Hunter….my trusted assistant…I’m in good hands as he’s a keen observer and opinionated.
Inspiration: the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
If you’re here and reading this post, then you know the sound of inspiration when it calls to you. Any moment I allow my mind to wander, I find myself looking about for unique color combinations, particularly environmental colors, landscape features that capture my interest and mentally sifting through techniques that would help to recreate the current view. I’ve learned the value of keeping a journal close at hand in order to note what has caught my interest, to document my thoughts, loosely sketch and/or list a technique or two. Typically I take a few photos with my phone, always looking to capture the essence of the texture, and note the date in my journal as well. Here is a detail photo of a much larger photo I had taken while on a vacation. Oh the color…and the possibilities!
I’ve spent time considering where I find myself searching for additional inspiration and have thus far compiled the following list:
photos, fabric, websites such as Pinterest, store windows, views from my own windows, books, magazines and most recently my own sketches inspired sometimes simply by a mood I’m trying to create. Most often what excites me is a small detail that makes its way into the “bigger picture”. One of the tools I’ve been using to paint fabric are simple paint chips from home improvement stores. They offer the opportunity to discover just the right color to paint your fabric and ability to determine companion colors without yet putting brush to fabric.
Sew many ideas! Where do you find inspiration?
…two elements of a person’s character that you don’t know are there until they’re called upon. I first began submitting my quilts for judging with the Connecticut Piecemakers Quilt Guild…”my” guild. The women, and 3 men, in this guild represent some of the most encouraging and talented quilters I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside. Their desire to share their knowledge, resources and, believe it or not, their fabric is unparalleled. That said, I challenged myself to volunteer during the judging for the 2016 guild quilt show so that I would hear the critique of the judges as they held my quilts in their hands. I actually stood next to the two judges and heard their whispered comments to each other. Yikes! Four of the six quilts I entered subsequently won ribbons but what I really won was the perspective of two judges as they held my quilts in their hands. I had a lot to think about…particularly whether I was quilting to please me or them. The comment of “needs more quilting” in certain areas rankled me as I had planned the stitching very carefully. It took a few days for me to “hear” what they had said. I laid my quilts on the bed one by one and allowed myself to consider…possibly…what they had been referring to…maybe. It took a few weeks for me to realize that what I in fact wanted more than anything was to “measure up” alongside quilters I held in high regard. I began to think about adding more stitching…and believe it or not I liked the results. I took out the comments I had saved from the judges and took their suggestions to heart. When I had finished I liked what I had done. Ultimately I chose to enter 3 of the 6 quilts in the Eastern States Exposition and each of them won ribbons amongst hundreds of quilts from 5 eastern states…a first place, a second place and a third place ribbon……but I love challenging myself. I determined to participate in the 2016 Row x Row Experience. I traveled to 8 different quilt shops to collect the patterns I found the most charming and went to work. I hardly left my sewing studio for the months of July and August last year….and again I took the judges suggestions to heart. Each of the 8 rows was quilted with a different stitch pattern with a variety of threads. I designed and quilted the 9th row myself. What I loved most about the entire experience was taking the basic look of the patterned row and making it mine with embellishment, quilting and threads. Out came the bravery and courage and I entered it in the Big E…I’m proud to say it won Judge’s Choice!….the elusive ribbon I’ve been reaching for!
Here is a photo of my 2016 Row x Row quilt …
What fun I had designing embellishments and making the patterns my own. The fabrics on the design wall are all from my Dad’s shirts, the window view in the sewing room is a winter scene rather than a tropical one. All of the buildings in the 4 corner blocks were fussy cut, rearranged and quilted to create a small town feel. My older son, Mark, designed the fencing in the top row on his CAD program and I used confetti quilting to create the autumn trees…and if you look closely you’ll find Snoopy running for his life in the Halloween scene.
Never have I enjoyed making a quilt so much! If it’s one thing that excites me it’s using a variety of techniques and materials in the creation of one quilt!
So be brave and courageous…and give “it” a try…whatever your “it” is…
Well…this is me jumping back in! I’ve used the time away to reorganize QuiltingsByKathy, to refine my skills and to realign my goals. I’ve met a lot of inspirational and talented people on this journey and honestly look forward to meeting many more. I learn something from everyone I meet. One of the smartest things I did for myself, as well as the most enjoyable, was to join the Connecticut Piecemakers Quilt Guild in Trumbull, Ct. The amount of talent, knowledge and skill collectively that amasses each time we gather is awe inspiring. The presenters are some of the best in the U.S. and cover a wide range of quilting techniques and materials. But what I love most about the guild is the willingness to share and give to those who need it, whether it be quilting-related with one of our members or to groups who work first hand with those less fortunate.
And…come Tuesday, September 19th, I will be presenting a class to the Ct Piecemakers on “The Cottage”. Each fabric postcard I’ve designed uses a focused technique and/or material. One of the spell binding aspects of this form of quilting is that fabric postcards require a small amount of time and materials. The perfect venue for trying something new. I will be sharing a variety of ways to use this art form, including display and swapping.
Talk about meeting people….I have boxes of fabric postcards I’ve swapped with other enthusiasts from around the world…Australia, Germany, England, etc. With each new fabric postcard that arrives in my mailbox I continue to learn something new again, whether it be the form of binding, a technique, a new use for something old or even a new material I’ve not come across yet.
I hope you’ll check back with me following Tuesday’s class as I will be posting photos of the class.
I leave you today with my first thought of autumn….
Happy stitching, Kathy
I want to let you know about one of my favorite “go to” reads….every chance I get. I came across this site about a year and a half ago and haven’t stopped reading it since. One of the things I value is variety and this site has it in spades! I highly recommend stopping by www.QuilterBlogs.com but be prepared to stay a while. There’s something there for everyone. I’ve purchased patterns, watched tutorials and learned about new techniques from a variety of blogs. There are give-aways, stash busters and blog rolls galore! And yes, my blog has recently been added to this site. Yeah!!! crossing something off my bucket list as you read this.