Welcome to a weekly series of guest blog posts written by Very Berry Artist Trading Card swappers for Very Berry Artist Trading Card swappers. First up is Susan (an ATC swap newbie, but an experienced swapper, as you will gather) who has written a fabulous introduction to how to find (and organize!) your inspiration. Here she is to introduce herself..
Hi, I’m Susan and have been sewing/quilting since 2009. My mom always had some sort of needlecraft in her hands growing up and I dabbled in crosstitch, embroidery, and knitting so it was just a matter of time until I got my hands on a sewing machine and now, there’s no looking back.
By now we all have our ATC Swap partner assignments and the ideas are swimming around in our heads or maybe we’re drawing a blank? Ack – that’s the worst! How do you figure out what to make with the awesome theme of Winter Comforts? Everyone wants to make something that your partner will love but you also want to stay true to yourself.
When I am starting a project I often follow this path – STORM, SNOOP, SKETCH, STASH, then STITCH.
STORM or BRAINSTORM, to be more specific, as a way to generate ideas or wrangle the ideas already overwhelming your brain. For me, the best way to make any sense and organize my thoughts is to put them down on paper (or in the computer – whatever your preference). My goal isn’t to edit at this point. I just want to get the ideas out of my head. Right now, every idea is a viable idea. I’ll spend 5 or 10 minutes jotting down everything that comes to mind. Remember no editing!
What comes to mind when I think of Winter Comforts? I did this exercise twice on a couple different ways. Once on paper:
and another right here:
Winter Comforts: Fireplace, then cocoa comes to mind, marshmallows, socks, laundry, sweater, scarf, mittens, holding hands, kissing, romance, date night, hubba hubba, cuddle, quilts, lots of quilts, crinkle, noses, pets noses, eskimo kisses, snow, sledding, skiing, hot toddies, Christmas tree, ornaments, stockings, mantle, gifts, ribbon, red, gold, green, wreaths, holidays, family, cuddles, cookies, cocoa, soup, baking, roasting, warmth, orange, red, gold, sunset, sky, snow, tree, leaves, crunchy leaves, pinecones, pine needles, evergreen, sunrise, shimmer, frosty, icicle, Christmas lights, comfort, family, friends, food, fireplace, quilts, fabric, batting, fluffy, soft, crinkly, grandma, reindeer, Santa, Rudolf, red nose, cold nose, scarf, hat, mittens, time’s up!
Each time I spent about 5-10 minutes. I kept jotting things down until the ideas seem to repeat a lot or slow way down like when you’re popping popcorn in the microwave. Then I’ll look over the words/ideas on the paper and see what I am drawn to.
Next, I channel my inner detective and SNOOP my partner’s Facebook page and Instagram accounts. I might be extra sneaky and check to see if she has a Pinterest or Flickr account. I’ll see where they live, look at their profile info – favorite movies, music, books? I’ll look at the things they’ve made for themselves and for other people. Are they drawn to a particular color palette? Maybe they post a lot of pics of their pet(s)? Are they a foodie? Do they travel or are they a homebody? Are they married, have children? Just try to gather as much information on their likes and dislikes as possible.For example, my imaginary partner may live in a place that snows with her husband and two young boys. She loves to read the classics, has a horse named Dewdrop, a cat named Stitch, visits pubs and snaps photos of her favorite beer. When she creates for herself she uses deep saturated colors or very pale colors. She’s kind of all over the place when she creates for other probably because she’s working with their color preferences.
She’s signed up for a Rainbow Mini Quilt Swap and Star Wars Stitch Swap and also knits. She works at a hospital but I can’t tell in what capacity. She’s listening to Adele and watches The Voice. She liked the new Star Wars Movie Trailer (I’m going to go out on a limb and say my imaginary partner likes Star Wars) and posted a Ryan Gosling meme.
Next I’ll review my ideas and match it with my partner inspiration. Does my partner like literal / realistic designs or more abstract? What fits with my aesthetic? More traditional or modern? Are they cheeky and like a little humor? What would I like to make that also will make my partner smile? I then SKETCH a handful of ideas to see if I can execute it in the ATC size which is fairly small (2.5″x3.5″). I tell myself KISS – Keep It Simple Susan. I tend to overdesign but I am a work in progress…
I’ll then go to my STASH to see what I have on hand to execute my ideas and if need be, place an order for the ideal supplies or visit my local shop to stock up! Now it’s time to STITCH and make your detective work come to life!
Thanks so much to Susan for a great introduction to this series! Hope you enjoyed reading. How are you all getting along ATC swappers? Started yet or leaving it until after Christmas?