Good Concepts & Poor Math Skills Don't Mix

{Alternate Post Title: Why I'll Never Be A Quilt Designer}

So I've been working on making my oldest niece a quilt. She'll be 15 in less than a week but I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. Her favorite color is pink and a while back I made an impulse buy of a layer cake by Stella called Flirt. I showed her a photo of the fabric and she loved it and we decided to pair it with solid gray. Coming up with a pattern proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. Every layer cake friendly pattern I found required more 10-inch squares than I had. This layer cake only comes with 18 squares. So I played around in EQ7 to figure out a layout that I liked and decided upon this:

After I constructed all of the blocks and decided on this layout I realized that I constructed too many with the gray corner in the wrong place. That was error #1. To correct it, I purchased 2 different fat quarters that I thought would coordinate well and made a few more blocks. But it was barely big enough for a baby blanket and I wanted it to be bigger. I had a slew of leftover half square triangles so I tried to figure out how I could incorporate those into the design.

Enter the border idea:

I decided to add a solid border and then a houndstooth border with all of the HSTs, with a solid square of gray in each of the corners. Of course, if I could actually do math, I would have realized that I made my gray border too small for that idea to work. So I found yet another fabric from my stash and made a few more HSTs so that they would go all the way around the border like this:

Enter my next math error - the gray border is too big for this new idea to work because I'm just a bit to short at the other end:


I've only pieced together one side of the houndstooth border. I'm going to piece together the opposite side with the exact same number of squares as well as a 3rd side to determine how many squares I'll need to connect both of the sides. I have a feeling I will end up trimming down the gray border to make all those blocks to work.

But there you have it in a nutshell - if I could do math, I might not be in this predicament. And it's also why you won't see me designing a full quilt with complicated borders.


  1. I can SO relate to this post!! The quilt is going to be fabulous! Is the difference on the one portion such that you can just extend the inner border down to the end of the quilt? . . . Maybe if you take a HST out? Even if it is just one width of border that is needed, you could extend the border just on the opposite corners (clear as mud?). If you are interested, let me know - I might be able to explain better LOL

  2. I think the colors and style are fabulous, especially for the age of person you are making it for, it looks like a young woman's quilt, bright, shades of pink and sophisticated modern appeal. I think I would take off the one HST that is too long, put in a spacer on each side to take up the shortage and put the final HST on the corner. Again, it is fabulous!!

    1. Ooh- that's a good idea and just might work! That would prevent me from having to cut down the gray border.

  3. you have done a brilliant job designing this quilt what a lot of love you have put into it and I know it ill be greatly loved, all obstacles it threw in your way you have overcome and I would say you are a QUILT DESIGNER. Re layer cakes, jelly rolls,chamr packs etc I have quite a few sorry no layer cakes but all the patterns say you need other fabrics too so they are a bit of a pain to work out what to do with them

  4. I feel your pain! I have had these problems before and it positively hurts my brain trying to work it all out! Good luck 'nutting' it out- looks like you have a few commenters offering their sage advice! Pretty quilt but!

  5. Quilty math is sooo much fun. When it works. I love the look of the design, modern and fun for a young lady. I agree with Melody about using spacers. I would put the spacers at different places, maybe two or three in from the end hst on one side and the next one maybe three or four in from the end hst and so on for the other two sides. That way they would look like they are part of the design.

  6. Even someone who likes quilty math (me!!) can make big mistakes. I wrote a pattern and tested it out myself last weekend. Only to find with the *first* block I made that my cutting directions were all off. And I had used up all the fabric when I cut it. It happens to all of us!!! I do think the colors are great and pretty and will be awesome. I also really like the suggestion above about removing the extra HST and putting in a spacer of gray instead; I hope that works out for you!

  7. I love this fabric line. Sometimes when I make mistakes those are my best creative projects. No doubt the same thing will happen here! I cannot wait to see this one finished. I loved that line and regretted not purchasing it :(

  8. I think it is not so much a maths fail as an evolving concept. Sometimes it is fun to start without a plan and see where it takes us. This will be pretty.


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