Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pattern designer? Or not?

Garden Party Quilt
When I first started quilting, I made every quilt using a pattern. Down to the color choices. As I grew, I felt the need to create my own designs.
It was so much fun! Maybe I did have a creative bone in my body after all.

I posted photos of my original quilts on this blog and received a lot of positive response. Us quilters are such a supportive group. This, almost naturally, lead me to create tutorials, which led to writing patterns. I'd found a way to bring in a little extra income and have a good time doing it.

Then it happened. I started overthinking things. Feeling forced to come up with new designs that quilters will like and want to buy. It wasn't as much fun any more. Fewer patterns (and fewer quilts) were being created. I never really gave it a lot of thought other than feeling guilty about not coming up with anything new.

Fast forward to April 2018. Our guild retreat was coming up and I had no project to work on. Bonnie Hunter and her lovely scrappy quilts had just visited the guild in March. I decided that I would kill two birds with one stone - use up some scraps and have a project for retreat. Deep inside I felt a little guilty for making a quilt using someone else's pattern.

Oh my goodness, how much fun it was! I picked Bonnie's Garden Party pattern because it used 1.5" strips, which I had a lot of. (You can find it in the "Addicted to Scraps" book, if you're interested.)
Garden Party Quilt
I couldn't wait to finish this quilt when I got home from retreat.

Last Thursday a friend showed me the Pecking Order pattern from Missouri Star Quilt Company. I'd been wanting to make a quilt for our master bedroom for a long time but just couldn't come up with a good "design". This looked quick and easy, so I started this project. (Jenny has a video tutorial over here.)

Pecking Order Quilt
More fun and so relaxing!

I really hope letting go of my "need" to constantly think about creating new, original, "sellable" things, will bring the design mojo back.
For now I'm just going with the flow.

P.S. Did I mention that I met Jenny from MSQC at the Iowa Quilt Museum last month? She is so sweet!


  1. Bonnie Hunter recently visited our local guild and quilt shop as well. I only attended her lecture, not her workshops, and just her lecture was very inspiring. I also bought Addicted to Scraps. Your quilt is lovely!

    1. I didn't attend the workshop either. She had 50 people in a class and I thought that was a little much.

  2. You really are "designing" when you put your own color and fabric choices into someone else's pattern. Your quilt will be unique and reflect your own tastes. Your Garden Party quilt is lovely!

  3. Hi Anna, Thanks, your comments hit the spot for me today! I recently attended a workshop class by Australian designer & teacher Julie Newman (A Very Fine House). I bought a pattern for the first time in years. Wow! I'd forgotten how much fun it is to sew a gorgeous quilt without having to "think" about every single step! And the directions were clear, easy to follow, and my sewing mojo returned. Since starting my online template business 6 years ago, I've subconsciously guilted myself into thinking every spare moment "should" focus on sewing samples for my business. And lost the joy of creating for my own pleasure, along the way. Thank you for this timely reminder! (Also, I had a ticket to Jenny Doan's recent lecture here in Melbourne, Australia. Sadly, I missed it due to illness, so disappointing! Just watching her excellent video tutorials helps rev up my enthusiasm! Hope she comes back). All the best to you, too! Enjoy your stitching, you deserve it. (Your recent Instagram story re green nature walk caught my attention).