It’s official–I handed over the Loulouthi Tiles quilt. It wasn’t without its hurdles, but I absolutely love how this quilt turned out!

Loulouthi Tiles quilt top

Loulouthi Tiles quilt top

This quilt is based on a free pattern from Stitched in Color, and after a bit of thinking, came together very quickly. I was able to piece the top in one day.

The back took about half a day to put together, mostly because I’m daft. It is primarily plain black, with two strips of the tile fabrics, ranging from the purple to the green, going in opposite directions across the top and bottom of the quilt.

Loulouthi Tiles quilt back. No, I don't know what's going on with the colours in this photo. NEON!

Loulouthi Tiles quilt back. No, I don’t know what’s going on with the colours in this photo. NEON!

Top colour stripe.

Top colour stripe.

At the bottom corner is a small embroidered block made by Rachel’s mom to commemorate the occasion, with the embroidery done in thread colours that match the quilt colours.

Bottom colour stripe with dedication

Bottom colour stripe with dedication

For the quilting, I made concentric squares/rectangles in the smaller tiles, and diagonal lines across the three feature tiles. I used 40wt Aurifil thread, with a dark grey in the bottom and a variegated green on top for the blue/green tiles, and a variegated purple for the purple tiles. Sorry–don’t have the numbers handy.

Some quilting detail.

Some quilting detail.

Oddly, the pattern says this makes a 73”x85” quilt, unless you add an extra row of blocks to make it 85”x97”. Well, I didn’t add an extra row and it came out around 85”x95”. Strange. At any rate, that puts it somewhere between a queen and a king size, which you can imagine (and as I related) was a delight to do on my JL250. I am very pleased with how it turned out though. One of the issues with the quilting that I think relates directly to the small machine, is that I wasn’t able to properly stretch the fabric, so in most of the tiles it bunched up a bit between the stitch lines on the outer edges of the tile. I think it looks ok, but it obviously would have looked better if it were flat. perhaps that’ll fix itself when the quilt is washed and shrinks a bit?

Let’s have a chat about this pattern.

I know. I know I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, since this was a free pattern, but I had to share a couple of problems I had with it. Before I do, though, I’d like to say that the piecing instructions were excellent and it’s a beautiful and fairly simple quilt to put together once you deal with the issues below. I may make it again with different fabric, but at least I’ll know the pitfalls, and may write it out a little differently for myself to help me avoid these problems.

The namesake of this quilt is the Loulouthi fabric line by Anna Maria Horner . Now, I don’t generally buy whole fabric lines. Firstly, because I usually can’t afford them, but mostly, because they give me the feeling that everyone is making the same things. I read dozens of quilting blogs and on a given day, half a dozen will post something they made using the same fabrics and I just get turned off by the same-sameyness of it all. I’m looking at you, Briar Rose; go away!

With that in mind, my problem was that when it came to the fabric requirements, the instructions read:

Let’s first discuss the “half yard or 13”x44” cut. I sketched this out. I went to Visio and did diagrams to see why a half yard cut would be necessary, since I couldn’t see how an extra five inches would be of any use for this quilt, given that the tile lengths are 11.5”. It took me a while to figure out that the reason that half-yard measure is offered is that some stores will only sell fabric in quarter-yard increments, and that a quarter yard, at 9” would be too narrow for the tiles, but I think this should have been qualified with a statement like:

You will only need 13”x44” for the next ten cuts, but if your store only sells in quarter-yard increments, you will have to buy half a yard, as a quarter-yard cut will be insufficient.

Fabric is expensive and with ten different fabrics, that’s nearly a yard and a half in extra fabric that isn’t needed for the quilt, if you are lucky enough to be able to buy fabric in small increments. My local fabric shop, for example, sells in 5” increments.

Next, I wasn’t going to use Loulouthi fabric for this quilt and I assume I’m not the only one, so it would have been easier if this had included instructions to the effect of:

If you are choosing your own fabrics for this quilt, you’ll need one yard each of three feature fabrics, and half yard OR 13”x44”* cuts of ten other fabrics.

This would have saved me having to sit there and count how many fabrics I needed. Yes, the instructions say this quilt uses thirteen fabrics so I could have figured it out once I deducted the three feature fabrics, but I still would have liked this simplified. It’s not unheard of for sewing directions to either be missing steps or to have extra steps that don’t correspond to the fabric requirements, and if I’m going to spend money on fabric, I’m going to double-check. I imagine this quilt pattern was written with that “Purchase bundles at Marmalade Fabrics” line in mind, so it was just assumed quiltmakers would buy the bundle and get on with it, or buy another fabric line bundle that would work equally well, but since I don’t buy fabric lines these fabric requirement required me to put in a fair bit of extra work. I’m hardly a professional quilter, but if I struggled with this, I think new quilters will, too.

But this wasn’t my main problem with this pattern. The cutting instructions were, and in a way, this relates to the fabric selection issue.

Again, these cutting instructions assume you’re using Loulouthi fabric. Since I was using a limited range of colours and needed to make sure that the quilt was balanced and that I didn’t accidentally have all the purples crammed in one corner, I had to map the fabrics in the cutting instructions to the fabrics I had, and to assign numbers to them to check out the balance. In this picture, taken after I’d already done all of this, you can see small blue squares on the tiles, which were my numbering tickets.

Numbered blocks

Numbered blocks

This mapping took me ages to do, mostly because of the way that second bullet is written. In the third bullet, each fabric is listed in a sub-bullet, so it’s easy to map,  but in the second bullet the fabrics are listed in sentence form, which makes it really messy to insert notations into the pattern.

In the end, it all worked out beautifully, but these were just the quibbles that gave me a headache when I was working on this quilt. Am I being too picky? Would you be bothered by these things? Is it ok to criticize something that’s free? Let me know what you think.

Comments (3)

  1. chaya

    You detailed your concerns about the pattern on your blog. I hope you also sent a copy of same to the person/company who gave the free pattern. I am sure they would appreciate feedback so they can update their instructions for next person who downloads the free design.
    P.S. I was not particularly enamoured of your colour choices on the bolt but in the quilt, it’s quite pleasing.

    • Carmit

      She gets a ping via WordPress every time I mention the term, so I imagine she’s on it :).

      See, I knew it would work off the bolts. I think we just have very different tastes so instinctively you’d not be keen, since those weren’t really “your colours.”

  2. Pingback: Louise’s Quilt |

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