writing patterns is not for sissies


I could say that the reason I haven't been around this space much lately is that it's been a busy summer.  Well it has, like I'm sure yours was.  But that's really only half the reason.  I've actually done some quilting, but here's the thing, I've been trying to write some quilt patterns.

And....let me tell you, it's not as easy as it looks!  I've been working on a few different ideas for at least a year now, but for various reasons I feel like a gerbil running on his little ferris-wheel-thingie!

My husband tells me that I'm being way too fussy with myself and holding my own bar so high that I'll never complete a pattern simply because I won't have it all perfect.  I don't know, I just want a unique, pretty, well-written pattern.  And this seems to take a lot of trial and error!


And then on multiple days of any given week, I'll decide to forget the whole thing, I just wanna quilt to have fun!  And then I go pull some scraps out of my pile and make a few log cabin blocks, because who wants to make quilts from patterns anyway?!

39 comments:

  1. Those log cabins look beautiful. Good luck resolving your inner conflict. :-)

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  2. What ever you end up making it will be amazing!!!

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  3. Love the colors in the log cabins. Can't wait for the patterns.

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  4. I have made lots of patterns and the best advise is ; to give one to a friend who will really follow it and be honest about how it read. That is a priceless friend believe me😇 good luck and try not to be to hard on yourself

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  5. It sounds like you have been busy! Best of luck to you, you know your patterns will be successes!

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  6. yes! I had a customer ask me write a pattern based off a baby quilt I made and transpose it for a bigger bed. They couldn't decide if they were going to make it twin sized or double so could I please make both. I felt like my brain was going to leak out. I feel your pain. Log cabins mean your brain can rest.

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  8. I love all of your quilts. I made one of the sailboat quilts that you posted a few years ago and it is still my favorite! Love your ideas!

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  9. I would love to see some patterns from you, but I definitely think that if it is making you unhappy then it's not worth it. Personally I kind of like the blending of technical with creative that comes along with quilting, so working with Moda Bake Shop and some other things I have done has been an interesting exercising for me. Of course we are all different and we all enjoy different things in different ways. That being said, I would love to pattern test for you if you decide to go through with making patterns! And those log cabins are beautiful!

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  10. I would love to see some patterns from you, but I definitely think that if it is making you unhappy then it's not worth it. Personally I kind of like the blending of technical with creative that comes along with quilting, so working with Moda Bake Shop and some other things I have done has been an interesting exercising for me. Of course we are all different and we all enjoy different things in different ways. That being said, I would love to pattern test for you if you decide to go through with making patterns! And those log cabins are beautiful!

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  11. make sure you take time to enjoy the sewing too :-)

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  12. I was just wondering about you tonight, Jolene! Smiling at that last bit about who wants to...

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  13. Ha! That sounds so real life.:) Quilting is supposed to be fun or why bother, but if you're good at it then you could be making money!! Good luck with your conflict.

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  14. so true that it can be tough!
    (I work as a pattern editor with American Quilter magazine -- submit your idea there, and the great news is that we edit it to make it perfect! You just have to have the bulk, and we do diagrams, etc. to help finish it). :)

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  15. Can't wait to see your patterns Jolene! I'm sure the hard work will be worth it! Love your log cabin blocks!

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  16. Hi! Log cabins are so great and yours is beautiful! Even I also make my quilts without patterns, there are so many sewists who like to get patterns - so don't leave it. I'm sure your patterns are very good so just put them for sale and start a new one. Happy sewing! x Teje

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  17. Well written patterns are much appreciated - so thanks for your persistence in getting it right - it does make a difference to the whole making experience!

    But sometimes it is hard to see the wood for the trees - a fresh pair of eyes works wonders - ask a friend!

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  18. Yes I can only but imagine being the perfectionist that I am. I will say that those wanting to read a pattern will be happy as long as its fluff free and easy to understand. Keep trying but keep quilting. Goouck with it all xoxo

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  19. Haha! Your last comment made me laugh! I have stacks of books and patterns but I can't remember the last time I actually followed one.

    However, a well written pattern is a pleasure to follow. Now that I think of it, I DID follow your tutorial for the Granny Squares for Moda Bakeshop and I loved it. I can only imagine that your patterns will be spectacular and I would be first in line to encourage you by purchasing one or two : )

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  20. Can't wait to see your patterns :)

    Beautiful log cabin blocks :)

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  21. I have written some patterns and not published them, but friends who tried them out say they were correct. I think we probably worry more because we all interpret things differently and we want it to be a great pattern, right? Good luck, if you want an unbiased pattern tester, send it along. I'm reliable!

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  22. carli the quilter (at) gmail (dot) com cheers!

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  23. It really is not as easy as it looks. I say just publish a pattern (or a handful) and then improve the next round. In a few rounds, the process will be polished. And then you could rewrite the beginning patterns or write new ones. Good luck!

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  24. It helps to have a good editor so you don't have to second guess yourself in writing patterns. I forwarded your post to an editor I know; if she doesn't contact you, you can contact me for her info. Good luck!

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  25. I hear you. I made a quilt over a decade ago just by envisioning what my niece would really like. Next thing I know, I finished the quilt without writing down basic measurements, etc. I have to borrow the quilt from her if I want to write down the pattern for her quilt. Its too late, I think.

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  26. I really enjoyed this post--especially the last line! I totally agree that half the fun of quilting is how free it can be. But I think patterns are a great way to share your creativity. Your quilts are lovely and I'm sure there are lots of people who would like to know how you make them. Beautiful fabric choices for those log cabins!

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  27. I would buy a quilt pattern designed by YOU any day !

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  28. It's tough, I know. I'm always amazed at how just doing a tutorial post takes forever and a day, and then you wonder how many people are really going to make something from it! :)

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  29. Lol, love the last line!

    Are you still doing the quilt-along on this site? Seems like it just stopped...?

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  30. Too funny! I'm sure the pattern will be wonderful! Your quilts are.

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  31. You have to make a pattern for your triangle quilt. Patterns are perfect for those of us who are too lazy to look at a quilt and figure out all the measurements ourselves :). I love your triangle quilts but every time i look at them thinking yeap I'm going to make one just like that I go cross eyed trying to come up with measurements and how much fabric I will need :).

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  32. Like books, patterns are not for everyone when it comes to work!
    Your log cabins are very pretty though.

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  33. Totally agree, some days you just need to take out fabric and make a block for fun - and I totally think your log cabin blocks are great (and so is the photo). Good luck!

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  34. As we say in New York, "I'm with you sister!" I'm just learning about making patterns and I can't believe how complicated it is too. Sometimes you do have to take a break and just stitch and have fun. For me it's throwing in a little hand quilting which I find very restful. I am in a Yahoo Quilt Pattern group. If you want the info for joining, please feel free to contact me through my blog at www.hudsonvalleyquilts.com and send me an e-mail. They are a really giving group and full of good information. Good luck.

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  35. How I've been feeling EXACTLY! Thank you so much for this, Jolene!

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  36. Maybe someone who is not that experienced and enjoys a well written pattern. There are enough people out there. Sometimes I just like to follow a tutorial or a pattern without thinking too much because my sewing time is so limited (due to two little children). So you write also for me. :)
    But I also like to see what you're doing with your scraps. :)

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  37. I'm happy to follow a simple block tutorial and then make my own quilt. A lot of time when simple quilts inspire me, I'd rather figure things out on my own (I'm quite math oriented...) I wouldn't pay $10 for a simple log cabin or even triangle quilt, but I know many people need the guidance and yardage amounts. (Btw, V&Co. just posted a triangle quilt pattern and it's even on sale.)
    Love, love, love your quilt style!!

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  38. Pattern writing is hard work. I'm thinking of starting up a support group. Wanna join? ;)

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