Pattern Problems

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Albert Einstein

I am the first to admit that I do not do well with following patterns.
Most of the quilts I have made have been my own design.
There has only been one quilt that I made from a kit.
I also made a Darth Vadar quilt from a pattern I bought online.
Both this kit and the online pattern had great, user-friendly directions.

My biggest fault, is that I do not read the pattern thoroughly.
I don’t read directions from top to bottom.
I skim.
For years, I taught my students the strategies for reading for understanding.
I also preached that they need to READ ALL OF THE DIRECTIONS.
But who practices what they preach?

That said, there is a discrepancy on how patterns are written.
Not all patterns are created equal!
In particular, the patterns that you purchase online vary from,
“Easy Peasy!”…to …”What?”! 
My daughter-in-law shared her experience of purchasing an online pattern that was just not making sense.
She is precise and an expert, and never has a problem with using patterns.
She found missing and incorrect steps and non-matching photos in this particular pattern.
I once purchased a pattern from a store. It was for a quilted tote bag.
It was a brand name pattern I found on the dollar table.
This should have been a clue.
After struggling with the pattern, I took it to my friend who sells sewing machines at JoAnn’s.
She read and re-read the pattern.
Then she pointed out some missing and incorrect steps.
I don’t mind mistakes on patterns that are free, but anything that costs money should be error free.
Or, at least, the author of the pattern should add a disclaimer and a request to report any problems or mistakes found.

This is the second day I have spent working on figuring out a quilt pattern.
The pattern itself, gave correct and precise information and sequence.
The mistakes made are totally on me.
As usual, I didn’t read it for understanding and ended up purchasing two more quarter yards of fabrics than needed.
A total of 14 fabrics was needed.
The backing was included as one of the 14, and I missed that step.
Five fat quarters for accent fabric were needed, instead of only the 4 that were purchased.
After reading the pattern more fully, I figured out a way to include each of the purchased fabrics.
I also think there will be enough of the accent fabric, since the pattern directions state that some of the accent cuts yield more strips than needed. I did read this part!
It will be fun to play with the chosen palette of fabric that was purchased.

The pattern gives definite instructions for the strip configuration, but I made a more user-friendly chart.
This chart dismisses the need to keep referring back to the two sections in the pattern that explain the size configuration.
A person with more experience may not need this chart, but I am very visual and I need to see it all in one spot.
Then, I also spent time trying to work within the configuration of the strip sizes and add the color codes of the fabric.

Now, the test.
Can I explain this to a six year old.
I called my friend and started explaining.
Success!
I understand what I am doing.
(No, my friend is not a 6 year old, but she understood every word I said.)