The Power of Design

I’ll bet you are thinking that I found some moving picture of a totally gorgeous quilt that I had to comment on.  Nope, I’m going in a completely different direction.  Besides, what I find to be completely moving you might not be as interested in.

What I want to talk about is the act of design itself.  Such as in EQ (Electric Quilt) or Quilt Pro (if you are a Mac user like me).  Design is powerful.  We can walk through quilt shows and find some totally amazing designs (and color placement – let’s face it sometimes it is the color placement that really  makes something speak to us) that inspire and wow us to go home and try our very best with the project we are working on.  Sometimes we are even so inspired to try to find the same pattern the quilt artist used and give it a go ourselves.

We have programs available that enable us to come up with our own stellar creations.  Perhaps even modify some our favorite traditional blocks into something completely different.  There is a bit of danger with these programs.  It is so easy to sit down and start designing and having a “finished” product at the end that we turn our creativity on high and open the gate to let our imagination out and then next thing you know it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and you have designed 15 quilts and not touched one thread of fabric.  Then you start to obsess, “if I just move this one line I wonder what would happen…”.  It’s definitely a hazard and one that they don’t warn you about on the cover and they really should.  WARNING: Playing with this program is so much fun that you may just forget about making real quilts out of fabric.  Or maybe, WARNING:  Be sure you have a set of new ink cartridges on hand because you will run out of that color you need after all the stores have closed and it’s too far to Wal-Mart to justify a trip for one ink cartridge.  If you have played with these programs, you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, please keep the above warnings in mind as you consider whether or not your quilting would benefit from having such a program at your disposal.  Oh, I should also add, WARNING: If you have an obsessive type of personality you should not use this program without supervision as you will forget to eat and use the restroom.

I have now decided that Pinterest is the same.  You can get so lost in pinning pictures of those fabulous fabric creations that you don’t make it to your stash (or local quilt store) for patterns or fabric.  It should come with warnings as well.  WARNING: You will find more stuff than you will ever make so get up from your computer and go outside to enjoy life.  My favorite would be: WARNING: You will not need to visit other websites to find cool stuff to pin, you can roost on Pinterest all day finding plenty of inspiration while repinning other people’s pins.  You should also heed the warning about making sure your printer ink is fully stocked.

There is no doubt about it – design is powerful.  We can see it at work in the composition of photos and paintings as well as color choices and placement in quilts.  Our houses will never look like the ones in magazines and we may never have a quilt juried in for the show in Paducah (although I’ve not given up that dream just yet).  Programs and websites like these can be very useful tools to help our inner artist as it yearns to put on paper the how-to of that dream quilt floating around in our minds.  Just don’t let yourself get so caught up in the element of design that you neglect the actual creation.  They do look great on paper, but seeing them live (and of course larger than 8.5 x 11) is so much more powerful.  Not to mention the process we go through to bring these creations to life.

Of course I have some examples! Here are some quilts I photographed at MQS.  I do not have the quilter/piecer’s information but they are most definitely not mine.  They are beautifully designed (in my opinion) and inspiring.

That should hold you for a little while.


One thought on “The Power of Design

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