Not all quilts can be saved (feel free to substitute other words for quilt)

Not all quilts can be saved, or in my case, not all quilt tops.  I used to have this romantic view of finding a quilt top of some anonymous quilter from the past and saving it.  I would pluck this diamond in the rough from obscurity, spruce it up, quilt it and have a treasure.  I would modestly display this showpiece and murmur "Aw shucks" when people gasped in awe at what I had recovered.  Finally I had my chance, at the Kane County Flea Market.  I spied a pink and white basket quilt top, perfect for resurrection!

foldemreI took my find home and excitedly set about making a quilt out of it.  I worked on it and worked on it, bound and determined to make it work.  Pretty soon I had invested time and money in batting, thread, backing and repairs.  But you know what?  That quilt top had not been made into a quilt because it was really a mess.  None of the seams lined up, the workmanship was shoddy and this project was pretty much doomed from the get go.  But it took me quite a while to admit it, OK, maybe a really really long time.  I still have it but I drape it over a screen in my sewing room and it serves to remind me that not all quilt tops can be saved.  And yes, I think there's a larger lesson there.  (See how quilts teach us about life?)

I had invested my dreams and my pride as well in that quilt top.  I thought that my skills were good enough to make a viable quilt out of another quilter's flawed beginning.  I just couldn't call it quits.  Truth be told, I am like that about other things as well.  In teaching this "never say never" attitude can be a good thing.  I would stick with a child trying various strategies until nearly everyone spoke some Spanish or French.  In other areas of life, maybe it is better to just walk away.  That burnt spaghetti sauce?  Throw it out and call for a pizza.  That house with the leaky windows?  Sell it and move to a better one.  That friend who just isn't authentic?  Painful as it is, you gotta know when to fold 'em.

Yep, be it a an antique quilt top or a relationship that has run its course, sometimes Kenny Rogers has the right idea.

Sew happy!

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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