Monday, October 06, 2008


This weekend I was thinking about where inspiration for my projects comes from. I can be inspired by many different things to create something, and sometimes the idea just takes off and takes on a life of its own.

Memories of the Titanic is one of those inspirations - the first time I saw the movie I caught a glimpse of a pattern on the floor. Right at that point I decided to make a quilt inspired by that little flash of blue and white. When I got home I tried to sketch it out, but was not satisfied that I had the design correct, so next time I saw the movie, I was able to confirm that I was on the right track.

At that point I recognized a familiarity to the design, and incorporated it into a storm at sea pattern that would be on point. I sketched out my center design, pieced a block, then started looking for fabrics. I had previously done a group project using storm at sea with scrappy blocks, so new I wanted my fabrics to be scrappy and all blue with a white background. I found a tone on tone white with swirls that was perfect for the background. It took a while to draft out the edge pieces as this was on point, but I wanted to square it off for a plain white border to add some quilting to.

When I looked at the quilt now I decided that it was nice, but needed one more border to draw the eye out to the edge of the quilt, and I didn't want a plain fabric border. Playing with the Snail's Trail block, I came out with a wave pattern, and drafted this out to circle the outside edge of the quilt. For this block I chose to use a designated set of fabrics to bring out the wave effect the best.

At this point I realized that the center block was not the best choice for the center, it was just too plain. Of course, this was my inspiration block to start out with - I didn't want to take it out, but it just wasn't working. After some drawing and thinking I decided to replace it with a compass.
The top declared itself done, and the quilting commenced. I used warm and bright batting to keep the flawless white of the background as white as possible. Quilting the compass and storm at sea blocks was easy, but when I came to the white border I was stumped. I had lots of ideas, but it seemd the drawing skills for the designs I envisioned were quite out of my league (and I was hand quiting it). After setting the project aside yet again for a period of time I developed a swirled motif to quilt in the border, and pushed myself to finish the project for a quilt show. I was very pleased to win Best of Show for this quilt in 2005, then to have it juried into the Denver National Quilt show.

Then, there is my lastest quilt - Northen Lights, Free-form Bargello. This was totally inspired by the fabrics - Glacier Lights by McKenna Ryan. Sharan asked me to come up with a sample using these fabrics and I was thrilled to work with them. At first I was thinking of a blended log cabin quilt, but in my head popped the idea of making and Aurora Borealis picture using Bargello. I was familiar with the technique, though I had never actually make a Bargello quilt, so I simply started designing on the fly - cutting and sewing strips as I went, taking notes, and the results were exactly what I was thinking of when I started. We are offering this as a kit at the shop, and hopefully I will refine the pattern to work with other fabrics as well!

Lastly, this set of postcards was inspired by a beautiful sunset. The colors were so lovely that I though it would be fun to capture them in a set of postcards. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole project, and they will always make me think of that perfect summer sky!


FabricFascination said...

I am generally inspired by the fabric itself, the colors mostly. If I can't picture the colors going well together, in say, a bag, I have trouble starting the project.

I love batiks, scrap quilts, especially with some white, lots of depth.

I also like a clear idea of the design I'm going to make. Lots of contrast excites me, something a little off beat, and usually asymmetrical.

Lastly, I like to know the purpose of the finished product, is it to dress a wall? be a playmat for a baby? be worn as a jacket? Practical is key.

Anonymous said...

It's wonderful that inspiration can come from so many places!

pchickki said...

Beautiful Pamela!