Saturday, December 8, 2012

Quilting Inspiration

Quilts are composed of many elements that come together for the final look that we love so much.  First there's the fabric and the colors they bring together, often influenced by availability.  Then there is the choice of pattern we choose to use, from scrappy to more organized to minimalistic.  Then we choose batting - thick or thin - cotton or poly.  Then we decide how to quilt the piece: free motion, edge to edge, long arm, home machine, and a million other options.  Lastly we choose a type and style of binding.  Given all the choices (Oh, I forgot to add size: lap, twin, double.....) I would expect that no two quilts are alike. 

The inspiration for our designs is much the same.  We look at each others quilts and are inspired to either make the same one or, more likely, take an idea and change it slightly to suit our tastes or to please the intended recipient.  That's one reason the Internet is such a great quilting tool.  We get to browse each other's ideas and then create our own. Often we take elements we like from many different places and blend them together to something new and different.

So, last week I had a first.  A reader shared her quilt with me which was inspired by my pirate quilt!  My pirate quilt was inspired by another blogger's pirate quilt.  So, here are three generations of inspiration....

This quilt:
was inspired by this quilt:

which was inspired by this quilt by Helen at Quilt Bindings:

Each quilt borrowed elements from the previous one and added or changed elements according to tastes, availability of product and ideas gleaned from other quilts. Although they resemble each other, they're not alike (sort of like family resemblances),

So....I would encourage all of you out there in quilt world, if someones quilt has inspired you in some way to create one of your own, tell them.  It's very nice to see your own creation spark an other's creativity.


  1. I enjoyed seeing the 'evolution' of the pirate quilt. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. That really is very cool. And proves that sometimes we think we're stealing an idea, but by the time you're done, it's so much your own, that it can only count as inspiration :-)

  3. Hi Nina,

    It's me (sorry, have to find a way to post non-anonymously) – thanks for posting this, and thanks for the inspiration as well as for your kind help and advice!

    For readers who may not have seen our conversation on the pirate quilt post: Another great thing about quilt blogs is that they are not only a source of inspiration for the quilter, but give you the chance to involve the quilt’s recipient at a very early stage and find out what they like. For most people it’s hard to express what they like in something like a quilt in a totally abstract way, but it’s easy to look at a picture gallery and point out the ones we like. This is even more true for a kid. This quilt was for my five-year-old, who had picked a pirate fabric for me to make a quilt for him. This was to be my first quilt, and I don’t think I have even seen more than two or three handmade quilts IRL in all of my life, so you can imagine I was not totally confident with what I was doing there, to say the least. And of course I wanted to be sure that my son likes what I would make. So, one day I just did a picture search for pirate quilts and asked which ones he liked. He liked yours enthusiastically. He then got a say in picking most of the additional fabrics, too, so this is really “his” quilt as much as mine.

    And just so you know: Whenever people ask where I got the idea for this, I credit “a very nice and talented American lady from the internet”.

    Merry Christmas,


    1. Thanks so much for rounding out the pirate quilt story. I think the pictures help for all of us. When I'm looking for a quilt idea I usually use the image option on one of the search engines and when I see one that I like I follow that link. And sometimes, like you mentioned we combine elements from several quilts and build them into our own. When I got back into sewing I wasn't going to make quilts. But then I made one and two and three and I was hooked. Happy sewing in the new year. Hope we hear more from you "around these parts".