Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Changing patterns

I wonder if those people who design things and then make patterns feel slighted if their pattern were changed. I have a friend who is notorious for changing patterns and I don't think she has ever made something where she strictly adhered to the pattern as it was written.

I guess the same thing occurs in recipes. One of my daughters does not follow a recipe. I like to make things the way they are written the first time and then change it if I don't like it. That said, I have been known to leave out things from recipes (such as walnuts or chocolate chips) because I just don't like them.

There are some things that are improved by changing - or they can go completely askew, especially with food. Not too much can be harmed if you are changing a pattern using fabric - especially a quilt.

Recently, I started a quilt that was a block of the month. I had kept the pdf patterns because the subject matter was cute. Squirrels. The BOM was Bunny Hill's Henrietta Whiskers. I will change the name to something like Henrietta and Friends or George and Friends. This quilt has a lot of pumpkins in it - and stars. I want it to be more squirrels and less pumpkins. This idea came to me after I visited the Flikr site that had photos from those quilters that made the quilt when it first came out. There were a few quilters whose work impressed me because they didn't stick with the pattern.

Penny, of A Quiltmaker's Journal, decided to use a bird instead of a squirrel. I don't think the quilt was ever finished but she did manage the first block.

Marijke did finish her quilt and she changed it quite a bit. I particularly the fact that she got rid of the house at the bottom of the quilt and combined two blocks to add a pumpkin chariot being pushed by a squirrel and led by two black birds.

Kathie, who lives in Australia, made her quilt very distinctive. Her fabrics are totally different and she changed the original pattern quite a bit. She even made the house look like it sits in the Australian outback.

So, you see, even if you use a pattern as a jumping off point, you don't have to follow it exactly. Use your imagination, take out what you don't like and put in what you want. There is no one to tell you that you have to make it in the same dimensions or use the same colours.

This is the bear quilt that appeared in Quilter's Newsletter (I mentioned it here.) I remember showing this to someone and they really didn't like it - mainly  because of the colours. It is not quilted but tied. The pattern is quite nice but there are some people who just cannot visualize it looking like something else.
This quilt was made by my friend Marg. The pattern was used as a monthly block draw, in the early 1990s, at one of the guilds that I belong to. Marg won them and then, because she likes bigger quilts, added a few of her own bears as extras and then finished the quilt. She held onto it until she had a great grandchild and a year ago Christmas, it was delivered to the little boy.
Same pattern, different fabrics, different size and a different look to the quilt. So, go ahead and change it up. Make it your own. That's what makes things interesting.


  1. Be creative! Do your own thing! That's what I say.

  2. I like the bears with different colours, and with my project on the go right now, have such different colour choices than were in the original.I think, go ahead, change, alter to your own choice, and be happy with the results. Greetings from Jean

  3. I am always changing recipes because I often take out things I don't like or don't have. I also chuck in anything that's in the house that I fancy adding in - I'm quite bad at thinking I've bought all the ingredients and then starting to cook and finding out I don't have it all. For stitching though, I don't know, I like to follow the pattern... but that's just my preference, I think it should be up to you!

  4. I am one of them that has to be always changing things it seems--so I am with you on that--but I can't believe that you don't like walnuts or chocolate chips??????
    hugs, di and miss gracie

  5. Wonderful. Your bears are so fantastic.
    I love them.

    Greetings Grit

  6. Seeing even one colour option can open your eyes and help you see the pattern in your own fabrics. Some magazines have shown their pattern in different colours either as a finished quilt or a coloured drawing. The blue bears don't appeal to me, but the second quilt shows how cute the pattern actually is.

  7. I've always thought of patterns as starting points - sometimes I follow them exactly; but, usually, I use them as a template of a template. By the way, I've been known to add chocolte chips to a few recipes.

  8. I don't quilt, as you know, but I think patterns are there as an influence - not as hard and fast rules. I'm totally like that with recipes. They're more for guidance than instruction, as far as I'm concerned.

    Years ago there was a TV advert here for Oxo cubes (stock cubes) and the TV mum was following a recipe for chinese pork and bamboo shoot surprise.

    At the end, when the family are eating, Dad says "this isn't pork" and the kids hold up their forks with green beans on them and say "and these aren't bamboo shoots" and Mum says.............
    "And that's the surprise!"

  9. It is darling Dolores!! Always fun to make a pattern your own when creating...
    Happy stitching! ;)

  10. Lovely baby quilt. Lucky little guy. My boss made this quilt years ago too and changed it up. Yes, patterns are a jumping off point ; )

  11. I'm not a recipe follower either except when I'm baking and as for patterns....I frequently change them because sometimes there is a better way to do something.


Thank you for commenting. I appreciate your thoughts.