Getting ahead of myself with new quilting ideas

A few months ago I was so determined to get going with my new quilt idea ‘Home and Garden‘ that I almost forgot how many other things I had to do first, like finishing the Pirate Quilt, writing the instructions for it (which are available free here), adding finishing touches to my ‘Through My Window‘ quilt, and the list goes on… All these had time constraints, I must add, which meant I had to get them done. Otherwise, I would have been quite happy to dabble in another project. But it seems my eagerness to get started came too soon and my thoughts were, perhaps, a bit premature in that respect.

So, I’ve been busy, though not with sewing. But with a lot of writing. And a lot of calculating.

Did anyone else realise when they started quilting, how much maths is involved? I sometimes think you need to be a bit of numbers genius or some sort of maths whizz kid (or adult in this case) to get your head around cutting instructions and estimating fabric quantities. Especially in the UK – we tend to buy fabric in metres but when we come to cut our fabric we work in inches!

When I started quilting, I used the Metric System, because I grew up in Spain and that’s what’s used there and that’s what I was used to. I hadn’t realised that most quilters use the Imperial System.

One of my early quilts, which I made for my eldest daughter when she was just a toddler – A Child’s Nautical Quilt – was featured as a project in British Patchwork and Quilting magazine in 2012, and the editor back then was quite happy to publish my instructions in centimetres. It was a popular project and I made up kits to sell via my Melony Patch Etsy shop. It’s been years since I ran out of kits, but I still sell the pattern, and to this day, it is one of my most popular designs; every now and then I see quilts people have made using this pattern.

It was just the other day that a lady from Canada got in touch with me after buying the pattern in my shop. She asked if she could have the instructions in inches. I nearly fainted!! But after I composed myself, I thought it would be a good idea to do this so that more people feel able to work on this project.

But it’s not as simple as it might sound. You can’t just do a straight conversion. For example 10cm is 3.93701 inches… Who is going to cut THAT?? Not me! So you have to round up or down the figures; I decided to round up and down to the nearest quarter inch.

Luckily the templates in the pattern for the various shapes (whale, fish, starfish, sailboat, float and lighthouse) were all full size, so it didn’t really matter if I had designed theses in centimetres. But the blocks those shapes were in, had to be changed.



So there I was (ALL of last Friday), busy with my calculator converting cm to inches, rounding figures up and down, and trying to make all the blocks fit neatly together. It was like working on a jigsaw puzzle, and can honestly say it was a mammoth task. But now that it is over, I’m so pleased I’ve done it. Instead of re-writing the instructions, I’ve written a set of guidance notes on to how to use the original instructions and templates if working in inches, and these will be offered to those buying the pattern via my shop.

Sadly, there was no sewing today either. I’ve been busy writing up the instructions for ‘Through My Window‘ quilt – and I’m hoping to get this all done and dusted by the end of next week so I can send it off to the magazine. My calculator is out, my head is swirling and I need a break now!



And on that note I bid you all a good weekend! (Anyone watching the Royal Wedding??)

Mel x