Don’t be a Lemming

As I watch what quilters post on their blogs and what they share in (my) quilt guild, I'm noticing more and more that we are copy cats (or lemmings)!    Think about it… Dear Jane, Dear Hannah, Beyond the Cherry Tree, Winding Ways, Stack n' Whack, big block modern quilts, braids, jelly pops, kit quilts, etc.  We play follow the leader, and make quilts that our friends or quilting celebrities have made in either THEIR colors or (gasp) our own.  These can all be very beautiful and wonderfully constructed, but there are SO many more patterns out there that we can pick from!

I don't know about you, but my bookshelf has dozens (OK, hundreds) of quilt books with thousands and thousands of patterns.  Do you have an encyclopedia of quilt patterns?  I think I have twenty!  
So here's my challenge to you – even if it's just a small quilt…

Dig through your quilt patterns and encyclopedias and find a pattern that you haven't seen in anybody's quilt, draft it, and sew it!  Search for that lonely pattern that is just begging to be seen!  It wants your attention and love!  Gosh, maybe we'll start a NEW trend!
Go ahead – be UNIQUE!

10 thoughts on “Don’t be a Lemming

  1. Five years quilting and no encyclopedia quilt book,many spanish magazine,and more or less six book.Love, BOM,QAL,SAL to learn new way to sew a block and the best is see quilts and how quilters play with their fabrics,just fabulous.

    This month I`m out of my sewing room but when I get back I hope to choose one pattern and sew it so like Tara “Love this post”.


  2. I agree that so many make the same quilts but we all have to keep in mind that not everyone can come up with the ideas for doing a very individual quilt. I too make patterns that others have made before me, most of the time I change the colors up some but not always – sometimes I just love it the way I saw it and want it to be close to that way also. Sometimes I will change a border to make it mine or if it is an applique quilt I will change flowers or leaves in the block. A lot of times I think new quilters do not realize it is ok to change a block and make it there own.


  3. And this is where we 'art quilters' come in. I love the traditional quilts and admire the work put in them. I wouldn't be where I am today with my art quilting and designing if not for the wonderful instruction and inspiration from my 'traditional' quilting friends. It is fun to look at old patterns and even put a new twist on them! Great post and I hope it encourages folks to try something new!


  4. Thanks for commenting on this! You're right, often new quilters “do not realize it is ok to change a block and make it their own.” Also, often seasoned quilters don't realize that, either, and that is my point. So many people have to follow what others do, that as a world-wide quilting community we are losing hundreds/thousands of traditional patterns designed by our ancestors. My point is not to condemn quilters seem to copy what all their friends do, but to encourage quilters to start stretching themselves.

    I'm just hoping that blog post starts people thinking and ignites conversation and the willingness to TRY new things, even traditional patterns!


  5. Hear Hear! Never ever did a pattern, only a class quilt for techniques. I do not even own pattern books, because I know I won't make them. Why chew on somebody else's bubble gum? Patterns are IMHO for many people the comfort zone. And the magic happens elsewhere!


  6. Love your post! Just because you like making traditional quilts, it doesn't mean that they have to look like they came out of a factory. Even if you use a pattern everyone else is using, you can do things with it to make it totally yours. I am very poor at following patterns. They generally just confuse me. Better to do my own thing. At least if I fail in my attempts, I can understand why!


  7. Love your idea! I´m right now participating in a challenge called “Quiltmagazine of the month”. You look through your old magazines and every month you choose a pattern and sew it. Then you show it on your blog. I´ve never realized I had so many nice quiltpatterns. Some months it´s hard to decide which to sew!!
    Gun, Sweden


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