As part of my 2019/20 business plan, I am working on writing quilting patterns so you can create some of your own magical family heirlooms. I have been working on the Woven Trellis Table Linens for several months at this point; not continuously, but still it takes quite a while to write your first pattern. Firstly, I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. Having only sewn from a few patterns, I don’t really even have much experience using them. Typically, I just create as I go and the vast majority of the things I make are one-offs I can never fully reproduce. Learning to slow down and write down what I am doing and how I am doing it has been both contemplative and frustrating. However, I like a challenge and I see this new path as a pattern writer as both a way for me to grow in my creativity, as well as a way to continue to share my creativity with others.
The idea for the Woven Trellis Table Runner was developed from a client request. The client had a (totally relatable) Liberty of London fabric crush she wanted the ability to display prominently in her home without having to purchase a large amount of this very expensive fabric. The request was for a unique table runner that would showcase the fabric in a prominent way, yet not be too busy of a design. After trolling Pinterest for a few inspiration ideas, I created and submitted a design. The client loved the way in which the pattern was showcased prominently in the center of the runner, as well as along the edges, allowing the fabric to be seen and featured in many situations.
After using the draft runner to plot the concept, I needed to do a bit of tweaking (aka quilt math) to the blocks to get them to correctly hit the client’s desired measurements for the final runner. Knowing I was using a highly prized fabric which had traveled from London to my design studio, I was happy to make several test runners to ensuring the pattern came out just right. Three test runs later I finally cut into the Liberty print and began the final product, taking notes and revising them for a written pattern all the while.
Upon completing the client’s custom project, I began writing the actual pattern from notes taken during each iteration of the runner. I reviewed and gathered a few patterns from my collection to get ideas on what to include and how to organize my pattern. To create all of the line drawings I taught myself (using YouTube videos) how to use the drawing program Inkscape and set about making explanatory figure after explanatory figure to go along with all of the pattern steps. For a few weeks I worked a couple hours a day writing and tweaking steps and figure drawings. Finally, I felt the pattern was ready for testing! I reached out to local quilt shop owner and fellow quilter Kaitlin Schreiber to read through and test the runner pattern. She offered a few great suggestions and I tweaked the pattern accordingly.
Then, after all of that I let the pattern sit. Call it a moment of cold feet or lack of confidence, but I just couldn’t bring myself to release the pattern I had spent more than a month working on. Something felt off and I knew I needed more time to think about what needed to change. So, basically, I took the summer off from pattern writing. I tucked the notes away and didn’t look at the files on my computer. Sometimes you just need to walk away so you can come back fresh to an idea and reevaluate what could be done to make it better.
When school came back in session in the fall and I got my regular studio time back I vowed to reconnect with a long list of unfinished projects, one of which was the woven Trellis Runner Pattern. So I set about making it again. And what I realized it was missing was a few other variations. When I think of purchasing a pattern myself, I want something I think I can use again and again, manipulating it anew each time and ending up with a different result. I also value being able to incorporate scraps into projects. Therefore, I knew my pattern needed a few other options and coordinates to really extend it’s value. I set about creating three other block variations and two additional lengths so anyone who bought the pattern would have tons of options of how to use it! The tag line of the pattern became “four variations, limitless creativity!” And that is truly what I want people to get when they purchase my patterns. Yes, I am giving you directions, but you really control the outcome through your own creative choices. The directions will guide you, but there will be so much room for interpretation and incorporation of your own artistic voice. Each time you make the pattern there will be new ways to tweak it so you are never truly making the same thing twice. Like me, you can make your own creative expression in cloth.
Kaitlin is back at pattern testing for me now. She has a few additional blocks and views to review and give notes about. I am eagerly awaiting what she has to say. The pattern feels ready now, a better representation of what I want my pattern business to be about. Hopefully it will release soon because I have already been busy writing a few others! I can’t wait to release the pattern to you soon and see what you make! Purchase a handmade Woven Trellis Table Runner here or the Woven Trellis Table Runner Pattern here and make your own version!
Have an inspired week, Janice
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(©2019, Janice Bailor // laruedefleurs.com)