thoughts on motivation

This post by Chawne spurred some thinking about the types of quilts I most enjoy creating–the ones that give me that “rush to finish” feeling.  I’ve come to realize that I am happiest making quilts that are my own design.  Inspiration hits and I just go for it.  There is no pattern to follow.  Its just me, my ideas, and a desire to work with fabric until I make whatever it is I am hoping to make.  I love the feeling of not knowing exactly how the finished product will turn out, but trusting my design sense and technical skills enough to know that I will make something beautiful, or practical, or comforting {or whatever it is I hope to accomplish.} I also like making heartfelt gifts that are motivated by the prospect of giving a little bit of handmade beauty to someone who is important to me.  My goal is to make something that the recipient will love.  I try to figure out their style, their tastes, their favorite colors, etc.  This type of project can feel a lot more like work because its more about the end game than the creative process.  I still find great satisfaction in it, nonetheless.

As I was trying to coming up with ideas for the quilt that is pictured above, I endeavored to combine these two types of quilts:  heartfelt gift and original design.  I wanted to make a gift for a friend that she would love, but I also wanted to throughly enjoy the process of creating it.   I am pretty sure I didn’t even include her favorite color {purple?}, but I know that it is well-constructed, one-of-a-kind,  and will keep her warm. Its an added bonus if she thinks its beautiful, right?

Enough of the introspective naval gazing. Here are some details.  I was originally inspired by this piece of artwork by Mia Christopher, but I went in a totally different direction color-wise and skipped the rounded corners. I didn’t use a rotary cutter while I made this quilt; I tore the fabric strips instead.  The “organic” grid quilting was inspired by this awesome quilt.   I backed it in flannel and bound it {with the same flannel} using Sherri Lynn Wood’s fantastic invisible binding tutorial. I machine-stitched the binding to the back of the quilt for.the.first.time.ever because I knew that the stitching would blend with the quilting on the front. It went really quickly and makes the finish product a lot sturdier than if you hand-stitch.  I always forget to measure my quilts but my guess is that it is about 60″ x 75″ in size. I like to make sure that my friends will be able to cover their bodies entirely and wrap their quilts around their feet when they are snuggled up on the couch.

Now, I am curious.  What motivates your making?  What types of projects do you love to create the most and why?  Let me know if you have a minute.
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12 thoughts on “thoughts on motivation

  1. I really like your binding choice here. It just seems right! My favorite kinds of quilt, the ones that keep me engaged and interested, are the ones where not all the planning is done at the beginning. I guess that’s a bit similiar to what you mentioned. I like to make design/color/fabric choices all along the way. This keeps it interesting! I suppose that would be saying that I like modern improv, but not necessarily, since I like making traditional block quilts too, but I just make a few at a time, always keeping my color choices and final layout open.

    I still sometimes follow a pattern where I choose all the fabrics, and cut it all out at the start, the problem with this is that I have all the fun part first and then get bored with all the mindless sewing:)

    Keep your blog posts coming, I always enjoy hearing from you and I love your work!

  2. It’s always easier for sure if you “have” (could be want) to make something for somebody, especially if you know them well and know their likes and dislikes. Lovely to read your blog. I noticed it earlier, but didn’t have much time then to leave a comment then. 🙂

  3. I have this blog post in draft that I’ve never finished about how I don’t want people to say “oh how beautiful” when they see a quilt I’ve made, but instead say “I understand who you are a little bit more”. I haven’t gotten there, though, because I think gifts need to be something the recipient wants to receive, but that would probably push me in a good direction toward making art.

  4. Love this quilt! I love your design process and find it very similar to my own. I think you succeeded so beautifully here at creating something handmade, heartfelt and completely beautiful!! Congrats on a great finish!

  5. I am going to try your design-as-you-go approach. Maybe that’s why I am not finishing very many projects. I love the design process, but then executing the design becomes drudgery. I may have to blog about this myself. Thanks for the inspiration! Ann

  6. I’m definitely more engaged in a project that lets me plan as I go. I think I tune out when I’m just making multiple blocks of the same type. Finishing a quilt of my own design, or at least, where I feel completely tuned in the entire time, is the most satisfying finish.

    I love this one, M. It’s fresh. I’m sure your friend will love it, too!

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