Monday, January 3, 2011

Why I design

Before Xmas Wayne from Wayne Kollinger's Sketchbook asked me to participate in his current post about why quilters design their quilts. I was very flattered to be asked so here goes:
I take on a new design basically because I can't help myself. I'll see an old quilt and have to have a go at drafting the pattern and then seeing it in fabric. Of course it's never a copy of the original because quite often I will go off on another tangent completely which sometimes means I'm not too happy with the result. I have a couple of UFO's that have come about this way.
I'm on a circular bent at the moment so am attracted to blocks in that vein and the more complicated the piecing the more I like it. This can be a problem when the time comes to teach the quilt - not every design is transferable to students.
The pressure of teaching makes sure I have a few projects on the go at one time and there are loads more whirling around in my head.
I'll see a fantastic piece of fabric - usually from the reproduction palette and usually a "weird" print and that will spark another design session. I use EQ these days but used to roughly sketch projects in the past.
I think of all those quilt makers from days gone by and the beautiful quilts they made without all our gadgetry- how clever were they. If they could do it then with poor lighting and constant domestic duties why do we need the latest and greatest new tool.
I find it hard to make a quilt from someone else's pattern - in fact I can't remember the last time I did but I'm sure I take elements of a design I like and they might surface somewhere in a project down the track. As a friend says "what's new these days" - we are all just reinterpreting the designs of quilters from the past aren't we?
For whatever reason I'm so lucky to be able to do what I do. If others like my designs and are willing to come along to a class so I can show them how I did it then I'm a very happy camper indeed.
Thanks Wayne for the chance to philosophise! It doesn't happen very often.

What's a post without pics. Here are some from our time away - lots of wildlife this year.


  1. What a wonderful post. It's great to hear your thoughts on designing. Nice pictures, looks like a perfect place for a relaxing holiday!

  2. Chris,

    Thank you for sharing your reasons for designing.

    Judy B