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Life Lesson ~ To Rip or Not to Rip

You’re joyously sewing along. Having fun creating beautiful quilt units and blocks. When suddenly notice that things are not as they seamed. A block is not quite the right size. Or maybe you’ve cut off a point. Or in some other way your block is not as great as you thought it would be. You are faced with the decision to rip or not to rip.

Here are a few things to consider. How bad is it really? Will anyone really notice? Or will you be the only one that sees it. At least until you point it out to everyone who exclaims, “What a beautiful quilt! I love it!” To be honest I don’t always rip out my imperfect sewing. Here is why.

Things to Consider

First, sewing is my fun time. Ripping is not fun! So unless it is an obvious mistake and will make the construction of the rest of the quilt difficult. I leave the imperfection. I like to say, “that my quilts are like my husband, perfect with lots and lots of character.” I think added character is a great thing in quilts.

Second, will ripping it out really allow me to fix the problem? Or will I do more damage than I would fix. Sometimes ripping can distort the fabric. Especially when dealing with a bias edge. I may be better off either starting over. Or using the less than stellar piece and working to do better next time. I know focus and practice will improve my piecing far better than frustration and perfectionism.

Finally what is the purpose of the quilt I am creating. Is it a show quilt? Am I creating it to impress others or to win a prize? Or am I creating it to be used and loved. Most of the time it is the latter. I know when I give a quilt to a non quilter it will be seen as a rare and precious gift. They won’t see mistakes but be in awe of my ability to create. That the quilt will bring comfort and joy even if it is not perfect. So while I always try to do my best. I don’t beat myself up when I fall short. I believe there is a lot to be said for effort and intent.

Life Lesson

These are the things I consider when deciding whether to rip or not. The life lessons I draw from these experiences are.

First, don’t take life to serious. It is meant to be fun. Don’t let hiccups and bumps derail the joy you find in life.

Next, sometimes moving forward is the best course of action. Rehashing my past and beating myself up over it doesn’t help me grow. I really like what Jody Moore says, “You can’t hate yourself better.” Sometimes acceptance of where we are enables us to get traction to move forward.

Finally I believe the Lord loves effort. That as we make small and simple steps to improve. He compounds our effort with His grace and we become more than we could on our own.


  • Chrysanthemom says:

    Amen! I quilt for the pleasure of quilting, thinking about who might enjoy what I’m making; and strive to make it look the best I can. I do at times use a seam ripper and at other times start over, when it doesn’t feel or look right. And sometimes I just put the blocks away and look at them in the future when all of a sudden they come together in a pleasing manner…

  • Robyn says:

    Great post, and timely for me. I’m a new quilter; as my first project I chose a quilted Tic-Tac-Toe game as a gift for an adopted, younger cousin. When I finished it, I realized that the little squares were a bit wonky–apparently I need more experience with my 1/4 seams. I folded it up and stashed it away as “not fit for gifting”.
    After reading this post, I am thinking of bringing it back out and maybe making it into a table runner for myself!

  • Robin says:

    Great points! I tend to be too perfectionistic. Lately I’ve been trying to put things into perspective and only rip when it’s absolutely necessary. Like you, I’m mostly making quilts for loved ones and lately, even for myself. My family is not going to notice any mistakes. And it’s amazing how when the quilt is finished, neither do I! Like you said, life is supposed to be fun. If quilting is not fun, why are we doing it? 🤣😆

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