Pattern, project or person?

How do you start a new quilt?

Are you led by the fabric pattern and colour inspiring ideas? Do you have a kit or magazine clipping filed away, that finally gets to the top of the pile? Or do you have a person in mind, a new baby on the way, that niggles away, saying “Me. Me.”

Definitely inspired by quilt envy. My Small World by Jen Kingwell.

I tend to be led by projects I see online. Or by the pile of fabric, sitting, accusing me of neglect, after such excitement during the initial purchase at the fabric store.

So, I guess you could say my quilting is driven in part by envy, and the rest by guilt. Hmmmm. As a creative individual, this probably isn’t the best conclusion to come too. I have been doing Julia Cameron‘s course on creativity, starting the day by writing three pages of random thoughts, and just occasionally I come to a conclusion that is worth thinking about a bit more. The reasons driving my quilt making are something I need to think about, in order to push some creative boundaries.

Definitely driven by guilt, this one. The Hubbies lap quilt for late night tv watching.

I’ve been thinking about this after yesterdays finish. For once I made a quilt that was determined entirely by how I wanted it to finish. There was no thought given to what the Prayer Quilt co-ordinator might think of my binding style, or whether the thread colour, or fabric choice was “right”. I liked it, and therefore it was what was going to happen. To that end I even used a backing fabric covered in religious icons that I love. Everyone else seems to think it “weird”.

Love this fabric, and I have a few meters more stashed away for quilt backing.

And it felt good, and I wrapped myself in the quilt all evening, as winter visited us again.

And yet today I started the day by identifying yet another “should” project.


I have three sets of manufacturers samples, bought in Stratford in April. It’s gorgeous fabric, and the quilt will be loved by its recipient. And yet, it will probably be another easily constructed quilt, and during its construction I will learn little, making it feel like work, rather than creating.

So I have delayed starting while I think about what I want to happen with this quilt. What can I achieve? Can I incorporate something new, have some fun, and still make a sturdy quilt, big on dinosaurs and whales for a seven year old boy?  Does it have to feel like work, and how can it not feel like work?

By taking time to think “What is in this for me“, creatively speaking, I hope to breathe some life into this project and have some fun. Find some joy.

Any suggestions?

And if anyone has a need of three sample sized pieces of the butterfly fabric from this range, drop me a line and they might come your way.

Linking up with Sew Fresh Quilts.


4 thoughts on “Pattern, project or person?

  1. I lost my sewjo earlier this year. It wasn’t anything I could put my finger on, so I just felt that perhaps I needed a defrag after continuous quiltmaking for decades. I knitted singlets for charity each evening and just let it all slide past me. My quilt group buddies let me be as I generally hand applique quilts that take forever, so in fact they hardly noticed. What was important is that I recognised that I needed the break or the pleasure would have gone. I still read my favourite blogs and enjoyed others successes. One day I picked up the latest newsletter from our LQS, flipped through it and was smitten by one new quilt. Wham. I couldn’t wait to buy the pattern, drag out my baskets of stash and start playing. It is a stick and stitch applique in a big modern style – very different for me. I think that is the key – I needed a little change in direction. Accept what is happening for what it is – a new season in your life – relax and see what is coming your way.


  2. My quilts are either inspired by something I have seen on the web (or in a book) and want to attempt, or by a pile of fabrics that just call to me. For the latter, I usually then spend time scouring the web for a picture that will feature those fabrics in a way that calls to me as well. I have only made one quilt with fabrics that did not really appeal to me but I wanted to clear from stash, and the process did not go well! Beyond finding appealing fabrics or a design I love, I find it useful to add one or two new techniques that make it a learning experience — a new design element (I added tiny 1/8″ fabric strips last quilt, and used embroidery stitches on one before that), or a new way of binding (a perpetual challenge for me). I rarely follow a pattern and modify my ideas when inspired, so that helps keep each quilt a fresh challenge.

    Not sure if it would still appeal at 7, but have you thought of doing a story quilt? I did one many years ago, and it was a fun idea — random connections between blocks with pictures, so the child can make up stories taking different paths through the quilt. Mine’s not the prettiest, but it was fun to make You could use different fabrics and styles for the connections or for the ‘story’ blocks and that might keep it fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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