Do Hot Summers Equal Creativity?

Maybe they did for me. My mom would turn the swamp cooler on before sunrise on our ninety degree summer days. She’d draw all of the curtains closed and, when I’d wake up, she’d declare, “It’s gonna be 90+ degrees today, so we’re not leaving the house!” We are pale people, just for a little background. Plus, I would get heat rash (hives from the friggin’ sun, people) and headaches from the heat. So I was completely okay with these hot day house arrest scenarios.
One thing that would happen is sooner or later I would tell Mom that I was bored. At which point, Mom would say, “There’s no excuse for boredom. That’s not allowed in this house.” Then she’d proceed to give me a tour of everything in the house not to be bored with; books, the full encyclopedia set, endless art supplies, and musical instruments. I became the child who who spend endless hours in my room entertaining myself with art projects, reading, making puzzles, rearranging my room, and day dreaming. She trained me well and I really thank her for that.
These days my two creative outlets (did you read my first blog about creativity and hoarding?) are quilting and drawing. Drawing is my first passion in life. I remember going to Tower Movies, waiting in line to check out with Mom, and tracing the cardboard movie cut-outs with my eyes so I’d be able to draw it later at home. Soon I learned to always carry a notebook and pencil around with me.
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Recently, as of March 29th, I had decided to buy a new sketchbook after having only used my iPad for art for a solid year while we were in Oakland. I wanted to get that feeling of ink on paper again and started a self-imposed #100dayproject. Too long. I was good for a solid forty-five days, but then found myself bartering by drawing a few at a time, and then only posting one per day. Cheating. Then we moved to our current city and my mom gave me the sewing machine. So, between work and life, my creative time is spent drawing, quilting, or writing (now with the blog). There’s only so much time in the day. Plus, we want to watch an episode of That 70’s Show or whatever before bed. Needless to say, and I will say it, my drawings haven’t been getting center stage. I love to sit down with a quilt pattern idea for hours at a time. The time I’ve been spending drawing lately has been ridiculous ideas for quilt patterns. So I’m showing you a few and then I’ll show you my latest quilt pattern idea (still in progress).
First, let me show you some drawings for potential quilt patterns. Let it be known that I have a limited color palette to choose from.

I had this grand idea that curves would be easy; just a bunch of hand applique. Then it really sank in that it’s all by hand with that darned, wonderful invisible stitch that takes a million years. I looked at a video that shows a way to do it by machine, but am not super convinced if I like the look. I’d have to get a very similar thread, or be okay with a contrasting thread, or perhaps the invisible thread I’ve been hearing whispers about as of late. Also, what about the raw edge of fabric? Well, I looked up the drunkard’s path template and found it for around forty dollars, to which I said to myself, “That’s a firm no.”

Lo and behold a few weeks later pass and I find that same template with a no-slip feature at Joanne’s for twenty-seven dollars made by Omnigrid. To which I said, “Yes. Now a few of those patterns are a bit more attainable and I will update you on those projects as they arise.


Now to show you my latest attempt at making my own pattern. (Free sorta-pattern alert!)

free hand drawn quilt pattern
This is a rough drawing of my Melva quilt pattern.

Alright, now for what I’ve – I mean you’ve been waiting for. Side note, I decided to ditch the circles for now and see how I felt about adding them or not once the quilt top is all stitched together.

I start with the biggest blocks to cut out and actually cut all the pieces initially without yellow, as that was my original idea. Adding the yellow was something I wanted to add, so now I have a bunch of blue scraps. The finalized cut for the blue rectangles is 2.5 inches wide and same for the yellow pieces. The lengths vary as you can see.

I didn’t exactly measure out the additional yellow and pink triangles. Admittedly, patience is not always my strong suit. I will say that through this whole process having my pattern handy for reference helped quite a lot. All afternoon I kept looking and reaching for my sketchbook to check and recheck if everything looked how it should. Though mistakes were still made, as you will see.

Luckily both mistakes were caught before getting buried in the rest of the quilt top. But let me tell you that the second mistake (pictured right) was a long seam to rip. I laid it out in front of my husband and said, “I am frustrated.” I explained the situation and he understood the problem. I sat there for a  good couple of minutes and then ripped out the seam to get back to work. Sometimes you just need to talk it out, have a seat, and collect your thoughts before getting back to the task at hand.

The chronological order of these from upper right is clockwise. So you can hopefully see through all of the pictures, the order of assembly. This was a bit of a puzzle, which is quite fun for me. The final step (left) is my stopping point. It’s now hanging on the wall waiting for a light border and all the finishing flourishes. I’m considering a yellowish cream, thick border with a dark blue binding.


I have a few small, ongoing projects as I work on the big-mini quilts and, of course, stall for putting the finishing touches on my king sized quilt. I know; it’s procrastination. But I would argue that it’s productive kind of procrastination. One day I’ll take the splurge to by batting and a backing big enough to finish the Beast.

You may be able to see on the avocado quilt where I’d like to do some blind stitching on the left side of the binding. Besides that, these little cuties are done.

Stay tuned next time for progress on the Melva quilt and a project I’ve been wanting to do since I got the drunkard’s path template. Enjoy the day and get creative if you get some time on a hot summer day between work and life.

About Your Brain On Quilts

I'm an artist and novice quilter here to share my thoughts, process, and to help other quilters.

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