I’ve always thought that there are two marks of a mature quilter. The first is understanding that not every quilt you make is destined to be a show quilt. That’s not to say that you don’t do your best work on each quilt, but the mindset that every quilt made is to be entered in a quilt show can suck the fun out of quilting. There are certainly one or two quilts I make each year that I feel are show-bound, but most of the quilts I make are for fun. The pressure of making each quilt as perfect as possible is just too much.
The second mark of a seasoned quilter is knowing when to walk away from a pattern that’s just not working for you. A person that’s been quilting awhile knows instinctively what patterns appeal to him or her and what blocks are to be avoided at all costs because they are that quilter’s kryptonite.
And that’s where I am at with Santa’s Loading Dock. Yes, this is my Year of Quilting Fearlessly, but if I did not have so much money tied up in fabric for this thing, I may very well turn tail and run. Please keep the following facts in mind as you read the rest of this blog: First, I have been a member of AQS for over a dozen years. Second, I have seen this quilt in person and it’s gorgeous. Third, I did read through the pattern twice before beginning.
Mary Buvia designed and made this quilt. She did a spectacular job. I saw the quilt at the Paducah quilt show in 2013. It is truly breathtaking. I instantly wanted to make it to hang in my living room during the Christmas holiday season. The American Quilter’s Society published Mary Buvia’s pattern in a book called Santa’s Loading Dock Quilt in 2012. At this point I firmly blame AQS for the faults in this pattern. Many quilters are perfectly capable of making an original quilt, but are not good at writing directions. This pattern is a case in that point. I’m not sure if AQS didn’t take the time to have another quilter make this quilt with the directions for this book or minimally have a quilter proof read the directions. With either case, the shortcomings of this pattern should have been glaringly easy to pick up.
However, with as much as I have already invested in this quilt, both in time and money, I’m going to continue to keep working with it. I have started on the floor. My group met this week and it was decided pretty much to throw our timeline out the window. Before the floor is attached to the globe background, the window, clock, toy store doorway, and reindeer banner need to go on. It’s only with those made and at least tacked in place that you have a true reference of where to place the snow flakes, Santa’s sleigh, and the continents.
Is this the timeline in the book? Nope. The reindeer banner is eighth. The window is fourth. The floor is sixth. The clock is tenth. If someone had proofed the directions or made this quilt with the directions given, I think all of this would have been changed in the book.
I don’t fault Ms. Buvia in this predicament. She made this quilt while her husband was dealing with cancer. She may not have really wanted to deal with this project again once the quilt was completed. However, AQS certainly has the resources to have the pattern proofed or even to have a quilter make this quilt to make sure the directions given truly reflect the process. At this point, I would have paid extra to actually purchase the printed pattern in the correct size.
So, my word of caution at this point is Quilter Beware of Pattern. Realize what you’re getting into when you begin (which I did), and how much of a challenge the quilt may be (which I didn’t).
There will not be a blog next week, since it’s Easter weekend. Enjoy your family and I hope you have extra time for quilting!
Still quilting fearlessly despite everything….
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam