Tuesday, 11 August 2009


By nature a quilter is likely to be creative. After all, even if you are using patterns for your quilts, you still have to come up with the right colour and fabric set to make the quilt. Some are more adventurous, and draft their own patterns. Or put blocks together in unique ways. These are planned, expected avenues of creativity. But I seem to be destined to use untapped creative skills in my quilting. No matter how carefully I plan a quilt, I often seem to be caught with the need to come up with some creative plan to fix a problem.

For example, my latest quilt. I wanted to do 4" borders. I knew I was tight on fabric, but I measured and I had 20" of fabric. Perfect - I could cut 5 strips, piece 4 border strips and be done (OK, 3.5" borders rather than 4. I can live with that). I measured that little piece of fabric 3 times - 20" every time. So, I cut it. 4", 4", 4", 4"... and 3" Huh? Now what? Looks like I'm making corner-stones for the border.

A twin quilt that I designed. Again, measured and calculated several times. Figured out exactly how many rows I needed, and carefully pieced the border to match. Then I put the finished top on the bed - and it was 10" too long. OK, I know what I did wrong here (I missed the fact that the border would sit on top of the bed at the top, and not drap down the side). Again, I had to re-think the quilt, and find a way to lose 10 inches. Luckily, the repeat on the rows (both border and top) was about 10". So removed 1 section, and the quilt was fine.

A queen size quilt. The quilt was planned, fabric bought. I would determine the border once I had the quilt complete. Bad idea! I knew exactly what fabric I wanted for the inner border - but I didn't have enough. And I couldn't find it anywhere. Oh well. Re-evaluate. Re-design. New border, in different colours.

Some might say those are just cases of poor planning. I prefer to think of it as opportunities for creativity, and a chance to prove that my engineering background has not stifled my creative juices :)

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