Friday, December 4, 2009

North and South . . . . .

I've been so anxious to blog about this quilt. The pattern name is "North and South" by Doris Scanlon at Rose Country Quilts.

The local historical society in the town where my Mom lives had a quilt made from this pattern or had the original quilt on display. She asked if I could make a quilt like it, I didn't commit to her, but immediately started making plans to sew this quilt and have it quilted by her birthday, which was last week.

So now that she has the quilt, I can blog about it. I called the quilt by many names, none which I feel I should share with you folks today.

My Mom didn't want me to use the muted grey and blue fabric the pattern called for, she wanted a deeper blue so I went with Minick and Simpson's Flag Day Farm. I bought some yardage for the borders and setting blocks and used a layer cake and jelly roll for the sampler blocks. It worked out great. This was the first time I had used a layer cake or jelly roll. I enjoyed selecting the different fabric combinations for each sampler block. I was a little surprised by the mess those bakery edges made, fuzzer/threads everywhere.

The quilter used an all over large feather design that I think suited this quilt given its use and the overall feel of the quilt.

The quilt finished at around 79" X 79" and is Quilt # 47.

The pattern is very clever, the sampler blocks on the north west side of the quilt represent northern towns or states and the sampler blocks on the south east side of the quilt represent southern towns or states. The similar diagonal blocks separating the sampler blocks represents the Mason Dixon Line.

This block is called Lincoln's Platform, representing Illinois, a northern state in the civil war.

This block is called Fredericksburg, Virginia, representing a southern city in the civil war.

I learned quite a bit about proper fabric placement on this project. See the corners of this block, the plain cream was a bad choice.

By the time I made this block,I figured out that using the same corner fabric as the background fabric gave the block the look of floating in its spot. I think it gives it a better, more professional look. Unfinished, these blocks are 10 inch square.

OK, so I'm sure you're thinking, nice blog Thelma, but why were you so eager to share this info, nothing that different,'s the skinny...this is the worst pattern ever designed. The skill level is intermediate but there isn't an experienced quilter out there who would want to make this quilt using this pattern. I thought I was paying for a pattern, what I bought was a clever idea and the most poorly executed attempt at providing directions. I have no idea how the designer, in good conscience, felt this pattern should be sold unless it had the following disclaimer, "Great idea but quilter will need to adjust given dimensions to actually make 10 inch unfinished blocks."

Here's the pattern for a couple of the blocks, no color and no direction. I can live with this, I would prefer better but I'm a fairly intelligent person, I can make it work. What I can't live with is if I used the sizes provided by the designer in these directions, the Mason Dixon blocks would be 10 1/4 inches and the Philadelphia Pavement block would be 10 1/8 inches. The blocks should be 10 inches. Now I have to admit, sometimes my blocks don't finish at the exact size called for by the pattern, who hasn't made a block or two that's off a smidge. But here's the rub, I could have made the blocks perfectly, using the dimension in the pattern, and got a block ranging in size from 9 5/8 to 10 1/4, with several sizes in between. Not even half of the sampler blocks finished at 10 inches using the designer's dimensions.

Have you ever heard of such a thing? I was moving my needle left or right one or two positions for every block. Plus I had to reconfigure each block in order to make it work out correctly. I had to use 16ths of an inch! This quilt was no fun. I started on June 16th and finished on July 9th. I was grumpy the whole time. I sent a note and called the designer to express my displeasure and suggest she have her patterns tested before issuing them. I've yet to hear back.

Just blogging about it gets me all worked up all over again, but it's done, my Mom loved it, and I'm glad to have it behind me. But I will never buy another pattern from Rose Country Quilts!

Happy Thelma will be back blogging on Monday!


  1. Your issue with the designer is certainly legitimate and I'm glad you posted about it. It's a service to other quilters and might POSSIBLY motivate the designer to do a better job. I'd be aggravated, too. All of that being said, it is a gorgeous quilt. You done good.

  2. Sometimes our most hateful quilts turn out to be the best beauties. I do feel your frustration though...Ive been there fact recently. It's definitley a beautiful quilt that i'm sure your mom appreciates and loves! Nice work!

  3. Your quilt is really beautiful and I bought that pattern too. Of course, I haven't made the quilt, but I already have real issues with the pattern quality. It was downloadable from the internet, and it printed out really blurry even though I used a very high quality printer. Given your experience with the wonky block sizes, I will not be attempting to make this quilt.

  4. Oh my! It is a beautiful quilt...although I will let you rewrite the instructions : ) before I attempt it. God Bless You for making it!

  5. The quilt is did an awesome job. What a shame that the directions were so bad. Pat yourself on the's wonderful!

  6. I really like the setting of idea of alternating the sampler blocks with the HSTs. Great secondary pattern.

  7. mmmm layer cake and jelly roll

  8. That quilt is GORGEOUS. I love the blocks on it, there is so much to look at. I am sorry the pattern was so lame, I hate that. I always wonder why things just can't be easy? :) You did a great job!

  9. I HATE that. I get pissy when pattern writers don't put what size patches should be, so if I ran into your issue I'd be super upset, because then I'd never figure out what was m sewing and what was the designer.
    It looks great though! I love the symbolism, I think it adds so much to a quilt.

  10. All aside, the finished quilt is stunning! Glad you persevered. You are amazing. Between you and Nicole, I've got a list a mile long of quilts I want to make. And that Flag Day FArm fabric is yummy! Beuatiful job. Hope you mom loves it.

  11. The quilt is beautiful. One thing occurred to me though...even though the designer should have had her patterned tested, the publisher, I feel, bears some responsibility for allowing an (presumably) untested pattern. I would be interested in the publisher's name so as to be somewhat aware of their other products.

  12. The quilt turned out beautifully. But it does sounds like it was a nightmare to make. Bet your mom loves it.

  13. Wow. The quilt did turn out splendidly, as do all the quilts you make Thelma. I would like to say I am shocked by the sad story of the poor pattern, but unfortunately, they are out there. I was participating in a Civil War block of the month once--the kind where you can choose your finishing kit from 12 shops who are participating. The finishing kit that I chose had pieced border directions that were a complete joke. Obviously no one had tested the pattern because there was no way on earth those borders would fit the finished quilt top. I still have that quilt sitting in the closet with messed up unfinished borders. The whole project came to a halt.

  14. It's stunning. Congrats on finishing it. What a gift.

  15. Great quilt for your Mom. I'm sure she loves it and appreciates all the hard work. It's a shame you had such a hard time with the pattern and directions. That is totally unacceptable. The purchaser should not have to work so hard to get the pattern to work. You did an amazing job!!!


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