Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WTF Wednesday #3 - There's Seriously a Pattern for THAT??

As I wander through various quilting stores and different quilting-related websites, I am constantly amazed at the sheer number of patterns out there for quilts.

I am further amazed by the number of patterns that make me exclaim, "They seriously bothered to write up a pattern for this?!?"

Now, I'm not adverse to patterns.  I've actually purchased a grand total of two, and they were appliqué patterns.  I simply don't have the ability to draw a smooth line to end up with a nice looking templates that niche nicely together to create a cohesive image.

However, as a quilter who knows how to plan out my quilts, and can do basic math, I'm horrified by some of the patterns out there!  Worst of all, it's not just free patterns that probably didn't need a write-up, but there are folks making money on this stuff.

And, yes, I am totally aware that there are individuals out there who would prefer to simply pick up a pattern, and not have to think about what their quilt will look like at the end.  Seriously, though?  Why are there instructions for this??

To the right is a freebie from Fat Quarter Shop.  Baby Four Patch Free Crib Quilt Pattern  Yeah, it's free.  But really?  It's a bunch of four patch squares mixed with squares of an equal size into larger four patch units, with the orientation of the squares alternating by rows.

Not hard, and easily worked out just by looking at this a little more closely.  And why go with a pattern at all?  Once you've seen the basic breakdown of this pattern, it's so simple to make this one a cute, scrappy quilt and make it as large or small as you want.

To the left is another freebie, this time from Amy Butler.  Nora's Mid Mod 2 Quilt

Another one that's not hard to work out, sans pattern.  The pieced strips are just a variation on Stacked Coins, or Chinese Coins as I always think of them...  Each piece is a different width, but they're all the same height.

Pair with stripes of solid that are the same height and length, and, bam!, super simple utility quilt.  I'd personally go with fabrics that stand out from the solid more, go with some contrast, but easy peasy.

Now, lest you think I'm picking fun only at the free patterns:  Denyse Schmidt's Stacking the Odds.  Purchasable all over the net, and possibly at your LQS.

Done with Schmidt's usual flair for the off-kilter, the pattern's description even baldly admits that it draws from Chinese Coins:
"Denyse Schmidt Quilts Stacking The Odds Pattern- Fresh, modern, and yet timeless, this quilt's inspiration is drawn from Chinese Coin quilts."

She just cut them at slight angles, made sure that no seams directly matched up and slapped some wide, white borders on it and called it a day.  Average cost for this one?  About $15.

You know what?  I'd rather buy the two yards of fabric that I could get with that $15.

These next two, you can get directly from Elizabeth Hartman herself.  Elizabeth is the Elizabeth of Oh, Fransson! fame.

I haven't purchased either of these patterns, so I don't know what else is included in the "More Simple Modern Baby Quilts" pattern bundle, other than the one pictured.  But really, it's just framed squares.  That's it.

Pick a size for your center square - heck, use your favorite square ruler to cut around, add borders, and be done with it.

Mixtape Quilts II actually caught my eye, and made me think, for a moment, that I might actually buy this one.  It's cute, has a lot of solid sashing, and is really colorful.

Unfortunately, it's a just variation of rail fence quilts.  That basic block is just comprised of strips of varying widths cut into equal-sized squares and then sashed.  For me, this would be another scrap buster.

Cute, but not worth the $10 price tag for either of them.

So, thanks, folks, for taking the time to write up directions.  Me?  I'll be sticking with my trusty graph paper and colored pencils, if I even bothered to break them out for a quilt top like this..  Heck, if I feel the need to be super techy about it, I'll re-install EQ5, or even just draw it up in Photoshop.


Anonymous said...

My goodness, we are in a complaining mood! Have you ever considered that newbies have to start somewhere, and many would never dream of making their first projects without instructions and templates, etc., even though the said project may be just simple squares? We are not all at your level of expertise, Oh Thou Most Experienced One. Good grief!


Anonymous said...

*applause* me and my friend were just talking about this the other is a little disturbing..quilter's are getting WAY lazy!

rae- grab an effing calculator, a pencil, and some graph paper!!

quilting gran said...

I think that for some people a pattern is more inspiration than an engraved in stone roadmap. I have purchased several patterns which I then proceeded to change because I wanted something just a bit different. Yes, I sit down with graph paper and create my own patterns but not everyone has the time or inclination to do that. If using a pattern means that a mother with small kids has more time to sew, then she should buy the pattern.

Jessica said...

to Rae,
newbies do need to start somewhere so here's my advice to them== quilting is EXPENSIVE. get your first pattern with directions from a BOOK AT THE LIBRARY, spend your $ on fabric and notions.

Grey Cat,
I totally agree with you. sorry that i had to comment to rae, damn blogger doesn't have threaded comments. but that's a rant topic for another day. I make most of my quilts with just a ruler and rotary cutter. piece some fabric together, trim, piece some more, trim.. and when the quilt gets big enough, i stop. if i need it a smidge bigger, i add borders. I know this hobby isn't for everyone, but it is for creative people, so it really puzzles me when quilters can't figure out the simple stuff. If it's harder (I am helping a newbie friend with her first english paper piecing project), sure, get help. but if it's not that hard.. look carefully and think before you stitch.

Nancy Near Philadelphia said...

Grey, you are SO right. I practically never buy a pattern. If I see something I like, I figure it out! I made my "Going Rouge" quilt that way after seeing something similar on someone's blog. You go girl!

Grey Cat said...

To Rae ~

I honestly don't expect anyone to 'be at my level of expertise'. I've been doing this for a while.

And, yes, I understand that newbies have to start somewhere, but I firmly believe that learning to draft one's quilts out should be a basic, essential skill. It opens so many creative doors, and is a fairly simple skill to master.

Anonymous said...

Selling patterns like this just seems like you're taking advantage of people. I'm a little more forgiving of free patterns (especially since I've put some pretty simple stuff out there). I figure simple, free patterns are great for the beginners who are just learning. However, once you've learned the basics of a 1/4" seam, anyone, regardless of their skill level, should be able to figure out any of the quilts shown above.

Rae: Her blog, her opinion. (And she's right.)

autumnesf said...

As a newbie that is "teaching" herself to quilt with the internet and books...if it hadn't been for those super easy free patterns I never would have even started. Sometimes we just need to see we can do it before really taking the plunge as a quilter. If my first instructions had been...get out your graph paper...I would not have even bothered. Stupid I know, but sometimes its just getting past the deer in the headlights stage.

Now...better put graph paper on the grocery list....

QuilterLaura said...

Grey Cat, I totally agree with you! I am totally amazed at what pattern designers are putting out there and getting paid for.

CarlaSue said...

I`m so glad you said aloud what I`ve been thinking! I`m all for the simple ones being offered free of charge to give the newbies a starting point, but it`s always bugged me when "designers" charge big bucks for our grandmother`s patterns (log cabins, rail fence, etc.) and then proceed to COPYRIGHT them! Seriously? Make money and a name for yourself on pilfered ideas that have been around over 100 years?

jdqltr said...

I am totally with you on the pattern issue, but one additional comment... if you open one or two of these patterns, you'll find that "write-up a pattern" is a loosely used term in the quilting pattern business. Too often I feel the only thing a pattern has to offer is the photo on the cover! I refuse to pay for the privilege of figuring out how to make the quilt in the picture!

Anya said...

I'm so with you on this one...part of quilting is learning how to figure out the patterns, especially the basic easy ones.

Marjorie said...

You are my new best friend. Thanks for saying what I'm always thinking. Carla...I agree with the whole copyright thing. But on the other hand...people take classes so they don't have to read directions. I teach university courses and just finished reading papers where 70% of the class read the directions and rubrics and got A & B grades...and yet...there are those 30% who are clueless.

Aimee said...

And I thought it was just me. I've drafted out & figured yardage for every quilt I've made & have NEVER understood why some one would be willing to spend $15 on a pattern that they could figure out on their own. Thank you.

Peach Rainbow said...

I too feel the same!

Dana Gaffney said...

OMG, don't get me started. I'm with you, I actually have some patterns that I won. It's easier for me to look at the picture and make the quilt than it is to open it up and read the directions. I read on a board they other day about a woman who had a kit (a kit!!!) and she had so much fabric left over, what should she do with it? Left me speechless.
I do wonder about the copyrights on these simple patterns. Could they come back and say someone stole their ideas.
Anyway, I came for the Hop, but I think I'm sticking around. :)

Aliene said...

Yep, Heck, you're right. Why not just do your own thing and be through with it. I just look at some patterns and come up with something that I like.

Evelyn said...

Here are some other ways to think about it... How much is your time worth? Maybe a person would rather pay $15 to save the hour or two that it would take them to figure out the design, the fabric requirements, and how to put it together. So, sure they *could* do it, but they value their free time over the cost of the pattern. And if you don't really enjoy that part of the process, why not let someone else do the work? More time for sewing!

Also, some people might buy patterns as a way to support the efforts of the designers, who often give so much of their time and expertise away for free. Look at Elizabeth of Oh Fransson - she does quilt-alongs, and posts wonderful inspirational designs all the time. If you love a design, why not buy the pattern? Consider it a contribution to support an artist who inspires you.

Sandra said...

i love the free patterns! However, I tend to find inspiration from the catalogues. They show pictures of "kits" and finished items. I just "adapt" and make my own patterns. Or just sew and go......maybe that's why I have so many UFO'S!
But I do buy patterns for complicated stuff, such as applique's with lots and lots of pieces or a new technique. But I do hate it, when people have copyrighted an old, old pattern and given it a new name, or a new size and claim it as their own.

Erica said...

I was just thinking this exact same thing the other day! I just started quilting a year ago and I have yet to buy a pattern. I'm one that tends to buy fabric first, then mold my pattern into something that will compliment that fabric. Take a look at my tshirt quilt Lots of fussy cutting. With an idea, some fabric, and a bit of math even a beginner can create their own patterns for their quilts.

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