As I put the finishing touches on some new patterns, it’s time to address something I’ve been ruminating on for a while… I find myself wanting to make sure I communicate the skill level effectively so that you know what you’re getting in to. So how does one meaningfully describe difficulty?
Yes, there is the Easy/Intermediate/Advanced scale, but I think there is wide real estate living between Easy and Intermediate, especially for our up-and-comers. And what may be easy to a quilter with a hundred projects to her credit might still intimidate our recent and eager graduates from the local store’s 101 class. A scale of 1 to 5 is better, but still, what does a 2 really entail? Is a 1 a rail fence and a 5 a feathered star? Or is a 5 a Baltimore Album? With curved borders? Is there a separate scale for applique? And for the record, everything outside of fusible is a 5 to me!
I know for a fact I have friends who can make a feathered star while juggling a souffle in the kitchen, and others who think curved piecing is a snap, but frankly, I’m seriously intimidated by the first and still far from comfortable (as in I keep the the seam ripper close) with the second.
So here’s what I’m thinking – and yes, the description will go with the scale:
Skill Level 1. All straight seams, no bias edges. Pattern will still work well even if quarter inch seam isn’t always accurate. (Loose Change, Easy Money and Birch Bark are good examples of this)
Skill Level 2. All straight seams, no bias edges. Pattern requires greater quarter inch seam accuracy to make units fit together and lay flat. (Mouse Trap and Big Block Jelly Logs need this skill set)
Skill Level 3. All straight seams, straight and bias edges. Pattern requires greater quarter inch seam accuracy to make units fit together, as well as attention to not stretching bias edges. (Big Block Tumble fits this well)
Skill Level 4. Straight and bias edges, with straight and curved seams. Pattern requires very good quarter inch seam accuracy to ensure unit fit together and lay flat (I haven’t come up with anything this hard yet!)
And so on.
What do you think? I’d really love your thoughts on this!