Let's Talk about INSPIRATION!

Ahhhh…the sometimes elusive “spark of inspiration” us quilters seek on a daily basis. Some of you are designers, looking for that fun new geometric pattern to set your mind twirling and whirling with pattern designs. Some of you are quilters, looking for that perfect colorway or palette to use for your next beautiful quilt. 

In this post, I’m going to share my inspiration for my upcoming pattern, Matrikin. Often the inspirational process is NOT a spark, but a linked series of events in your day to day life.

My husband works his family’s 170-ish year old homestead farm, which we live next door to. So, if you drive by our house, nine times out of ten, there will be a tractor or other farm implement in our driveway or maybe even a combine parked in our front yard (insert eye roll emoji here)

The Deere in the Driveway

Now, I’ve seen these big bleeping very helpful tractors a thousand times and have just walked right by them. Until one day, I noticed the interesting design on the hood. I took a pic of each one and went about my day.

The Tattered Family Quilt

A few weeks later, I’m refolding my stack of quilts and come across the one my maternal grandmother made from my grandpa’s old dress shirts after he passed. The majority of the shirts fabrics are plaid or striped. I took a pic and went about my day.

The Beautiful Bundle

A couple weeks later, I find this gorgeous pink and purple half yard fabric bundle for sale online and I buy it immediately without having a quilt in mind for it. Then, my stomach sinks a bit, remembering my goal to minimize my fabric purchases this year. So, off to the quilt design program I go!!

I build a palette, grouping the purples, grouping the pinks, and add an off white background. I took a screenshot, printed it out, hung it on my inspiration board, and went about my day.

A couple days later, the fabric bundle arrives and it’s even prettier in person! I arrange the fabric into a beautiful ombre layout. Back to the quilt design program I go! I layout the fabrics in horizontal strips in an ombre pattern. I remember the design on the tractor and plaid shirts. I put some vertical strips in to make it plaid-ish. Rotate the blocks in every other row, make the vertical lines match up…and TA-DAAAA! A quilt pattern was born!

The Design, Name, and Dedication

Now to name this beauty! Hmmm…nothing jumps out at me right away. This may take a while. (I’ve got a naming system I’ve been using since I started designing and certain letters are currently excluded. Therefore, certain words are automatically excluded. This makes it challenging to find a name, but I believe it makes me take the time to find just the PERFECT name.)

I think of the tractor and the homestead and the history behind it. All the many hand that have worked and labored on that land. I think of the quilt and my maternal grandparents and their lives. The quilts they made together for their loved ones throughout the years. I think of the the links running from the past to the present, from one generation to the next. 

After a few days of pondering, I named the pattern “Matrikin”; it means “one related on the mother’s side” to honor my maternal ancestors. I’ve dedicated this quilt to them to honor their memory. 

Inspiration; in conclusion

When I finished the quilt top, I took it to the barn on the homestead and with my husband at my side, we hung it up and took photos in the cold and thought of the hands that built that barn. Would they like this quilt? I hope so.

So in the end, I’ve learned oftentimes inspiration is not a big  spark. It’s a bunch of tiny little sparks you pick up throughout your daily life and accumulate in your phone pics. So next time you’re stuck, try taking the time to look at the little things around you. You never know what you’ll find until you try. 

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