When Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs and I were discussing her pattern writing blog series, she asked if I felt strongly enough about any of the topics to expand out and write a full blog post. Honestly, as I sit down to work on this topic now, I am not sure what drew me to wanting to talk about Design Inspiration exactly… but I know I have a lot of thoughts that will hopefully come together into a cohesive whole.
“You become what you repeatedly do.” – Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl
I believe there is a more philosophical based version of my “you become what you repeatedly do” quote. However, I believe that this one idea is a key to much of the success I have had in my life. Show up. Try. Learn. Repeat. Just by following along with Cheryl’s pattern writing series, you are putting in the first effort required. You are showing up. The next key? Try.
How did you become a quilter? One stitch at a time, right? I am guessing that the time you have devoted to learning to sew accurate quarter inch seam allowances, and the time you have taken to learn which direction you like to press your seams, and the time you have invested to develop an idea of the kind of piecing methods you prefer has started to really add up.
I challenge you to devote 10 – 20 minutes of each day to doodling a quilt design. Does that sound familiar? It just might. It is how I got started: Quilt Design a Day (QDAD) (a closed Facebook group).
The goal is to spend a little time (15-20 minutes) each day, creating a quilt design. The design can be as simple or as complex as you like. To spark our creativity, we have users contribute images and color palettes for inspiration. In addition to producing a design daily, QDAD helps members strengthen their creative process and hone their creative style by sharing constructive feedback.
For me, participating in QDAD helped me to show up and try day after day. I learned two different computer software tools to help me with quilt design by working through the “Getting Started” challenge recommendations. Which brings me to another key:
Use Design Parameters to Grow
When I worked full time as an engineer, one of my FAVORITE topics to complain about in the workplace was an “over constrained design”. I bet you have been in a similar situation. Let me borrow (loosely translated) from a recent Late Night Quilter’s post:
It’s December 23rd. You receive a request to make a quilt top, quilt it, bind it, AND deliver it by the evening of December 24th.
That is an over constrained problem; specifically surrounding time.
What I am suggesting is that through careful selection of design parameters, you can limit the scary wide open design space of a blank sheet of paper or glowing white computer screen that can lead to mental blocks, fear, and a quick sense of failure. The QDAD Getting Started Challenges are a great example of purposefully using design parameters to ease you into getting to know yourself as a designer and specifically the tools that you will be using to aid in that design. For example:
Day 1: Picking colors and making squares – Make a 9-patch using the design-seeds color palette of your choice.
Day 2: Making circles – Make a design using only circles. Same size, different sizes, overlapping, on their own, doesn’t matter. Use the design-seed color palette of your choice.
Day 3: Triangles – Same as above, but using triangles. They can be HSTs or equilateral or geese or wonky. Whatever you want. Use the design-seed color palette of your choice.
Day 4: Rotation – Using squares, make a diamond-based design (put it on-point). Use the design-seed color palette of your choice.
This is a very effective build up technique meant to lead you to early successes while building up your skills to tackle the big ideas that you want to be able to represent but feel overwhelmed with where to start. Before you know it, by simply showing up, trying, and working through easy exercises for a few short weeks… you will suddenly be skilled enough to branch out with fewer design parameters and create with fewer design considerations.
I have blogged about the benefits of joining QDAD before, and I am sure I will blog about it again. I honestly believe it is worth considering joining the group and participating for a month. By the way, Triangle Transparency, which is going to show at QuiltCon West in Pasadena in less than a month, was my 3rd QDAD design.
Periscope Video: Sources of Inspiration
In a very timely turn of events, last week the topic of conversation for the #HonestCraftRoomies Periscope hop was Sources of Inspiration. I talked a little bit more about other sources of inspiration I pull from when I am considering design. You can catch the replay of that video through my Katch account here: Sources of Inspiration
For more information on Design Inspiration, here are a few more recent posts from the Pattern Writing Blog Series: