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A Story of finding inspiration for Quilt Pattern Design.

Featured Writer of June: Rachelle Craig


If you would like to see more of my featured writers, sign up for my monthly Newsletter here!


Ahhhh… the sometimes elusive “spark of inspiration” us quilters seek daily. Some of you are designers, looking for that fun new geometric pattern to set your mind twirling and whirling with pattern designs. Some of you are quilters, looking for that perfect colorway or palette to use for your next beautiful quilt.

This article describes the journey of my typical quilt pattern design experience, from the sparks of inspiration to the final quilt.

My husband works his family’s 170-ish-year-old homestead farm, to which we live next door. So, if you drive by our house, nine times out of ten, there will be a tractor or other farm implement in our driveway, or maybe even a combine parked in our front yard (insert eye roll emoji here).

The Deere in the Driveway

Now, I have seen these extremely helpful tractors a thousand times and have just walked right by them until one day when I took note of the interesting design on the tractor hoods. I took a pic of each one and went about my day.

The Tattered Family Quilt

A few weeks later, I am refolding my stack of quilts and come across the one my maternal grandmother made from my grandpa’s old dress shirts after he passed. Most of the shirt’s fabrics are plaid or striped. I took a photo of the quilt and went about my day.

The Beautiful Bundle

A couple weeks later, I find this gorgeous pink and purple half yard fabric bundle for sale online and I buy it immediately, without having a quilt in mind for it. Then, my stomach sinks a bit, remembering my goal to minimize my fabric purchases this year. So, off to the quilt design program I go!!

I build a basic strip quilt, grouping the purples, grouping the pinks, and add an off-white background. I took a screenshot, printed it out, hung it on my inspiration board, and went about my day.

A couple days later, the fabric bundle arrives, and it is even prettier in person! I arrange the cuts of fabric into a beautiful ombre layout and head back into the quilt design program. I remember the design on the tractor and plaid shirts. I put some vertical strips in to make it plaid-ish, similar to the shirts in the tattered quilt. Rotate the blocks in every other row, make the vertical lines match up…and TA-DAAAA! A quilt pattern was born!

The Design, Name, and Dedication

Now to name this beauty! Hmmm… nothing jumps out at me right away. This may take a while. I think of the tractor and the homestead and the history behind it. All the many hands that have worked and labored on that land. I think of the quilt and my maternal grandparents and their lives. The quilts they made together for their loved ones throughout the years. I think of the links running from the past to the present, from one generation to the next. The vertical lines in the quilt are like the continuation of the generations, but each row/generation shifting in their own way from the previous one.

After a few days of pondering, I named the pattern “Matrikin”; it means “one related on the mother’s side” to honor my maternal ancestors. I have dedicated this quilt to them to honor their memory.

Inspiration; In Conclusion

When I finished the quilt top, I took it to the barn on the homestead and with my husband at my side, we hung it up and took photos in the cold and thought of the hands that built that barn. Would they like this quilt? I hope so.

In conclusion, I have learned oftentimes inspiration is not a big spark. It is a series of tiny little sparks you pick up throughout your daily life and accumulate in your phone pictures. Next time you are in search of a design, try taking the time to look at the little things around you. You never know what you will find until you try.


Coffee Chat with Rachelle Craig

Coffee Chats with Quilters is a new interview series about the quilters behind the Quilts and Quilt Designs! In this episode I interview Rachelle Craig! We talk about Strip piecing, inspiration for quilt patterns, and we get a 360 tour of her sewing studio!

If you'd like to do a Coffee Chat with me, Tori! Sign up, here!


If you would like to see more of my featured writers, sign up for my monthly Newsletter here!

You can follow Rachelle's quilty adventures on her blog, or on Instagram @rachelle_handmade.

You can find her Podcast Rising Quilt Stars here:


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