By Tricia Patterson
Designer and Associate Editor, Quiltmaker
As a quilter I have so many things in my life that inspire my quilt designs. I’m inspired by the world around me, such as drawing from the elements of nature or the aesthetic I want to create in my home. I’m also greatly influenced by the people I make quilts for, the things my family and friends enjoy or favor, like their extracurricular activities, their work or favorite colors, and their personality. When I decide to make a quilt for someone, I generally consider these things and incorporate them in the design. The Mountain Lil’s quilt design in the May/June issue of Quiltmaker is a perfect example of my approach to the creative journey I take with each of my quilts.
As I mention in the sidebar of the pattern in the magazine, the Mountain Lil’s quilt design was inspired by my granddaughter Lily, (who has always been attracted to the variety of color), colorful Colorado where I live and the visual memories I have from hiking the high country of the Rocky Mountain range. All of these things came together in my mind as I created the design for fabrics Lily chose for a quilt on a fabric expedition during one of her visits to Colorado.
The quilt using Lily’s design that I submitted to consider for a Quiltmaker issue was made with a floral fabric from Moda Fabrics that I’ve had in my stash for a while. I purchased yardage on a whim, nothing planned for it other that I just fell in love with it (Oh my, what a surprise a quilter would ever do that!). I was attracted to the colors and the vivid flowers; I thought it would be perfect for the focus fabric in Lily’s pattern. The fabric was just waiting for this quilt and I continued the vibrancy of the color by pairing it with tone-on-tone fabrics from Northcott’s Toscana line.
I know so many quilters that don’t feel they have the inner creativity to design a quilt. I had the same mindset for so long; it kept me from exploring new ideas. My breakthrough moments came when I wanted to make graduation quilts for my sons. I stretched my quilting imagination because I wanted to include elements of their past lives and future aspirations in their quilts. I searched for specific block patterns and fabrics to represent my theme and quilted shapes of significant objects into the finished quilt top to hold the layers together. It was a simple first start to exploring my own creativity. Since then the ideas and creations have become endless.
To show you an alternate version of the pattern in Quiltmaker, here are a few photos of Lily’s finished quilt. I created the lettering for the quilt backing during a staff challenge, leveraging the Best Day Ever pattern in December/January 2017 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts. (If you are so inclined, patterns for letters can be found at Best Day Ever Free Alphabet Characters Block Patterns.)
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A digital pattern is also available for Mountain Lil’s.