My run-in with the quilt police…

If you are a quilter (or an artist of any kind) it is no secret that your craft comes with it’s own set of critics- knitting knazis, painting pompouses, seamstress snobs and, in my case, the quilting police. Having been an artist as long as I have (basically my whole life) I am fully aware that any time I create something artistic there will be comments made by critics. But when I first got into quilting, or really more when I got into the piecing portion of quilting, the quilting police seemed to be exceptionally harsh to me. Maybe it was because I have an innate inability to follow directions, maybe it was because I am terrible at math and measuring (I’m not stupid, I know how, I’m just lazy) or maybe it was because I was such a young kid in an industry of makers who had been doing this as long as I have been breathing. Whatever the reason, I seemed to be “screwing up” left and right.

Today I want to talk to you about this one particular quilt I was making. I found the progress photos and the time stamp on them was the day after Christmas of 2013. This quilt fills me with emotions, both good and bad. Let me start at the beginning…

It was about August of 2013 and I was adding some things to my Amazon wishlist (to help the hubs prepare for Christmas shopping) and among the items on my list was this Kona Cotton Solids Jelly Roll.

If you know me you know that I love rainbows. So I was really hoping that hubby would be awesome and get this off my wish list. And, of course, he IS awesome and he DID get this for me for Christmas. I was soooo excited to use this fabric, and it was already sentimental to me because it was from the hubs. So, I decided that I would make a quilt for us with it. I had an idea in mind of what I wanted the quilt to look like, but there was no pattern for it (which is fine, like I said earlier, I don’t enjoy following patterns all day.) So, I got to cutting and piecing, feeling confident that what I had in mind would not be too hard to execute.

So the first thing I did was laid out all the fabric, and then I cut all the strips into 2.5″ squares. Then, I took all the squares and shuffled them out of order from each other, but still in somewhat of a rainbow order. You can see that in the box to the left. I also incorporated some navy blue fabric that hubby helped me pick out, because we wanted the overall quilt to be navy, with pops of all the other colors. I cut the navy fabric into 2.5″ strips, and random varying lengths, with no rhyme or reason to the length, at all.

Then I started piecing them into a long chain, going back and forth between a navy piece and then whatever colored square was on top of my stack. Again, no planning at all, just piecing away the day making one huge long strip of 2.5″ wide fabric.

So, after all that piecing was done, I had a super long strip of fabric. I ran it under the iron once, to get it to lay sort of flatter because, I’m responsible and stuff. (not!)

After I pressed it, I had to decide how wide I wanted the finished quilt to be (even though I really didn’t have much of an idea of how long my strip actually was). I figured that probably about 65″ or so would be good and wide. So, I took the end of the long strip, measured off 65″ and then cut it. I knew I could cut a bunch of 65″ strips all at once, and then piece them together, but the though of trying to keep the strips in order so that the rainbow stayed in order was too much work. So I figured I would just cut the strips as I pieced the quilt. Same difference right?

So I took the first strip I cut, and then grabbed the edge of the big strip, folded it it over my first strip, and pieced down the strip. When I got to the end, I would just snip off the rest of the strip and go back the other way. So I was essentially piecing row by row, and my overall strip was getting shorter and shorter as my quilt top got wider and wider. This all made perfect logical sense in my head.

Bodacious Gangster played quality control while I pieced. Man I miss that little guy… he was such a good doggy! RIP Bodee ❤️

So far so good. As you can see in this next picture, my quilt top got a little bit wider than the last with each strip. So by the time I used up the whole strip of fabric, my quilt was about 70″ wide instead of 65″. oopsie. Haha. “Oh well” I figured. “I can just use a rotary cutter and square it up before I actually quilt it, no big deal.”

Lastly, I took like 10 minutes to press all the seams down, and in the same direction. (and yes, those are leggings under my skirt. It was about February by this time and I wore boots. So the outfit was more complete with the boots on, lol. But it was sunday afternoon so who gives a fart.)

So, here I was with this finished quilt top (woohoo!!!) and I felt so proud of myself! I mean, 2.5″ squares are tedious! Piecing was not my strong suit (still isn’t) and there were like 40 strips! This was also probably the biggest quilt top I had ever pieced at the time. I think even still, it is one of the more intricate piecing jobs I have done.

I knew I needed to square up this quilt top before I could quilt it. The problem was, I didn’t have a big enough cutting board to do it. But, I did have a friend who did. So, I asked if I could bring my quilt top over to get it squared up. We’ll call her QP.

Here is where things get a little emotional…

I took the top over to QP’s, and started doing my best to lay it flat to cut it. As I was doing this, she was watching and (I need to mention here that QP has been quilting both personally and professionally for a loooong time. Like, more than 10 or 15 years. When I was starting to get in to quilting and piecing, she was always good at giving me good tips and tricks to help make things easier for me. Her seams were always perfect and her quilts were always precise- following the pattern to a T) just as I was about to slice off one side of the quilt to make it straight, QP stopped me. This is essentially how the conversation went:

QP: “Wait wait wait, is THAT how you are going to square up your quilt top??”

Me: “uuuuh yeah. How else am I going to make it straight?”

QP: “Oh no. That is not going to work at all. See how the bottom edge is bowing outward?”

She said this pointing to the bottom edge of my quilt, the edge that was the very last strip that I added. It did indeed bow outward. The fabric had very subtly gathered over the course of 40 rows. So not only was one side too wide, but the bottom edge would not be flat, but rounded instead. She was indeed right.

QP: “If you do that, your quilt will never be square and the bottom edge will always be rounded like that. If you try to square it after you quilt it, it is going to cut off rows, but only in the middle of the bottom edge.”

(Again, she was factually correct.)

Me: “Wait a second… this is a quilt for my own bed. Only me and Andrew will be using it… And if the bottom bows, well then THAT WILL BE PERFECT! My feet always get cold at night, so that extra little bit will help keep them warm! What a happy accident. Man… I am pretty good at piecing. I did that without even trying.” *feeling cocky and confident yet again*

QP: “No no no that is not going to work. You need to build good habits and the way you pieced this is not a good habit. You need to unpick all of this and start over, the right way.”


Seriously. I genuinely thought she was joking.

QP: “What??”

Me: “You’re joking right?? Do you see all these tiny little squares?? I will LITERALLY buy a whole new jelly roll and start from scratch before I UNPICK and RE-PIECE this quilt top.”

QP: “Here just let me see your top real quick…”

I nonchalantly hand her my quit top. She holds it closer to her face, to inspect the seams further (so I think).

The next thing I hear is:

You heard that right. SHE RIPPED MY QUILT TOP IN HALF!!!

At first I was like:

“What just happened?”

Then I was all like:


And then I was like:

“I can’t believe you seriously just did that.”

And then she was like:

“Well, now it looks like you have to re-piece it.”

Yeah folks. This is a true story. Not a joke. This happened to me, with a full on grown-up. See what I mean by emotional???

So, I took both pieces of my quilt top, and just walked away. Dumbfounded. I had no words. I was speechless (which is not easy for me to be, btw).

I took my quilt top home, and I cried. Like, ugly cried. How could I have been so delusional, to think that I could make a quilt without a pattern. I was so cocky about my skills and even more wrong. I took all the fabric, crumpled it up into a grocery bag, and I put it in the back of my closet. And there it sat. I would stumble upon it every few months while rummaging through my supplies or rearranging my studio, and I would pull it out, think about how hard it was going to be to re-piece it, or how bugged I would be if I didn’t. I would put it away for another 6 months and try to forget it ever happened.

Well, over 3 years later I have finally gotten over my sad emotions. If you have ever been to one of my in-person trunk shows, I may have talked about this quilt top, and how emotional it has been for me. As I have told this story a few times, I have kept thinking about how much I have grown as an artist and quilter. I didn’t want to keep looking at this quilt and letting the reminder get me down. I have been able to work through my emotions by telling this story, and I have now decided that it is going to have a different ending. (I realized that the quilt top getting ripped was never really the end of the story.)

So, a couple days ago, I took the quilt top pieces out of my cabinet and decided that I was going to re-peice the seam that was ripped down the middle. But, I decided that I would add a little something extra as I did so. I didn’t want to forget about how far I have come and how much progress I have made. I never want to forget that I am a human with imperfections. I didn’t attempt to re-do things or hide my past mistakes. Just as every sad story has a silver lining, so will this quilt.

It literally has a silver lining. Right where QP ripped it.

Now I will never forget how I got to where I am. For me, quilting isn’t just about breaking “rules” for the sake of being disobedient. In fact, that is not the reason at all. When it comes to my art, I simply choose to do things the way I please whether it is against the rules or not.

I have been quilting for years now and my seams still don’t line up…

My long straight seams are by no means “straight”…

But this quilt will serve it’s purpose, and will still be beautiful to look at. My mistakes are part of what shapes me into who I am now. My skills in my craft are not shaped by my mistakes, but rather how I choose to handle them and learn from them. My mistakes have given me empathy for other new quilters, and they have allowed me to grow into the artist that I want to be.

A few days after the ripping incident, QP said to me “We’re still friends, right? You’re not mad at me anymore?” and I said “No! I am still mad at you. What you did really hurt my feelings”…

However, I did forgive her (even though it still made me sad to think about what happened) and now, years later, I do still call her my friend. I know that sometimes we all have the best intentions paired with the worst tact. And that’s okay. We are all trying to “help” each other in our own way. But I really think one of the beautiful things about this industry (and really, any artistic industry for that matter) is our ability to love and support each other’s work and recognize that it is coming from it’s own place. I have grown as an artist through these experiences, and without them, I wouldn’t be as pragmatic in the decisions I make in my art.

This quilt is now 100% finished. Binding and all.

The piecing is not super straight…

I probably could have pressed it a little better before I quilted it…

The binding is definitely not straight…

Especially right here…

It isn’t even CLOSE to being square…

And I didn’t measure beforehand to make sure I had enough backing fabric…

So I threw in some of that pretty silver that I used for the thin line on the front of the quilt.

At the end of the day, I LOVE IT! Imperfections and all!

and I hope that at the end of the day, we can say the same thing about each other- that we can LOVE ONE ANOTHER- IMPERFECTIONS AND ALL!!!

Be great to each other.


*UPDATE* I have had such an overwhelmingly supportive response to my story, and many people have said they would love a quilt like this of their own. So, if you’d like to pick up this design to always remind you to love life- flaws and all- you can now purchase this design either as a custom printed tapestry (which can be hung in your creative space as-is, or used as a quilt top for a full fledged quilt) or you can purchase it as a ready-to-snuggle fleece blanket. Thank you again, for taking the time to read this story. ❤️


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289 thoughts on “My run-in with the quilt police…

  • Jam

    QP my butt!!

    If we all listened to the QP creativity would be long dead. My first foray into quilting was a wall hanging which I did as a machine appliqué before there was such a thing. And so it goes with my quilting. I am adventurous and will not listen to the QP. Oh, and I have a ‘little’ display going on at the library this fall!

    Glad I found you.

  • Terri J.

    Prettiest quilt I ever did see. <3 We really should "let 'er rip" and stop procrastinating because we're afraid it won't be perfect! Because the finished quilt is truly perfect in its imperfection. Thank you for posting this. lovelovelove

  • Anne Kirby

    haha lol that’s how I learned to quilt!! I think back at some of the things I made and shudder, but those things were loved by the people I made them for. But I don’t follow patterns and I pick weird colors and I do not care. Thanks for validating the imperfect quilter in all of us! And it’s a beautiful quilt, your instincts were 100% perfect.

  • Judy

    Oh man what a story behind this beautiful quilt. I like you hate to follow directions and if a friend did that to my quilt top I really don’t think I could be her friend. Friends don’t destroy others hard work. I do think everything happens for a reason and I really like the silver line down the middle to. I can’t get a top to come out square and look perfect either. someone once told me if it was perfect then it’s not hand made because only machine made come out perfectly.
    My grandmother used to make quilt tops by hand and I mean by hand. Needle and thread and thimble. I use to help her cut the squares out after we drew them on with a pen and around the cardboard pattern. She would draw and I would cut on the line. I would ask her what happens if I don’t cut it straight? She said well I will just have to sew it best that I can and it will work out ok. I have a little wiggle room.
    I remember her hands would keep sewing in and out with the needle and thread with two peices of cloth in her left hand with her fingers all every witch way because she had arthritis in her hands and I didn’t know how she could hold the needle between her finger and thumb with her fingers so out of shape, always with a thimble on her middle finger pulling that needle through. But she made the tops with love and they would come out perfectly the way she would want it. Some wouldn’t always line up straight because our squares were off.
    I am the hardest critic of my own work because I think it’s not good enough but then I think back to my gram and how she kept working away to doing what she loved by sewing those squares together with love and telling me you put your love in it and it’s just fine.
    Keep up the great work.

  • Linda

    What an awesome experience for you to learn from and be who you are! I admire anyone who breaks the rules and makes beautiful originals as I am so afraid of what people will think! I’m over 70..think it’s time to do my thing!! Thank you for your words of wisdom.❤️ Love your piano keyboard wall hanging.

    • Karlee Porter Post author

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read! It’s never too late to “go off the tracks” just a little bit, creatively. 🙂

  • Sharon

    You go girl!!! Your work is beautiful and ORIGINAL! That’s what makes it stand apart from the rest! Keep doing what you’re are doing!!!

  • joan smith

    thank you so much for posting… My quilts are not always super straight… but I must say I am getting better with each quilt…… however/ my goal is to make a usable item…. not one for a museum so I would rather finish my quitls than worry about whether they are perfect…. Brava to you……

  • Nika Harrison

    You’re a much nicer person than I am. Bless you, seriously. Anyone who had the unmitigated gall to rip one of my quilt tops would be ripped out of my life FOR EH VURRR. She would cease to exist as far as I was concerned. Like, go ahead and lose my number.

  • donna woodhouse

    I just loved your story. You know, I still do all my piecing and appliquing and quilting by hand. Yes, all of it, by hand. Partly because I just find it relaxing to move the needle in and out of the fabric while watching a movie or favorite show, but partly because I hate sewing machines and they hate me. So of course my quilts are never perfect. I don’t measure properly like I should, and I ‘wing it’ more than I should, but in the end things seem to work out. My ‘squaring up’ talent leaves much to be desired, so I completely ‘got it’ when I read about your squaring-up-gone-mad episode. My bindings are a little wobbly too and that’s okay. And my hand quilting sure does get a little more than oopsy. But all is okay. Of course in the finished product, I see all the imperfect parts as glaring, but most people honestly don’t notice. And once on the bed, or hanging on the wall, or draped across my lap, well, the world still spins quite nicely!Thank you for sharing. It made my day.

  • Sue D

    If this was hanging in an art gallery it would likely bring THOUSANDS of dollars. I love it, it is totally unique. Glad you finished it and the silver is what puts it over the top.

  • Sharyn Hanson

    Well, you certainly taught me a lesson about imperfection! I don’t think I will ever look at mine or someone elses project in the same light again! I think your quilt is unique and I love it.
    I know that I was secretly one of those QP’s looking at every seam or the color arrangement of what one with a creative imagination could build.
    I have had sewer’s block for two years now and the procrastination has been very troubling to me. I have tons of fabric, lots of time, but no drive to put the pedal to the metal (so to speak!) Now, what I really think has been a break-thru is the fact that it really doesn’t make any difference what my creative imagination decides to produce, as long as I accept that my imperfections about life really do carry over to my imperfections in creating. That being said I am going to try to enjoy sewing 2.5 inch squares together, one by one; however, I think I shall start with a mini quilt!
    I loved your story and your message. You are a creative writer too! Sincerely, Sharyn Hanson

  • Angelique Shah

    I too, am quite bad at piecing and hate to follow patterns. If someone, friend or not, ripped a quilt top I made, there would be serious consequences. The artistic process is deeply personal and there is no right or wrong way to do any one thing. You have showed incredible strength, and are definitely the bigger person by continuing to be friends with this person. I don’t think I would be able to do it.
    I’m still learning as a quilter each and every day. It’s a process and we all have our own set of challenges. Good luck to you and don’t ever let anyone stiffle your creativity.

  • Susan Chinouth

    This reminds me of this past summer when I put my quilt in a big county fair show. I knew I would not win anything because my machine messed up with the quilting part. The piecing was a spectacular multi colored batik and it had a center large beautiful panel framed with borders. To display it, the fair staff took it and repeatedly folded the top of the quilt like a tight fan blade handle and flared out the bottom – sort of like a curtain. My husband and i were so excited to see it displayed somewhere. I just wanted to share the beautiful colors with others. You can imagine my shock when I saw it! Well………I was devastated. It wasn’t a curtain, it was a quilt, a quilt with a large beautiful center panel that no one could now see. I politely told them when I picked it up that they ruined the showing of my quilt. They humbly explained that they created many areas of “mixed displays” of all the assorted craft items and took great pride in making these displays (look wonderful). In other words I was really being rude to complain and needed to humble myself. They had worked really hard to get it right. I explained that it had a beautiful center panel that no one could see and it was a quilt to be shown and not a part of a display piece. There were quilts displayed there hung up in their entirety in rectangle shape alone and not part of a craft display. I wondered why mine was chosen with other unfortunate ones to be used as a drape across a piece of pegboard? I wondered this especially as they explained that mine was actually one of the woman’s favorite quilts that was entered this year. I realized that these woman must not quilt. I also realized that the total number of quilts displayed that year had really dwindled down to an unremarkable number. I will never show another one of mine there again. You live and learn. Quilt shows are for quilts alone.

  • BobCallstrom

    I’ve quilted about 400 quilts for other people, the ones I like are full of personality and are not always easy to smooth the bubbles out of the tops. Great JOB.

  • Marlene

    Just to let you know I loved the before silver quilt and I love the after silver quilt. It just looks like home. Most of my quilts are not perfect and I like them just fine and my friends who were given the quilts as gifts like them too imperfections and all. My thoughts are imperfections make them original.

  • Marty

    Thank you for so very much for sharing this! I didn’t know the term “quilt police” until over a year after I’d joined a guild. But most of my “originals” include flaws which I know have my elder (and much more experienced) quilt quild members shaking their heads. But, like you, I decided to embrace the challenge of doing my own designs and enjoy the fun of color play so I can keep on quiltin’ while I learn “technique”. Your story is a blessing to me! 🙂

  • Linda curry

    I love your quilt and your quilting. The colors are beautiful. In the end, unless you’re having it judged, you are pleasing yourself no one else! Anyone looking at it should be able to appreciate the work that went into it!

  • Vivien

    Perfection is boring…true art comes from our individuality. When I turned 50 (15 years ago) I gave up on matchy-matchy quilting and dove in to the world of art quilting and fabric collage. The first quilt after launching into the abyss was named…”Mixed Emotions on Turning Fifty…it’s not perfect; neither am I.” Never regretted it for a minute.

  • Iva Capps

    I love your story! As a quilting teacher for many years, I always told my students…if you encounter the quilting police, ignore them. I always encouraged them to try and follow my instructiins but if you dint succeed do your best…and that goes for color also. If it pleases your eye then you and only you are the one to please!

  • Diane Downes

    I Love it! I so enjoyed your story! There really should not be any Quilt police as we all have creative license to do as we wish. That’s what the creative process is all about.Love the quilt and how you “fixed” it to finish it – it’s Perfect!

  • Angela Parry

    Oh my as a beginner quilter myself I would have given up and never done anything at all I loved your quilt mistakes and all .I am thankful I have an Aunt who is amazing and very encouraging .loved your story many thanks

  • Celia Page

    You sound like my kind of quilter. I think everyone who tries quilting should be supported. It is daunting to try to do something even if it is for yourself, if you are friends with people who are really experienced and competent quilters. I am where you were and am just starting. I hope I don’t get that sort of response it I try to do a large quilt.
    Onwards and upwards as they say and well done for finishing a lovely quilt and lovely job.

  • sandy haber

    i’ve made several quilts, and no one of them has been ‘perfect’. i even double- and triple-checked the last one i made,a baby quilt, and it still wasn’t right. but i’ve gotten to the point that i do’t really care, as long as it looks right and the person who’s receiving it is excited. my mother once told me that if every seam matched then people would know you made it, but all the imperfections were just love.

  • Wheeze

    That is beautiful!! So lively! And the ‘silver lining’ is a perfect touch, not just because of the emotion it represents for you but because it also adds a touch of whimsy that fits right in with this quilt.

    You’re a faaaaarrrrr more forgiving person than I ever could be. If someone – especially a ‘friend’ – intentionally wrecked one of my possessions it’s honestly 50-50 if I’d punch them or not. I’d certainly never be able to socialize with them again. I admit I hold grudges against nasty people.

    If you intended this quilt to be a show quilt or you were intentionally trying to get your skills up to ‘show standards’ then okay, I could see why a quilting friend would start pointing out the technical stuff – but that STILL would not excuse the ripping. But as you say, it’s for personal use and for pleasure – why does she fricking care that’s it’s not perfect?! I’m very, very glad for you that you are now enjoying this quilt but I’m steaming angry for you reading what happened. Ugh. She’s a tool. But you’re lovely so joke’s on her.

  • Carole Shaw

    I was truly astounded by your story. The fact that she was arrogant enough to actually rip up your quilt astounded me, truly! It was an abusive behavior–sort of like a parent who beats a child with a whip to ‘teach her a lesson”. You are gracious to still call her a friend in the face of this mean girl behavior. And, the fact that she asked if you were still friends tells me that she probably KNEW what she did was wrong. My guess is that she just wanted to see if she could get away with it.

    I would continue to be cautious around a person like this. I bet this aggressive arrogance is NOT a one time behavior. How many other times has she crushed the enthusiasm of other new quilters, I wonder?

    And all power to you for reclaiming the quilt. Love the silver lining!! Quilt On!

  • Melissa

    I love what you have learned from your experience and what you are continuing to embrace of your own human-ness.
    I too have learned many of these lessons and have grown in my ability to appreciate the effort without stressing over the perfectness of the product…but it has taken me a very long time.
    Thank you for your candor and retelling. I am certain this was a very difficult thing for you to handle.
    I absolutely love your piecing job and design idea. I’ve never considered piecing a quilt that way. You have inspired me to try something new.

  • Robbie

    This story was so sad and funny at the same time! I could not believe anyone would do that to someone else’s quilt. QP words can also be as harmful. I once had someone, who is an excellent quilter in her mind, that when I first started quilting, she was worried about me. I had read a story about the Native Americans and they always put a flaw in their work so that the object does not capture their spirit. That’s become my mantra “I did not want this quilt to capture my spirit.” I have to fudge all the time as I’ve always got a flaw somewhere, but if I like it I really don’t care what the QP have to say!

  • Marj

    I love your quilt idea and the way you put it together. In the beginning, it is important to get something done – preferably with colors that the person loves. We need the sense of accomplishment to push us to do more – not the sense of perfection. Practice and just doing it makes it become better. Both with piecing and free motion quilting and applique, you only get better by doing the work over and over. You must never lose the spark of creativity. Anyone can copy some one else’s pattern complete down to the fabrics and many people do and if that is their cup of tea, so be it. Encourage people to think “what if we do this”; there are no rules -so go for it. There would be nothing new under the sun if somebody did not experiment – try out ideas that haven’t been done before. They are combining wool applique on cotton — that would be a super no no in some people’s books – but it is quite beautiful. The school of thought that says “why not” needs to be encouraged so that we continue to have original pieces created with fabric..

    I think your quilt is wonderful — and well loved!

  • Elana goldberg

    Oh what a fabulous story in every way. You are me- but I am less forgiving probably because I have a thinner skin. I’m not sure I could be friends with someone who destroyed a creation of mine.l We are all human and imperfect but scrapped together we make a stunning crazy quilting community!

  • Celia

    I forgot to say there is something about this quilt that reminds me when we first bought Atari, and I could only play the centipede/spider game. This brought back a happy memory playing with our children when they were younger, and smarter than Mom to play all the other games. They loved Atari.

  • Celia

    I love your quilt, and the colors, everything you did as you were creating it. It doesn’t bother me if it’s not squared up, or if the binding is somewhat off. It’s lovely. I love the quilting you did on it. What I really appreciate is your acceptance to let your creative process go without having limits and boundaries. It’s perfect to me. Good job!


    I was stunned that anyone had the nerve, no audacity to rip something they did not create without the creator’s permission. I love the quilt! I have been known to do it my way with most of my quilts. Those quilt projects are the ones that are most loved by the recipients.

  • Debbie

    I love this quilt. I think you imperfections are perfect. I am a quilter that doesn’t follow the rules either! Being self taught I don’t even know the rules! I told the quilt shop owner I am far from a perfect quilter that I’m more of a fudger. I fudge a little here and a little there. She said, “I’m seasoned!” Ha! I love being seasoned.

  • Karen

    Thanks for a great story. You turned a sad event into a happy one. It was also a good lesson for me as I talk with other quilters about their projects. “Experts” can be so cruel. You also gave me courage to take some of my imperfect UFOs out of hiding and finish them. Thanks for sharing.

    • Karlee Porter Post author

      Thank you so much for reading! I love to write, so I am glad that it came across in this story.

  • Nancy

    I love your quilt. I would try to make one just like that and probably would not get it “right”, but then its purpose would be to bring my joy as it kept me warm. And who is to judge what is right if I am happy and warm?

  • Joan Oldale-LaPoint

    Karlee – YOU GO!!!! There are SOO many reasons to quilt, and so many parts of it to take joy in. FOr some, the nit-picky perfection, or trying to attain it, is what gives them piece of mind, I , like you, do not fall into that category. While I still strive to improve my skills, the overall artistic experience of the quilt is not about how straight or perfect things match. I LOVE your quilt. And you might have been waay more generous to your friend than I would have been. you both have very valid, but different, agendas. Anyhow, glad you were able to rise above this experience, and I am 1. sooo glad you finished the quilt and 2. sooo glad you continue on your path!

    • Karlee Porter Post author

      I agree, to each their own. I think Valid but different agendas is the perfect way to put it.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for sharing your quilt journey. As someone who DOES follow the pattern I find your story an inspiration to think more outside of the box. We are all our own worst critics and I didn’t even notice the uneven edges or less than perfect pressing until you pointed it out. I was just so drawn to the overall design and then drawn into your story.

  • Anne Beier

    Wonderful that you handled it this way. And I hope you both have “a gentle sleep” every night you use it. Every inch of that quilting is stunning ❤️

  • Linda Fleming

    Thanks for sharing. I love your story! Your quilt is so beautiful – a labor of love to be cherished no matter what the QP said.
    Thanks for the inspiration too – I have a jelly roll and some navy fabric just waiting for a project!

  • Jules

    I love your quilt. Why do the sides have to be straight or even? We’re not building houses, we’re making something that’s supposed to be comforting and warm. Perfection isn’t comforting; it’s stifling.

  • Cathy Hirchert

    I help students with special needs try to sew and quilt. I remember their first attempts at rather primitive quilting, but they were so proud that they could even try! I am glad to hear that you kept and finally finished your treasured project. I’ve done something similar and absolutely love it as my favorite, even if it is the worst sewn one!

  • Leslie Tucker jenison

    I simply cannot believe that someone ripped your pieced quilt top apart, Karlee! I had a visceral reaction to that. What a horrible, mean-spirited thing to do. I’m glad you put a silver lining on it and finally found it within yourself to finish the (beautiful!) quilt. Perfection is highly over-rated. It is those little human marks that make a thing beautiful.

    • Karlee Porter Post author

      Thank you, Leslie! I totally agree! Those human marks are what make our creations one of a kind. Perfection is overrated, especially because it is unattainable in this life! Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Love you tons!!!!!

  • Susan Jonsson

    For what it’s worth…i’d be proud to have made that quilt. That you stayed with it speaks of triumph. I am struggling now with a quilt…by far the largest ever attempted. Feels impossible…there are so many flaws. Embarrassed that after so many tries at corrections… it’s still not “perfect”… not even close. So thanks for your thoughts…. such grace. You seem like a person I would be brave enough to show my quilt to…..♡♡♡♡♡♡.

  • Pat Wiebe

    Karlee – it’s a beautiful quilt made by a very nice person! I do my own thing! Seams don’t line up perfectly, nor do the sides. Binding is wonky! When I make scrappy quilts I throw patches in a bag and sew-as-you-pull! I have friends who absolutely cannot do this and feel so uncomfortable with it. That’s OK! Usually, when the quilt is finished I’m told by them how beautiful it is! I haven’t met a quilt yet that I didn’t think was lovely! Often, when I look at a pattern, I’ll only see 1 or 2 patches I like, so I make a quilt of those patches. Many of my friends make absolutely jaw-dropping quilts. The thing about quilters is that most are so kind, generous and helpful! QPs often have some kind of problem and it seems their criticism is the only way they know how to express themselves. BTW, the group that I belong to make quilts for donation, as well as those for ourselves. It’s just a small way of giving back! Have a great day and keep on quilting!!

  • Karen Halbrook

    I think your quilt shows your free spirit. It is lovely and lively and I am happy that you finished. Thank you for the post. Your story adds to the beauty of the quilt, I would call it a treasure!

  • Katemustsew

    Holy shit! My jaw is still on the floor. So all those lady’s on gees bend are wrong? I’m guessing your white so your seems have to be straight? I carnt believe her actions denied you of YOUR quilt on YOUR bed for three years. Wow just .
    Do it your own way. I take everything as a “serving suggestion” my meals never look like the packet or recipe, why should my quilt?
    So glad it’s not haunting you any more!

  • Janet Schayer

    I love to look at those “perfect” quilts but I know I don’t have it in me to make one and I really don’t want to make one. I embrace the process and combining the fabrics in whatever way I choose. I choose to design my quilts for the most part and my joy comes from the fact that it’s original and an expression of me and my creativity.

  • Sue Ptacek

    Thank you for writing this! I have been an on and off quilter for several years, mainly charity quilts for children. Sometimes they look pretty darn good, other times, well perfection is hard to come by. But the real reason for this note. I was an art teacher before I retired. One of the things that I implored the kids to think about was figuring out how to critique other kids work in a public setting. No matter their comment I always asked “Why?”. “I love it.” “Why?” I don’t like the color they used – why. You get the idea. Usually the answer was something like “I don’t like the color orange” or some such. Then the discussion would be do you evaluate art by your own personal likes and dislikes or do you consider the source of its creation? What is right for one person is not right for another. To make someone feel insignificant because their work does not come up to YOUR standards is not only mean it is disrespectful of that person! The fact that you are still friends has earned you a place in heaven as far as I am concerned. I am delighted that you finished the quilt. What makes me think that it will be the “best” quilt you have ever made!

  • Linda

    When I first started reading this, all I could think of was how much I love your creative quilt and how beautifully it was coming out! Then I got to the part where your “friend” ripped it down the middle! I almost burst into tears! Other people have made me feel awful about something I’ve made, more than once in my life, but no one has ever done anything like what you had to endure. I admire you for being able to forgive her, but I’m sure your friendship was changed forever. You should be so proud of yourself for finishing your quilt in such a beautiful way! Enjoy sleeping under it! It is truly lovely.

  • Jean Edmunds

    There are some good take-always from your story (which made me cry!). One that stood out for me, cuz I sometimes hear words flying out of my mouth that I didn’t know I was going to say, is that if somebody isn’t asking for your advice, please don’t give it! And if your advice is sought, give it in a thoughtful and kind way. And if you are on the receiving end of “advice” that threatens to squeeze all the joy and pride you were you feeling out of your heart, try taking my Mom’s advice – if someone hurts you with words, consider the source. Should this person deserve to have the power to make you shove your creation to the back of your closet? Uh oh, here I am giving advice….
    Love your quilt! And pieced backs are my favourite things – practical and fun!

  • Ruthann Wood

    As you were telling about how you constructed this quilt, I was nodding along and thinking “Yep, makes perfect sense to me! I would totally do the same thing”…and deal with the consequences of it not being perfect in the same way too. Just lop off the uneven parts, not be bothered with a wavy binding or whatever. I DON’T CARE! I get that some people find joy or fulfillment by technical prowess and making perfect things, but that’s just not me. So thanks for this beautiful story and enforcing my belief that the less-than-perfect way I make things is totally OK!

  • Hanne

    This story is crazy!!! Who would do that to someon else’s work? So disrespectful.
    I must say, I love the colours in your quilt and the quilting motive you used (not a quilter, so no idea if I’m using the right words) Hope it keeps you nice and warm!

  • Joy Dickson

    Wow. I was thinking what a beautiful quilt. Then I got to the part where she actually ripped the quilt. Congratulations for getting it done, it letting negativity get you down and make you quit. I feel as quilters we should be encouraging, not pointing out flaws, which add interest by the way. Always try to find the good points of a quilt. You will find beauty there. I admire you for forgiving, I don’t think I could be so understanding. Love the quilt, it has personality.

  • Bev

    Wow, that felt like someone punched ME when you said she ripped your quilt top in half! Can’t begin to to imagine how you felt…

  • Ginger Lee

    I love your story! I feel the same way about all these rules. My quilting is fun, not perfect, but fun and everyone seems to love getting them as presents! So, I’m good with that!

  • Susan

    Love you!
    i am just the same….quilts dont need to line up, have straight seams
    they need to be fun to make and be full of uneven seams…so they look handmade, not in a flippen factory


  • carla c

    Thanks for sharing. Such a horrible thing for a “friend” to do.
    Innovation doesn’t come from following the rules: keep breaking them!!
    I always learn way more after making a mistake, even though they’re tough to make.

  • DanyseF

    Your quilt is beautiful and even more so because of the story behind it. I’m glad that you showed that a quilt can be “out of sorts” and still beautiful because I just finished a project that is not square. Instead of putting it in the “someday” pile (never to be finished), I’m going to complete it as is and Love It!

  • Margie Yongue

    Wow…..I think I would have come unglued if someone would have ripped my quilt in half. But it is a good story and if you forget by some chance, the silver joiner fabric will be there to remind you.

  • Jan

    I love, love, love this story. It is so me!!! I quilt and learn as I go, correcting my mistakes when I make them. This made me cry…so sweet and SO true: love each other, imperfections and all!

  • Rachel

    I taught myself to quilt and I have been quilting for about 10 years. Never do my seams line up and I know my quilts are not square and the backings are just as ‘bad’. Who cares. I do this because I enjoy it and no one that has ever gotten one of my ‘masterpieces’ has ever said, hey, your seams are crooked. I love your original design and you gave me ideas to make one for myself too! I’m glad you found your silver lining. These quilts are expressions of love and our hearts and our creativity. I am not perfect (no one is) and no one can create anything perfect except for God. Keep up the great work and I’m so glad I found your site!

  • Heulwen Price

    Oh, wow. What a traumatic way to start a hobby! And, if I’d found less kind people when I first started quilting, I might have had a similar experience. My first quilt (a bargello – was initially pieced on a dirt-cheap machine without any pins or real clue about what I was trying to do, but I could see it wasn’t going right so I ended up stopping and putting the whole lot aside while I did other things, like travel. Later, I joined a lovely local quilt group and the lady leading it very kindly showed me better ways to piece the remaining strips and finish the top. YES I ended up trimming off a bit to square it up because the first rows were really wonky, but no one gave me a hard time over it and I learned so much from the experience. That quilt is on my bed right now and I love it. 🙂 Your quilt is gorgeous, the “silver lining” is the perfect touch and you are amazing for recovering from that knock back. Here’s to winging it!

  • Anne Whiting Richardson

    I am actually envious of people who don’t know the rules and don’t care. The high school in our town had the most amazing fiber arts class because there were no rules, only projects. I loved what came out of that class. I know how to make perfect seams with precise quilts and have made a few hundred. Now, I am trying to act like an artist, use my own ideas with no patterns. I have many more false starts and disappointments. I’m trying to work my way through this. Your article was just what I needed.



    Great story. As a seasoned quilt friend, I always ask “will that bother you?” Every choice is personal and every decision we make must be ok with only one quilter, yourself. I have learned to always lend a hand to “unpiece” if that is the choice, and praise the decision “for quilts sake”.

  • Felicity

    What a beautiful quilt with an amazing story. The quilt police can get stuffed! Whilst their perfectly pieced quilts might make the quilt show judges happy, the rest of us will carry on, heads held high, seeing our handmade and unique quilts get used by our loved ones.

  • Beth T.

    When I was reading your story I wanted to throw my arms around you, at first to comfort you, then to congratulate you. Your quilt is a triumph and you story is a victory. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Natasha

    Wow. I am so sorry that had to happen to you, but I suppose these things help us to become who we are. I made a super cool quilt for my daughter with a pixelated heart on the front and I found a panel of a British flag to put on the back. I had to piece other fabrics together to make the back big enough. Then I quilted it and it was rough going. I was still learning about the best ways to do that. There were huge wrinkles, some of which I ripped out, some I didn’t. Then I needed to square it up. I ended up accidentally cutting off a big chunk of the backing at a weird angle. Then I decided I liked it and I decided to call it a “design element” instead of a mistake. How can we learn if we don’t go through these things? Honestly, your story is about learning who’s lessons belong to whom. Your friend had no right to rip your quilt. After she made her comment about it not being square you responded by saying it was ok with you. It’s your quilt, so she should have left it there. I like messy imperfections personally. Happy sewing.

  • Gale Lee

    What an inspirational story about the strength of your artistic spirit. I can’t believe that someone would rip your quilt apart to “help” you. Perfectionism is so destructive. It’s something that I have battled since childhood and it’s such a damper on creativity. I can imagine you and your hubby cuddling underneath that beautiful quilt with the memories of his special Christmas gift. The silver stripe is PERFECT. It is uniquely you and that is what makes any quilt special. I love reading your blog because you are so warm and optimistic.

  • Susan

    Oh my. As a teacher, I would never write on a student’s story unless they gave me permission, and usually not then. Things we create are too close to our hearts, too invested in emotions to have another person trample all over the work. I can’t believe someone would do that. BUT I am happy you worked through it because that is a gorgeous quilt and the silver, front and back, add so much to it. It now has a lot of meaning that it might originally not have had, but the bottom line is it is beautiful. I would put it on my bed and love it to death, which is just what you have done, I’m sure.

  • Lynn

    Karlee, I’ve been quilting for 30+ years and as hard as I try some of my seams don’t match up and sometimes my quilts àre a little wonky . BUT it doesn’t matter to the treasured people that I share my quilts with. My granddaughter doesn’t see the imperfections, she sees the love her Mimi put into her special quilt. I have shortened my list of people who are quilt worthy. I want people to feel the ❤️ that I am giving them. I don’t need a critic, because I am my own worst one. It’s a shame others can’t see and feel the love that we have to offer. Their loss.

  • Nicole Buckley aka saphre1964

    I am in absolute LOVE with this post, your quilt. AND your ability to create a silver lining. You go girl!

  • Marion

    First of all, I absolutely love this pattern. This is such a pretty quilt and I love how you did it. So many people are saying the woman was disrespectful or unkind- to me that’s mild. I don’t have words for what she did, not printable ones anyway. Kudos to you for working through the healing process from such an incredibly cruel act. I also love the back- I love a strip that creates interest and the quilting is wonderful. You could sell patterns for his quilt. I’d buy one 🙂

  • grannyo

    As i was reading your story and listened to the tearing sound effect I immediately thought why not sew it back together by matching up the red sides and putting the green on the outer edges. it would still need a little trimming to neaten up the torn threads but would have went back together just as crookedly as it was initially. Much quicker fix and no unpicking of seams. My first quilt was made with log cabin blocks long before rotary cutters and big enough for our queen size bed. Who starts out making a baby quilt? I didn’t yet have the knowledge or skill to keep everything square just sewed on the next strip and cut off the end freehand. By the time it was all sewn together it was as wopperjawed as could be but it covered us and kept us warm for many years. It got demoted to a dog bed, back yard tent, and finally to the pile of old blankets and rugs used to wrap furniture for moving. After our last move I sent most of them to the local kennel to be used for bedding but pulled my well loved quilt out at the last second and folded it and put it on the shelf with the many squarer and more accurate quilts created since. Yes there is a big tear and lots of fading from the sun and washing but we all like to remember where we come from and how far we have grown. I will share its story with my grand daughter someday when she inherits the pile to add to her own growing pile of quilts which starts with her baby quilts and now has her first quilt made with 10 inch precuts in it. We are planning her next more complicated HST blocks now. She hates getting poked with pins so we now use wonder clips.

  • Barbara Goodwin

    I read your story and I to have have a quilt that has a lot of points that don’t match and because of “expert quilters” has been in a bag for a long time. One lady, a friend, told me I should have used an easier pattern. I take it out once a year or so and think I need to finish this. They did not rip it, which was very rude, but words hurt just as bad. So glad you did not let this stop you. I don’t know if I could still call her a friend. That was mean.

  • Joyce Mullis

    Such a story – AND beautiful quilt! I would definitely like to make a version of it. Yes, I have encountered the quilt police. Too bad for them and the negativity they live with. I embrace all my quilts! Sew on Karlee, sew on.

  • Barbara Kosinski

    I love your story. It reminds me of my quilts and my own Quilt Police. So now after years of ” Are you sure you want to do that” what my friends say I have “Barbed it” or as I like to say ” I Like to play outside the BOX”. One of the Ladies in my quilt group was not happy with a quilt she was doing so she asked my opinion and did what I told her I would do. She finished the Quilt and brought it to show me and thanked me. Later that night we were talking and said to me that when I play outside the box , I create beautiful work. .

  • Paula

    It’s absolutely awesome!! You are quite a gracious person to still be friends with your friend…I don’t understand people, why do we have to fit into a mold that someone else decides is “right”? She should have been wowed by your efforts to do this so early on in your quilting! My quilts would most likely not “pass” the quilt police either but I love making them and gifting them and none of my recipients has ever complained about them not being perfect…Kudos to you for keeping on!!!

  • Alicia Schlesinger

    Glad that horrible encounter didn’t discourage you from ever trying again. Your story reminded me of a scene in the movie Never on Sunday the main character was crying in the bathroom when her lover asked why was she crying She stated that the women of her village told her she couldn’t sing because she couldn’t read music. Her lover asked Do birds sing She said yes he then asked Don’t they sing?

  • Jan

    Your story totally brings back horrible memories of my Domestic Science teacher ripping the waistband off my finished skirt because I hadn’t done something or other right. I was in total shock – only 11 years old and so proud of my first creation – I couldn’t believe she did it. Funny thing is I realise on reading your post I still haven’t got over it forty years later!

  • Emily Dorman

    Cannot describe the feeling of joy upon reading your story.
    I live in The Villages in Florida, and am a member of the Quilting guild here. There are 15-16 separate quilt clubs, with over 1000 members total.
    I have been quilting for about thirty years, and quilt for my own pleasure and the pleasure of gifting my quilts to family and friends. All of my quilts have mistakes…they are ALL Amish quilts! That means in the Amish quilting tradition, there is ALWAYS a mistake because only God is perfect!
    My quilts are an expression of my artistic-ness . I don’t do them to impress anyone but those people I give them to. I rarely use a set pattern, preferring to let the fabric ” speak” to me. I love color, Asian designs,batiks, metallic embossing… I don’t critique other people’s quilts, and unless I ask for help…well, you get it!
    Keep on being you! It’s the only person you have to make happy!

  • Veronica K

    Thank you for this! I needed to hear it. I taught myself how to sew from a sewing machine I found in a dumpster in college. I just “winged it”. I am terrible at following a pattern, I will try and merge two patterns and no matter how hard I can never get seams to match up or perfection and definitely not squared. I have come such a long way from the first quilt I ever made – where I ended up gluing the binding to the corners and it turned out half as big as I planned (and my best friend, who I made it for, still has it). I am sure if I had time to take a class I would do better. I have never had a quilt ripped, but I have been critiqued and watched as all of my money, time and love went into the dog’s kennel. My girls and friends love their capes, dresses, quilted bags and quilts. Those that don’t, don’t get them.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Angela

    I am proud of you for maintaining a friendship after such a horrific act. Art is art and is not subject to anyone’s alteration other than the creator’s. You are right in that the quilt will still function to warm your loving cuddles with your hubby regardless of squareness, woobles, wobbles or pattern (which I love!). Congrats on your courage to complete this emotional project! Keep up the random creating, as it’s working!

  • Vicky DaVall

    What a beautiful story of courage. I can remember a girl who was 10 years old. I was helping her make her first quilt. None of her seams were straight but the top still layed flat. I told her it was perfect and nobody would ever know that this was her first quilt because it’s so beautiful. I have been sewing since my mom taught me how when I was young. My husband has also taught me patience and kindness. I love teaching and helping others sewing, quilting and machine embroidery. My philosophy is never make anyone feel stupid and that I don’t know everything but I can research for you and find out!

  • Buffy

    I LOVE this story. Although I am still in shock that anyone would rip apart someone else’s quilt (not sure I ever could forgive that), your finished product is beautiful. This past weekend I pulled out a quilt top I finished over 2 years ago that I can’t quite seem to get made into a quilt. It is a love – hate project. I too love to create from what might be in my head and not on a pattern. It usually works for me. In this project, it didn’t go so well. And it took me a lot of time and extra fabric to “fix” it. And it messed up the end result I wanted. But this weekend, I recommitted myself to it. I can’t get it square. I’m moving forward anyway. It is a family quilt and the fabrics represent all of us. And we’re going to have a picnic on it. This year. I have learned more from the quilt than any other I’ve made. And I am determined to finish it.

  • Diane

    The Japanese call that technique Wabi-sabi. I love it and all it represents. When fixing something you make it even more special than it was before. Go you!

  • Jan Yokum

    When it saw the quilt at first glance I wanted to make it. It is beautiful period. Then I read the story. This story is just the way I am. I try to sew well but if I goof, oh well :-). What is the difference in making a quilt that is perfectly a lined and making say a crazy quilt? I have made quilts for people and I tell them there are are at least (?) Mistakes in it. Let me know when you find them, makes a game out of it. I am not perfect and don’t try to be. Perfect it tedious! They love the challenge!

  • Linda Swanekamp

    Gorgeous quilt!! Why does a quilt have to be perfectly squared up? Our faces are not even really symmetrical- each eye is a slightly different shape. Our lips are not symmetrical side to side. We are not wearing our quilts, so why does it have to fit a t-square? The process and composition of what you did and especially finishing it are enough. Our quilts are enough. If the stitches aren’t popping and holes forming with batting foaming out, it is enough. What your friend did was not loving, kind or helpful- but punitive. Shaming someone never brings out their best. The closest I had was a “friend” who I had invited over to see my new longarm that I scraped the money together to buy. When I showed it to her and the quilts I had done she said, “That is why I spent the extra money on computer driven, I did not want my quilts to look like this.” I free motion all my designs and do not want every area the same or symmetrical, but hand drawn. Good for you that you persevered! I have quilts crumbling in pieces that were made by my mother in law from polyester in the 70s that I treasure because she made and designed them for me.

    • Karlee Porter Post author

      What a rude comment! Made my mouth drop open! I am glad that you are not letting it stop you from creating and loving your quilts!

  • Sue

    Love your piece and the heart and emotion it represents. You have inspired me to pull out a 2 yr old top that I tried to change to meet the “art”! Police critique. Once I did that it no longer fit my vision so I put it away feeling defeated at my attempt to be creative. Now I’m ready to rip it out and take it back to my vision…..artistically right or wrong!
    One simple question would help people to not destroy creativity…..”How do you feel about it?”
    Stay warm and snug under your piece

  • Tracey Annear

    Dear Karlee,
    I absolutely love your story…I’m very much like you in that I like to create my own work of art my way and not be hampered by the rules ‘too much’.
    Keep on creating and telling this story, it’s wonderful.

  • Diana

    I just started piecing quilts last year. I have no clue how to follow a pattern so I don’t, just find a picture and follow it. I am on my second one and sometimes get so upset for things not lining up like they should no matter what I do. You inspire me! I LOVE your quilt and I love how it isn’t square. Cause mine aren’t either 🙂 I was so embarrassed to drop it off to be quilted but thank goodness she was nice about it. I am sure it wasn’t that great to her. You are amazing for being such a great person. Can’t say I could do the same. I would like to think I would though. You would never know your quilt had such a back story to it. The silver line looks planned out. I love it all.

  • Susan

    We are kindred spirits. I’m speechless because I couldn’t care less wether my quilts are perfect. I have never followed a pattern, I don’t even know how. I give my quilts away and they all have errors. I also don’t believe anyone should criticize my work. I now teach a class where I share the joy of quilting , errors and all. We give them away to women’s shelters, do you think they care if the binding is perfect or the colors are properly aligned in the color wheel?
    God is perfect I am not even close. My quilts are full of love and passion.

  • Wanda

    Wow! An amazing quilt and an amazing story. I am floored that she ripped it. So disrespectful to another perosn’s art, even if you don’t agree with it. I believe that beauty is in the imperfections. Done is far better than perfect.

  • Linda

    So glad you were to turn this into a learning exercise and come away with something
    Positive. Ripping your quilt was mean and hurtful. Criticism should always be constructive.

    Retired art teacher of 30 years.

  • Kim

    This was one of the most inspirational stories I have read. I think we all have that quilt. I personally got to the point of naming my group of friend Imperfect Piecemakers. We quilt only because we like to. Who cares about it being square? It comes with practice. I teach kids and adults that it doesn’t matter. I would love permission to repost this blog on our facebook page. I just love your story.

  • Karalee casazza

    Love your quilt..glad you forgave your “friend” but I would have been nuts if she had done it to me! Glad you finished it and your quilting is terrific.
    The fact you put all those little squares together is miraculous. Good job..nothing ever goes perfectly,one of those life lessons. We quilters do it for pleasure not for perfection!

  • Ann Jantzen

    When I started quilting about 5 years ago, one of the first things my quilting friends told me is that there are no quilt police! We can all improve and learn but not be mean about helping a new quilter.

  • Judy

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have met several quilters over the years that feel the end product is more important than the journey… I quilt for fun a relaxation..sometimes my seams are close to perfect (for me) and not so much other times, but when a project becomes more work than joy it is put away or given away!!!

  • Sue Cobb

    I am a beginning quilter in the process of making my first-ever quilt – with an experienced local quilter coaching me every step of the way. I am loving the process, but have little understanding of the why’s and wherefores. My coach has been interpreting the quilt pattern and instructing me in detail. She is a great teacher and a wonderful person who would NEVER do what your “friend” did. (If she did, I probably would totally give up on ever making anything ever again.) I was thrilled with your sense of adventure with that beautiful jelly roll, and that your sweet hubby bought it for you, and was cheering you on! (My husband didn’t even flinch at the price of on our new sewing machine, and has taken a real interest in this quilt, helping to arrange squares and talking me through instructions to thread the bobbins on the new machine. Bless his heart!) Anyway, I was horrified that anyone would do such a thing to your creation, and then so happy that you finished it on your own and in your own style. You absolutely rock!

  • Jill Leslie

    I think it was unkind of QP to rip your quilt in half. I love that quilters are sharing of their time and talent. I agree with you that we tend to “love and support each others’s work and recognize that it’s coming for it own place”. Unfortunately QP forgot that for a moment.

    Glad that you have grown to the point where you could finish and love your quilt. And I’m glad that you can still call her a friend. Congratulations!

    Just curious: did you try to pull it back “on grain”?

  • Jackie McEachran

    Back in the day (the “70s) I made a scrap quilt with lots of different fabrics. Blocks and sashes were scrappy. We didn’t talk about scrappy then. Was at a friends working on it hand.. there were 2 ladies there ..older ladies.. who had won ribbons at the Michigan State Fair. I was impressed. They didn’t like that my sashings were scrappy. One said that we don’t make scrappy sashing. I remeber she turned he back on what I was doing and walked away. I was humiliated. I put the quilt away. A few years later when I had more experience with quilts I took it out and finished it. It’s cute. I like it. So I understand how you feel about the Quilt Police.

  • Liz

    Ha ha. I love it. Reminds me of those punch cards that were done to make a computer do its thing. Love the colours. By the by are seams suppose to be straight? Oh ya they say so. Teach instead of criticizing. Works much better. Happy quilting.

  • Gail

    I love the quilt. I would love to do one similar. I empathize (can’t spell) about the QP. I have had my issues with them. I am not going to rip it out either. Like you I believe it is part of the story of the quilt. My family has come to expect the little anomalies and actually looks for them. thank you so much for sharing

  • Elaine Theriault

    Whoa — I can’t believe you’re still friends! That behavior is absolutely disgusting! No one has the right to treat anyone that way – NO ONE! I love this quilt and I never even noticed the silver lining when I first looked at it. My first thought – I love the quilt and I want to make one just like it! So pooh pooh to QP!

  • Betsy Goodfellow

    Bravo for finishing it after you were totally traumatized by the QP! I can’t even imagine ripping someone else’s work in half. Shame on her! Friends don’t do that to each other. I love your quilt, by the way. Keep on quilting and using your creativity!

  • Janice LeBlanc-Sitts

    I absolutely love this!!! I thought it was intentional and I would love to do a random square/strip quilt just like this…too bad your friend was so honest but I guess at the end of the day, we value that friendship for those heartbreaking honesties…It helped you finish your quilt for you/your husband to share! well done.J

  • Val Lees

    I love your quilt story. I sometimes wish people would just let me create, as when you are criticized it makes you doubt your ability and you have difficulty returning to your craft. Thanks for letting me know I can be the perfect imperfect person God intended!

  • Norma Tyndall

    Thank you. I quilt for the soul refreshing the colors and feel of the fabric and the look of the faces of those who receive my gift. But I too have been shredded by a well meaning QP with perfectionist tendencies. Ironically it was me who encouraged her to start quilting! Little did I know what was in store.

    I made my first triangle quilt last spring. Color and white. I reversed the cutting instructions and have much more white than color. C’est la vie of a shift working, sleep deprived nurse. Perfect? Heck no. Finished? Happily.

    My skills have improved over my 25 years of this art/passion/obsession. But I’m still cautious who I show my projects.

  • Mary-Anne buist

    Karlee – such a heartwarming story – I like you don’t believe in quilt police – and I hate to follow instructions – do what makes you happy – as for the rest of them – they can pretend to live in their own perfect little minds …..LOL – your quilt is just perfect!

  • Heather Seibel

    Karlee, I am a precision utter and picker, because that was how I was taught to quilt. However, my first look at this quilt was one of “wow, I LOVE that!” It wasn’t until that I read this blog, that I realized it wasn’t flawlessly constructed. So what? It is striking and beautiful and the fact that you dreamt up how to build it in your head, without a pattern, is even more spectacular! I love your quilts, and your music threadwork quilt is still my favorite quilt EVER. As an avid musician, I have had friends from around the world send me photos of that quilt! When you can create masterpieces like this, the quilt police can take a flying leap…

  • Liz Ford

    Oh god I LOVVVVEEEE how you finished this quilt. Especially the not measuring enough backing. I AMA like minded artist and like to encourage other quilters and textile Artist to enjoy the process and believe in their own style.

    I actually took a deep breath and cried “nooooo” when I listened to the audio of the rip. I can image soooo many tears. Sharing your story will give so many people encouragement to carry on dispite the quilt police and critics.

  • Helen Ducker

    Love the randomness of it. Even love the bits where the same colour squares come together. It’s as if the squares are alive and wandering along to meet up with their gang of friends. This is now a VERY special quilt.

    Quilt Police can be pains, but they are also useful in getting your standards up, so quilts do not fall apart.

  • Sherrill Conley

    Love your story! Sometimes we are so busy trying to please other people we forget to please ourselves!
    Your quilt is beautiful! Really. Before I read the story I thought ” Wow, I should save a picture of this so I can make one.”
    Nice job. Well done.

  • Liz Holpin

    This is a a great ending. I love the way you tell it and I love how you created your quilt. It is a lesson for anyone who is helping or teaching new quilters that should be borne in mind. Thank you for sharing Karlee. Liz x

  • Sara Grembowski

    Great story! We all have imperfections and deserve to be loved in spite of them. Love your quilt!!!

  • Susan Dunne-Lederhaas

    Sweet! The heartbreak of a violation of friendship, and of ethical conduct for a professional, is not acceptable.. You are so special to have “invented” your silver lining! Gold Star, which also shines and is given for being brave! Your story is so very inspiring! I have been a Fiber and Textile Artist for over 35 years, and still make oodles of mistakes…SO!! I still pursue excellence, and that makes me feel warm and fuzzy..
    Susan Dunne-Lederhaas
    Charlotte, NC

  • Berta

    You are so talented. . I love quilts and quilters that gave them self the freedom to be free!!. I too am a quilter with my own ideas.. and still making mistakes but getting better after 40 years!! (•¿•)

  • Jan Christine

    beautifully written about a beautiful quilt, and how you were able to get past a really bad moment! Thank you, the quilt police happen to us all, how we recover becomes part of our story as an artist!

  • Barb Crawford

    This is EXACTLY why I do not Quilt! My daughter has a Quilt Store. Yes, an expert in her field!. We would be on bad terms non stop. I hate math, I hate sitting in one spot all day, The only thing I may have in common with you would be in organizing the colors. I love to ORGANIZE! I would organize this box of color’s weekly and by touching this fabric this often, I would visit this box to make sure someone had not touched it. Now that I have been able to view all of your IMPERFECTIONS, at the age of 83 I may give this another try. Love your step by step
    instructions best, making one long strip from here to there seems right…then cut the strips on so on and so……

  • Mary Frogge

    ❤️ this! I am stuck (for seven years) on a quilt for my oldest daughter’s Air Force retirement. Measuring and straight stitching are not an issue for me. Half the squares are done. There is one large rectangle in the upper left that has an appliqué On it. All pieces have been cut, numbered, traced. Just can’t get motivated over it. I know she has given up on me, but I am still trying. Long short, I am a neat freak and can’t seem to get my act together so I can sew. I have suffered major losses this past month. Pray I get my act together. By the way, I love, love your creative quilt!

  • Lovie Shelton

    Love your story. Thanks for sharing. I quilt a lot by the seat of my pants and all is not always perfect, but I enjoy the process and the smiles of faces of those I have gifted my quilts too.

  • Julie

    It’s beautiful!!!! And a wonderful story we can all learn from. In the end, it is your quilt, and if it makes you happy, that is all that matters!

  • Doureen Morse

    I love the fact that you let the negative comments roll off you back. It doesn’t matter what other think, it’s all about how you love it .The love and time put in it,,is all that matters. If they cant see that everyone has a unique quilts then, they need to take a second look at some of there quilts. I know I have a lot of unique quilts myself.

    Thank you for sharing .

    By the way I love it.

  • Deborah

    Thanks for the inspiration! I love this idea and love blues. I think I will (sometime) get several blues from mid-range to dark and cut strips of different lengths. Rather than rainbow squares, I might use my stash emphasizing light pinks to rich wine and perhaps butter yellow and shades of purple. My blues will start with lights and go to the deeper colors and my squares will start with darks and go to the lighter shades.

    I see patterns and classes as more of learning opportunities and suggestions. My work is never perfect and I don’t care. I love the creative process and don’t want it to become tedious.
    When I was younger I tried to follow a few other peoples rules (in painting as well as quilting and design). I was never happy with the results when I substituted someone else’s preference for my own. I am interested in learning new techniques and getting new ideas, but please myself not someone who is probably better technically, but does not have my vision (as I do not have theirs).

  • Kathi Garrison

    Love your story! I quilt the same way, and you made me feel that I was not alone and we’re ok just as we are. Thank you!

  • Jean Condon

    This is a great story. I’m sorry it happened, but I love your approach. I see myself in much of what you’ve said. I’m sending this to my super artistic granddaughter. She’s going to meet the art police and I want her to view it with your eyes. At the end of the day we need to make ourselves happy and not be too critical while we learn.

  • Susan Clarke

    I love the quilt. I have that jelly roll, and I see it rolling out, soon.
    I hope that you are flattered by my imitation, because it is a compliment for you.
    Sometimes I poked at a member of the QP squad, just to get a reaction. Then I do it my way.
    Fun is where you find it!

  • Pattie Bethune

    Cannot believe QP ripped your quilt! So here’s my take-there are NO Mistakes in your personal quilting EVER! There are DESIGN OPPORTUNITIES in what ever we put together. A quilt is an act of love made tangible….

  • Katie McBride

    When I FINALLY realized that my seams would never be straight and my quilts would never be square there was a moment when I considered giving it all up. But then I looked at all of the beautiful fabric on my shelves and thought, ” $&@$&@ it!,” I will keep making my quilts and keep giving them away and if anyone complains I will just re-gift that quilt to someone else. What a feeling! Everyone who has received one of my quilts has only shown gratitude and admiration. The best thing is when I see pictures of people with the quilts I have made in the background obviously being used. What a feeling, right? QP be damned! Imperfect quilters unite! We create beauty and a bit of comfort to those we love and how many people can say that?

  • Allison Korb

    I never understood this either, where are people supposed to start then? I started quilting when I was in my 20s and was terrified to take my quilt top to a longarmer because I had heard stories of rejection. Being told to go back home and fix it. It was a blessing really because I ended up just buying a longarm. Now, after 6 years in business, I am so happy when first time quilters come in and say “we heard you were the nicest longarmer!” Because truly…. any and all wonkiness can be hidden, fixed nicely, or just flat out LEFT ALONE, and they can be happy with what they made. My #1 shop rule…. you’re not allowed to criticize your own quilt!

  • Valerie

    Is she really still your friend? I think that was an unforgivable act! Saying that I also have ‘friends’ that have wronged me. When I saw this quilt I immediately said I want to make a quilt like that and I am going to do just that! I think it is beautiful!

  • Kathy

    I love your quilt, it is so creative. I have had my own run-ins with the quilt police. What I tell them is, “Done is better than perfect.” As long as I am pleased with the quilt, that is all that matters.Keep on breaking ‘the rules’, your result is stunning!

  • Ella Broekhuizen

    That is a very detailed and honest story and so much like me. I hate measuring, but love colors, and composition. But not measuring, so really laughed out loud, reading about how you write about: cutting off “about ” ….inches and “probably” ….bahhaaaaaaaaaaa, that’s me. And starting a quilt not following a pattern from a book, is what I do. At least we’re original!
    And you got that chattered dream out of its bag again and started repairing and adapting. Wow, you tackled it right there!! And made something very special, silver lined. I love it !
    You are a very brave woman. And by the way, I didn’t read much about the quilting, but that looks pretty good to me….I wish you lots of fun and enjoyment with your piecing and quilting, and more good friends that bring out the best in you. Thanks a lot for sharing! Ella B from New Zealand.

  • Marty

    Karlee – thus quilt is gorgeous. Story – well, as a new quilter I would’ve been devastated. As an experienced quilter (still learning after 28-yrs), I would’ve admired my friends’ quilt, her passion and creativity, and imagined she may eventually sew better, or not.

    You’ve come a long way, stuck to your passion, art, and created a world for those of us as passionate but not as creative in the same way. To dream big. Thank you.

    And congratulations to your new little creation – your son! God’s blessings.

  • Fran Cox

    your quilt is lovely and quirky. I would say it reflects you. The quilt police struck me in my second year of quilting I did a challenge quilt in a mixture of fabrics. cotton. gaberdine, Lame. satin brocade, suede, I love the finished wall hanging, after I finished it I threaded silver thread and glass beads to hang down ro reflect light streaming from glow worms.

  • Sandhya

    What a story. I still don’t understand the thing about this being right ir wrong or has to be done this way only. As long as it is what you want and your vision the method is not all that important.
    I have learned all about sewing and quilting almost on my own. Looking and learning ang trying out easiest ways that worked for me. This was way before the internet and easy access to all those wonderful videos.
    Your quilt is beautiful and has given me ideas to make a few myself using your technique.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  • tina

    I love this. As a teacher, I will question a student, “are you happy with this”. Because in the end, that what is most important. They will come back to me later and and say, remember when. Look how far I’ve come. Love the imperfect.

  • Silvia Wheeler

    My friend who taught me to quilt always said “No one sees the mistakes but you”. She is right. I also had a somewhat similar incident many MANY years ago when I was just learning to cross-stitch. A “friend” was trying to teach me & I just wasn’t getting it. She said to me “maybe you shouldn’t do cross-stitch, you’re not very good at something pretty simple”. Hmmmmm…..I was so very determined to “get it” after that. And I did & did a whole lot of it & managed some designing of my own over the years until I discovered quilting! I have sooo wanted to see that person again to give her my middle finger in her face. Someday…..
    I love your quilt – its beautiful. Made even more beautiful with the story. Thanks for sharing it. We all need to hear these things to keep inspired.

  • Kathleen Barnett

    What a wonderful, heartfelt story. I have a few WIPs in the closet that will never be technically correct but this inspires me to get them out and finish them, no matter what the end result is in a “professionals” eye. Thank you!

  • Buffie Lorah

    Wow so proud of you for digging it back out and finishing it. Too gorgeous to lay in a drawer or box! I am not sure I could forgive for ASAP ripping it….. But I may have returned the favor so she could see how devastating it is to have someone judge so harshly and to rip such a piece of art. Nothing’s perfect but so long as we ourselves love it, it’s good to go in my book!

  • Pixie Swearengin

    I’m a do my own thing quilter. The only time I quilted by pattern book was my first and only quilt class. I’m one that sees a piece of fabric and let it talk to me. I’m never sure where I’ll end up. Up until 3 years ago I pieced by machine but quilted all by hand. Unfortunately I’ve had Lupus since 1998 and have developed Neuropathy in my hands, feet and legs which means no feeling in those limbs. No more hand sewing and only some machine sewing on a good day. My point to this is, you’re making it, it’s your inspiration and your way regardless of what anyone thinks. Happy Quilting!

  • Janet

    I cannot believe that another quilter RIPPED your completed quilt top!! Wow! that is harsh! I think it looks marvellous. I love all the movement you added with the quilting. Enjoy sleeping under it!

  • Joan Ferguson

    Love your quilt!! Love all the little squares and the dark navy background. You are far nicer/forgiving than I am—not sure I would ever forgive anyone who would rip my quilt top a part…….Your quilting is beautiful, too!!

  • Annie Miller

    I love this quilt. I think everything about it is terrific. Bravo! Don’t listen to QP or anyone like her ever again.

  • Sarah Craig

    Karlee, it is a glorious quilt, and don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise! You are a much bigger person than I am – I have little patience with quilt police and think they do more to hinder new quilters than help them. Keep being a shining light!!

  • Kathleen

    I love your quilt. Looks like one of those digital scanner things. I almost lost it when I read what she did. Took the air right out of me. You handled it well. Gland you finished it and can enjoy it☺️

  • kathleen

    Oh my goodness, I love you!!!! Your quilt is just like you, perfect with all it’s perfect imperfections.

  • R Start

    Your quilt is beautiful and very eye-catching. I just finished one using a method new to me—quilting each square and then joining them all with strips. It got very messy towards the end and it SURE isn’t “perfect” (lots of crooked seams & top stitching)—but you know what? It’s MY ART and ART doesn’t have to be perfect. I love the colors of it (black, hot pink & white) and maybe purists wouldn’t like it, but it’s good enough for me. I am working on my next quilt with that strip method now—maybe it will be an improvement, but even if it isn’t, it’s MY ART! Good for you to finish it; I think I would have finished my “friendship” with that woman.

  • Lenore

    Love your quilt and understand your feelings too. I have a 1 inch Irish chain I have been doing for 3 years or more too. It is not perfect the little squares just do not want to line up but it is ours and is on the quilting machine and will get finished soon.

  • Carolyn Lawrence

    Awesome story…ripping someone’s quilt is extreme!!!! You finished it you love. You sleep under it with your silver insert as a reminder of how to treat everyone…respect! The quitting is amazing.

  • ROsemary Chiavaras

    Omg. I love you for this heartwarming story. I made about 13 quilts. Hand quilted them! None of them were perfect, but all of them brought me so much joy. They have built in (or sewn in) memories that will never disappear. Thank you Rose Chiavaras

  • Barbara

    And, as an added bonus, you can actually tell when someone takes more than their half of the quilt during the night!


    Love it! I love your attitude too. I’m just now becoming comfortable and accepting that my quilts will never be perfect but they’re mine! And your quilt is awesome!

  • Margie

    What a story! I’ve been quilting so long that I have my own standards. Hope I have never been that cruel to anyone. Fortunately or unfortunately my mind and personality are “square”. That is not saying I am perfect but I am square . The last quilt I made had part of a unit upside down and I didn’t see it until it came back from the longarmer. But it was square!

  • Marie Z Johansen

    WonkyWorld mentioned this post in on his blog and I had to have a look.
    I began quilting in 1976 ….when quilting was being “re-discovered”. Cotton-poly blend blend fabrics and cardboard templates and cutting with scissors almost guaranteed that each quilt would be “unique” and “have character”. This was pre quilt-police so there was no “shame” in being joyfully imperfect!

    I believe that perfection is over rated. Striving towards perfection may be a good thing. Having a goal is healthy. That being said I think that QP’s can take some of the joy out of quilting, and can also encourage people to become overly self-critical, unwilling to take leaps of “sewing faith” and experiment, and can impede a quilter’s belief in their talent and vision. To me – that is sad.

    I love that your quilt has a story as well as a silver lining. It looks perfect to my eyes. Loved this post!

  • Cindy

    Thank you for sharing. I love the story. I still use one of my first quilts alllll the time and it’s definitely NOT perfect. I think that’s why I love it so. You have a great quilt and should share your “pattern” with others. Thank you again.

  • Dorothy Fu

    Hi, Karlee: I have seen and always admired your machine quilting before and I know you are an artist. I feel for your painful experience regarding piecing this quilt. I have not had this kind of thing happen to me regarding quilts but yes regarding other crafts I have made. I still remember the shock I felt when someone said to me,’Oh, that is so ugly… oh, it’s a mistake, you shouldn’t have done that, etc..’ Over the years, I have learned to develop rhino/crocodile skin. The truth of the matter is ART is so personal, especially when it is made with a loving purpose behind it. Perfection does not necessarily make a piece loved. It may be hard to believe but I have a quilt which when finished could be described as ‘perfect’, yet I did not enjoy making it, and do not love it.
    I have learned to recognise critical spirit and if at all possible stay clear of those people. If people give me criticism I would remind them I didn’t ask them for it.
    If you need a long table to do some work, perhaps you could go to a local library or church and borrow a spare table. Just a thought.
    I am so happy you have the loving support of your husband. It’s a lot harder for singles.

  • Carrie

    Your quilt is absolutely beautiful. And the fact that it makes you emotional is part of it. Each quilt we make has a piece of us in them and as we are imperfect creatures they are all imperfect! And that is a big part of their beauty. If we wanted perfect quilts we could find a machine made one. Without the human element it would be perfect.
    Kudos to you for finishing and loving your quilt and journey.

  • Gail Thomas

    I love your quilt and the fact that it is not quite square. I have trouble squaring quilts myself and I am going to bookmark this for when I get hung up on perfection. (Which is not very often, but its nice to see it in writing.)

  • Karen Palmer

    You are an exceptionally creative person and most creative quilters I know do NOT have perfect seams, binding, or square quilts. What they DO have is design and color sense and their quilts are the ones that earn the gasps at the quilt guilds. Creative types like you are the ones that are asked to teach classes on their methods of quilt making, because the finished project is so beautiful. You were a very big person to forgive the person that ripped your quilt. Being precise is also a good thing, but we should each appreciate the other folks strengths which are not our own.

  • Pat Ardley

    I hope that woman can understand the Kindnesss that you have shown her. I love the way you worked the quilt. I am pretty sure that would be how I would make one.

  • Pam Reim

    Good for you! In my mind, I call myself “The Haphazard Quilter but decided maybe people would get the idea I didn’t care about my quilts if I used that for a blig title..
    Maybe I should rethink that & carry the label proudly!

  • Tammera Beverage

    Angela Walters saya, “Close enough is good enough, and finished is best.” One of the ladies in my quilt guild says, “It looks great from the back of a galloping horse.” Quilt for the love of quilting, those who receive your creations as gifts will love and cherish them. Once you put it on the bed, any wobbles disappear. I started quilting 2 years ago and long arm quilting just one year ago. I design my own patterns, too. Whatever works best for you is the correct way.

  • Susan Wharton

    I love your quilt! The confetti look of the rainbow colors is wonderful. QP was so very wrong. You weren’t trying to make a show quilt but just a love quilt for your family. It is a beautiful thing. (And it was before her intervention.) Thank you for showing and teaching your quilting style.

  • Linda Melancon

    You are SO RIGHT about the Quilt Police
    some quilt people are so ARROGANT about their Perfect Quilting that it takes over their
    I have pieced 90% of a quilt 3 years old
    I identified with ALL your feelings.
    Cannot believe that person did that to your

  • Mimi

    I loved this when I first saw it and I love it more after knowing the story. I too had the quilt police quash my joy. I went on to other sewing (costuming for theater mostly). Maybe I’ll take your route and try again, knowing that to me, the quilt police don’t matter!

  • Jeanne Marklin

    Great way to make lemonade out of a sour experience. I hope your QP friend has also seen that what she did was hurtful and not the least bit helpful. Sleeping under it must be very satisfying!

  • carol crabtree

    I love your quilt.When i look at old quilts i love every stitch and square,thinking about all the love that went into it.So your quilt would be one that i loved.

  • Angela Dudek

    It’s just beautiful. It reminds me how the Japanese repair pottery with precious metal to remind them that things that have been broken are more beautiful. Also I would have punched QP. You’re a good person.

  • Laura

    Loved your story! I have a two quilts in my closet that have been criticized by the QP!! I think I will pull them out and finish them my way. Thanks Karlee!

  • Shasta

    Wow! That is quite a story! I can’t imagine what someone would be thinking tearing up someone’s quilt top. Maybe she had watched some dramatic movie where some dramatic move worked out in the end. In your story, I guess it does work out in the end, even if it isn’t the way she was hoping. Your quilt looks fabulous, and now it has a story that adds to the quilt more than just fabric ever could.I’m glad you were able to work through the pain and finish this gorgeous quilt.

  • laura rieben

    I love it, too! No one has the right to rip up your quilt (either literally or figuratively). It’s a great quilt and will keep you warm and cozy.

  • Elaine Murray

    I love it! You are an artist for sure! My mom was the “seamstress police” so I don’t make clothes, I quilt. I quilt with a lady who has no idea what she is doing..recently gave me a quilt to quilt for her that the batting is pinned to the top from the batting side and the back is loose….i will repin it of course but this is not the first one I have done for her……..She has no care for colors or matching seams and when all is said and done her quilts are beautiful and colorful and one-of-a kind. I tried to get her to be more careful but she said it was too much work…I love her to pieces! In my eyes she is a true artist while I am a pattern follower.

  • Hettie Pringle

    This was such a comforting read. I too have been quilting for several years and occasionally show an almost finished quilt or sometimes completely finished quilt to fellow quilters and I’m always stunned by the criticism. If it came from a professional all good and well but then these people have not made more quilts than I (I guess they are scared of their own critique) or show completed quilts on any public forum and for a while I let it get to me until I realised, this is my hobby, something I do to be in MY happy place, so someone else’s mediocre opinion will not put me off, ever again. If you are so perfect, well then show me the proof. I however needed to read your story just to make it sink in “what you as the quilt maker, thinks, loves, enjoys and are satisfied with, is all that counts.” Phew!! Plenty and LONG sentences in English, another accomplishment, so now I can pat myself on the shoulder again!

  • Terri j

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. But GOOD FOR YOU, finishing that lovely quilt!! It is beautiful.

  • Ginnie Fletcher

    Thank you, thank you, for sharing this terrible, wonderful story!
    I love quilting, and art, and while I am awed by the remarkable talent and skill of our master quilters, I’m equally wowed by the pleasure of making something, anything, that the artist loves.
    I don’t have to love your quilt, and you don’t have to love mine, but the creativity and joy they bring is what is all about.

  • Kelly C.

    I love your quilt and the story behind it! It is a great reminder that we are all different, we have different goals and methods of achieving them. The quilting is beautiful! It reminds me of my first quilt…many seams don’t match, and some wonky blocks that I would not leave in a quilt now. But I love it as it is because it is part of my journey to finding my own style.

    If you have forgiven QP and can still call her a friend, you are a better person than me! I will remember that part of the story the next time I run into my local quilt police. Thanks for sharing.

  • Yvette Swol

    A wonderful work of art from the heart! I could never have done that you should be proud especially with all the emotions involved.
    Enjoy you new quilt….

  • Kim Cotcher

    Karlee! I love this story and the sentiment at the end! You are so right! It is not about perfect seams or piecing but the journey and loving and encouraging each other. Thank you for sharing! God Bless You and Your Sweet Family!

  • Barbara wolfe

    Love this story and it is so true! It’s an inspiration for everyone that thinks their work isn’t good enough! Everything we all do is perfect!!!

  • Katina

    Love your story. If only Be could applaud each other instead of being cruel. I love the quilt and wish I could create something like that. I am half way between needing a pattern, and wanting to begin with an idea and wing it.

  • Faye Hodgkins

    Karlee – an excellent example of life in general, not just quilt life. We are who we are. Acceptance of each other, with imperfections, is unconditional love. So, too, is our quilting life. If someone follows all the rules and pieces ‘perfectly’ – fine. If someone quilts what their heart tells them to quilt – fine, too. IT’S ONLY FABRIC! We need to let the creativity out – period. Your quilt is gorgeous and better still, its beginning story is why you pieced it. Hubby made you happy with the jelly roll, you made him happy with a quilt of your own design. The fact that a silver lining had to become involved is also a metaphor for what life throws our way – the unexpected, sometimes hurtful. Make the best of what happens, grow from it and move along. Life is still good, love still happens, creativity still wins out. Love to you….

  • Marge Hurst

    I dunno, people think the Gee’s Bend Quilts are marvellous and I don’t think they have ONE STRAIGHT LINE, so why can’t you have a few imperfections? As you said, you love it. The colours are great. It is bright and cheerful. The quilting is super. You and your husband/partner/whatever are going to sleep under it and no one else will probably see it. It will keep you warm. What else is needed? NOTHING! And I ALWAYS make my backs of several pieces. Mostly either stuff I would never put on the front, or stuff I love too much WHOLE to cut into pieces.

  • Janette

    You are very forgiving. Im definitely sure i could never forgive a little b like that !! However close we were that would be it for me!!

  • Jane Mills

    I love it too! Those QP are responsible for so many quilters being scared to continue in their own way – just like music teachers were really good at banging me on the head with a recorder – never did learn to read music! And the `art teacher who told me that my pictures/drawings did not look like anything recognisable! But I did better with my own children at home – I hope!! And I am a Quilter – even a Textile Artist!!

  • Mairi Burns

    Iloveyour quilt and what are rules for? If not to be broken once in a while. Your friend taught you an incredible lesson (Just not a quilting lesson though) a life lesson none the less . Keep doing what you do cos it’s done from the heart

  • Sue Towner

    Congratulations Karlee on your quilt. I too have had run ins with QP. It really does make you feel downhearted. I, like you, have decided that whatever I make, I make to the best of my ability and ignore those people who are small minded. I am happy doing what I do and I pass my quilts on to those in need. They don’t judge but just love the gift I have given them.

  • Ann (kvintaen in IG)

    I looove that top! Now I am inspired to have a go at this ‘controlled improv’ but perhaps in a smaller scale, for a large pillow perhaps.
    And good for you that you can see that horrible act as a defining moment and move above and beyond it! I would probably not have been able to be gracious about it. Most certainly that QP would have made me never want to try again… and she would either have had a very serious scolding or lost me as a friend.
    Thanks for the insight and inspiration!

  • Darlene

    Oh my, you have an amazingly forgiving heart. The image of your quilt top torn in half breaks my heart – it is beyond my ability to understand how anyone chooses to physically FORCE another to change their piece of art, because they think it needs to be done correctly. She has the great good fortune to have been forgiven – a miracle. It would have stopped me in my tracks – perhaps for decades. Coercion caused my PTSD – coercion is a form of brutality that can literally destroy another life, human or animal. Yet, your loving heart has allowed her to be a friend, and has created many works of art during the time it took for you to be able to finish your quilt top. I love how you breathed new life into it with the silver strip – I love all of the colours of the rainbow. Life is not perfect – it is not supposed to be squared up, even and tidy – life and art are messy – really messy. Thank you for sharing your heartbreak and your journey to healing. You have helped me heal a bit more, enough that I am ready to tackle my first quilt, knowing that it does not need to be squared up, or straight – it just needs to be beautiful, not correct, to make me happy. I am in awe of your ability to forgive, to heal, to work through the trauma It began as a quilt top that was really special to you – you worked so hard, spent so many hours, and it was a gift from “hubs.” It finished as an even more special work of art! Your finished quilt is beautiful – it makes my eyes happy. I love it, love the shiny silver joining the halves – truly love it. Your quilt is a wonderful piece of art representing a wondrous story of healing and forgiveness. Your story makes my heart happy, knowing that no matter what awful things happen, people do heal and art can be transformed into something new rather than repaired. Your generous forgiving heart worked hard to heal, and your new work of art is even more special, shining a warm, healing light into our world – into my heart. Thank you Karlee for sharing your heart filled with shining stars and rainbows. Thank you for helping me to heal. I am so grateful.

  • Tami

    Wow! I can’t believe that your QP ripped your top in half. When you said that you were happy with it then they should have just taught you the method for piecing straighter for future reference. Then you’d have the knowledge to do so if you chose. But it’s nice that you remained friends.

    I love the silver fabric! It’s sort of like the Japanese tradition of fixing broken porcelain with gold.

  • elvira

    Love the story!! I definitely agree when you wrote “For me, quilting isn’t just about breaking “rules” for the sake of being disobedient. In fact, that is not the reason at all. When it comes to my art, I simply choose to do things the way I please whether it is against the rules or not.” After all, imperfections what make the handmade Quilt perfect.

  • Sobana Sundar

    Except for the ripped quilt that is me all over! Seams that don’t match – yes, could do with more starch and pressing – yes, edges never really squared – it is a miracle to me that people really square such huge pieces, and binding that is a tad wavy!! But I do keep making quilt after quilt, except I am harsh on myself and don’t always love the end product. Keep hoping next one would be better. You have given me something to think about!

  • Lisa

    I love the color placement and layout of this quilt. And it served a purpose that you intended for it to have. I think that’s the most important thing when we quilt. Perfection is boring.

  • Connie Kelsey

    I think we could be Soul Sisters Carly. So much of what your story was about sounded like my life as a quilter. My mom taught me that if you can’t do something fast, it’s not worth doing. I’m also not a perfectionist I’m a good-enough-inist. And lastly I cannot read instructions because it’s just two annoying to try to understand. I call my patterns ‘Connie build a quilt.’ Im a very busy commercial quilter with little time to piece so I’m happy as a clam. Hugs

  • Cheryl

    Good for you! I would likely not have been as gracious as you…how dare anyone touch my quilt and/or critique it…especially if it were just for me! You are a better young woman than this old one! BTW…I love the quilt!

  • Nancy Woods

    I don’t know why some people have to be so mean. I hope telling your story has been healing to you. You are enough. Please don’t forget it. Hugs!

  • carol

    What a great story, Karlee! I really enjoyed it.I am just like you in the sense that I like to do things my own way too, I am a recovering perfectionist, and life is a lot better since I recovered. It is very hard for me to follow someone else’s patterns too, and in fact I don’t even like to look at other quilters patterns because I don’t want to be influenced by them. I want to do what I like to do and my own way. I can only think that most designers would be that way! Thanks for the story, and I think there are too many quilt police out there. I have read stories about quilters who have shown their quilts at shows and get really bad comments from the quilt police. Not something I want to do.
    Carol Steffensen
    Chickadee Hollow Designs

  • Karen I Marks

    Love the story. My quilts are far from perfect too, I taught myself to make quilts and evidently not the correct way. I hand quilt all that I have. Can’t seem to get the hang of quilting on the machine. I feel I’m still learning. I have been quilting for about 15 years. I have belonged to several quilt clubs but didn’t stay since my quilts looked nothing like theirs. Oh well they are mine and are loved by those who have gotten them. I think!

  • Louise

    I am so pleased to hear your seams don’t match,and things aren’t perfect. Sitting in my cave I had just come to that realisation and then I read your story. Thank you

  • Candice

    Love this ❤️ Love you! This story reminds me of so many times I’ve tried something new and failed at it. I, too, would stuff them somewhere so I couldn’t be reminded of it. But it’s interesting how you didn’t throw it away, you WANTED to finish it because it was important to you. I’m so impressed that you did. You’re my hero

    • Karlee Porter Post author

      Awe candice! I love you so much! That means a lot coming from you, and you’re MY hero! Seriously.❤️

  • Cheryl

    Wow! I think it’s absolutely beautiful, and that your story makes it sparkle even more. You are an amazing, forgiving soul. I am really not sure I could be so gracious. Thank you for sharing.

  • Deb Hardman

    I’m horrified that a “friend” would do that to you, it’s beyond sad & may you never be treated so meanly ever again! Your quilt is beautiful, & square, perfect & straight are highly over-rated. I actually won Aboniable Mention in the World’s Worst Quilt Contest with my first full sized quilt. I’ve gotten better with years of expierience, & I’ve tried to teach, help & encourage newer quilters. Never would I rip anyone’s hard work in two. QP needs to learn how to to be kind. I personally feel like the irregularities add beauty & the human element. To me things that are perfection, like machine embroideries, look lifeless . Dead. There is life, & love in what you did. It’s beautiful .

  • Theresa

    Your right that our mistakes make us stronger. I just LOVE your concept….. I like the gold too….. Still in shock that your friend did that without asking…….just remembered!beer, it’s yours and you do what YOU want to do. I really do like it!!

  • Leah Day

    Wow, Karlee. Seriously wow. I cannot believe that woman would cross such a line to rip your quilt! That is so horrible and hurtful, and I can see why this quilt remained unfinished for so long. It’s wonderful that you were able to finish it in such a positive way and I hope you’ll continue to share it with guilds. So many women have been shamed this way and hearing your story might help them heal too.

    • Karlee Porter Post author

      Thanks, Leah! It definitely took me a while, but I just feel like a ton of bricks has been lifted off my shoulders now and I can fully move forward! It is the best feeling ever, and I really hope that others out there who have been hurt like I have can just fully forgive and move on. It feels sooooo good.

  • Judy

    What a great story,,and I am sure all of us can relate…I teach beginning quilting and I never EVER let them rip out anything on their first project–which is always a table runner….it is the reminder of where they were and how far they have come. And when they say “oh but look at so and so’s quilt…it is so much better than mine” Then I remind them that we all started as a beginner.

    • Karlee Porter Post author

      Awe thanks Cathy! We are all saints, right? 😉 It just feels so much better to finally be fully over it.

  • Olga McAnulty

    Thanks for sharing. Your quilt is beautiful and I bet it will keep you toasty warm on those cold nights.

  • Michelle Banton

    I love what you did with this. The end of this story is a happy one… sorry you had to go through what you did to get where it is today. My thought is that there is so much in this world that we HAVE to do, quilting shoulf be something we WANT to do to make us happy. Keep making yourself (and so many others) happy.

    • Karlee Porter Post author

      Thanks, Michelle! I agree! We should do it because we love it. I find that when I am frustrated, I just have to step away for a sec and then I find myself quickly yearning to jump in and get back to it!

  • Analee Perica

    Bless you – bless you-bless you. Sharing your story gives hope to the rest of us…the imperfect pieces/quilters who sometimes shrink from “doing” for fear of the “judging.” I had an experience years ago when a multimedia vest I made was dismissed as “costumey.” Left that group quietly. I am proud of the embroidered appliqué which I combined with 3″ & 4″ quilt blocks, throwing in Kumihimo braids. …. But the “costumey” still stings. Now I consider myself a Tangental Fiber Montager. Thank you so much!

  • Carolyn S

    Love your quilt. Great story which should give a lot of quilters strength. Long ago I was in a quilt guild. The very idea of copying someone else’s quilt was anathema. You were expected to take the ages old block patterns and interpret them into your own creation. My career had more challenges and I had to quit the guild. A couple decades later I came back to quilting and was somewhat shocked at all the patterns for sale, basically saying, copy my quilt! Quilt Police rules change too over time. My first quilts would not stand up to to scrutiny and I love them too. I’ll never be the artist you are; I’ve learned over time that it’s my opinion of my quilts that count and the critics don’t know the story.

  • Diane

    Just watched an episode of the Andy Griffith Show. Floyd the barber and an old childhood friend were having a argument that made everyone in town start socking each other in the nose. I’m thinking ripping my quilt in half might have made me want to “put up my dukes.” At least metaphorically that is. Great story and love how the quilt turned out.

  • Barbie Mills

    This is beautiful, Karlee. I remember hearing about this a few months after it happened. I’m proud of you for finishing it and making it even better.
    And I love your improv idea. I think it worked really well to evenly distribute the rainbow.

    • Karlee Porter Post author

      Thanks, Barb! 🙂 I am happy with it. Also, I miss you. I need to get back to SLMQG

  • Ardelle Kerr

    You did tell that story when I saw your trunk show. I am so glad you found a “silver lining!”