Thursday, January 26, 2012


You all know by now about my long standing love affair with Holstein cows.....a favorite theme for my quilts.

So of course when I spotted this trophy I was both amused and a bit sad....but not uncomfortable enough to prevent my camera from snapping some pictures.

Almost from the moment I began making original quilts, I realized the importance of selecting a theme or subject as my starting point.  Over and over I hear worried comments from students that they could never create their own designs....they don't even know where to start.

This is my standard suggestion.....pick a theme or subject....then work from there. For instance if you chose a holiday theme....say Valentine's Day....I'll bet you are already familiar with some ready-made components to jump start the design process.  Color = reds/pinks  Shapes = hearts/arrows  Style = you decide - contemporary or traditional. If you prefer to piece then you'll be looking for a patchwork pattern, likewise, if you enjoy applique...then you can decide if you wish to do that task by hand or machine.  You's just little decisions that build on each other.  

I rarely begin a project that grows from start to finish without any changes in my vision. However, I must admit my vision is generally quite fuzzy anyway!  So I allow the piece and of course my instincts to guide me.

Not all decisions have to be made right away.  Some will be obvious. If Holstein cows were my subject.....I'd probably be working with black and white for starters, then I'd begin to envision other motifs/shapes to fit into my 'story'.  Such as a horse shoe, cow boys etc.  Naturally, I'd also want to consider = will it be a bed quilt or wall hanging.  You get the idea.....

It's really all about looking around and getting inspired by one single thing.....which becomes YOUR theme.....decison #1 is made.  Then make decision # 2 and so on and so on.

In my case, I have WAY tooooo many ideas so selecting a theme or subject helps me focus and move forward.  Otherwise, I'd be weighing about 10 possibilities and never actually take scissors to fabric!

I always tell my students that there are no mistakes in quiltmaking......I think of them instead as 'design opportunities'....most often they take me where I wouldn't have gone with the piece and more often than not, the quilt is better because of it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I smiled all through your post because cowboys would not be working your black and white Wisconsin cows! :) I have enjoyed seeing your black and white cow quilts though.
Marken (A Texas native)