A while back I asked my blog readers to give me some feedback about what they wanted me to blog about. One suggestion was to tell a bit about where I get my ideas. That’s a hard question, because I can’t always explain my ideas and where they come from. I can’t control when or if they are going to come to me. I’m always a bit freaked out when I’m trying to be creative and my mind is _____ blank. One thing I have learned is that they will always come – it’s just weather or not I can be patient enough to wait for them. In fact, if for some crazy reason I decided I didn’t want to create, I don’t think I would have a choice in the matter. I am at my happiest when the ideas are flowing and take advantage of when they do. Anyway, I thought I would just share a few things that inspire my ideas.
First off, I’m a big sketcher and doodler. If you could have seen my notebooks in college, they were totally covered in doodles. My first pattern ideas “came to me” in an astronomy class. We were given 1/4″ graph paper to sketch our homework assignments and I started sketching quilt pattern. See:
This sketch turned into this quilt:
Love Blooms from the book Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures
Here’s another sketch that turned into this pattern:
Nine-Patch Posies from the book Favorite Quilts from Anka's Treasures
Sometimes I use the computer to make my sketches, but my favorite way is to just draw. It doesn’t have to be graph paper, a newspaper or napkin will work too. I even have a notebook next to my bed, just in case I feel the need to write something down. (If I don’t write it down, I will forget it for sure.) Joel has gotten used to the light going on in the middle of the night. He knows I need to take advantage of when the ideas are flowing and doesn’t mind me madly sketching in the middle of the night. I think God knew I needed a heavy sleeper. The sketches are just a way to get me started on the pattern and often times the quilt ends up looking nothing like the sketch I started with.
Next to my sketches, fabric is probably the biggest source of inspiration for me. I buy fabrics by collections and often times the colors, prints, scale, etc will help me figure out what to do with them. There are so many beautiful lines out right now, that I pick and choose my favorites, and then design a pattern around that particular line. I try to use the most current lines I can find, so that the quilters buying my pattern can replicate the look if they want. I really like the Moda precuts because I can just start playing and rearranging the fabric until something strikes me. Sometimes I will dig through my sketches and see if one goes with a particular fabric line and go from there.
Here’s my niece Addi inspecting my stash from Sample Spree
Another source of inspiration for me is traditional quilts. This quilt was inspired by the Lone Star pattern ( may also be called radian star?)
- Lone Star Sensation from the book Favorite Quilts from Anka’s Treasures
The traditional way that this pattern is made is more difficult than I want to mess with – it involves lots of bias to make the diamonds and y-seams. Yuck! I was inspired by the look of the traditional pattern and found a simpler way to do it (I love cheater techniques!). I used half-square triangles to fool you into thinking you were seeing a diamond. Here’s a close-up:
See my cheater diamonds? It’s much easier.
I’m also inspired by window shopping. Whenever I’m feeling a bit of designer’s block – I go to a favorite shop, where I’m sure to see lots of cute things and then I feel better. I bought this pillow and bag because I was “inspired” by the color combinations.
Sometimes though, I just want to get my errands done with out being continually bombarded with all the cute color and pattern combinations all around me!!!!
Really, once you’ve trained your eyes to really start seeing, patterns emerge all around you – See?
( By the way, that pattern is called Pickey Sticks from the book “On a Roll Again” – For whatever reason, my labeling option quit working :-( )
See any similaries to this?
Rugs are full of beautiful ideas – for example this rug in my entry. I love the design, but haven’t been craving applique enough to attempt it.
Or, how about this tile floor in my bathroom? I think it would make a great quilt pattern – someday . . . .
How about architecture – Someone told me that this log cabin-style quilt blog reminded them of a very popular symbol in greek artchitecure. That’s not what inspired the pattern, but if I was lucky enough to go to Greece, it might have.
(GiGi Girl from the book “Let the Good Times Roll)
I also like to clip ideas from magazines – like this one from a JJill Catalog. I love the colors and the applique design.
I keep a folder full of clippings like this, along with all my sketches.
I could go on and on, but I think it’s time to wrap up this post. Just one last recommendation – if the ideas aren’t flowing, try chocolate. It’s my solution to every problem.
So, where do you get your ideas?