Quilting Ideas, Inspiration and Design

Over the Easter break I was able to indulge. I had 4 days of very little to do so I got to spend some quality time quilting.

Inspiration Space

Whenever I get some solid time to ease my own version of a habit (that does still require needles) I like to set up a workspace at home.

This time I made good use of our large new dining table. I even get garden views when sitting here which was perfect as it was raining.

So around me I like to have:

  • fabrics for inspiration
  • books for inspiration
  • colored and grey-lead pencils for sketching and designing as well as erasers, can you ever have enough colors?
  • scissors (in various shapes and forms) for cutting – did that need to be said?
  • glue, for gluing – now I am just messing with you πŸ™‚
  • rulers (in various shapes and sizes) and a measuring tape
  • bobbles of thread, matching the color scheme of my current project
  • needles, of course
  • cutting board and template plastic
  • magnifying glasses, for when my eyes get tired
  • beloved sewing machine
  • computer with my current TV show, this month (and for a few more months I should think): Law and Order
  • a cup of tea, which magically stays at the right temperature

In terms of inspiration I must say this one is interesting for me. It takes me so long to work on a project that I tyr to stay very focussed on that and not get too side tracked. How ever I love looking at quilting blogs and books which is where I generate a lot of new ideas. I am very definite in the colour schemes I want to try out, but I use these resources to inspire me to see different patterns, shapes and styles.

Interestingly I never follow a pattern. Usually I rebuild a design in my own colors and size based on an image I may have seen. Generally I love looking at pictures for inspiration rather than patterns. In fact I buy patterns just for the pictures. I figure out how to cut it up and sew it together by myself. It may not be the most efficient way of doing things but it seems to work well for me.I would love to hear from people if they think I am mad (and that following a pattern saves loads of energy and time) or do most people go about things the same way I do?

Anyways, it is this love of sketching designs, choosing colors and tweaking inspirations that lead me to build my own sketch book full designs for all the quilts I have made, am working on or am inspired to make.

Since I have only ever made two quilts: my first quilt and my sister’s quilt, it was very easy to create a back log of my work. For the designs I decided to include:

  • sketches of the pattern
  • measurements
  • scale
  • specific pattern of the block (where applicable)
  • color scheme
  • fabric swatches
  • backing color and fabric
  • binding color and fabric
  • quilting pattern and thread
  • start date and end date (this one gets a little sad as years of difference are involved)

My First Quilt – completed 2010

Sketch of Quilt

Fabric and Details


Backing and Binding


My Sisters Quilt – completed 2011

The Design

The Details

The Fabrics

Backing, Binding and Quilting

Beach House Quilt (a twist on a log-cabin quilt) – WIPΒ  – coming soon

The Design

The Log-Cabin Block

The Fabrics


It would be great if it could be left out all the time but alas this is not practical. The Hubby came up to me Sunday night and asked “so how long do you think this quilt is going to take you”. I explained to him everything I had to do which basically translated to “I’ll be lucky if it is done by the end of the year” and he said “Oh”. Pause. “Is the table going to stay this way”. Hahaha. No of course not. Luckily for us both I have my own portable sewing kit which I stock up to suit a project and therefore can work on it without taking up a whole room…

Portable Sewing Kit

Share with me how you get your inspiration for your quilting or crafting projects. Do you design them yourself or follow a pattern strictly. Do you have a room devoted to your addiction?

19 thoughts on “Quilting Ideas, Inspiration and Design

  1. I love to see how other people work out their designs, its really interesting. I have only made completed one quilt so far and it was a sampler quilt done through a weekly class many years ago. I have another wip which I just started with a basic block, a colour theme and a couple of quick sketches and went from there (it has been put down for a long time now – must finish it). I have to say that you are VERY neat and VERY organised. I am a little more unorganised and untidy lol!!! (But only a little).

    • Yes, so do I. I have been enjoying blogs which share this so I thought I would join in. Hope you post about your WIP if you pick it up again. Most of my firends call me too pedantic, so its probably a good thing if you aren’t as neat, even if just a little bit less πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting.

  2. And I think your log is a brilliant idea. When your quilts have been passed down the generations there will be a fantastic record of how you worked to go with them.

  3. Pingback: Quilting Ideas, Inspiration and Design | The Modern Home Economist | How To Quilt

  4. I love this post and it’s wonderful to see how your creativity works. I’m very fortunate to have a room dedicated to my knitting and sewing but once in a while it does follow me to the living room.

  5. You are most definitely more organized than I! Now I feel like I must look like the Mad Quilter when I work! Just pulling things out and digging around for something else. I suppose it doesn’t matter how you work as long as you do! Sigh…us unorganized people envy the organized. πŸ™‚

  6. I voted (usually make up my own stuff) but I think truly, whatever works best for you go for it. No one can really tell you how you should create, even if it might save you some time. You obviously do your inspiration boards because that is what motivates you and organizes your projects for you. And, one day you’ll have a dedicated studio space (it took me 15 years to get my own space!), but I love your portable kit!

  7. Admiring your workspace and organisation, I would say you are a perfectionist or purist rather than pedantic. My workspace is wherever I am at the time. I think about new projects and ideas when I’m not actually making something. When I’m sewing, I’m in the zone and very focussed, usually upstairs with the radio on. I sometimes like to just see what happens rather than plan from the start. Other plans are written on scraps of paper for bigger projects but they usually get lost and I change my mind anyway before the end. I honestly have no idea how DH puts up with my mess πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your working notes. Interesting to hear how everyones comes about the inspiration process differently. Sounds like you have a way of doing things which works really well for you and to me is so interesting. Glad to hear that DH is patient with your mess πŸ™‚

  8. I’m sentimental, so for my first quilt, I wanted to do something that would have some meaning. This quilt is still a baby (only a handful of blocks done), but I’m making it for a friend of mine who is getting married late June. I am using an altered version of the friendship star quilt block (fitting, no?) and then am hoping to piece the back to form a cross with the scraps of fabric from the front. I don’t know if you can envision that, but if I have enough scraps, I think it will look neat.

    I like the idea for a sketchbook. I might translate that into a scrapbook of sorts, but we’ll see. Since I’m new to quilt-making, I’d like to keep a comments page too, noting what I’ve done and wish I had done, or the mistakes I’ve made. If I borrow the idea and blog it, I’ll be sure to link this post!

    • Your first quilt has some lovely meaning behind it. What a special gift for your friend. Something she and her soon to be husband will keep forever.
      I think your idea to make a back out of scraps is fantastic. I can picture it but I cannot wait to see your actual pictures πŸ™‚
      Its fantastic keeping a sketchbook of ideas and notes. I find everything is electronic these days it is actually nice to have something on paper. I hope you use it and cannot wait to see your ideas. Thanks for linking it back πŸ™‚

  9. I love your quilt-sketchbook idea. I wish I’d done that for the quilts I made – just three so far, one for us, one for a friend’s wedding (which, as quilts tend to take their time, was about a year late:)), and one for my little boy. I did take pictures of the finished quilts, but little samples would have been so nice!
    I also use books for inspiration, and then tweak what I like to suit me.
    Looking forward to your new quilt!

    • Yes – it has gotton some positive responses. It is not too late to make ones for your quilt (if you still have some scrap fabric left over). Your quilts sound very special and meaningful. All made with love! Would love to see the pictures!

      • Thanks – they are all on the blog… somewhere… πŸ™‚ I’m thinking of making a tiny one for my friend’s baby due in the autumn; I might just make it!

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