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Quilt Design Process

Interested in designing your own quilt, or just curious about how quilt designers come up with their ideas and create quilts?  I’m sure that different designers have different processes, but I’m also pretty sure that they’re not much different from my own.  Follow along with me as I walk you through my process in my next several posts.  The steps aren’t always in the same order.  Sometimes color or fabric is my inspiration, but however it works, it works for me!  If you switch out the quilting-specific steps for painting, sewing, and so on, it’s really the same process.  I hope my experiences will help you with all of your creative projects!

For me, the quilt design and creation process is:

  • Inspiration
  • Design
  • Layout
  • Color
  • Fabric Selection
  • Quilt top construction
  • Quilting
  • Finishing


Inspiration can come from anywhere – you just have to be open to everyone and everything around you.  Here’s a definition from Merriam-Webster:

  • something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone
  • a person, place, experience,etc., that makes someone want to do or create something
  • a good idea

Some great ways to spark inspiration are:

  • Music – rock, country or the blues, listening to music is a great way to generate a flash of genius.  If you’re going through a creative block, crank it up and dance!  Give Pachelbel a try while you’re doing creative work for a change of pace.
  • Flexible brainstorming – this is totally my made up term for just letting go and playing around with ideas and techniques.  It’s sometimes tough to let yourself go and just let the creative ideas come out with no plan in mind.  I find that random sketching, painting and throwing ideas on paper can really get you going!
  • Exercise – as mentioned above, dancing  (in the living room, office, anywhere!) can help you loosen up.  A long walk is another great way to clear your mind and spur creativity.
  • Art – wandering through a museum or art festival is a super way to generate your own ideas.  The colors and textures, even the creative atmosphere are truly motivational!
  • Nature – the beach, mountains, even your own back yard can crank up your creativity.  Look around and see the big picture, as well as the details.  Take some pics and post them in your studio to keep the inspiration coming!

Sometimes inspiration strikes and I act on it right away, and sometimes I ‘file it away’ for future use.  Be sure to write ideas down when they hit so that you don’t forget them!

There are times when an idea comes from a request, like this modern Alabama quilt (below left) for a Crimson Tide fan.  Nature, my favorite things and my favorite people yield some great creative ideas, as well.  Sun in the Morning (below middle) was inspired by the song of the same name, and Wildflower Garden (below right) from a combination of spring gardens and a love of all things Anthropologie.

inspiration-group2I know that every inspiration and idea that pops in my head comes from the good Lord above.  I am so blessed to experience fun, creative ideas that just show up at the perfect time, and I hope that I do them justice.  I find that the spark for inspiration can come from just about anywhere, and the more open I am to possibilities, the more inspired I am to create – whether I’m sewing, quilting, painting, paper crafting, or some other form of creative expression!

What inspires you? 

Visit my pattern stores on Craftsy and Etsy for more of my designs, ready to buy or DIY!

Next installment – Design



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Blast Off to Outer Space!

A few years ago, my niece asked me to create a space themed quilt and coordinating wall art for her son Ethan’s nursery, and I was so excited by her request!  I jumped right in and designed Outer Space Adventure – a fun, bright quilt that combines applique and patchwork techniques.

A rocket blasts off and makes its way through deep blue space, past stars and colorful planets.  Applique blocks with cute astronauts and silly aliens alternate with patchwork “star” blocks to create the border.  Red sashing and a bright, geometric print complete the quilt design. You can purchase the Outer Space Adventure crib quilt pattern HERE

I immediately wanted to share the finished project with the world, so I listed it for sale on my website.  Custom orders didn’t rush in, but I did get an unexpected request for a pattern!  Martha, a lovely lady from Texas, contacted me and asked if I would put together a kit so that she could make a full sized quilt for her grandson.  “Of course!”, said I, and my pattern design business was up and running.  Happy to say that Martha loved the pattern and kit, and had a great time making the quilt!  Check out the photo she sent of her finished project (complete with grandsons) below center.  Purchase the full size Outer Space Adventure quilt pattern HERE

Both include an 11-page instruction book and full-size applique patterns. The instructions are perfect for beginning and experienced quilters alike. Detailed, step-by-step instructions, fabric requirements and easy to follow illustrations will guide you through the process and help ensure success!

I wrote a silly little poem to include on the gift label for Ethan.  Feel free to personalize it and use it for your little astronaut!