Quilting origins ….
So, remember all those months ago when I said I’d be here more often? I guess that resolution didn’t last too long! But, the computer did break down a little while ago and I have still been making stuff, so I don’t feel too guilty!
One of the ‘unfortunate’ consequences of the computer going pop was that I lost all the pages I’d been bookmarking over the last 3 years – you know, the ones I automatically clicked onto whenever I came online? And which I was still browsing 3 hours later, having done no sewing and no blog posting??
I’m building My Favourites up again slowly but I have to say (sssh, very quietly!) that it’s actually been quite liberating being without them! As much as I love looking at what other people have been creating, sometimes I have found it a bit daunting – even ( dare I say it?) creatively stifling on occasion. Although it can be inspirational to see other people’s work, we all compare to some extent and it’s easy to feel disheartened if you think your own work isn’t as good, or as interesting as other people’s – I know I do!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘originality’ – how we develop our own style, rather than copying what someone else is doing. This seems to be very topical at the moment (Leah Day has some insightful posts on the subject of copyright and copying on her blog, here) but, like many quilters I suppose, it’s all a bit academic to me. I ‘copy’ other people’s ideas and styles , in the sense that I follow patterns that other people have written, I use the same style of blocks or the same colour and fabric combinations, but I don’t plan to sell these as my own designs - it’s simply as part of the learning process (the importance of being able to do this is something that Leah is keen to emphasise). I try out techniques and enjoy finding what works for me, changing sizes, colours, placement etc along the way. Eventually (I hope) my own personal ‘style’ will emerge.
Here are some things I’ve done recently using other people’s designs
I made this cushion for a friend’s birthday last month – it’s a pattern that I’ve long admired and was in the first issue of Modern Quilting Magazine, courtesy of its’ creator, Lynne of Lily’s Quilts. I had fun choosing colours and practising raw edge applique (always a challenge).
I also added another layer to my sampler quilt (using the pattern book by Lynne Edwards) and feel much happier with the shape of this now. I might even get around to quilting this soon!
As you can see from the collage above, the number of houses for my houses quilt is also still growing – albeit slowly :)
Looking at the things I’ve made over the last couple of years I’m not sure I can detect a style yet (I do like bright colours though) – it made me think again about what got me started quilting
My first visit to a quilt show was back in November 2003, when I was 7 months pregnant – the sight of hundreds of ladies picking up fabrics and notions by the armful certainly made a strong impression! But so too did a stall full of colourful ‘crazy’ quilts, depicting animals, sea creatures, dragons – you name it, there seemed to be a pattern for it (Critter Pattern Works, who you can find here). I came away with one for a dragon quilt – all machine applique and machine piecing – even though I didn’t own a sewing machine at the time, convinced that this was something I wanted to do!
I still haven’t got around to making it yet, but there’s just something about dragons, wizards and castles that’s enormously appealing to me – I’m not sure what it is, but I like to think I may have lived in a castle in a former life !
Shortly after the show, I came across a book in my local library that sparked my interest even more – how fantastic it would be to make quilts like the ones in this book and the one I got from Critter Pattern Works.
So, how many quilts have I made so far that have got castles, dragons and princesses on them? Honestly? None yet.
I finished this quilt last week, for a friend – the first I’ve designed using EQ7 (btw I’m staggered by how accurate the design is to the finished quilt – truly amazing software!) Still got a way to go to get to where I want to be in terms of making quilts, but hopefully all the work I’m doing is moving me forward – and it’s still a heck of a lot of fun!
Whatever you’re working on, I hope you are enjoying creating :)