Where does the idea come from?

People ask me about where do I get my ideas for quilts.  Most of the time they just seem to grow out of the process of working with the fabric or playing around with a particular block.  But, there are those occasions where a trip to an art gallery, or something I see in architecture, or in a magazine trips a switch in my brain and it starts percolating – unfortunately, that happens when I am asleep.  A good night means I wake up in the morning and while drinking my coffee I get some ideas and a sketch them out or jot down ideas, on a bad night it means I wake up in the middle of the night (3 or 4 am)with a great idea and need to put it down on paper before I loose it.

Well, one of those middle of the night “wake up and jot it down” experiences happened during the Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts that took place in New York City in March of 2011. The American Folk Art Museum presented 650 Red and White quilts from the collection of Joanna Rose.  I was there when the doors opened and spent most (if not all of the first day) staring at the quilts in amazement. It was like coming downstairs on Christmas and finding more presents than you ever imagined possible!

What the room looked like when they opened the doors for the opening of the show
A shot looking through the quilts as they were hung in the room.

In looking at the quilts I was struck by their complexity, yet simplicity.  Sometimes the simplicity of a single block repeated in only red and white made a very complex design. I went back several days in a row for several hours each day.

I was drawn to some quilts that were made with Drunkard Path blocks – and was asking myself what else could you do to a Drunkard Path block – what could be added, or changed, or ????? that would create some variation.

Well I woke up at 3 am one night and sketched out this block and quilt pattern – I called it “Infinite Possibilities” because of all the wonderful options that exist for fun designs.  My original design and quilt now graces the pages of the 2013 March/April issue of McCall’s Quilting.

The quilt is approximately 90″ x 90″ – McCall’s is offering a free downloadable lap size version of the quilt. I used Michael Miller Cotton Couture Cranberry and Bright White for the fabric.

The Red and White show IS still a Christmas Gift that keeps on giving!

So, where do you get your design ideas?  And do you also wake up in the middle of the night with an idea?  Keep looking around and keep asking,

“What would happen if I ………”

5 thoughts on “Where does the idea come from?

  1. The cover is gorgeous! Congrats for you and McCall's on their newsletter. The actual red and white show ended up being one of many high items of my personal quilt-making lifestyle. Your arsenal felt just like a cathedral for those couple of days. I will be thus happy I had been lucky enough to get be presently there, and I'm happy how the demonstrate continues to inspire you, Bob. World of Warcraft Gold Kaufen Billigbuy runescape gold


  2. I saw Victoria 'playing' and had to check out your blog.
    I loved seeing pics of the show – i should have played hookey from work that day! I will check out your pattern and play with it. I'd like to try a red and white quilt.
    I get inspiration from random things and tell my husband because he never forgets 🙂


  3. Congratulations on your quilt being published! It should of been on the cover in my opinion (red & white lover). I do love the pattern, and will download it. I found your blog through a link on Victoria's blog and have enjoyed reading back.


  4. Your quilt is beautiful! Congratulations to you and McCall's on its publication. The red and white show was one of the high points of my quilting life. The armory felt like a cathedral for those few days. I am so glad I was lucky enough to be there, and I'm very happy that the exhibit continues to inspire you, John.


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