Finding quilt inspiration everywhere

A road sign, a backpack, a painting or a random idea are some of things that can be used to inspire a flood of creative juices for a quilter.

It’s amazing what there is out there that can inspire the creation of a quilt. Just keep your eyes open and look. Many of us travel as tourists and see things both for their beauty and historical values. Many of us also travel back and forth to work. While stopped at a traffic light, look around you and see what might inspire you. It may be a building, a sign or even what a person is wearing. All of these could spark the creativity in you to come up with a great quilt idea.

A few years ago, as I was waiting to do a right turn at a traffic light, I noticed a young child walking home from school. That child was wearing a backpack that caught my eye. I tried to retain some of the details in memory since I had no camera with me (this was before I owned a phone with a camera). As the days went my mind kept going back to that backpack and its simple design. I pulled out a few pieces of fabric to audition what I remembered.

Photo of a tapestry while traveling in Cusco, Peru

Liking what I saw in my color choices, I started working on a quilt. As in the photo of the sample block, my idea was to have 1% of the blocks containing a grey/white fabric, 10% with colors and the remaining 89% white. Remember, I was creating based on a memory so there was a lot of trying and playing. I called the resulting backpack-inspired quilt: “Frog in a Blender”. Naming credit goes to my friend, Steven Lennert of Happy Valley, Oregon.

Frog in the blender quilt, inspired by a child’s back pack

Another inspiration I had was while looking at the book Geometric Patterns & Borders, by David Wade (A non-quilting book). The possibilities I got looking at this book was nonstop.

Book, Geometric Patterns & Borders, by David Wade (A non-quilting book)

Using one of the graphic border’s I found in the book I created my “Around the Block” quilt.

Around the Block quilt inspired by the book: Geometric Patterns & Borders, by David Wade (A non-quilting book)

I love the idea that a non-quilt related photo or book or an inspiration seen while traveling can spark an original quilting creation. Using a photo or a memory is very acceptable, I often use both. I also love designing a quilt based only on a memory. This method forces me to focus and be more creative and really helps me translate a memory into a permanent and unique creation.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what inspires you, be it the geometric shapes of a building, the colors of a painting, a class or even a pattern you find in your local quilt shop. Just keep your eye open and give your imagination and creativity free rein to play and make something that’s truly your own.

Tomorrow’s blog will be about why it may be good to push ourselves the way we do.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1:  The Story of an Airman’s First Quilt

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