In anticipation of our annual quilt retreat at the Compass Centre, I purchased a kit on line. It was on sale, the price was right, and I loved the design.

The only kicker was that the kit didn’t come with instructions. You had to buy a companion book that had the pattern in it, along with several other quilt patterns. Unfortunately, the retreat was canceled and I never got to work on this quilt.

One evening I decided to sit down with the book and, hopefully, familiarize myself with this new pattern. As with most quilt books there’s an introduction, then a listing of supplies you’ll need, and some basic cutting and sewing specifications.

I, like most people, prefer visual instructions, but my mother was left-handed, and did things like knit and crochet, etc. backwards.

So I learned at an early age to do those things by reading the instructions and following crude illustrations. I’m pretty confident in my ability to follow written instructions.

Back to my new book.

The book is titled “The French Braid Obsession” by Jane Hardy Miller. The name of the quilt is “What Was I Thinking?”

I have never made a French braid quilt before. I skimmed over the beginning of the book because I have all the supplies I’ll ever need and I know how to piece.

On to the pictures. They were wonderful examples of different designs to construct a French braid.

There were full-size quilts, table runners and even a few Christmas tree skirts thrown in. I found the quilt I had purchased the kit for and began reading.

Maybe trying to learn a new technique at the end of a day was not my best choice. The more I read, the more confused I became. And it didn’t help that the instructions began on the page where the picture of my kit was, but then they would stop and refer me to the instructions at the beginning of the book.

Going back and forth was really confusing. And these days it doesn’t take much to accomplish that.

Every week or so I pick up the book and try to make sense of the instructions. It’s evident to me by now that it’s time to just bring out the fabric and step by step follow the directions.

It’s beautiful fabric and I really don’t want to mis-cut my pieces, but there comes a time when you just have to go for it. Rotary cutter here I come.

Nancy C. JUDD is a Herald correspondent.

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