By Michael McCormick

Making Mistakes

A correction of our feature story about Erin Harris in Issue 12: Kentucky

I’ve stated to readers in the past that prior to starting Quiltfolk, I had no editorial experience. But that’s not entirely true. I did spend one semester in 12th grade as the editor of my school newspaper, The Spartan Spear

I don’t recall there being any requirements for getting the job. But I took the brief opportunity to create a bold new face for the paper, redesigning the front page and taking advantage of some slick new graphic design software.

On the day that my first (and only issue) as editor was distributed to teachers and students, I was quite pleased with myself. The paper looked fantastic. I would no doubt be hailed a creative genius by my classmates. 

Except I’d made a big mistake. Two, actually. 

First, a headline that swept across the front of the paper boldy read, “Happy Hollidays!” — a spelling mistake that wasn’t missed by my teachers or my peers. But even worse, my own name, Michael McCormick, was misspelled twice in the masthead, right next to the title “Editor.” 

The cost of making a mistake in your high school newspaper is embarrassment. You get a good ribbing from friends for a day, and then you move on. But at Quiltfolk, a magazine that reaches tens of thousands of readers and is entrusted to preserve the stories of real people, the cost is much greater. Our mistakes are far more public and more painful for everyone involved. 

Such is the case in Issue 12: Kentucky, where our story about the lovely Erin Harris (page 70) contained important factual errors. We learned of these mistakes from Erin herself who was understandably disappointed, and it sent aftershocks through our small team who shared deeply in her sadness. We care about the people featured in Quiltfolk and intend to make them proud with our telling of their story. And in Erin’s case, we fell short. 

We sincerely apologize to Erin Harris, her husband, Fatty, her niece, Evelyn, and everyone at River City Distributing. Thank you for your incredible graciousness and for the opportunity to set the record straight. 

We have corrected the article which is now available for digital download. We encourage all Quiltfolk followers to read that here and to pay a visit to Erin’s blog House on Hill Road for more inspiration from a tremendous talent and class act. 

As I reflect on my own life, I’m reminded that the unavoidable reality of making things is making mistakes. It’s the nature of being human, of putting pen to paper or needle to cloth. Our missteps can sometimes be painful. But all mistakes, in one way or another, provide us with an opportunity to grow.

Since my time at The Spartan Spear, I have misspelled many words but never again the word “holidays.” In the same way, our team at Quiltfolk continues to learn with every issue. 

I want to thank our readers, as well as Erin Harris and her family, and my team here at the magazine for the opportunity to grow together.