
I am not a perfectionist and if it is a small issue, I often leave it. Obvious or glaring issues I do rip and fix. Just depends. Treasure the sewing time with your mom. That is so special.
Sewing with mom is indeed a fun time. We do a lot of laughing and some compromising too.
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OH! So much wisdom in one post! You are so very blessed to be able to sew with your mom! And you’re right – enjoy the time – because one day it will have been too short!
My daughter lovingly points out my mistakes – we sew together as well. Sometimes, I’ma casual quilter. Sometimes, the mistakes do have to be pulled out. It just depends for me.
I use your methods of ripping – plus pretty rippers help! 🙂
Am going to start following you because
1) my grandson named me as well,
2) I truly enjoyed reading your post – and it’s my first visit – I think! 🙂
Blessings to you and yours,
I am so glad you enjoyed my post and hope you’ll stop by again. My husband and I went on the Minnesota Quilt shop hop this summer and I blogged about our adventures. You might like them too. Thanks for following my blog. That’s a great compliment.
I am a slow quilter, probably because I do a lot of ripping apart my mistakes
Ripping out is just part of stitching. I use very similar methods to yours when I need to remove stitches. I’m a big fan of the “galloping horse” school of quilt making. If you won’t see it when riding by on a galloping horse, it’s not worth fixing. Though I can admit that for a few special projects, I will really strive for perfection. But those are getting father and farther apart.
I’ve never heard of “the galloping horse” school. It sounds about right although it had me laughing about the mental picture. When I give quilts away, I do strive for perfection. My problem is that I give most of them away.