Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Collecting Inspiration

I started collecting patterns way before I could sew. I also collected fabrics as a child might collect toys. They were not there to use, they were there to inspire. Patterns tell me that I can change what I have into what I want, and that is a good thing.

My collection of patterns is extensive. I have painting patterns, punch needle patterns, quilting patterns, rug hooking patterns, and the list goes on and on. Oh, I might note that I have tried my hand at all of these, at one time or another. I am an equal opportunity crafter. A good pattern is enough to bring me to purchase all the supplies needed for a project and even sign up for a class to learn how it's done. I have learned a lot about myself over the years from my patterns too. Going through them I have seen how my own sense of "style" (for lack of a better word) has evolved. I have gone from the tan goose on blue (don't even pretend you didn't have these in your house!) to a more eclectic mix that makes sense only to me, and that's OK because it's my house and I live here...surrounded by things that make my heart happy.

No longer strapped to rules or guidelines, I choose to use my quilting patterns to paint, my painting patterns to punch, and so on. A pattern is just a starting point, it's inspiration. I buy patterns for everything, not because I can't "figure it out" but because I don't want to "figure it out". I don't want to deconstruct that beautiful quilt. I want to look at it and think of where I can put it. Someone has already gone through the trouble of deconstructing it for me, making it and picturing it so that when I see it I stop, catch my breath and think, "I WANT that!". If I hadn't seen the quilt or pattern I would not have been inspired. Does that make sense to you? Do you follow me here? I might look at a pattern and find the next wall paint for my living room, my next wall hanging, my next painting. Regardless of what makes me stop and stare, I know that pattern was the root of my inspiration... so I buy it and save it, never ever giving myself a guilt trip for not making it (and truth be told, when I purge my patterns I might even be happy that I didn't make anything from that pattern. "What was I thinking?!", LOL!)

Today I read a blog post and the blogger stated that she never purchased patterns. She liked "designing" her own (based exactly on a published pattern). It made me stop and think of my own personal pattern collection and how I wish some of my favorite designers would never retire because their work inspires me. I hope that if you collect inspiration as I do, you would remember that those folks who design those patterns need to pay their mortgages and if they can't pay their bills, they can't spend all that time designing your inspiration. I don't know about you, but I need to be inspired, so I will continue to buy patterns and collect inspiration wherever I should find it. I don't "design" other people's work. I buy patterns and collect inspiration.

14 comments:

WoolenSails said...

I am a pattern hoarder too, still have some of my painting and old magazines. I find I go back to them for inspiration and to make new ideas from the old. Oh yes, we all remember the blue country days;)

Debbie

Strlady said...

That was great. I have so many designers that inspire me. And even if I can "figure it out", I will buy the pattern. When you find someone that can take a 9-patch and make it new. That is talent and worth my support.

Sheila said...

Great post Brenda! My collection is small and some never even used but still there to inspire whenever the mood strikes.
Oh, thankfully the days of blue, peach and geese are tucked away forever!!! LOL
~Sheila

carla (http://dancingmoon-carla.blogspot.com/) said...

Oh I thought I was the only one who did that!!!! I buy patterns...I know I will probably never make them...but they do give me inspiration..to make something totally different!!!! IF I try to follow a pattern I always get lost and go in a different direction..never sure why!!! hugs

Linda said...

Well said, Brenda! Would you believe I was just going through my pattern notebooks this morning and discovered a few of those tan geese! I think I may have to 'clean house' to make room for more of the primitive designs that I prefer now. Through the internet I've picked up hints for using patterns creatively and I'm so thankful for the designers who make it all possible.

~*~Harvest Moon by the Lake~*~ said...

Well said Brenda! I love reading patterns...I thought I was the only one but now I see I'm not and they do inspire me. I do make some of the patterns I have but add my own touches and I get something new. Most times my creations are so different you would never know I used that pattern.

Thank you for your inspiration!

Enjoy your day,
Leanne

Tracy said...

VERY nicely said.

You rock.

Belle* said...

tan geese on blue background --- roflmol!!! Yup had 'em!! I love patterns. Yours are so organized!!! I am setting up a binder with sheet protectors to house all my patterns.......the basket they have been in just won't hold em any more....and it's a big basket!! Love this post!

MARCIE said...

I love your logic. Sometimes I buy patterns I know I will never make, but I just like to look at them! Fabric is a whole nother story. I always believe I will use it. a big HA on that!

Christine said...

Very well said......there are so many fabulous designers out there.....I collect , treasure, and get inspired by my "collection".
christine

Anna said...

I pass on patterns I will never make a second time...the ones I keep I wallow around in like a little piggy!

Maureen said...

Hi Brenda - the pattern that is in the middle that looks like it is in "redwork" - may I ask what that pattern is? I am being nosy...

Jenny said...

I don't hoard patterns because I totally stink at following directions.

But I wanted to tell you that I love the title of this blog post. It is perfect!

sunnisandy said...

This is an amazing post Brenda. I also do this although sometimes I go through them and think what was I thinking buying this one. Anyways I also get inspired by others and I no I will never stop. We do make our own home the way we want, but alot of people help along th way lol.
I was just thinking the other day when I bought a pattern to learn how to needle punch and thought will my girls like this collection after I am gone lol. Where will it go...........
Love the post!