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January 20, 2011


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LOVE this post. Thank you for being "real"... And...I like 9" way better than 12" anyway :)


Thank you. One of the reasons I like your patterns is that they're not cookie cutter patterns,even the simplest patterns don't appear simple. I make quilts that speak to me and don't jump on "quilting bandwagons" for that reason. I'm more of a process quilter than a product quilter. Thanks for bringing up this topic!


Thanks Carrie, great post. My blog post today was also venturing out into the creative world. And how we (or I) fear to spread my wings. I am always inspired by designers like yourself, mostly because you have always been honest and up front from your heart.


You're speaking to my heart - now I need to take time to listen to my 'creative voice'.

Awesome post!!!

Ginny Worden

Very interesting, and definitely true for so many of us. Thanks for putting in to words what I have been feeling for awhile.


I agree...it's hard to be true to ourselves sometimes while we're also trying to be part of what everyone else is doing/making. I try to express my "artistic voice" my making every quilt I made just a little bit unique. I like that there's not another one like anywhere! :0)


I've been catching up on blog reading. I have neglected posting AND reading.What is up with that? I thought about you recently when I found this web site.http://www.mjtrim.com/. You will find gross grain stitchy ribbon GALORE and in various sizes. "Ribbon yourself" friend!

Salt Lake looms. sheesh.I have the bill for my booth to prove it too!


Marge Davies

Thanks Carrie for the little wakeup. I do tend to go with what is on the blogs rather than trying to follow my creative heart.

Diane Cannon

Oh My you have hit the nail on the head for me too--I have spent the two or so years I have been on the net doing so many bom's, challenges, sew in's, on and on--that I am not doing my own work--not that I don't change some things here and there--but I am still basically following someone elses patterns and Ideas--and I have so many of my own!!
Plus--I am trying to decide if I like all these "pre-matched" fabric collections--oh they are great and alot less work--but I remember the "good old days" when one spent hours in a quilt shop to match up all the fabrics--that really was fun--and I must do that again one of these days!!
thanks for the post--

Mary on Lake Pulaski

Making quilts we WANT to make - that's what we need to do.


One of the challenges or dilemmas that I have created for myself is that I began to create quilts for people rather than creating quilts and then giving those creations to people. It is a different process when you make a quilt for a specific person/s in mind. You try to choose colors and patterns that you think suits them rather than create something that allows you to try a technique or pattern you want to make. Sometimes the two mesh but it has been awhile since I have made a quilt just because I wanted to try a pattern myself.
Listening to one's artistic voice is important.
As for being an artist, I have no doubt that you are a very talented one. Your medium is textiles and your use of color and design is terrific.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Super post Carrie. Now you have quilters all over the world considering something really worthwhile. And never doubt that you are an artist! Playing with color and pattern is what quilt designing is all about. And I agree so much with Diane--the hunt for the perfect fabrics to throw in with the 40 others you have thus far collected for a quilt is the most fun in the world!


Carrie, I have only been quilting for ... well, it would be 3 years this March...but 2010 was such a hard year for me health wise and with an emergency surgery in the mix, I missed a full 6 months of being physically able to sew last year. I got a new sewing room set up in July...boom...surgery...the sewing room still looms new and used one time. Then you subtract the first vacation hubby and I have ever taken (I mean REAL vacation) in the 42 years we had been married, 10 day at the wonderful Circle Z Ranch in AZ and all in all, last year was lost to me as far as quilting. I did manage to finish one quilt, a large one for my bed. So, I still count myself as a new quilter of only two years. Point is...I am so delighted to see so many designers and just regular quilters alike, talking about quilting for themselves. Making projects that speak to them. Things that they can wake up every morning thinking "I've got to hurry and get things done so I can spend the day sewing", or even better...to heck with the chores, I'll sew first, clean later! My vote is to work on projects that we love so much that we are willing to leave the bed unmade, stay in our PJ's and get to the sewing area. Even though I am still taking baby step I find myself thinking, I've got to finish this project or that project before I can even THINK of starting this project that is just tugging at my heart and hands to be worked on. The project that I will love from the moment I touch the fabric. Isn't that what this is about. Being so taken with what we are working on that we are immersed in it so deeply that we lose track of time working on it and can't hardly pull ourselves away? The bandwagon is okay once in a while, especially if it is something fun and special. But overall, it should be from the heart, not just the hands. In short (yeah right, I know your thinking, this woman NEVER writes in short, LOL), don't quilt for us...quilt for Carrie and just maybe, some others will jump OFF the band wagon and start quilting for their own hearts. Hugs...


I have been trying my best not to be a bandwagon jumper-on-er since late last summer, and I find myself less stressed. Quilting is supposed to be a creative outlet and stress reliever for me, and I want it to remain that way. It is wonderful to make a quilt that speaks to me either from the fabric or pattern or both, and not just mindlessly churn out quilts. I want the recipient to fall in love with the quilt too. And you are an artist, even though I may curse you sometimes(all those HST's or flying geese)!


oh how I can relate to this post on so many levels...
yes I am a quilt maker not an artist.
I am inspired by antique quilts....oh yes I have reproduced a couple less than 4 exactly but most of all its the color combo I like or the block...or the setting...or I find a piece of fabric and I go searching for a block to use that fabric in..or I decide I want to make stars
thats it no magic formula whatever hits my fancy.
Jump on the bandwagon? no usually I am late to the party as the expression goes and make the quilt a year later after everyone else or 5 years later!
thanks for a great post I know I will be thinking about this all day now!


You may not consider yourself an artist, but anyone who can look at a folded quilt and create a new pattern in their minds eye in a matter of minutes, no paper, no calculator, is gifted. You my friend have the wonderful gift of creating patterns. I think I've decided that my gift is knowing what I like and what I don't like, but that's enough for me for now.

I'm spreading my quilting wings in 2011, and look forward to following you as you do the same.

Best Wishes, and thanks for the thought provoking post, I mulled it over for 24 hours before leaving my comment, how many blogs make me "think" for 24 hours??


Thoughtful post, as usual. I too, wish that I could make quilts that "I want to make" more often. That this is part of my daily struggle is crazy, is it not? My goal for this year is to actually do it.

Darlene B

Great post! We should all do what we want, what appeals to us, and what makes us joyful! That's what makes our own creations unique and special. ;)

Lisa D.

This is a great topic, and one I've thought a lot about. Last year I told myself I was going to work on quilts that *I* wanted to make rather than jumping on bandwagons. Looking back over what I accomplished last year, I am happy, and plan to continue to work on what calls to me, even if I'm by myself on an empty bandwagon!

Mary Kastner

Great talk Carrie. I love your interpretation of the subject. We need your creativity to inspire us!

Connie Morgan

I think quilts are the ultimate in art form. Taking random (or not so random) fabric selections, cutting them into pieces and sewing them into something beautiful is utterly amazing to me. I love fabrics and often buy them just for the colors; never with a quilt pattern or design in mind. That always comes later...usually inspired from your quilt patterns! Keep up the good work Carrie! You are definately "creative" but the "artist" label fits you as well!

Jo's Country Junction

Wonderful post...and oh so true. I found myself on bandwagons several times last year. I had it in my head to be an accomplished quilter I had to do a Dear Jane quilt or a Nearly Insane quilt. Then I bought the book (of course contemplated all the other "stuff" I am supposed to have to make it-rulers, software, etc) Then I was working on one block and HATED it. Really HATED it. I don't have the patience. I don't think I ever will. I like to chain piece. I like to use scraps. I like to ENJOY sewing. Those six hundred and some flying geese sound appealing to me. I could run them through the sewing machine and listen to a book on tape and not fight. Sure I like a challenge but not torture.

I LOVE your patterns. I LOVE your designs. Your quilts draw me in. You have a beautiful eye for color. Keep true..it's what makes you special.

Thanks for the post as one of my goals for the year was to not jump on bandwagons...I have to admit, I did join Barbara Brackman's Civil War quilts...It's been good though. I am challenging myself with one block of applique this week. I'm learning lots of Civil War tidbits too....


I think I got a little "bandwagon" for the last 18 months or so but your post and another one I saw not long ago really got me thinking. I'm thankful for all the quilt blogs and all the online quilting "events" (e.g., sewalongs, challenges, etc." because through those, I became familiar with so many more designers and schools of quilting thought - my craft is enriched as a result. The biggest takeaway I have as a result of your post (and others like it) are that I need to stop reading blog (after blog, after blog...) and start DOING. I'd sit here pining and wishing I had finished projects to show, but I'd be so darn busy "keeping up" my following on all the blogs that I never actually had time to sew. Someone posted last Friday to the effect "the blogs will still be here on Monday...take the weekend off". It prompted me to walk away from the computer and walk into my sewing space and wouldn't you know, I almost have something to show for all my newfound free time! Thanks, Carrie, for being real and helping us find ways to realize our inner artist!

Dorothy Ramage

I haven't quilted for a lifetime,so I've spent the years learning different techniques and I now know what I like and dislike. I feel I still need a pattern that appeals but now there are always changes, to have the picture of the quilt mine. I'm sure many feel as you do.


Interesting post...thank you!
I've thought about this a lot over the last year or so and I just decided to relax and do what feels "right" to me. Puts the fun back in what I love to do, which is play with fabric....lol


This was such a wonderful post--I came back to read it 3 times before leaving this comment. Everything you've said is so true...and I think we would all be a lot happier as quilters by listening to our own artistic voice. Funny, because I had a conversation about quilting with my 15-year old son. He was honestly trying to figure out why I love quilting so much. In the end he said, "You're and artist. That's why you quilt." And I had to agree...why else would anyone cut up fabric to sew it back together if not for the need to "create!" Thanks for this wonderful reminder to stay true to ourselves!


I love this post and it seems that others do too. I have only recently entered the blogging world and created a blog of my own, and I am already struggling with what, and how much quilting I am doing because I want to and how much and which projects I'm doing because I "should". The bandwagon I guess. Thanks for tackling the topic and making me feel like I'm not the only one struggling with this issue.

Paula Peck

I hear you, Carrie. I don't think of myself as an artist. I think of myself as a seamstress, but my husband sees me as a textile artist.

Interestingly, I love 9" blocks... and tend to think 12" blocks are just exploded "real" ones... meaning 9"!
I like small pieces!

However, my local quilt store does a "block of the month" program every year, which is created by the owner. She uses lots of small pieces, but usually ends up with a 9" block. This year, the blocks are going to be 6".... and I'm thinking... that won't even make a useful quilt!

But she needs to follow her muse!!!! If her muse says 6"... so be it! For instance, one of my favorite quilts I've made is True Blue. That is a one block quilt, seems like it was a 7" block... and it's absolutely perfect in every way!


Carrie this is the most amazing post...thank you! You have really made me think...thank you, thank you!

Ramona Cheter

Yummy - I want to pull out all my reds and just throw them into something - SFNK (Single Female No Kids - comes to mind!) Your "antique quilt" is mostly stripes and almost reminds me of antique rayon ribbons. But it does evoke that restful feeling. Thanks for sharing your artistic talents with us!


You are right, Carrie. It is hard to balance between what we want to create and what we think that others will like. I have finally come to the conclusion that I make quilts that I like and want to make and it shows. Then, people will want to make them too. If you love what you do, it shows. So, this is what I say to you: Do it how you want to because you will enjoy it more and people will want to make it.


Great post. I love creating for my soul.

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