Every Wednesday morning I have an early morning run with a group of friends. It's 8 miles through Northwest Austin that thankfully begins at 5:30 in the morning. And, I say thankfully because there are hills involved and the best way to tackle hills is to not be able to see them. Consider that running tip #1.
Anyway, we've had a recent addition to our little group, a gal I know from my larger running group, but have never really gotten a chance to talk with one on one.
As we're running up one of the hills, she asks me what I do.
That is running tip #2: Talking makes the running easier by keeping your mind on things other than hills and humidity.
After my brief description of my work, she asks me a question that (figuratively, we're running here) stops me in my tracks. " How do you come up with your ideas?" she asks.
I shouldn't have been, but I was struck with how complicated the answer to that question is.
Running tip #3: Though chit-chat is great, deep, thoughtful conversations make running harder. Keep the chatter light.
I couldn't give a great answer as I trudged up the hill, but I've been thinking a lot about her question since.
Often the ideas come partly out of necessity and partly from design questions I've carried around, but usually some image will spark me to start playing with fabric.
That's been particularly apparent in thinking about my current WIP.
The necessity aspect of this quilt design in progress was this:
I love making stuff, but this is a business and having a design that can be crafted out of a pre-cut bundle of my new fabric is a good idea. Also, I really like working with pre-cut bundles. I feel like the parameters inherent with having a set group of fabrics you're working with helps the design process. So, from the get-go I knew my design would utilize these fabrics.
And then I saw this:
That background pink just floored and surprised me. I'm not a pink person...ever, but that color just grabbed me and demanded I pay attention.
Then I remembered I had about 1.5 yards of Kona's Color of the Year, Flamingo and that, in the deep recesses of my mind there were some vague, amoeba-like thoughts about re-interpreting a design I had originally created for my book, Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration.
All that, plus a wee bit of sketching and talking to myself and I was ready to start cutting and sewing.
If I think back, especially to my designs of the past few years, all those ingredients, need, some underlying question, and the spur of an image, are present.
Which brings me to running tip #4: Know what works for you. I prefer early morning, no music, and the company of friends. I know I need those elements for a successful run. Your needs may be different. It's all about knowing your process.