I have been thinking about process a lot lately.  Our end product is always a quilt, but how did we get there?  Does your process affect the final design of your quilt?  Is your design process more modern (improvisational) or traditional?

I started my quilting journey with patterns from magazines.  I found a design I liked and bought the requisite fabrics in the list of  ingredients.  Often the instructions were very specific, detailing even the tones of fabrics one was to purchase.  You could even purchase an optional fabric kit, leaving out any decision of fabric choice.  This kind of process was important to me because it allowed me to hone my piecing skills.  I was free from any technical design errors and could be fairly confident that if I kept the holy quarter inch allowance I would have a nice pieced top.  I could simply enjoy the cathartic experience of sewing.


I don’t sew from magazines any more.  I still oogle patterns online and in magazines but I have started looking more closely at my design process.  I have found that one of my driving forces in quilt construction is fabric.  Fabric completely inspires me. I buy fabric and let the design of the fabric drive my decision for quilt patterning.  I recently bought some fat quarters from Tula Pink’s Fox Field line and I dream of a rainbow quilt.  Mandy Ruden, a fellow ABQMQG-er, is teaching a class on Bargello quilts and I think the Fox Field fabrics would work great as a rainbow Bargello.

Another great inspiration for my quilts is technique.  Sometimes I really want to try a new technique such as wonky log cabins, slice and insert, or crazy piecing.  I still won’t pull any old fabric out of my stash.  I always choose fabrics that I think would look great with a particular design.  I am really in love with improvisational piecing right now.  It was liberating when I realized I didn’t have to spend endless hours cutting out piles of squares, strips, or triangles.


What is your design process?  What inspires you to create?


-Sara Walker

One comment

  1. great post, it’s inspirational. I am still learning to let go of patterns, and truthfully, not sure I ever will. I love patterns, but never make them with the fabrics shown. they have to become my “own”. I do have one work in progress, moving slowly, with NO pattern used. yeah!

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