Where do you find your inspiration?

I recently read a really good post at While She Naps about why you shouldn't ask where artist's find their inspiration.

There has been a lot of stealing of ideas lately and it made me start thinking about my work and where my designs originate from. I RARELY follow a pattern, I quilt like I cook, I see a pattern or recipe, use it as a loose guideline and then make so many changes that by the end it is often nothing like the original idea.

I used to make all of my own designs from original ideas because I did not have quilting community, online or in real life, so I had nothing to compare to so what I came up with was truly my own idea, not inspired by another's quilty work. The problem is that now with so many blogs, free tutorials, Pinterest, and an overabundance of incoming "inspiration," I sometimes find it hard to figure out whether the ideas I now come up with are truly mine or just something that I saw once and loved. I am scared of accidentally copying someone's work.

I try to find inspiration outside of the quilting community. If you don't it is very easy to have the issues stated above. I have a pattern oriented brain and pick up patterns and details in things that normal people do not. Whether it is in shadows, negative spaces, or even ways to turn existing art into fiber creations, I find that the "real" world gives me most of my truly original ideas.

Bathroom Wall in a local restaurant

Jump Ropes at Field Day
Volunteered at field day at Sheridan School this morning manning the jump rope station. This is where I realized I have a mild case of OCD. #likecolorsgotogether #kidfail

Rain Boots I got from Target
My favorite part about rain boots is that they make you feel invincible!

T-shirt from Target

Window at the Bakken Museum

The document under this adorable dog :)

A root structure

Old piece of palm wood

A card I got from a friend

If you don't already, try to find patterns or designs in everyday objects and think about how you can use them in your own work. It's surprising what you find when you start looking...


  1. Great post, Colby! After designing my last quilt, I had to scour the internet to see whether something just like it (or with a similar name) is already out there before publishing a tutorial. It made me realize how impossible the task of looking for a quilt block is (especially when so many new patterns are really old patterns already.) We can only work with honesty and integrity and hope that if something similar does already exist, people will understand or at least appreciate that we did our own due diligence ...as well as sketch/math/stitching/photography/etc. It can be nerve-racking.

  2. I have had the same anxiety about accidentally 'copying' someone's work. I know what weird nonsense spurs my ideas but there is no way to prove it. I would be afraid to ever publish a pattern or tutorial because of the public shaming and ostracizing that happens if you are a copycat. Patterns are everywhere and who knows what is truly original... Great post and super good use of a cute dog!


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