The Town Square Quilt is a 32" x 32" top (without borders) made up of 16 blocks.
Also included in the book is an alternative - The Asian Nights Quilt, which is probably my favourite project in the book. Asian Nights is a 48 block quilt measuring 48" x 64" (without borders).
I really liked the colourway of Asian Nights, but of course didn't have enough fabric in the right colours. I have some fabric on order, but rather than wait, I popped into Spotlight to see if there was anything close.
Now the Spotlight in Hobart is not the most flash store in the chain. It's been classed 'Regional' (wha...? Hobart is a capital city doncha know) and listed as D grade. What that means to the Hobart customer is the pickings are small.
I lucked out and found what I needed, which were a tan, mid brown, dark brown and a blue, all tonals. I had a choice of 1 of each ... no wait, there was an alternative mid brown tonal, but it just didn't fit at all with the others.
I coloured in the layout sheet (glad I took the time to do this), and trued up the fabric last night and began cutting this morning. Hopefully the end result will look something like Harriet's.
Although I have enough fabric (it was cheap) to do the large version, I decided to do the smaller one first to see how I liked the result. I'm not 100% sold on the colours as they are not quite what I wanted.
INSTRUCTION MISTAKE #1
Harriet encourages you to do the math to work out how many strips to cut. I try to do this, but got confused here. There is a mistake in the instructions!
As a beginner quilter, I simply assumed I'd got the math wrong, the author knows what she's doing and I don't. So I proceeded to cut according to the instructions in the book. I ended up with too many strips.
For some reason Harriet's instructions are to cut enough strips for 12 blocks. There are only 8 A blocks with small 4 patch units, not 12. You are asked to cut 96 units from the strip sets - but you actually only need 64 units. That's a chunk of fabric wastage right there (not to mention extra cutting & sewing time), and as I was making Blocks A & B at the same time - so I got it wrong for both of them.
This is not a disaster for me, as I will probably use the extra strip sets in the extra blocks for the larger quilt. But to get the math wrong in a beginner tutorial book is very bad! Shame Harriet. It's hard enough when you don't know what you're doing, without poor instructions.
MAKING THE SMALL 4 PATCH BLOCKS
The design is quite simple, it's all 4 patch blocks, in 2 different sizes, so just simple sewing of strips and cutting to size. Getting the colour placement right is the tricky bit.
Now the instructions in this book are written by colour e.g. sew the green print fabric strip to the dark green etc. I don't know if all quilting instructions are done this way (I've seen the same thing in magazines though) but I find it terribly confusing, cause I'm using different colours. There are no separate instructions for the Asian Nights version, just how many extra blocks to make and how much extra fabric to buy.
Making the mock-up really helped here, and I had to go through the pattern and change all the colours, hoping all the way I hadn't mixed any of them up.
These are the small 4 patch blocks in 2 colourways. Actually the colours don't look too bad together.
INSTRUCTION MISTAKE #2
Now I'm getting scared. Two mistakes?? That is just cruel. The next step is to sew the small patch blocks to a single larger unit, then to sew 2 of these units together to make a large 4 patch block.
The instructions tell me ".......You will have 32 units 4 1/2 x 2 1/2. Repeat the above steps for Block B. "
Now I am told to......"using the units you have made, make 2 stacks of 32 units, 1 turned opposite the other. Stitch these together."
I have 32 units of Block A and 32 units of Block B. Am I being told to sew Blocks A & B together here?
If I did that, I would get this........
Now that looks nothing like the pattern in my mock up.
I think what the instructions should say is.."using the units you have made, make 2 stacks of 16 units...."
If I did that, I would get this........
I think this is right, but now I'm not sure. I am wary of sewing these up in case the instructions are correct and I'm not. According to my mock up and according to the illustration which accompanied the instructions, this is the right way to sew them.
I am very disappointed to find these sort of errors in a tutorial. It's difficult enough for a beginner to work out the maths, the designs and the colour placement, without this sort of thing happening.
This is really disconcerting. I am only halfway through this quilt top and already encounted 2 errors. I can't help but wonder if there are more errors and more importantly, if I will pick up on them.
I suppose though, that coming across these sort of errors is actually good for a beginner. It makes me think about what I'm doing, rather than blindly following instructions. Maybe that is what Harriet intended?
To be continued..............