Sunday, September 10, 2017

Know Thyself

I discovered something about myself.  After I finished my last quilt and decided that thread painted portraiture was not my strong suit, I was in limbo as to what my next project would be.  I sat down, pulled up Illustrator and tried some ideas using some paper pieced stars I had made awhile back.  The idea was to turn them into a small quilt, but no go.  It just didn't work for me until I messed around with a graphic version of those stars and arrived at an appealing design that doesn't look anything like stars.

I thought I wanted elegant quilts, Victorian looking, with lots of stunning quilting like Margaret Solomon Gunn.  I thought I would like to draw pictures with the quilting needle like Bethanne Nemish.  I do love their quilts, but their way of quilting doesn't manage to magically appear on my screen from my own brain.  However, as I fiddled around with my stars,  playing with ideas, moving and manipulating shapes and colors,  I made a remarkable discovery.  I LOVE intricate designs!  I think I have always loved them.

When I go to my Idea file I find all kinds of geometric designs.

Mosaics are all over the Mediterranean.
Don't remember which country this is from.

Mathematical designs.

Fountain at Hassan II mosque in Casablanca
Pretty designs.

Sconce.  University of TX in Austin.

Doorway/gate in Paris

Colorful designs
Hassan II mosque in Casablanca
All of these designs are non-representational.  Just interesting stuff.  Fascinating eye candy.  When I got to amusing myself with those silly stars I had so much fun creating, coloring, and crafting my next quilt.  Intense.  Who is going to cook dinner?  Oh, I forgot to get meat out of the freezer.  Oops!

Once I recognized that I love designs, I realized that I am also drawn to them everywhere I go.  I take photos of them, I scratch them onto my grocery list.  I love to create kaleidoscopes and spiral quilts.  Designs are in my DNA I guess, and actually DNA is a pretty cool design itself.

TIP:  It helps to know yourself.  Be honest about what you like, but step out and try new things.  That will help you grow, and you will learn new techniques to apply to your work.  Trying something new is refreshing and keeps your quilts from becoming tedious, but be true to yourself.  You will make happy quilts this way.

My four paper-pieced stars remain pending, currently unloved, waiting for inspiration.  I am working on my new quilt, which is a complicated, interesting design.  It is exciting watching it evolve as I think about how to quilt it.

Sew some happy seams this week.  I wish you insight into your inner design wall.


  1. I heartily echo getting to know yourself. I photograph random things I see for patterns that appeal just like you did and enjoy reviewing them from time to time. Have fun with those intricate designs. I published a recent post where at the end I asked myself if I had lost touch with what my style was. Know yourself, yes but also no that you are not a Johnny one-note. Check out the final paragraph of this post and my daughter Robin's comment immediately after

  2. Oh the suspense!!! Happy piecing to you also!!!