Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Being a Brave Quilter and Growing my Creativity

I read a couple of days ago about Lucy's creative process and her link up with Collette of Poppy and Poochie "How to Grow Your Creativity" series. Leaving aside any feelings of wanting to express my creativity (?) and how I go about it, I wanted to support Lucy and Collette. And here's why:

 I have always been creative through one way or another from childhood, my favourite Girl Guide badges were the making ones. When my children were small I joined  a patchwork and quilting class. I went for many years but eventually got fed up. I realise in hindsight my creativity was stifled but I would have thought that was too pretentious to say. There  then passed several years where I dabbled with different crafts but still felt drawn back to sewing.

Then came my epiphany - my sewing comeback.  I read blogs before I even lifted a needle, I was interested in the blogging process. It was reading blogs and discovering the online sewing community that helped bring me back to sewing. One of the first blogs I read was Lucy, The Charm About You.  I loved her chatty way and felt so inspired by a feather quilt she made from Anne Marie Horner fabrics. You can check it out here. I really felt I wanted to be part of this again.

So, I wrote my first blog post in 2013 and I had to sew because I wrote the blog post and enjoyed the writing process.  Remarkably Collette was one of my first followers. Up until then I could track every single follower I had, and trust me they were single followers. It was only when I read Lucy's post I realised who Collette is. At last.

So my creativity. Or my making a mess as it is often referred to. If I don't have something on the go I feel as if part of me is missing. It is important for me to make time in the day for my making things. My ideas also tend to evolve as I go along.

 I am not claiming any great originality here. I began using complete lines of fabric and following someone else's idea but changing it to my own taste. Generally because I have cut the fabric wrong and have to fudge it.

 I don't write patterns and make waves in the design world. What I can do is look at something that somebody else has made somewhere and do my own version of it, but I do think I have my individual look. I can copy a photo much better than I can follow a list of written instructions. I fluster when bombarded with numbers.  I sew much the same way I cook. I end up with an approximation of the meal in the recipe.

I have found being in a Bee great for my creativity. When it comes to my turn, I have generally been inspired by something I have seen online. We have to remember there is no such thing as an original idea no matter what people think. Pretty much every sewing block has been done by someone before.
I never pretend to have written this whole new concept but I do write my own instructions and give it my own twist whilst crediting the original idea, like my Polaroid blocks. Last year I saw the scandibee on IG were making polaroid blocks. They very kindly allowed me to link to them, and I did give them full credit them but I wrote my own plan and had my own ideas on it. And if you're thinking you haven't seen much of this, yes its another wip.

I think this is why I enjoyed Le Challenge so much, sadly missed. Lucy and Nathalie set a challenge and we made accordingly. I loved thinking outside the box and seeing what I came up with. I just needed that push to start me off. I think my favourite was my prawns walking across a lettuce leaf which was inspired by the saying "the rising sun". You can read about them if you like!

Now I find myself flexing my creative muscles, I am less influenced by others and more feeling my own way. Like in my Behemoth Wedding Quilt. I had a vague end concept and went for it. No plan, no sketches, just an idea in my head.

I need to stretch myself, I have a low boredom threshold so Le Challenge has been replaced for me by The Brave Quilter. Julie of  Pink Doxies fame challenges us to face our sewing fears or extend our creativity. For me in September my brave quilter challenge is to think of my backside differently. I love to see the backs of quilts that are pieced. But, there is a little bit of me thinks, I bet they just ran out of fabric. Well, so what, they probably did run out of fabric.

 And so in September I am going to piece the back of the Behemoth... yes I don't have enough backing. And, so what? It was meant to be like this all along. It is currently on the back of my dining chair to make me "do something" with it. And I'm going to use up those squares I made early on in the process that didn't work as the quilt progressed.

Well, I hope you are not too bored by all this rambling on. Thanks for staying with me.

Helen x

linking up with both
Collette "Grow Your Own Creativity" with Poppy and Poochie
Julie "#Brave Quilter" at Pink Doxies


  1. I am not bored by your rambling on at all. :) I definitely tend to piece my quilt backings when I run out of material or want to use up the last of what I had left over from the quilt top. I look forward to seeing how the Behemoth quilt backing comes together!

  2. Not bored at all!!!! I can't believe how small our quilting community can be. Thank you so much for sharing your creative story and process. It is amazing how different we all are! Those prawns are genius and the behometh is epic! Thanks for the awesome support! Xx

  3. Not bored at all!!!! I can't believe how small our quilting community can be. Thank you so much for sharing your creative story and process. It is amazing how different we all are! Those prawns are genius and the behometh is epic! Thanks for the awesome support! Xx

  4. Go for it girl... you inspire me to flex my creative muscles too.😀 I agree with you that being in a Bee helps the learning process and encouragement to move out of 'the box's concept..... can't wait to see the back of the Geometry and loved the prawns....hugs xx

  5. What an honest, heartfelt post, Helen! You've said what so many of us have felt--it has to have a creative element to be interesting to us! We see something, but it begs to be tweaked just a bit. That's where I started my own journey.

    I agree with you about backing, too. Yup. I ran out of fabric, or I had a big chunk of something I found inexpensively, but wasn't quite what I wanted on the front of the quilt. I think it fits in with the making do theme. I've recently pieced my own monster quilt with a few pieces of such fabrics, and love the play of the odd colors. I can't wait to see what you come up with! I know it will be fun to explore your stash with new eyes.

    Thanks for linking up with #BraveQuilter this month!

  6. Thanks for sharing Helen. I found you via Collette's creativity post. You're good at this quilting and writing malarkey! 'I'll be back' ;-)

  7. I really enjoyed reading about your process! It's also so nice to hear how much you liked reading my blog and joining in Le Challenge. Prompts can be so helpful to kick start creativity and it's great you've found something else to challenge you :) I definitely use up fabric to make my backs and it's fun creating improv with big pieces of fabric!

  8. Yup running out of fabric for backing means a pieced backing. And I wasn't bored at all reading this post.

  9. I say go for it and stretch yourself ♥ hugs


  10. I enjoyed reading this post. I just finished piecing a backing to add interest. I had lots of backing fabric left over. Good luck on the brave quilter challenge. Karen

  11. "Think of my backside differently! I laughed out loud, as you so often have me do. In my Alberta guild, way back in the late 90s, I got known as the one who had interesting quilt backs; so many used a plain sheet or boring fabric. I can't wait to see what you do to the Behemoth's backside ;-) Good luck with the Brave Quilter; I need to sign up again. I totally relate to your NEED to do something creative, make something each day.

  12. Yep, I miss Le Challenge too :-) Love reading this. I don't make waves in the quilt design world either, but I like to put my own touch to projects too :-)


Thank you so much for your comment, I try very hard to reply to them all.