A nip here and a tuck there…

I’m getting a face-lift!

Well, not me personally, as in “not on my person”, my physical self.  Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. is the beneficiary of this enhancement – the patterns.

I – we – need it.  And I’m pretty excited about it.


Aren’t they pretty?

Okay, they’re not done.  That’s not even one of them.  Think of this as a sneak-peek into the operating room.

Wee Hours?  It’s a new pattern but that’s not it on the cover, that’s the Collection for a CauseFriendship quilt from a few years ago that was used for context and to help with the visual.  Full Circle?  That’s it on the cover – made with Alice’s Scrapbag, the beautiful new collection by Barbara Brackman.  Susan is working on the layout and diagram now.  She’s the perfect person to work with me as she used to teach third-graders.  The one in back is Viola… more on her soon.

I wrote a little while back that the biggest challenge has been working backwards – at least it’s backwards for me.

Back in the day – it does occasionally feel like forever-ago – I would see fabric I liked and let it noodle-around in my head until I got an idea for what to make.  Then I would think about different sizes of blocks, how big each would make the quilt, “about” how much fabric would I need and so on.  That part is still the same, the difference now is that I used to make the quilt before I wrote the pattern.  Now I calculate the yardage, write the pattern, make some chicken-scratch diagrams and then pass it along to the computer wizards.  Sounds good, right?


It is. But it isn’t without a hiccup on two.  This is Otis – more on “him” soon too.

The problem – problems? – arise when something doesn’t work as planned.  One of the new quilts had yardage calculated based on getting six squares per strip.  Cut to size, it would add up to 20 1/4″.  It was a very tight fit… maybe 1/4″ to spare.  But many of us – including me – would cut those squares a little bit larger to allow for trimming – they’re for half-triangle squares.  I cut them at 3 1/2″ instead of 3 3/8″ and while it adds up to 21″ and “should” still fit, it didn’t.  I could only get 5 squares per strip.  So that pattern will need a little work, a revision or four.

Where I have to get better is keeping the drafts and revisions on the computer updated or, more importantly, making sure that whomever is working on that pattern knows that it’s been updated.  Learning to work with other people is really hard!

As we find a format and style that works for the new patterns, some of the “old” patterns will be updated, re-colored and perhaps even re-made.  As we go through this process, I’d like to ask for your help on two fronts.

First, are there any “old” Miss Rosie’s patterns that you think should be on the list for a makeover?

And second, if you were making a list of what absolutely, positively should be in a pattern for it to be good, what would you include?  E.g., pressing, little tips, why I’m doing it the way I’m doing it, etc.

I’m off to cut some fabric so I can finish Viola.

Then I’m writing the pattern.  Pray for Susan.


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50 thoughts on “A nip here and a tuck there…

  1. You’re so funny! You’re not a 3rd grader! You’re a brilliant quilter! Because there are SEW many ways for piecing techniques, the “why” of using your certain method is a great idea for the patterns! MODA has awesome computer/graphic arts people!

  2. For me, one of the most important parts of a pattern are intermediate sizes of blocks so I can check my work as I go along and fix mistakes before the whole block is pieced. I.e. A 12″ block with a four square and hsts, give the four square finished size and hsts sizes as well. Thanks.

    1. Brilliant point! I absolutely agree! And I find this useful on the occasions when I might be using a different technique to make the same shape and I just want to be sure that I’m aiming for the same size you’re aiming for. (I might be using scraps, so yardage requirements aren’t concerning me, but finished size definitely is.)

    2. Oh yes! So important, I just put aside blocks I made from a pattern because I thought they were to small…when in reality the block size given including the first row of sashing…boy was I confused!

  3. I never know which way to press the seams, so I’m all about the pressing. Also, any little tips always help me. I figure the person writing the pattern knows more about the pattern than I do. So, any tips or hints are always helpful.

  4. Please keep the narrative in about how you named the quilt. Always makes me chuckle. Having cutting instructions for both the traditional piecing method and the larger cuts for squaring up is helpful. Sometimes I don’t think it all the way through when I start cutting. Looking forward to the new patterns!

  5. Otis looks amazing! I love that design. And you know I will have to make Viola, since my son plays. 🙂 I’m sure you have lots of peeps at Moda to sew for you now, but if you ever need any stunt sewers, I’m always game!

  6. I love pressing instructions as I’m challenged that way! I also appreciate instructions in 2 sizes to give the option of different size quilts, but I know that isn’t always possible or even practical.

  7. CLEAR LOGIC is what i hope to find in pattern. Miss Rosie patterns are logical. For ex, fabric #1 should be dominating fabric, or the one requiring most fabric, etc. My # 1 pet peeve is not to be able to read fabric reqts online (maybe thats quilt shop) Anyway, I don’t purchase pattern. If it is fat qtr friendly and I’m going to have threads only remaining, they need to say that. All they say is Cut Carefully. I would rather purchase a tad extra up front than worry so much and invariably have to go out and buy more. This is quilting, not rocket science. I wanna have fun. Next, I would like for quilting patterns to parallel sewing patterns for degree of difficulty, listing beginner (for Geometric shaped piecing, intermediate (having x amount of applique, or curved seams), and advanced, meaning English paper piecing is involved), or some standard we can all relate to. In other words, is this pattern realistical for my skill level? There are one or two Moda designers who don’t list fabric needs up front (on their website), & I’ve skipped somepatterns That I loved for that reason. I haven’t been really impressed with one or two (bag) patterns, one from those who also fail to list fabric needs. nothing really fit and paper pattern looked like 1st grade dwg. Patterns should be like recipes, tried and tested, and assume i have never made anything. I can skip the parts i know easier than try to fill in blanks. Have come to expect higher std from Moda! Speaking of…, is all Moda cotton fabric the same weight?? Maybe its just me but most are top of the line, a few seem lighter in weight, much lighter. The starch has helped me alot with those but just wondering if diff designers can have diff weights within moda world? Maybe design plays into this and its my imagination. It would be nice to know all cotton fabric is same weight, for me anyway.

  8. I find instructions for using pre – cuts confusing since I don’t use pre-cuts. It would be very helpful to also have instructions for using yardage. I have an older model brain and don’t want to work so hard to figure out patterns any more. Thanks, Carrie for caring about what we think.

  9. I would echo a few other comments: I LOVE when you tell how you came up with the names. Also, I just finished making one of your patterns and was reminded how much I love that you show which way to press. I like the idea of telling people to cut a square a bit larger so that we can trim down and make our blocks lovely (& include that extra fabric amount-or even just write it into the pattern-make a square this size and trim it down to this size).
    One of my favorite things about your patterns is that I feel like you are standing beside me, talking me through the process. I feel like your personality comes through-please don’t lose that.

    (and on a side note…*New patterns!! YEA!!**)

  10. I echo what Joni Keskey said! Being able to check sizes of units as you go is so helpful! This is particularly true for those of us (me, too) who oversize and then trim. Thanks for asking!

  11. Include pressing directions. Not everything is pressed to the dark. Easier sewing when seams nest together

  12. Interesting to read the comments! I have to agree the most with two comments. One about which
    direction to press seams and the other about the narrative on how quilts receive their name (that has
    truly made for interesting reading in your books).
    I have wanted to purchase the pattern for Super Mario and have been unable to do so and would love love love seeing some of your patterns made from newer Moda fabric lines. I’m sure there are computer programs that could do this and it would help some of us who are lacking in vision to see possibilities for new fabric.

  13. Everyone above covered all my suggestions. I am so very happy and excited for you, Moda and us quilters with this new phase of Miss Rosie. Thank you for another great posting.

  14. I am grateful for you and your posse for your organized minds. Any hints that help me stay organized is appreciated. If you remake earlier patterns involving flying geese or or other components that you have changed your methodology or used newer rulers that you love working with, please include that as a suggestion or take it into consideration for yardage requirements. I have some older patterns and stash. I’m a little nervous about starting a pattern if I think I might be short of fabric I can’t get any more. It is hard to go from working alone to being on the team even if you are the quarterback.

  15. It would be fun to see many of your quilts re-done in different colors, e.g. scrappy quilt done in 2 colors or new Moda fabric lines. Also, I think directional pressing tips are extremely helpful.

  16. The quilt recipe on The Moda Bakeshop today is a wonderful example of excellent quilting instructions in a pattern. It’s Quilt In A Row by Mellissa Corry. Why, I think even I could make that quilt ….after all, I was in third grade once !! It’s all about following the instructions and they are carefully detailed here. Cutting and pressing details are so important to creating a beautiful outcome. The pictures help a lot!! That’s an advantage to following a pattern on the web. A printed pattern just can’t have zillions of pictures or it would be a book instead. I always trust that a pattern designer knows what she is doing with her design. And hopefully she had the pattern road-tested a few times to get the kinks out.

  17. I would like to know what size my block is suppose to be along the way so I can
    fix it then and not have to unsew once it is totally done. This would be especially helpful on big blocks with lots of parts. I love your blog…it’s one of the first things I read in the morning!

  18. So excited about your new patterns coming out! I love the detailed instructions you always provide, but my favorite part of your patterns is feeling as if I am having a conversation with you while I construct the pattern. When I get one of your patterns, I love to sit down with a cup of coffee (or chardonnay) and read it again and again before I even get started with rotary cutter to fabric. They are always a terrific and chatty read.

  19. Hi, one thing I came across recently in a quilt pattern was a seperate box with the quantities required to make just one block (that is, how much of each fabric and how many triangles etc). I thought that was fantastic: it made it really easy to make a test block (do I like this?) and to calculate extra yardage to accomodate a couple of pillows and a tote. It is a deature I would like to see more often.

  20. Always like pressing instructions. I would also like a pattern to give yardage or precut options. Love your blog and love Moda

  21. I am also echoing just about every other comment – which direction to press. Right, left or even open. Extra fabric requirements is a must. I don’t know how many times I have run short due to a mistake or squaring up and the fabric is no longer available. Now I always purchase more then the pattern suggests. Don’t assume anything. Bag patterns are the ultimate worse for assumptions and bad instructions. Thanks!!!!

  22. I love pressing instructions, and nested seam images, and clear, concise written direction supported by images as required. And accurate yardage requirements (some designers go way overboard in their yardage estimates – very irritating.) BUT MOSTLY, I AM JUST SO EXCITED YOU’RE WRITING PATTERNS AGAIN!!!!! EEEEEEK! As for some Rosie pattern makeovers, I don’t so much think any require that; as could be re-released in a slightly new iteration (more for political reasons)….Some of my all time faves include Amadeus, Stella Blue, Jersey Girl, Tag Sale and the one I still can’t find anywhere with the houses blocks and occasional “4 little houses” blocks…..and, I’m dying for more on Viola because I am already fathoms deep in love with her….!!!!!! EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKK! OK. Back to grown-up land now. You’ve made my day!

  23. Cracked Pots deserves a make over. Give it a brighter, modern look! Same with Come On a My House and Quiet Time. All three could gain a new life with a modern makeover.

  24. It’s helpful to me to see a diagram showing how to get the required cuts out of the amount of fabric listed. Does that make sense? If the pattern says, such and so many 3 x 3 and such and so many 4 x 6 ‘s, then shows me that with the amount of fabric suggested I can lay it out just so and cut it on two grids and have a good bit of breathing room, I’m going to get started and not be stressing. I suppose many people figure this out on their own, but I usually end up buying way too much fabric so that I don’t end up short–a problem I encountered frequently in my early quilting years. I don’t think in a grid.

  25. I love my Schnibbles patterns. I love that you tell me what size my unit should be, so if I use a different method, I know what size to cut my blocks. Please continue to tell me how you came up with the name!
    Where will I be able to buy these new patterns once they are ready?

  26. I really LOVE when the pattern lists the sizes that sub units should be. It’s a great way to keep an eye on your sewing so that the pieces will fit together well in the end. I like pressing instructions too. Thanks for asking!

  27. Let me say first that I love your (Miss Rosie’s) patterns! The best things are the stories behind the name and the ‘hand writing’ notes to help us enjoying the whole quilt. What I love in a pattern if there’re sizes along the way, not just the finished block and quilt size but if you you now add this or that your piece should be this size or that. And cutting diagrams can be truely helpful (ie how to cut a FQ for a Swoon quilt).

  28. Thank you for continuing to write patterns…..what is helpful for me is that I like to make a “test block” out of scraps, therefore it would be great to have a section called FOR ONE BLOCK YOU WILL NEED before cutting into my new beautiful moda fabric

  29. I love having pressing instructions, as I often have trouble figuring out which direction to press seams. I love Joni Keskey’s suggestion of intermediate block sizes! I love your Toulouse pattern, but have yet to make it.

  30. I agree with all of the above comments, I love pressing instructions, and pictures are always helpful since I am bad about doing as all patterns say, READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS befiore you begin.. HA HA., kinda like you have issues with following a pattern. But intermediate sizes are very important to me since sometimes mine don;t always measure up, so to speak. Keep on doing what you are doing! We love it.

  31. One thing I find so felt full in patterns is when we are given the dementia completed sections should be. I am really hesitant to ask this; will Rosie still be on the pattern? Yup having a hard time letting go of her, and she wasn’t even mine.

  32. I think the pressing is a lovely option and need the check-in with the size of each piece that makes the block. Those are really important to me for me to call a pattern great. Also, telling me how many of each piece I’ll need to make one block. (i.e. you will need 4 coordinating hst to complete block A –
    Make 25 Block A.) I can now figure out that I need 100 hst for my quilt (if it’s not already given)…
    I am a bit challenged dividing but confident multiplying… It helps when I don’t want to make all of the 100 hst in one sitting. I can make a multiple of 4 and still see a few finished blocks on my wall.

  33. Whoopieee whahoo! I caught sight of your new patterns yesterday… I have to say I woke up extra happy today! Viola is super adorable and as it happens… it was my grandmothers name… so sweet to see a pattern to associate it with.
    Pattern makeovers? Hmmm, More girl names… Stella, Ginger Belle, Elizabeth! (I would say Summer Wind but I already made it)!
    I enjoy they way you write patterns. I feel like I am sewing with a friend. Your tidbits and mentioning how you came up with the name of the pattern are fun and make your patterns much more “personable” in my opinion.
    I like knowing the quantity needed to make one block. Any chance of colored diagrams?
    Thank you Carrie!
    I’m doing a new patterns happy dance!

  34. Can’t wait for Viola, but I love all of your quilts! Definitely include little tips, shortcuts, and any other advice you have for the novices like me! I want to be a better, smarter quilter. What better way than learn from a master quilter!

  35. I love it when designers include instructions for all different sizes of quilts. Not always do I want to make the same size as the pattern is written it makes calculating yardages difficult.

  36. So excited that you are doing some new patterns. I love the way you explain each section and the drawings are so great for a quick double check. I would love for you to discuss the various ways to make flying geese and why some methods are better than others. Your postings always make for fun reading. Continue to add your unique humor to your patterns and posts.

  37. I think pressing directions are really important, eg I’m currently making large blocks with 28 half-square triangles and 8 squares. I pressed the triangles to the darker fabric but found when putting the rows together some need to be pressed to the light to make them nest better. I often press open seams these days but prefer them to the side. So including pressing directions is often very helpful.

  38. I really like your pattern instructions! My favorite parts are which way to press the seams, finished/ unfinished unit size, alternate size options. Keep them coming 🙂

  39. I really like when a pattern has pressing directions. My second request would be to have updated measurements as you work along the pattern.

  40. I think you do a really good job. My hot buttons:
    1. multiple sizes of finished project.
    2. Precise fabric quantities and cutting instructions. I.E. ‘two yards for blocks, one yard for outer border, and three yards for backing’, not ‘six yards for blocks, outer border and backing’. What if I don’t want them all the same color?
    3. If you’re reserving some of the fabric for another place, make that clear, “from A, cut six strips of this and four of that and hold the remaining half yard for binding”.

    Don’t stop doing your tips, hints and comments — I love those!

  41. Hi Carrie, I really appreciate it when designers let me know at the beginning of the pattern what size the blocks or units will finish. I hate it when I have to make a sample just to see what size the unit or block finishes in order for me to change the size of the quilt–I often change the size of the blocks but usually need to know what size the designer originally made. Thanks–love your patterns.

  42. I always get a chuckle reading your blog posts! Like so many have commented – I think that pressing instructions and intermediate block/piece sizes are a great bonus in patterns.

  43. Carrie: Will Otis work for setting the blocks we made as the extras in the Miss Rosie club two years ago?? I have my blocks done and I’m ready to piece them together! Thanks so much!
    Dania KInney

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