Inspired Quilting: Quilt Design Tips from Nancy Purvis

Close up of the modern quilt by Nancy Purvis called Brooklyn

Brooklyn Quilt by Nancy Purvis is inspired by the marble floors you see in some older apartments.

As we kick off this New Year, it’s a good time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished in the past year and what we are striving toward in the upcoming one. Some of us will make resolutions and others will set goals for our lives and our artwork.

This year I look forward to exploring new-to-me quilt blocks, experimenting with more complex shapes, and making a dent in my growing fabric stash. In addition to making more quilts this year, I’d like to dive deeper into designing quilts.

Ever the researcher, I’ve been reading a lot about how various artists use vision boards and photographs to collect inspiration for their quilt designs. While reading through Quilting from Every Angle, I learned how Nancy Purvis develops her vivid designs.

I can’t resist sharing her tips for planning and designing quilts because they resonated with how I attempt to approach my quilting projects.

Just like an archaeological discovery, the lines in Fossil quilt are only partially unearthed and visible.

Here’s her advice for designing and making quilts:

When designing and planning a quilt, don’t be afraid of these three things: your mistakes, your fabric, and other people’s opinions.

Mistakes are inevitable, even for the best of quilters. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. My best learning has come through mistakes, and it has made me a better designer and quiltmaker. Sometimes a mistake can lead to a new design, so embrace it.

Our beloved fabrics. Many people just can’t bear cutting into their most precious fabric. If you’re one of these people, save your favorite fabrics for designs you feel confident about. When trying out a new block design, I always reach into my scrap bin. After making the practice block, I will then use my good stuff. But please don’t let your fabric sit for years untouched. If you’re afraid to try something new, you are only limiting your design potential. Cut up that fabric and start sewing!

Trying new things can be scary. And what can be even harder is sharing your new designs with other people. People will either love them or dislike them and if you’re like me, you want people to love them. Don’t be afraid of what others might think, though. By allowing others to judge your progress, you can set yourself up for failure or become paralyzed, which can ultimately affect your design potential. Your potential will only go as far as you take it, so try not to let others weigh you down.

We are only a few days into the New Year and I can’t wait to see what’s in store! If you too are looking to expand your technique and develop your own unique quilt designs, order a copy of Quilting from Every Angle. And if you want to start enjoying Nancy’s unique quilt designs and easy-to-follow instructions right away, download a copy of the Quilting from Every Angle eBook.

Happy quilting and happy New Year!

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