Basic blunders and Braided Zigzag

avignon-04I’ve committed one of the most basic blunders — again. I jumped into making a quilt without really studying the instructions or the photo. But I guess that’s where the fun begins!

Three or four years ago, I won this Moda jelly roll called “A Breath of Avignon” at my guild’s annual retreat. Since then, it sat on my shelf, right next to the angels my husband carved, so I could enjoy the colorful swirl. I’ve left it there to percolate because I don’t make traditional quilts very often, and I wasn’t sure how to use a jelly roll. However, I saw a quilt that looked sort of braided, which I liked, and I thought it would be quick and easy.

Naturally, I couldn’t just follow the instructions. No, I had to tweak it. I thought, what would it look like if I put all the medium-toned blues and greens on one side of the braid and all of the light-toned whites and yellows on the other. That left me with a few strips of red. Without really studying the pattern, I thought I might be able to create a few red zigzags across the quilt. What I didn’t take into account was that, because the quilt was constructed log-cabin style, the zigzags could not line up without some adjustments. The basic problem occurs because one “arm” is longer than the other “arm.”


As a result, the zigzags can’t line up. Instead, it ends up looking like this.


While it was sort of “okay,” I didn’t really like it enough to leave it that way.

Let the problem solving begin! That’s the whole reason I make quilts anyway. I love problem solving.

I first thought of just moving each column down so they would line up, but that would involve sewing more strips onto each successive column and I didn’t have any more fabric. Yes, I could have removed strips from one end and added them to the top, but that seemed like way too much work to me. In addition, the resulting zigzag would have moved diagonally downward, which I didn’t like either.

I tried rotating every other column, but that looked worse to me.


In the end, I decided to “solve” the problem by just cutting off the longer side so the sides were an equal width when measuring from the points of the “V.”


It made the quilt narrower, but I figured that really didn’t matter too much since I don’t know what I’m going to do with it anyway. I’ve saved the strips I cut off, thinking that I might be able to use them in a border somehow.

  1. Sharon Robinson

    Hi Maria –
    That is so much like what I do to myself! But I like your solution – it works for me.

    I don’t really love making traditional quilts but wanted to make one for my granddaughter. So I saw a picture I liked, bought a bunch of fabric that approximately goes together and started cutting and sewing…. I have yet to find out if it works or not, but if history is any indication there will be problems like yours! But I still hate following directions!