It is funny how inspiration can come from so many different things. Mostly, I get inspired by images or colors, mostly coming from nature. Love taking pictures. Recently almost obsessed with the macro feature on my camera and coming really, really close - detail and color take a whole another stage once you see those pictures!
The light play and the lines in this young hosta leaves are just mesmerizing - definitely a quilt inspiration! The color combination of almost chartreuse green and gray-brown of the tree bark on this photo of maple blossom is so unusual - another inspiration! Oh, and the ant I caught in the picture helps too! :)
But, sometimes a quilt design comes from a whole another place - a title! Recently I was browsing Internet and came to the site of one of the biggest guilds in our area, Genesee Valley Quilt Club. To celebrate their diamond jubilee, they have a quilt challenge with the name "Diamonds are a girls best friend", open to anyone.
Love a challenge! Wheels started to turn...My first thought - interpret the theme without a literal depiction. But here was my problem - I really don't think diamonds are a girls best friend. It just doesn't speak to me. So why even think of this challenge you would say? Well, that's just it - it's a challenge to me now! Weird? Well, maybe, but I couldn't stop thinking about it, so decided again to go to my "drawing board" - my EQ7 and play! Oh, did I mention that I sent out to get the challenge fabric and actually try and make the deadline for the challenge, even though it was only about 10 days away? Yeah, crazy, but more on that later.
OK, my start in designing was - diamonds, to quilters traditionally it means Lone Star, LaMoyne star...Lets start there - picked few of those layouts from EQ, picked one of my paper-piecing star block designs and got this:
Well, these looked interesting but apart from looking like diamonds or jewels, there was not much else to respond to challenge theme. And - this would be a literal interpretation of it - just what I said I didn't want to do...
OK, back to thinking about the theme... If I really don't think that diamonds are a girls best friend, what is? Fabric? Ha, yes, for us quilters maybe, but really, seriously? One thing comes to mind - FRIENDSHIP. I think friendship really is a girls best friend! My best friend, my life's partner, my friends in general - that is what sustains me!
Aha - now we have something to build a design around. Let's see - a simple, classic Friendship star block and some kind of simple setting that involved diamonds - let's try that! Being myself, I immediately go a bit overboard, and tried to include not s simple Friendship star but one variation of it that I like - a Ribbon star. Tried to use that one and set it into a simple eight-pointed star setting, so that those ribbons would connect - hmm, not really working, don't you think?
Simplify - that is the word. Forget the ribbon star - let's use just the simple block that represents the friendship and try to make a jewel out of that - that is a challenge now! :)
The two designs above look interesting! But some tweaking in colors is needed. "Push back" stars that are in the corners by lowering the contrast and play with shading of the others, maybe change the color of the center?
I definitely like the very low contrast of the corner stars - making them just barely there. My "jewel of friendship" in the center just doesn't look like a jewel yet... It needs to be maybe more faceted? So, decided to go back to the block (Friendship star) and make a few variations:
AHA - that does make it more jewel-like! I think I just need to play with shading and coloring and it will look even better.
Well, I think this is it - my Jewel of Friendship! To me, it looks like a diamond when you look at it from the top, but if you look carefully - it is made out of friendship and in its background is friendship...(Friendship Star, that is :) ) Oh, and it is actually not that hard to make - each diamond shape if the center star is easily done with paper-piecing and corners are just a simple Friendship star blocks. The challenge here is to pick fabric with all these subtle shading, to get the effect I want. On to digging in my stash!!
P.S. making the quilt to meet the challenge deadline turned to be an overly-ambitious idea of mine of course but I LOVED this idea flow and had so much fun playing with it! :) I think I will make this quilt though...