Don’t Try This At Home

Sometimes I feel that there’s an unspoken rule in quilt-blog world against showing our mistakes or talking about patterns or tools that we didn’t like.  In fact, I often write about patterns or books I love, but skip over the others.  Well, here are a couple of things I won’t do again!

First, a pattern that just did not work for me, though you may have better luck.


I’ve had this pattern a long time and really like the quilt on the cover.  However, I found it involved matching all those seams.  I first modified the pattern so the strips were of varying widths, eliminating the need for matching.  However, when I started making the last set of triangles, they just didn’t fit!  At that point I made a few more modifications and completed enough blocks for a donation quilt, and DONE!

It’s entirely possible the problem is with me rather than with the pattern.  I still like the look, so I may design my own version later on.  Alternatively, it appears (on Pinterest) that Zen Chic had an almost-identical design called “Fractured”, but I can’t find it on the Zen Chic website now–perhaps it was too identical and they withdrew it?  Don’t know.

Anyway, if I ever make this again I’ll re-design it completely so it works for me.  I do still love the look.

Has anybody made this quilt from either pattern?  How did it go for you?

Second, a pattern that worked out exactly right, possibly because I did it in a class!  It is beautiful, but it is paper piecing (of a different type, but still).  In this case, the pattern is perfect and the instructor was great.  I just did not care for the process so I won’t make the other 11 gems in the series!  If you want to try it, here’s a link to the site for all the gem patterns and classes.

I do like this, but it finished the size of a large block or a wall quilt–what shall I do with it?  All suggestions that don’t involve paper piecing are cheerfully invited!

And what have you messed up lately? 😀

15 thoughts on “Don’t Try This At Home

  1. Thanks for your weekly blog! I enjoy your comments and have learned a lot from you in your classes at Studio Stitch. I’ve been seeking advice for managing cuts that have eighths (ie, 3 3/8, 5 7/8, etc). I love using Tucker Tools as I get better precision. The quilt I am making now has lots of those eighths ( not on Tucker tools). What do you use? How do you get the precision?

    • Hi Susan. It’s nice to hear from you 🙂. When I find a pattern that requires 1/8” measurements but can’t be done with Tucker tools, I redesign it, sometimes radically. I know you are a very precise person, but one option is to make the whole thing improvisationally: cut freehand, slap those blocks together, then trim to size. Is there a place I can see this pattern? You can email me:

  2. How interesting. Thank you for being honest about what doesn’t work well for you. I looked at the first block and thought STRING BLOCKS which I dearly love. I’ve got containers of partial projects, from classes where I determined the “method” is not for me. It took me 5 years to decide not every one of those projects deserves to be a king size quilt! I’ve got enough quilt tops waiting for quilting anyway! That second photo, your GEM paper pieced block would be interesting in the “center” of a quilt as a medallion; or better yet, off set in a field of white with some VERY modern quilting. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The gem design almost makes me dizzy but in a good way, kind of a kaleidoscope effect. Be sure to do something with it. It is too interesting not to have a life in some way!😊

  4. How about exploring the idea of canvas-mounting that gem block – maybe even in the style of using it as the center as a medallion quilt form – of course in the context of whatever size canvas you decide to use…
    And yes, I have had many ‘failures’ but like yourself, have learned more from them than with the ‘successes’ Although, I wouldn’t have thought that ‘Boullaibaisse’ pattern to have to match all those seams, either…yikes, no thank you!

  5. Oh my goodness I have the first pattern! And I was going to make it some day but now I think I’m gonna donate it! I like the second block that looked pretty cool with the paper piecing.

  6. What a refreshing post. I think that sometimes the effort is not worth the reward and, to me, Pie in the Sky looks like one of those. I once did a workshop called Tessellated Blossoms which involved making pin whweels and then cutting another block from the pinwheel at an angle and then repiecing. I am proud of myself for finishing that quilt, but would never ever attempt it again!
    If that gem in shades of purple were mine, I would give it a nice wide plain border, quilt it, and hang it on my wall.

  7. I love the Bouillabaisse pattern. Worked out wonderful. No problems. I was sewing strips forever and ever. Matching seams was not problem.
    Everyone who saw it in the family wanted it but it was for my brother Bill.
    Browns, golds, gray, tans, blacks.
    11 fabrics a yard each.
    The 3 favorites fabrics, I bought extra because I wanted those to repeat a lot.

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