Saturday, July 13, 2013

Humility Quilt Blocks and Other Quilting Errors

When I was a classroom teacher and a student would point out a mistake I had made, I would always say, "I'm so glad I have such smart students in my class!"  And now with this quilt blog, I have to say, "I'm so glad I have such sharp-eyed readers!" 
It is amazing to me how I can work on a block, press it, see it laid out on my design wall, photograph it, post it to my blog - and never once notice the mistake!  Thank goodness several readers caught this error while it was still in the block stage and not so dreadful to rip out.  One reader called it a "humility block."  Can you see the mistake I made in the top Kansas Troubles block?  The second block is the corrected version. 
I made this Kansas Troubles block for my Farmer's Daughter Sampler Quilt.  There's no error in the construction but definitely an error in fabric choice.  The pattern design is completely lost.  I worked hard to prevent that when I made the Kansas Troubles block for my Irish Great-Grandpa Sampler Quilt.  I'm much happier with the green, yellow, and brown version because the design is much more apparent.   

Can you see the error in this Chocolate Lover block?  A reader kindly pointed it out to me, but, unfortunately, the block is firmly entrenched in a finished quilt, so that's the way it will stay.  A humility block for sure!

With this March Wind block, a reader's daughter pointed out my error to her mother, who kindly pointed it out to me.  I remember thinking that the block looked unusual when I made it, but it never occurred to me that was because of an error on my part!  

Here's the correct version, which they kindly re-drew for me. 

I was watching a TV show last night on the subject of inattentional blindness.  "That's a term that describes our inability to notice something that's happening right in front of us, usually because it's unexpected, or because our attention is focused elsewhere."  Read more here.  Maybe that's my problem! 

Has this ever happened to you, or am I the only quilter out there with this problem?  Here's an interesting article about humility blocks.

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.


  1. If I did piecing by machine, that would be a biggie. I did notice when I spread out my tenugui backing, the chicken block is reversed. It is really easy to do because the design is the same, front and back. The only clue is the writing. It helps to be able to read Japanese but even so, getting it in the right direction when sewing from the back... I did not take it apart since it is in the bottom corner and I will just put a label on top. I doubt many people can tell reversde kanji anyway.

  2. If I had a dime every time I did something like that... I could buy a lot more quilting fabric! :)

  3. I heard that the Amish always put a mistake in every quilt because only God is perfect! Sounds like a good idea to me, maybe you were doing that too!

  4. I can identify completely with this experience. I agree with the Amish. I think this condition is just the result of being human. Just about every book I read I catch an error and these books have had several proof readings! I enjoy your blocks even the ones you point out have errors.

  5. Not easy to spot the difference on the blocks from my iPhone. Like the Amish idea as mistakes are so easy to make.

  6. I think most of us have made an error or two in our process of making quilts. Glad to read the article on inattentional blindness too. My husband has this as do most men. My husband tries to blame it on hearing loss but it's not. It's definitely because his attention is focused elsewhere 99% of the time. LOL! Men are famous for this.

  7. I think I watched that same show...fascinating subject. We see what we expect to see. I've posted pictures of some of my "oops" blocks on Facebook; my (non-quilting) friends ask, "What's wrong with it?" Sometimes the mistakes look glaring to me, but no one else notices! LOL! Thanks for sharing.

  8. the lady that taught me to quilt told me there are no quilt police......the Navajo always put one error in their woven blanket, so they did not offend their God by making something perfect---a lesson I follow but not always on purpose.

  9. Thank you for sharing! I will say I had to look 2, 3, and even 4 times! But I like unique! So, I think all the versions are very pretty!

  10. Hi, Susan. Fun post! I like the blocks with the mistakes, however. Makes them more interesting!
    best from Tunisia,

  11. I think because of inattentional blindness I've NEVER made a mistake in a block. LOL Thanks for sharing this. I will pay more attention to my blocks before I sew them.


I love hearing from readers. Your comments make my day!