The Free Motion Quilting Project: Following Inspiration

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Following Inspiration

Since starting this project, I've learned to follow inspiration wherever it leads. In the words of Josh Ritter, I'm "feeding my monster."

So when I see something cool online, I don't just stop there - I keep clicking and learning until my head is buzzing with possibilities and I have no choice but hop into the studio and start trying new things.

This happened recently in a really interesting way. It all started with a fabric clock picture Gen X Quilters, AnneMarie shared and linked up on her blog last week.

I followed AnneMarie's links to the original source which was A Squared (W), a blog written by Ali full of beautiful photos and cheerful projects.

Ali's easy to follow tutorial (right here) perfectly explains how to put this little clock together.

I've been needing a clock in my sewing room, and this is so PERFECT! You could use any cheerful fabric and it would look great.

This simple clock design reminded me of some clocks I used to sell in a funky garden store I worked at in Asheville, NC.

Unfortunately I don't remember the person that made those clocks and I can't find any photos online, but just image a funky clock of many different layers of wood, painted funky sliver, purple, and green, and decorated with multiple textures over each layer. They were really cool!

But they were super easy to make too! I knew when I saw them back in 2004 that they were probably cut out on a scroll saw, a small saw with a tiny blade that cuts thin pieces of wood out exactly on a marked line.

Scroll saws are really fun and easy to use. My dad bought one when I was 12 or 13 and I spent a lot of time playing with it and cutting out simple shapes. I never really learned how to do more intricate work or how to finish pieces, but it certainly wouldn't be a challenge now.

So when I was in Lowes hardware the other day getting new hardware for another project, I happened to notice a magazine on the stands called Scroll Saw Woodworking and Crafts. Guess what was on the cover? Clocks!

I must have time on the brain because this project really intrigued me. Turns out you can make a working clock out of just wood that will keep time surprisingly accurately despite not having a mechanism within them.

So I picked up the magazine and was immediately blow away with the projects, all of which were beautiful, inspiring, and extremely simple to understand.

What made me even more excited was how many things from scroll sawing could be applied to quilting. I know these seem like two totally different hobbies, but there are many similarities in design, precise cutting, and construction that both share.

I found the wood working designs the most interesting. What does this remind you of?

It reminds me of quilting motifs! These could be used on a quilt just as easily as to cut out a wooden heart!

This is from the article titled "Filigree Fretwork Heart Patterns" by Alison Tanner. She also happens to be the owner of an online business that carries the larges variety of patterns and supplies for papercutting! Click here to learn more about Alison's business Papercuttings By Alison.

Isn't this neat? A single clock tutorial has lead to inspiration found both in woodworking designs and paper cutting designs! By simply glancing into another hobby, I found many inspiring projects that would be fun to try and experiment with.

So here's to following your inspiration, no matter where it leads!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Oh that is SUPER cool! What a neat trail to follow to find other sources of inspiration.

  2. I've been using scroll saw designs to quilt for the last few years.! Whenever I talk to the guys at work about how I need a deeper throat on my machine, I always explain it in terms of a scroll saw.

  3. I haven't used any scroll saw designs for quilting, but it has crossed my mind. I have many things that my Dad has made--including a grandfather clock! I think I maybe borrowing some of my Dad's magazines just to get some ideas. Thank you for the inspiration :)

  4. It can be amazing where a click of you finger can lead you - I see those heart templates being used as the base for a whole cloth quilt with lots of trapunto

  5. My DH is a woodworker and all I see when I see his scrollsaw patterns is quilts! So I know how it is


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