Translation Basics


Translating Inspiration in Quilting


Lesson Info

Translation Basics

So now we're going to get into how do you actually do this right? I've given you a number of examples I've been inspired by so many different things you know, from a new fabric line that's out there a store window for the color combination in it a necklace, a feeling like all those things are there I'm just giving you a few examples that air here but now I want you guys to actually go ahead and do it yourselves what are we going to do here? What are you going to translate here? But this is how it often feels when you're going to do it. I saw this t shirt in the window of a mountain store and it was just so silly you probably you can see the fishing line is actually attached to the sound I'm sure it's photoshopped but it's just that's how it feels sometimes right even when we get into quilting is what am I doing like this is just crazy, but thankfully we don't have wild animals in our sewing rooms we just get to go through and it's just fabric right it's just fabric it can't bite back i...

t can't hurt you on diff it doesn't work don't use it it's just fabric s o go for it and do it but this is one of the things that I often get, but I can't draw right? And so I'm a big proponent of the sketchbook and one of the reasons I believe in the sketchbook is because if you can't translate the idea or the image that you see in tow lines, you can't turn it into something with fabric, right? If you can't draw, then you can't envision how it would go into that if you're just inspired by a fabric, then you need to find the pattern and but if you do something that you see that's out there that you love and that you really really want toe turn into a quilt if you can't draw it, you'll never be able to make it into the quilt, right? Yes question um so going back to your son's drying yes and you give my daughters I'm just like your daughter I'm wondering okay, so you translated to a quilt do you cut all the pieces or you just you start? We're going to be like so many things together I mean, I could see you have like kind of like crosses in the middle of some of them are they are some of them the squares go back, we're squares I could see your score all the squares off to whatever the eyes that is I'm not sure why that is the words I think ten inch squares so inside of the times square are some of those pieces the same or just randomly so these, you know, together and then they could screw him off to ten inches. So it's a great question. What I did was I had pulled all the fabric and then I went, oh, well, this is kind of a long piece and I sliced it and then I took another piece and what that contrast with it and I sliced a thinner and I inserted it ok soda together and I just did that a whole bunch of times and then some of them I was like let's hack it in the other direction, right? So some of the blocks or like that that I was talking about and then other times I had tio in another direction this way and this is improvisation rain on dh that's because I was just going with it I was embracing her scribbles with it sometimes and much more structured and that's exactly what we want to talk about shortly is what's the language that you're translating this into on dso sometimes I hacked it off and then I went ok, well, I guess this actually have to get into a quilt somehow so I should square them out and see where we go so I think what I did is I measured a whole bunch of them to see what was the most consistent size, okay there and went with that I can't honestly remember so I'm seven I want to see these air it like ten or nine nine and a half somewhere in there like maybe not in half to finish at nine but I'm not entirely sure so off the top of my head, but it was just like, oh, they're most consistently this shape and then there would be ones that we're quite big enough so they got keystone on the end, right? So with improvisation I will be teaching another improvisational class here with creative lives, so if you're really interested in the improv, don't hesitate to check out that class as well. So that's what I did but that was that moment, right? And sometimes it's much more controlled like that two plus two equals four right? That was precision piecing of four patches I have no other questions your sewing machine quote because I had a question about that one so we're back to that, right? Okay, so you kind of improv that as well correct? I mean, I see that you you made it so you could do rose right certain sites blocks some of the inventions of different sizes and other ones are they all different or you know you have a pattern coming out with that, but absolutely still too for me again because my first language when it comes to quoting is improvisation right? That that's me that's my first language but not everybody thinks that way so I did improv thes in that regard and so that's why they're all different and when I made the first couple of blocks I had initially these end up at ten and a half inches I'd initially thought that they would be fifteen and a half inches I rely like a fifteen and a half inch block but there was so much background like I made a few at that put him up on my design wall and that's where I had squared him off then I went no that's too big there's there's far too much background there and so I played with it until I got to that I just kept coming at smaller and smaller and smaller until I went that's the size right but the blocks themselves air improv for the pattern. However, I have written a precision pieced version right so that if you're not an improv person, you're not comfortable with that here's how to cut your pieces toe what size and how to put it together so you have both options in the pattern thanks and I mean this is so perfect because we're always using or selling machines right? Eso it's just it's a great quilt tohave you know and to give away when you have to give a quilt to coulter just like the hardest thing in the world to dio you feel so much pressure when you do it but that will be a great one for that. So any was that it okay no, no, absolutely. And so there was that precision of the two plus two equals for right okay, so we were on but I can't draw so yeah neither can I at all right? Like I did not go to art school I don't think I took art beyond like grade fixed um or anything but that's ok, so I should do my kid's drawings in my sketchbook let me show you some of mine there's a lot of writing in this particular sketchbook but sometimes you get stuff right that's the extent of my drawing for the students here in class that you can see ray is just quick scribbles with lines and then you have kids more again, right? Sometimes I get fancy because I use colors and sometimes I have ones that are very, very detailed. It just depends on what I was trying to capture at the time, right was I ended. I have time to sit down and draw it out and plan it out in there that the sewing machine quilt that's what I did is I did the quick sketch just to capture it and then it was like, ok, how would this actually go together and I worked that out in it I don't like to work on the scraps of paper it will always be in my sketch book for that reason I also keep pencil crowns and markers I usually have ah like a pencil like a pouch with pencil crowns or markers in my purse with my sketchbook one for the kids because then they have that to do it but then I'm like sometimes it's the color that you want, right or color combination gets you and you just even if you're just doing lines on the page of the color combination I'm you have to have that they're so for me it's a black pen and colors I need to have those in their sharpies air wonderful, but they bleed through pages s so you know, I everyone will be like, oh, look at all the colors of sharpies that you can get now excuse me, I can't do those because they bleed through and I have children and they're not washable so it's sharpies air wonderful if you have a studio where they don't come in, but if you have children at all in your life, please don't use sharpies and look at my wonderful mid century modern desk as a good example of that because she got so into coloring and it bled through and now I have little red and black dog it's all over the top of my beautiful beautiful desk that will come out but it also takes to finish off so I'm leaving them on for now in there as well, so if you feel like you can't draw, don't worry about it okay don't feel this pressure because it's not a boat you're not getting graded on this, you're not you don't have to show it to anybody else and perfection is not the goal okay at all this is for you and you alone if you're going to be brave and show your chicken scratch and your mess of sketches to the whole world, great, but you don't have to and so remember that this is about you and remembering what you were inspired by and what was the moment that you wanted to cap? No one has to see it, ok, so don't feel this pressure, right? I know a lot of us, I'm a perfectionist at times a lot of us feel that pressure to just have it, you know there and to have it the first time, it doesn't have to be right the first time either, right? You can if you're trying to work it out like that sewing machine, I went through a couple of it orations before I got to ok, this is how it's gonna work right? And you can see that in the sketchbook following it through and kelly went okay, this is the one that I feel like that's going to work because remember what I said if you can't draw it, you can't sew it right and so that's what happened was I couldn't get the drawing right and and the way the puzzle was going to go together and once I got that then I could go to sewing it and then I still needed to do summit orations once I went sewing, but at least I could get the process down and then had to make it right so so many of us is quilters want to go from the idea to our butt in the seat or from the fabric to our button in the seat but there's all the steps that we have to take and they don't have to take long sometimes it's instant and you go I want that I just want to make four patch I know how to cut it, you know? But you still have to cut you still have to you know if you're pre washer and you haven't washed that fabric, you still have to do it. What if you don't have the right colors? You gotta go shopping, right? You gotta cut it you got to get your machine note if it's not you don't have a dedicated space like there's still all of those steps that have toe happen along the way, so think of your inspiration as just one more translating your inspiration as just one more way to do that. Okay, so this is where I'm going to ask for some participation among you here in the class today, I'm going to show you two images, and I want you to talk to me about what you see in them, how you might translate them and everything, so if you don't volunteer, I'm going to ask you first. So this is the first one I know, and I think every quilter has looked at the floor at some point in their life and what all that would be a really cool quell, whether it's the portland airport carpet tio in this case, this is the tile floor at the base of the calgary tower. So, like on the main level before you go up the elevators and I used to walk by it all the time, and then one day I actually went, oh, well, look at that, right? So I'm going to ask nikki here in the class, what do you does this image grab you? And if so, what grabs you about it? We asked the image, grabs me, and then my mind immediately starts figuring out how many have scored triangles I need to do that exactly and michelle you're not in your head well that was the first thing I did was oh housework triangles one two three four and then I saw the little swirlies the swirlies in the grip of greenish blue and thought oh that would be well up here that would be a great way to quilt it so I understand and I didn't even notice those so that's kind of interesting too tracy I'm just wondering it's interesting to put this on the floor because many people just walk over and don't even see it and you did for many years or for a long time and every time he saw it yeah it does grab me I would just not even know where to start I wouldn't be sitting in that seat any time soon that's for sure yeah thank gary for me this one is just very literally a quilt I mean I could like tracy I could just after a bit of working it out it looks like literally acquits square high and that's where I went is a this wasn't a quote block this was a whole plants to me so I immediately was like ok one two three four okay so harmony like I started doing that like how big would this be? So my first wet thought was because I personally don't work on the small scale it's very hard for me to make a quilt like baby quotes are heard for me, even because it's small and I want to make something at least sixty inches square all the time so I immediately counted and someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it was fourteen across and it's a square design. So for a square lover were quote, lover like me, it was like a, um that's there, so I immediately did that was like, ok, so then okay, five inches is good because that gives me a nice big quilt and and so I started thinking that way I don't love the colors that air here at all and then the other thing I think of is could I save myself some time? I am what I have called always in lazy quilter, so I'm always looking for shortcuts. What can I do that makes my life easier along the way? But I've had students correct mean issue no, no, you're inefficient quilter, right? So there's there's two ways that I think I would go with this the lazy quilter in me would make this one fabric right. The borders would be one fabric wherever I can make a big chunk that's one fabric instead of covered, cutting it into squares, but I also tend to be the kind of person that if I need a red I used ten reds right if I need a background, I'm using like ten different fabrics to make that background right? So I'm part of me is like, oh, well, this could be ten different grays, and so then I would cut up those individual squares, right? So this is where we can all take this same image and build a different quilt, right and entirely it's kind of like that game of telephone that kid's play right where the first person says, like the elephants wearing pink pajamas and it goes around the room and then by the time it comes out it's like there are pink pajamas in the freezer, right? Like and see it doesn't make any sense anymore, so you can start with this same image and every single one of us could pick something different out of it. You may not you can take this image and you're finished quote may not even look like it, right? There's a part of me that also thinks, how could I improvise? Thiss right, what would the steps I would be if I didn't want it to be so precision in there? And do I like that square that's a different color there, or don't I you know, if I was going to settle, okay, so if you look let's, ignore this strip and this square and only look at that square doesn't look familiar to something you've already seen today the one that was based on the scribbles of my daughter right? So you if you wanted to improvise it, you could do it that way right and then make it bigger and square it so that it's on the point and then add this little bit to it if you still like this where maybe you applicator onto maybe doesn't have to be a square maybe it's a circle right? And then you put a border around it but this goes beyond so did you have to add the border on first before you did it right so there's so many different ways to take that quilt here take this tile floor into a quote grave that tile pattern in the first place that they find a sequel and they made the towel pattern after absolutely yeah, you know I was in um a big box store that shall remain nameless that is going out of business in canada the other day and again took a picture on my phone because I was, you know, my daughter's like mama and I want my wrapping paper we're going a birthday party was like, but we but this pillow right and it was very quilt like very, very quote like I love the combinations of colors they did and I was like, oh, and that could be a quote but it very easily could have already been a quilt that that the designer that they licensed fabric from had been inspired by that right? So that's what inspiration is like you may get you see it in song writing right and music all of the time right? You may have heard us I know there's been a very popular bit of news with a very popular song recently on dh the artist self admitted he's like I didn't steal it but clearly I've heard the song before and the melody was in my head right? But it wasn't a conscious thing and that's what happens with inspiration right as quilters if we know that inspiration is really important to document it right whether that's in your sketch book on the label if you share things publicly to say it let's say you were inspired by one of my quotes right? And you posted it online but you didn't say where your inspiration came from. Um if I find out I'll be hurt right? If another person finds out we'll go hey did you know that looks a lot like cheryl's quilt and then somebody else may go oh my god, you stole that right? People have different reactions to these things, but but acknowledging your inspiration is really important that's why when we talked about it being conscious and intentional when you're capturing the inspiration say what it wass where were you you know if it's another quilt that inspired you like let's say you're in the fabric store and you see a quilt and they don't have the pattern right so you can't buy the pattern that you want to do it so you take a picture you go home and you figure it out for yourself well you've still been inspired by that original pattern right and so we need to give credit where credit is due especially if you live in the online world right if you don't you're just giving it to your sister when she has a baby you know put it on the label and everyone will probably be fine but if you're going to live in the online world you need to acknowledge where that inspiration comes from so if I were to make a quote from this I would say on the label from the floor at the base of the calgary tower you know and I might even put a picture of this on the label writes I tend to print my labels on fabric sheets and so I might even put a picture of the original thing re label is is a it captures the story of the quote that's not just you know cheryl are kison february twenty fifteen right I like to put a little bit more because that quilt well hopefully outlive me and so I want other people to know what was the story behind it okay so here's another one let's play with any idea what that is short of paper that's right yeah that's the paper shredder that lives in my laundry room and I was taking laundry out of the thing and I was like oh well look at that I really like that so let's go through this exercise again and then start on this side of the room this time karen doesn't grab you and if so how would you think about it as a quilt? Excuse me somewhat interesting I think it be hard is a quilt I'm thinking of the ones where people cut fabric and then they put the mesh on top and so over it oh, so you would get that texture yeah with it oh that's really interesting maybe the producers I mean that literally grabs me with the colors I mean, you know that the mid green with the yellow and the way it is it's like a baby quail I suppose. Okay, nicky I like the idea in a low volume but then I like the sash ing with the really black dark like that contrast and that yellow is kind of fun. Yeah, michelle and I picked out the I can see parts of the words so the low volume with like little words black and white and little eighty baby postage size squares yeah never tried to want I've never wanted to make something like that and say that those air all other than the textural thing which I think is really cool idea, the the one that got me was instead of postage stamp. I saw these all little strips, right? And so I really like that idea. And again, because my language is always going to be improv. I was I was immediately thinking of, you know, cutting up a whole bunch of white fabric with some text in it as well. I went that route as well and improvising it all together, and I saw bands, right? Eso you know, something with a lot of pain can in something with a lot of white, this little bit of sort of you call it mincy? I would yeah, I guess I've been manti and yellow, and that was what grabbed me in the first place was I liked that you could see these distinct lines, right? Clearly we shredded a whole bunch of yellow stuff at once, it's right and here's all the bills and and things like that. So I liked that there was thes there were these distinctions in there. And nikki, you mentioned the black right, which initially I wouldn't have thought of, too, but then I also thought that could be really, really need, right, we could go with that ticker tape ideas. So instead of, you know, cutting out little strips, because this gets to that texture, a cz well, you could take her tape, but with the light prints on a black background, which is not something you generally see for ticker tape thing, because that was part of the inspiration was that this popped out from behind the black or, you know, on body, I guess, it's behind the black. But I liked that contrast of this color there, and then that obviously this is tipped on its side, the ham image as well. And that was just mostly to get it on, the on the slide there. But, you know, so there's different ways, right? We all came up with different ideas just from that same image, right? So there's a whole bunch of different things that we can do.

Class Description

Inspiration for quilt patterns is everywhere, but converting those ideas into quilts can be intimidating. In Translating Inspiration in Quilting, you’ll learn how to take an image, a floor, a pattern, or a stack of fabric and turn it into a beautiful quilt.

In this class, Cheryl Arkison will teach you how to take something that inspires you – a shape, color or line – and turn it into workable quilting elements. You'll learn about both literal translations (copying shape, color, line) and how to use influences of what you love from an image to enhance your quilts. Cheryl will teach you how to effectively capture ideas so you can refer to them in the future and she’ll show you some sketchbook basics for making notes by hand.

This class will give you the tools to bring your imaginative ideas to fruition and equip you to make truly inspired quilts.