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Thread: Piecing: Strictly by a Pattern OR Pattern Improv OR Wild Abandon!

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    Senior Member mhollifiel's Avatar
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    Piecing: Strictly by a Pattern OR Pattern Improv OR Wild Abandon!

    I have shelves full of books and end tables full of magazines. I have files full of patterns printed and purchased. I can't remember when I have duplicated a single one! Since I piece tops for Project Linus, I have not strictly followed a pattern in the last three years. I am putting together anywhere from 4 to 20 PL tops each month. I fall in the middle Improv category. My resources are used for ideas on how to utilize my stash. Of course, my results go from great to "just covers" but I am having a ball!

    Sometimes I feel guilty for not following some of those beautiful patterns I am using for inspiration to the letter as they are so wonderful. In the picture section here I adore all those tailored looking, by-the-book quilts others have made but when I get going, other ideas seem to take over. Sometimes I stay "fairly close" to the pattern that inspired the top I am piecing. Potato Chip and Disappearing 9 Patch come to mind. Other times I wonder what (in the world!) got this top going. Of course, I adore scrappy but I have not done wonky. . . YET!

    So, am I alone in this? What kind of piecer are you? And, if you're like me, do you also feel guilty for all your purchased inspiration and not following patterns to the letter?
    Holli
    Your Favorite (Retired) School Librarian

    Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, For I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.

  2. #2
    Super Member MaryMo's Avatar
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    I wish I could follow a pattern, but my creative side is always surfacing. Even when I try to make my project following the pattern, it does not look the same as the pattern when I'm done. I don't do kits well either. I guess I am just a scrappy quilter.
    Make it a scrappy happy day!

  3. #3
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    For the most part I will follow a pattern. I may tweak here and there to reduce seams or perhaps enlarge the quilt with a different border treatement. I have designed quilts from scratch too. My truly creative side is satiated with the quilting itself rather than the piecing as most patterns are "quilt as desired" so that is where I go improv.

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    In all things creative, I find that I must "flood" my imagination with images from many sources to find the inspiration for a design of any kind. Years ago, my husband's aunt criticized me for doing this, calling it a waste of money. I told her it was my "research". Thank goodness for the internet--- we have lots of inspiration at our fingertips so I don't have to buy so many magazines, etc. I wish I was able to create from scratch so I wouldn't spend so much time with this, but for me, it's necessary to the process.
    Elizabeth

  5. #5
    Senior Member mhollifiel's Avatar
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    I am already feeling better! Thank you!
    Holli
    Your Favorite (Retired) School Librarian

    Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, For I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.

  6. #6
    Super Member retrogirl02's Avatar
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    Great to see your post! I never followed patterns when I first learned to piece (and still don't when it comes to making clothes!!), even teaching myself drafting very early on but think it's a challenge to harness that creativity and work within the dimensions of traditional blocks. I still make some improv but knowing I have the skill set to create advanced traditional blocks means a lot, to me too.
    OVER THE RAINBOW JANE is the name of my Dear Baby Jane----though it should be poor, neglected & may never ever be finished baby jane!
    http://retrofabulous-retro.blogspot.com

  7. #7
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    a little bit of everything, but I have definitely decided I don't enjoy kits. I find them boring. I've only done two, and the last one I changed so much you wouldn't recognize it. I just used the lovely fabrics in something else ;-)

  8. #8
    cjr
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    Super Member cjr's Avatar
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    I start with a pattern idea. Then usually do my own thing. Some patterns need specific areas followed as written such as a lone star. Many complicated patterns are not written clearly and make for extra work. Why do modern patterns call for a template for squares, rectangle & triangles When strip rotary cutting is so much quicker and easier??
    www.etsy.com/shop/quiltinglycaroline

  9. #9
    Senior Member CarrieC's Avatar
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    I view patterns as "Suggestions" and "Inspirations". I've made a few quilts to pattern but most of the time I let my creative side out.
    Carrie, Queen of the Seam Rippers!

  10. #10
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Pattern, I am not creative enough yet for my own, once I get better I will venture off into that road, until then pattern it is. there are just too many gorgeous patterns out there that I want to make

  11. #11
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i always tell people i am 'way to un-disciplined' to follow someone's pattern---too A.D.D. too O.C.D. too what ever other initials you want to add- i pretty much make 'em up as i go along-
    although sometimes i do incorporate actual blocks and follow the *rule* of the block- as often i don't=== and no- i do not feel guilty for it-
    my mom's a portrait artist---raised 5 kids with her paintings---she has never felt guilty for the shelves of art books/magazines in her library- guess i was raised that way- it's normal to collect (inspiration) ... how else will you ever learn new techniques? or see the direction things are going? or see how they used to do it?
    there is no reason for guilt - it's growth.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  12. #12
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    I have to follow the pattern exactly when I'm making a shop sample, but when I'm making my own I usually make it "my own". The quilts tells me what it wants to be.

  13. #13
    Super Member maryb119's Avatar
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    I do both. If I really like a pattern, I may follow it but tweek it to my own personal style. Lots of times, I just start sewing and see what it looks like in the end. It lets me be creative.

  14. #14
    Super Member Chicca's Avatar
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    I always follow the pattern; but have recently began looking at the ways others put together quilts without a pattern and find it fascinating. Not only do you create a work of art, but you are expressing yourself and building a stronger more confident self. It may take me awhile before I start the journey, but I know I am being pulled in that direction. I read all of the comments and found them interesting, so thanks for posting the question.
    Brenda

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    I "sort of" follow the instructions.

    Sort of like trying out a new recipe.

    The first time I make it like it's written. The second time (if it comes to that ), it usually has some changes toit.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Christine27's Avatar
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    Right now I'm trying wild abandon with inspiration from my collection of books. It may turn into a hot mess. We'll see.

  17. #17
    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolphyngyrl View Post
    Pattern, I am not creative enough yet for my own, once I get better I will venture off into that road, until then pattern it is. there are just too many gorgeous patterns out there that I want to make
    Ditto. My brain just doesn't work that way. I may add a border or something but by & large, I stick to the pattern. My problem is I, too, have zillions of books & magazine & patterns & print outs & I end up using the same ones over & over again.

    I, too, make quilts for Project Linus (& QOV) & I always think "Oh, this would be a good chance to try out a new pattern" & then I make another "Streak of Sunshine" or "Yellow Brick Road" or 9-patch. I'm boring.
    (`v)
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    (.(. (..`..♥ rebecca

  18. #18
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    Just my opinion but the patterns are like a guide and not following it makes it more your own design.

  19. #19
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    I am all over the place on that one.....I've followed patterns to the letter changing only the color of fabric.....I've used patterns as inspiration....I've used a bunch of orphan blocks to make up a large lap quilt and backed it with a fleece blanket (my personal favorite!)....I don't think I've ever actually designed my own quilt, but I have borrowed ideas from several patterns and made some very pretty quilts. I love learning new techniques for quilting and try to challenge myself once in a while. All in all, I just love to make quilted things....from a king sized bargello, to charity quilts, to bow tucks.....best artsy thing I've ever done. LOL

  20. #20
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    I will sort of follow a pattern -- unfortunately I get bored and take a left turn and then a right and wander around the pattern so I get something close.
    QuiltnLady1

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mhollifiel's Avatar
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    Rebecca said:

    I, too, make quilts for Project Linus (& QOV) & I always think "Oh, this would be a good chance to try out a new pattern" & then I make another "Streak of Sunshine" or "Yellow Brick Road" or 9-patch. I'm boring.

    My 2 cents:

    You may think you're boring, Rebecca, but I know the kids don't care. And they certainly don't consider their quilt, made especially for them by you, boring! Thanks for all you quilt and give away even if they are all the same.
    Holli
    Your Favorite (Retired) School Librarian

    Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, For I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.

  22. #22
    Super Member SuzyQ's Avatar
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    I piece in whatever manner the mood strikes me. I have some hand piecing, some wool felt work being done by hand, a BOM pattern I'm following, Dear Jane, a pattern that I'm not following too closely, and scrappy string blocks and crumb blocks ... who whatever mood I'm in ... that's what I work on ... when I find it of course

    Suzy

  23. #23
    Super Member crafterrn1's Avatar
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    As a pattern designer and long time user of EQ! I Love when my patterns are Morphed! Morphing is taking a pattern for inspiration, then using it to create a unique quilt. Not everyone is comfortable with Morphing. I understand that, but it adds to the fulfillment of creativity. I also have an extensive library of quilt books and patterns. I use them as a jumping off point! It is the joy in quilt making to do your own thing! The point is to enjoy it. No guilty feelings allowed when being creative! Luann in CT
    Live Love and Laugh Enough!

  24. #24
    Super Member Arleners's Avatar
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    I agree with you. I have spent so much money on books and patterns, and I end up making my own creations. I teach a beginners class, and this time, I used a quilt design that started off the same for everyone. The class lasts over a period of 8 weeks. Each week, someone has made a major "resdesign" change. Instead of making them redo the quilt, I am changing the instructions for them. We are going to have so many different designs from the original pattern. The student tell me they like this as it makes them think of the possibilities instead of thinking in a box.
    Arlene

  25. #25
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    The first quilt I made I used a pattern. After that I've used a combination of patterns and designing my own.

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