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How Good Is “Good Enough”?

How Good Is “Good Enough”?

By Janelle Cahoon, Quiltcentric

There are quilters who make only heirloom quilts, who won’t tolerate a single blunted point or unburied knot, and there are other quilters who happily wave back at their wavy borders and quote their motto, “If you can’t see it from the back of a galloping horse, it’s good enough.”

So this question:  “How good is good enough?” is a question each of us has to answer. It’s also a question that should be asked and answered with every quilt.

The heirloom quilter may be asked to head a charity quilt project, where most of the volunteers don’t match her level of expertise and where the concern is more for a large number of warm, sturdy, cheerful quilts than their individual perfection.  Should she still want quality work?  Of course.  But in this case that may have to be scaled back from perfection of workmanship to instead focus on quality fabrics, cheerful colors and solid seams.

Our happily galloping “good enough” quilter may change her standards too – maybe as her ability improves with practice or if she decides she wants to make a quilt for a show or challenge, or perhaps when making a special quilt for a grandchild.

I confess I naturally tend toward the perfectionist end of the spectrum, but I know that for some quilts and some purposes that just doesn’t make sense in terms of the intended use of the finished quilt.

Does that mean I just throw some quilts together any old way?  No.  But I don’t spend months appliquéing and hand-quilting a quilt I know my daughter will take to the college dorm, where it will be subjected to spilled soda, dirty shoes and dorm washing machines.  I’ll save the heirloom appliqué for a wedding quilt or something for the new house she’ll have someday.

And I won’t judge anyone else’s decision in this regard.  I know they have every right to their own decisions about what’s “good enough’.  If they’ve decided it’s good enough, then that’s what it is.  If they want advice for improvement next time – they’ll ask!

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