Baby Quilt Frustrations

This morning I told you about all the work I got done on the mystery quilt.  This evening I’m going to tell you all about my frustrations with the baby quilt I worked on for Jasper, Kayla and Spencer’s new little guy…who by the way, is doing really well.

Anyway…every since Linda gifted us this book, Parallel Lines by Pamela Goecke Dinndorf, I have been in love with a particular quilt in the book.

I’ve been in love with this quilt….

I started collecting white and black striped 100% cotton shirts.  Then I got the idea to make this quilt for me and keep the scraps for a baby quilt for Kayla’s baby.  At the time I was going to make a crumb quilt for the baby.  Well, when Kayla was here over Christmas, she changed her mind and asked for one of these quilts.  I thought “Cool.  This will be much easier and less time consuming”.  Boy was I WRONG.

I decided that the quilt needed to come together this weekend.  I hate having project hanging over my head.  I knew I’d be going to see the baby sometime here in the few weeks and hoped to have the quilt finished so I could take it with.  Look at’s an easy quilt I thought.  This will take no time at all…Boy was I WRONG.

So the week before I cut out the rectangle blocks.  Simple…right?  Yes, they were…or so I thought.  On Saturday I figured out I had sewn all of them in a 4 x 4 configuration vs the 5 x 3 configuration so seam ripper time it was.  I should have taken that as an omen that things were going to go terribly…but I didn’t.  I happily ripped it and resewed the blocks.  No problem.

So then I went on and decided to do the hour glass blocks. I made copies of the pieces and added my quarter inch seam like the book suggested….and there was me, happily taking pictures so I could blog about it for you all and let you know what a fun quilt it was to make.  (I was so naive.)
I cut the pieces out was ready to start cutting the blocks out and suddenly I realized, ALL OF THE PIECES NEEDED TO BE FUSSY CUT!!

See how the lines of the fabric go all the way across the block??
Have I ever told you that I HATE fussy cutting.  Passionately hate it would be more accurate.  But…then I told myself.  This is for your grandbaby.  You can do this…so I did.

I was working on the hour glass block..this one.

I got the block cut out remembering that I had to have one fabric vertical and the other horizontal.  I sewed the block together.  Oh my.  It was way to big.

I checked and reread the measurements.

Hmmm.  The book was written in French.  It has an English translation.  Maybe it’s a typo and the pieces weren’t supposed to have a seam allowance on them.  Hmm.  Okay.  I’ll try that.  I cut the block out  made the block using the pattern piece with no seam allowance lines.  Nope.  Didn’t work.  I was so frustrated.  So I called Kelli.

I sent her pictures.  We chatted.  I measured and she advised.

I am a decent piecer.  My seam allowances aren’t terrible. This shouldn’t be a problem.  So I took the block apart.  I was going to trim the blocks down but decided rather than do that, I’d just sew them with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  That felt weird.  But I did it and it worked.  So, I called Kelli, cheered together over our success and figuring out the pattern and I cut out two more blocks.  AHH.  I had all the pieces sewn together for one block and realized I cut both the black and the white fabric horizontally.  Oh my.  I cut and made the next two blocks for a total of three blocks.

So my stats with this quilt so far…
-I had made 4 rectangle blocks.  Each had to be ripped and resewn.
-I made 2 1/2 wrong blocks of the quarter square triangle block.  I figured it out on the third block and made two more.

So onto the skinny triangle block.

I got my pieces cut out…I made notes on the pieces as to how many of each I needed to cut.
I was as careful as I could be doing the fussy cutting.  
I knew now that I had to sew with 3/8″ seams so away I went only to discover that AHHH.  My block was to small.  What the heck??  What was going on with these instructions.  I can understand that they could off one way or the other by why was the difference not standard through all of the blocks.  I was so frustrated.

I ended up cutting out another block.  Again I was so careful to fussy cut.  Again I was so careful to make sure I have vertical and horizontal cuts of the fabric.  Oh my.  This easy quilt was so stressful.

I sewed it together.  This time I used scant 1/4″ seams.  I worked.  Or so I thought.  The block was the right width but now the length was off.  AHH!!  The block was 15″ long.  What was happening??  Did no one test this pattern in English?  I was miserable.

I called Kelli.  She said, “Just don’t make it mom-Kayla will understand”.  No.  I was this far.  I could figure it out.

So I ripped the rows of the block apart.  I trimmed the block 1/4″ from the top point of the triangles.  I sewed them together.  Oh my.  The block was acceptable in size.  It was about 1/4″ to big but I decided, acceptable.  I could fudge that somehow.

I looked at the block.  Oh my.

The lines don’t go across the best but, hey, at this point I think it’s the best I could do.  Then I looked closer.  The fabric of the black triangle on the bottom row to the left is in reverse.  Did I really care?  At this point, not really.  That second row…not the best.  But did a really care?  Oh my.  I’m doing my best and seriously, I’m a decent piecer.  What the heck was it with this quilt??!!

I made a second block and it turned out okay but I did have to sew with a scant 1/4″ seam and did have to trim the rows down.

To make two of these blocks, it took one entirely wrong block, the above block that I had to rip and fix..and one block that was right.  Oh my.

I was getting closer but looked at the directions and about gave up.  Look….They wanted me to construct the block like this….
then sew them together like this….  That looked okay.

It looked okay until I looked at the picture of the finished block.  LOOK.  See the white center diamonds???  All of those seams needed to match.

How in the (bleep) was I ever going to make that happen??  Seriously.  In every one of these blocks the seam allowance has been something different.  How was I ever going to fussy cut that right to make those seams match.  This was ridiculous.  Completely ridiculous.

I called Kelli.  I was so close to being in tears.  I figured out those last blocks only to get to this block which was going to do me in.  I was sure of it.

Kelli and I talked about the block for an extended period of time.  I decided that I was going to just cut diamonds for the center two white diamonds in the block.  I wouldn’t cut and construct the block like the pattern suggested.  Then I wouldn’t have to match the pattern of the fabric.    I would cut triangles for the white part along the top and bottom of the block.  I would cut big diamonds for the middle white sides.  I could cut oversized quarter diamonds for the corners.  I could trim it all down in the end.

….and I would try 1/4″ for a seam allowance….




I trimmed it up to size….and the size even worked which leads me to believe that it wouldn’t have worked size wise if I had pieced it the way the instructions suggested.  
The only thing…the lines aren’t lined up …and oops.  The black fabric was supposed to be vertical.  Sorry…I don’t care enough anymore to redo it.  This one is just going to be like this.

I ended up making another block using the same method for cutting out and sewing together and it worked okay too.

The blocks are done.  The quilt top isn’t together yet.  I have to cut sashing and sew the pieces together.  This is not a quilt I enjoyed making at all.  I had originally planned to make one for my living room too.  THAT WILL NOT BE HAPPENING.  I refuse to go through this much pain to make another set of blocks.  That was not enjoyable.  It was not rewarding.  I will not be proud of the finished product.  The only thing I am proud of…I persevered-with a lot of moral support from Kelli and Georgia via the phone to make the blocks.

I recommend this pattern to no one.  Now after reading this long post, you can see why I didn’t include this with the morning post.  Oh my.  I still don’t know if something was lost in translation of the pattern.  As I said, the author is French.  The book was written in French and then translated.  They work in the metric system, Americans don’t.  Is it that…I don’t know.

Note in the photo below…in the first paragraph under “level 2″…”round to 1/2″.  Make any necessary adjustments”.

I really hope that the author didn’t cover herself for errors with the “make any necessary adjustments” phrase.  Oh my.

A blog reader Linda sent us this book as she knows I love working with shirts.  Please don’t feel bad about my terrible experience.  I am sure even with all the mistakes I made, Kayla and Jasper will love the quilt.

If anyone has purchased this book, please only cut and make one block first to check the seam allowance to make sure everything jives.  I did go several times online to see if there were any corrections to the book.  I couldn’t find any.

Check back next week…hopefully I’ll be close to a finish.

27 thoughts on “Baby Quilt Frustrations”

  1. Judith Fairchild

    Oh I understand frustration all to well. I thinking the problem you’re having is the metric system if you round the numbers up it’s a tad to large round down it’s to small. The best bet is to use the centimeters on your ruler. I like fussy cutting about like you do. But there are times…. I really like the way the stripes on the diamond block look it’s distracting to have half the lines running one way and half the other. Enjoy Jasper and the quilt anyway. Great to hear he is doing very well.

  2. Sorry to hear all of your frustrations with the pattern . I think I’d still make myself a black and white striped quilt but just use the shirts and make up something similar but way easier . Enjoy cuddling Jasper when you see him ❤️

  3. Katherine Gourley

    What an adventure — I helped a friend make an appliqued Mother Goose quilt and the pattern was written with the wrong measurements. It was way way way crazy. We got through it , but not without some anguish.

    I would not have persevered, but you will have a great story to tell Jasper about some day. Print out this post and give it with the quilt.

  4. HI JO!! I purchased this book when you first showed it as I have always been intrigued by the effects of striped fabrics. I even sent you a couple of shirts for this quilt! After reading about your experiences today, I think I’ll consider this an inspiration book :) I do think something may have been lost in translation :) This will make a great story for years to come.

  5. The author was a speaker at our last quilt show. I don’t know why your book would be metric. Maybe you should email her so that she knows the problems you’ve experienced. I wouldn’t make a full size one, either. Yikes, what a job it was! I think, in the long run, Kayla will want one of your crumb quilts. I just love them. Back to the mystery quilt?

  6. Oh, directional prints! The nemesis of every piecer. I admire your perseverance, but oh how I dislike making quilts that don’t work out the way I think they should. Just get it done and move on!

  7. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Working with stripes with a pattern originally written in French…what could possibly go wrong!!! Sometimes it is easier to just look at the picture and figure out how to create it (Y seams and all) without reading the directions. Your perseverance in the face of that is a testimony to your love for your family and wanting to please them!

  8. I have liked this quilt when you have shown it over the last year. I bought the book after Christmas. Thanks for all the info on your problems. I will proceed slowly.

  9. I have read comments in other blogs about similar problems with Quiltmania patterns. “Make any necessary adjustments“—indeed! Just looking at the math for the hourglass block, fudging would be required. Seems like the triangle and diamond blocks would be so much harder!
    The fact that you were able to persevere through the math mess demonstrates what an excellent quilter you are! Despite the trouble I have a feeling your quilt will be a gem!

  10. From what I gather, after checking several patterns by this author, I believe most of her patterns are paper pieced. Honestly, I think I might have gone to Spoonflower with the pattern and had the whole quilt printed on their cloth ( cheater quilt). Whew! It would have been easier for sure, but this has been a bonding experience between you and Kelli, Kayla and Jasper. Love the mystery quilt too.

  11. Yikes!! Jo, with all your experience of piecing quilt tops, the problem has to be with the pattern losing something in the translation from French into English. You have stuck it out far longer than I ever would, so Bravo to you for your making it through!!
    Like some other commenters stated, what a story for all the years to come!!!
    Thanks for sharing …. and….
    Who knows…this may end up being a favorite of Jasper’s….

  12. Maybe if done all in metric it would have worked? I can’t imagine it not working in its original language. Good on you for persevering!!!

  13. Goodness! You, an experienced quilter, had so much trouble with it, there would be no hope for most of us to even attempt it. I’m proud of you for persevering. The things we do for our grandchildren. It is an awesome quilt and it will be enjoyed.

    I’m sorry you had to endure such frustration, though. The mystery will be a piece of cake! (It’s been a little challenging for me. Mostly trouble with flying geese. I’m getting a lot better, though.)

  14. Oh my goodness!! Those measurements are appallingly wrong! Changing between metric and imperial is not for the faint hearted as any tiny mistake is magnified. 1/4” isn’t 7mm but 6.5! So half an inch is not 15, but 13mm!! They’re small those mms, but they add up fast!

  15. Gorgeous blocks so far. I would have quit. Good for you for preserving. Maybe you could rewrite the blocks to some common size that would make sense for us Americans for you to make it for the back of your couch.

  16. Oh my. There’s always that ONE quilt, isn’t there? I’m so sorry you had so much trouble with it but I’m also sure it will be beautiful!
    Love and prayers

  17. Hola Jo. Te sigo ya hace tiempo y veo todo lo que haces. Me encanta todo y toda tu familia y me gusta Rosi, aunque no olvido a Ruby. Hoy me has hecho reir con la frustación de los bloques, quizás porque alguna vez me ha pasado. La causa es, yo normalmente trabajo en céntimetros, pero con todas las labores que hago a traves de la red, sobre todo Bonnie Hunter, y lo tuyo, me he acostumbrado a trabajar en pulgadas, pero…. de vez en cuando mezclo los dos y o que sale no hay parecido con lo que mandan, así que vuelta a empezar. Me he reido porque entiendo lo que has pasado. Pero al final se consigue. Un saludo desde España.

  18. I have bought a few patterns over the years where the directions were very frustrating and it made me dislike the quilt before it was finished. I’m glad you got it done and I look forward to seeing it quilted. I don’t think I will be buying the book.

  19. I too get frustrated with this kind of stuff! I especially hate when the directions have you cut the entire quilt before you construct blocks and then find the measurements are off. Thank the good Lord you did one block at a time. I am an Instagram user and have searched pattern hashtags when I have wondered about discrepancies and found others who have made the pattern. I reach out and ask and usually get good feed back that helps. I have also emailed the maker at times and asked. Many times if they have a website or page they will post any corrections. It really is a stunning quilt Jo and I bet you could make your own pattern and get a similar outcome with less snafus.

  20. I love Quiltmania magazine and their publications/books and have subscribed for many years. However, I have found out the hard way that everyone of their patterns that I have attempted has been off. Mind you I have been quilting since the 1970’s having started out making templates. Yet with all this under my belt, the conversion of metrics to inches when making quilts even in simple blocks like your hourglass blocks leaves something to be desired. You are to be commended that you did so well especially using directional fabrics. I also believe that many of their quilts are hand-pieced which may make a difference in the overall construction and sizing. I feel your frustration. Your quilt will be lovely and Kayla and Jasper will love it because it was made with love. – Terry

    1. AH…Terry that might be the key, hand piecing. I never thought of that. It would be so much easier to match seams…but then I’d have to hand piece. Oh my.

  21. OH NOOO…I am going to talk to Sue Gruber today about contacting Pam..( Pam used to work for years at Gruber’s)..if I can manage it, you are going to have directions for that pattern that work—–and you can make one for your sofa….how horrible for Pam too…I saw all those quilts in person and they are wonderful….I want to make one too(haven’t been able to find enough stripes)…

  22. So sorry for all the frustration. Sorry also about the problems with the pattern, because like you, I had really liked the picture. Thanks for letting us know.

  23. Wow!! Thank you for the head’s up. I purchased the book too and had the cover quilt in mind to make first but the black and white quilt was also on the list. I will approach it with an abundance of of caution now!!

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