“Step Into My Garden” – A Perfectly Imperfect Watercolor Quilt Design

Watercolor quilt

Last Updated on 12/06/21 by Rose Palmer

This was one of the first quilts I started, and many years later, once the kids were off to college and I had more time, it was also one of the first quilts I finally finished. It also taught me that there can still be beauty in imperfection, even if the mistake is huge.

Quilt Inspiration The pattern for this quilt came from the book “Strip Pieced Watercolor Magic”.  I had a lot of fun buying and auditioning the 36 different fabrics that make up each block. Since I was new to quilting, I did not have a “stash” yet (that has long been remedied). I remember agonizing for weeks over the color choices before finally making the first cuts, and then sewing it together. Then life happened and the quilt top sat in my closet for many years.

When I was finally ready to get back into quilting, I pulled it out and something just did not look quite right. I realized that I had set one of the blocks in the wrong orientation. So, seam ripper in hand, I took out the offensive block and set it right (or so I thought). I proudly took my finally finished top to the longarm quilter and was thrilled with the final result. I laboriously sewed on the binding by hand and then proudly hung it up in my guest room to show it off. Finally, a completed quilt to display.

More time passed. Each time I walked by the guest room I looked at my finished piece of art with pride. Then, one day I realized I had made a huge mistake. When I reset the block, I had actually “fixed” the wrong one, but because the row was now symmetrical (though in the wrong orientation), and because of the ‘watercolor” effect, it was hard for the eye to see.

When I tell people there is a mistake, they tend not to see it unless I point it out. My eyes on the other hand go right to that offending row each time I look at the quilt. Despite the error, or maybe because of it, I still love this quilt and hang it up every spring.  The colors always bring me joy.

Do you see the oops? (It shows up much more clearly in photos). Life is imperfect. It’s OK if a quilt is also.


The quilt was photographed at Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Wilmington, DE during the peak azalea bloom, my favorite time of year in that garden. There were so many beautiful locations to photograph the quilt, that I could not pick just one.

Edge to edge quilted by Long Arm Quilting of Chadds Ford.

Please check out my other quilt designs in my Quilt Galley


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