Your Inner Designer 6: Copy Somebody Good!

Truly original ideas in design are really, really rare  More often good designs are inspired by other good designs, and most designers start by copying other people.  There’s nothing wrong with that–just give credit!

Door with art glass window

Glass window, designer unknown

For example, here’s a door I admire in a friend’s house.  It got me thinking that it would be nice to make her a table runner with a design similar to the glass in the door, especially since the dining table is right by the door.  I may start out by copying the design, but my table runner won’t be an exact copy.  I want it to be obviously inspired by the door, but I probably couldn’t make an exact copy even if I wanted to.  And I’m not going to sell it as my own “original” design without reference to the door, either.

Here’s the first attempt:Craftsman inspired table runnerThat may be obviously inspired by the door, though in fact both are inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and Craftsman styles of design. If you don’t know much about those styles of design, Google them.  There are many similar designs to be found, so I can make LOTS of designs of this style without copying any of them.  Here’s the second try:Craftsman style table runner

This one has a little more detail.  Another master of this style, popular in the early years of the 20th Century, was Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  William Morris textile and wallpaper designs were the same historical period, and you may have seen Moda’s extensive line of William Morris-inspired fabrics.

One last try:table runner

So go look at some books on the history of design (the history of advertising works too) and make some designs inspired by what you see.  It’s a good starting place when you think you don’t have any ideas, and you’ll eventually come up with something your really like.  Then it’s time to make a quilt!

Here are the first 5 posts in this series:

Your Inner Designer 5: A Program to Make Your Own Palette!

Quilt Design 4: Choosing Your Color Scheme

Your Inner Designer 3: New Blocks From Old

Your Inner Designer 2: Many Block Arrangements

Find Your Inner Designer, Part 1

Orphan Block Table Runner

When I looked at my (er, large!) collection of orphan blocks, I found not only single blocks, but groups of blocks all from the same quilt, and several strips of blocks that looked like they had been almost included in a quilt.  The first such strip I came to was from an improvised batik quilt made with Bold Over Batiks and assorted others.  It was almost 24 inches long and 4 inches wide.

I cut the strip into a length of 12 inches and one of a few inches less, then added fabric to the shorter one so both were 12 inches.  I then joined them lengthwise with a black strip down the center:

table runner

Table runner made from a strip of leftovers

I made a backing by piecing together scraps from my current quilt, which happens to be batiks also.  I just put them together semi-randomly.  (You can see the current quilt at the end of this post.)

quilted table runner

The back was pieced from the scraps that happened to be on the top of the scrap bin!

I quilted the whole thing in the ditch and bound it in black.  I think I like the back almost as well as the front!

Of course, if you have individual orphan blocks instead of a strip, you can make a table runner by joining them, either with or without sashing.  I find that sashing is a good idea because it allows for the use of blocks of different sizes just by varying the size of the sashing.  (I made the mistake once of putting together a “group quilt” and it DEFINITELY required sashing individualized to each block, since apparently everybody in the group had a different idea of the size of a 9″ block.)  Sashing can save your bacon (or table runner) in a case like that.  So here’s a quilt design with blocks of 4 different sizes.  The blocks at the ends had extra sashing added.Table Runner

Finally, here’s a peek at the current quilt-in-progress.  It’s made from the FQs that jumped on me at Quiltfest in July and were shown at the end of an earlier post here. The quilt is up on my sticky wall with a label on each piece so I don’t get confused as I sew it together! Scraps from this were on top of the scrap pile, so I used them for the back of the table runner shown above.

Bermuda Sunrise quilt pattern

This pattern is Bermuda Sunrise

Hope everyone has a good week!