stuff and things

18 July 2011

Design Wall Monday, Piece N Quilt's "Star Flower": A Poor Excuse for a Quilt Pattern

I'm not a whiner. I debated for weeks before posting this critique. But Piece N Quilt's Star Flower pattern is sub-standard. Yes, even if I won the pattern. So, here goes:
My progress on Star Flower: after becoming dispirited, not so good.
On first opening this pattern, I found a color picture on the front and four small pages inside. The diagram for putting together the main block, above, was pretty clear, although there were no suggestions for pressing. (Quilt blocks go together easier when their seam allowances are pressed in two different directions and then abutted. It's worth it to think this through before you go to the ironing board. Most patterns include suggestions.)

More crucially, the pattern included no diagram at all for making the "Diamond Blocks," that row of green-dot diagonal squares under the main blocks on the pattern's photo, below. Worse still, the instructions for these blocks, just three short sentences, were plain wrong.
See those green diamonds? Don't try to figure these out based on the pattern's instructions!
After spending an anguished weekend trying to contact the pattern's creator, Natalia Bonner, she sent me back a link to a tutorial that had nothing to do with the pattern's instructions. A couple of weeks later I met with the Brownie Troop, my small quilting group: where four quiltmakers who'd been pursuing this art form for an average of 30 years each couldn't make sense of the pattern's instructions.

I spent most of my career life as a technical editor and writer, and then ran technically oriented magazines (personal computers, and then supercomputers). I am appalled that Natalia didn't take the time or energy to draw a simple diagram and explain the 'sashing' blocks better -- either in her pattern or in one of the many email responses I asked for. Based on her tutorial and the directions on the pattern, you will end up with a 3.25" block instead of the 4.25" block required.

All in all, the patterns from Piece N Quilt are better left on the shelf.

In happier news, we spent a wonderful weekend at the first annual San Diego Ukulele Festival. More about that in my next post.

Again, please forgive my silence here, but I was so conflicted about posting lest I say anything negative. After all, the pattern maker is probably trying to find a career where she can stay home and work. But, that is no excuse for a very frustrating experience for her customers.

Peace out, dear readers. And happier quilting to those of you who love this art form as I do.


B @ Sweet Limes said...

With all the things that stink about this pattern (I wouldn't know cause I'm totally not a quilter at all) I think you did a beautiful job making these. I can't wait to see how it turns out when it's completely finished. The colours you chose to make these in are spectacular.

Stephanie said...

Given that the problems you encountered were both technical errors/omissions in the pattern, and a less-than-helpful experience contacting the designer, I think you are right to share that info.

Cowgirl Red said...

Sometimes you just have to say it like it is. The colors are great. In your shoes, I may have quit. (Oh no I did say that) or cry.. You conquered it. xoxo Terah from CED

kelly said...

i wonder if piecenquilt will respond to this...

Julie Jordan Scott said...

well, I love the spirit of... the ukelele event going well...

I have always wanted to learn to quilt, so seeing this has reminded me it is probably better to learn directly from quilters then gamble with patterns alone.

Grateful to have found you today via CED2011!

Tina said...

Thanks, you guys, for your very uplifting and positive comments. Yes, I think the quilt is basically a cool design ... I have only used "someone elses" patterns two other times, so I'm new to this pattern thing. I think I may go out on a limb here and design my own sashing blocks. I was really frustrated, though, especially when ultra-whiz hubby couldn;t figure it out. LOL!
Hugs and thanks, gals for your lovely comments!