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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Hillbom

Pattern Testing, Math and Grammar

As I started my quilting journey, I came to appreciate (or grumble about) the way a quilting pattern was written. Is it just me, or do spelling errors and poor grammar annoy you as much as they do me? Even when they are found in something as "simple" as a published quilting pattern. Oy!

I would often think to myself "would this sentence be crystal clear to a novice quilter"? It takes me back to my health care professional days when I was responsible for creating brochures and handouts in a specialty clinic. Keeping it simple, using clear unambiguous language with easy to understand medical terms was vital! And "know your audience" was also a key thing to remember. Not everyone had the same reading or language level. And, the information that they were actually seeking out might not always be what was asked about during their appointment.

Besides having a professional responsibility to cover necessary information and following best practice guidelines, I would also informally chat with patients to see what it is that they felt was important or what they have found most useful to them. Being a quilt pattern designer and tester is kinda the same thing! The pattern developer is typically a quilter, has a great idea for a pattern and works hard to bring that project to fruition. Then... this is where pattern testers come in!

We follow the pattern as it is written and report back with any suggestions or concerns we may have. Was the quilting math correct? Are the directions easy to follow with clear instructions and/or diagrams? Did everything turn out the way it was supposed to? Was there anything missing? Spelling or grammar issues? These are the kind of details that I love!

And to top it off, it is a great excuse for me to make a quilt, not that I really need one! But, it also offers an opportunity to meet other quilters that are doing the same thing I am doing with the same pattern. End result? Pattern designer has worked out all the kinks, I have made a few friends and quilt along the way.

Here is a lovely mini quilt pattern that I tested for Namaju Quilt Studio called "Summer Reflection". I tried something new - using solid fabrics. Until this point it had been all prints for me! And now, I have realized that I have more than just a fondness for the simplicity of solid fabrics.

The most interesting thing that came up was how printing in different countries works out. Paper size matters! Who knew? This is something that just never occurred to me. Claire (of Namaju Studios) lives in France. I live in Canada. When I printed out this pattern, there was a template that was cut short "just a bit" on the bottom of one page. I tried various settings (assuming that the issue was at my end) to no avail. Turns out, standard paper size in Europe (A4) is 18mm longer and 6mm narrower than standard letter paper used in North America. It is information like this that is gathered to make sure that all the information is within the printable area (no matter the country). Did you know this about standard paper sizes?

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