Monday 8 July 2024

Run the Race

The runner in my family (one of my great nephews) was graduating from high school this year. So I figured I should get his quilt made. I had already found the pattern (Shoephoria) and saved it to Pinterest, but unfortunately, when it came time to purchase it, neither the designer's Etsy store nor her website were available. (I have since learned that she has passed away)> I was hoping to purchase a PDF download as it makes no sense to pay exorbitant shipping from the US. But I was having a difficult time even finding a paper copy. I managed to find one Canadian vendor, but it was sold out. I found one US vendor (since sold out), but as I mentioned, I was trying to avoid the often expensive US shipping. So, when I did a Bing search, I started clicking on each image that popped up to see where it originated. Finally, I was able to find it at one Canadian shop and, as it turns out, it was right here in Alberta: Jelly Roll Shop! I actually called them to confirm that they did have it in stock, so it was set aside for me. I placed the order, topping up with a few items to make the shipping worthwhile. 😁
The outside of the pattern announces "Fat Quarter Friendly". Hmm, fat quarters are my least favourite pre-cut, and my experience with "fat quarter friendly" patterns is not positive. They either have you trying to squeeze so many pieces out of one fat quarter, that it's not even do-able if your fat quarter is even slightly wonky (My Beloved's Vineyard), or they use so little of the fat quarter that you're then left with multiple pieces that are even more useless than a fat quarter is (Unbroken). As it turns out, this pattern fell into the latter category. The pattern requirements state 15 fat quarters for the shoes. Since I was only planning on doing 12 blocks, I would therefore require only 12 fat quarters, though I bought more because I didn't record how many I needed when I went to the fabric store (I wasn't specifically going for this pattern and just happened to spy the fat quarters on my way to the cutting table). 
Assuming, wrongly as it turns out, that each block would use up most of one fat quarter, I was very disappointed to discover that there was no layout diagram to show how to cut the pieces from the fat quarter to make the best use of the fabric. So, I pulled out my graph paper and created my own layout, only to discover that it took up less than half of the fat quarter.

Then I re-designed it to get two shoes out of one fat quarter. That still didn't take up the whole fat quarter and I made one more design to include the pieces for 3 shoes in one fat quarter.
And quess what? I did manage to make 3 blocks from one fat quater
and still had all of this fabric left over.
I didn't quite have enough to make one more block. Granted, this was a metric fat quarter, but that's only slightly bigger than an imperial (or US) fat quarter (not all Canadian shops cut metric fat quarters, many use the US ones). And my layout plan was based on a US fat quarter since I hadn't measured mine yet to see which it was. 
So, I really only needed 4 fat quarters for the 12 blocks I planned to make. Or 5 if I was going to make all 15 blocks, not 15 fat quarters. And if I really wanted each shoe to be different, I could have just used fabrics from my scrap stash. The shoe part of each block requires a small enough amount of fabric that I could have easily found 12 scraps big enough. But the pattern doesn't suggest that option. Instead it wants me to waste money on fat quarters that I would only use a fraction of. Grr.
Another major annoyance with this pattern is the fact that cutting dimension
s are given for only one block. To a certain extent, I get it for the shoe pieces cut from the fat quarter if you were actually only going to make one per fat quarter (even though no design layout was given as mentioned above), but the white, grey and background fabric are used in all of the blocks. Yet there are no cutting directions for how to cut the recommended yardage to make the best use of the fabric, not to mention my time. It only gives the dimensions for the individual pieces for one block. It's a good thing that I'm good at math. 
I did all of the calculations (half of the second sheet of paper is also covered with notes on the back, and I hadn't even done the calculations for the sashing yet). 
By this time, I had lost any enthisiasm I had for this project. I resent paying for a pattern that I believe is incomplete. Surely, if the designer actually tested her own pattern, she would have known how to cut up the yardage. Otherwise, how would she know how much yardage to put in the fabric requirements? I feel that it was disrespectful to us quilters to sell a pattern that requires so many calculations on the part of the purchaser. I have designed some of my own quilts and I expect to have to do these calculations for my own designs or when I occasionally rework a design if I think I can make a more efficient use of the fabric, but not have to do it for a pattern that I've purchased. And I know quilters who would really struggle with this, and some who would likely not even be able to complete the quilt.
I had admired one or two of this designer's other patterns, but I'm certainly thankful that I didn't purchase them, if this one is an example of what her patterns are like. 
One other, and much more minor, annoyance with this pattern is that I believe that the piece of fabric used for the logo is much too large. If I had to do it over again (and I have no intention of repeating this pattern), I would make the logo a fraction of the size - likely 2" instead of 4". But I had already done more than enough calculations for this quilt. 
The final - and petty - complaint about this pattern is the name. Shoephoria? Maybe it's because I really don't know how runners feel about their shoes (and high tops is not what they run in anyway. My great nephew has shown me one of the light-weight, streamlined running shoes he wears - definitely not these big, clunky things. Although he does wear these ones to play basketball, his second favourite sport). But to me, a pattern named Shoephoria should be a bunch of fancy high-heeled women's shoes... But that's just my bias. 
This wasn't my favourite quilt to make, but I persisted for my great nephew's sake. It's very fiddly piecing. But I'm pleased with the final result. And so is my great nephew. 
I had already ordered the Marathon - Running Shoes pantograph that I used for the quilting. 
I used red, white and blue variegated Aurilux thread, and I enjoyed the quilting part. And it's all ready for gifting. Just in time, as he graduated June 23, and his grad party is this Sunday. 
I chose red, blue and black as those are the colours my great nephew wanted, and named it Run the Race, a more fitting name, in my opinion, than Shoephoria. And it brings to mind the Bible text that was chosen for him for his graduation: 

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NKJV

May we all strive for that imperishable crown of eternal life.  


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