My Mum would look at a dress, work out what she liked about it, what she didn’t like, and make the dress with changes! She did the same with knitting.
Sometimes it was just changing the colour, sometimes she made much more radical changes.
I grew up watching how she went about making things, and soon started asking her to make me a dress like the blue one in the shop, but make it green, with longer sleeves and no collar. I assumed that was how people got what they wanted!
Mum soon made me aware that if I wanted it like that I could do it myself, and so I began designing dolls clothes, clothes for myself, and later children. I made a rag doll from a magazine pattern, with a few changes, then made some more changes to make it what I wanted.
When I started patchwork and quilting classes we had very few block designs available, and I was the one to put my hand up to convert some ideas we had in class into quilt block patterns. Once I had designed some blocks for a sampler quilt, I started thinking about how the blocks worked together, first in the sampler quilts, and then in quilts featuring just one, two or more blocks to create an overall design.
This doesn’t always mean I make better quilts than anyone else, but I do make quilts which are original in design.
When I started making things I used patterns designed by others as my starting point in new projects … not just quilts, any craft project … then resized, adjusted, changed and often completely mutilated the design as it was published. If I reused the pattern it got changed again, and again! Now I start from scratch …. scribble some lines, adjust, resize and change them until I get what I want. My designs are pretty traditional in style, but I twist and turn the tradition to create something new, something different … something original.
Why do I design quilts?
Mostly, I don’t want to make what somebody else has already made!
Along the way I find all sorts of unexpected surprises, challenges, and most of all, have a lot of fun!
Wayne Kollinger invited me to write about why I design quilts ….. you can read why Wayne designs quilts at Wayne Kollinger’s Sketchbook, and find links to others who have also written about the subject today.