Step 1: Find a Design
So I'm making a quilt. I'm not following a guide or a book, I'm just trying to wing it and see what happens. I guess the first step is that I have to figure out what I want the quilt to look like. My requirements are: awesome, fun, and no flowers anywhere on the quilt. Funny story - when Lydia and I were first married I told her that she can decorate the bedroom any way she wanted, so long as there were no flowers on the bed coverings or curtains. It was surprisingly difficult to find bedroom sets that don't have flowers. It must be some weird inside industry thing where nearly all patterns have to have flowers on them. But if I'm making a quilt, I'm in charge! No Flowers!
Okay, off to a good start. I've eliminated flowers from the design choice. But I still need awesome and fun. Oh - I should also add easy to that list. I'm not going to do some crazy pattern that requires advanced knowledge of crazy knots and secret sewing techniques that are only passed down through word of mouth from master quilters to their worthy acolytes. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think "easy" should be on my requirement list. Maybe even the top requirement. So: easy, awesome, fun, and no flowers. Great!
For the easy requirement, I'm thinking that squares are best. I don't really know, but I imagine it's easiest to sew in straight lines. What has more straight lines than a square? Also, I'm not going to have to worry about orientation that much. If a square is a square, then it's the same shape whether its on its side or on its, uh, other side. I'm imagining that I'm going to have to be concentrating on a lot of things when I start putting this together, and I want to eliminate as many of those things ahead of time as I can. A square is a square no matter which way you hold it.
With the easy requirement (hopefully) taken care of, my next questions is "What kind of quilt will be awesome and fun?" This is a project that I'm going to invest some of my precious free time into, and I want it to be something that I'm giong to have fun with. I could just do a checkerboard pattern, but doesn't sound very fun to put together - in fact, it feels like it might be a little repetitive and more like a chore than something I would enjoy. Checkerboard pattern is also not quite the awesome factor I'm going for. It doesn't really have that "Hit the front page of Reddit" vibe.
When I started to think about something that I enjoy, could spend a lot of time with, and is a pattern made of small squares, that's when the lightbulb turned on. Where have I spent hours of time, on something awesome, with little squares of color before? Video games!
Turns out, this is a perfect solution. Something that's fun, awesome, is made up of squares, and has no flowers! Obviously, I'm looking at the retro video games, since video game graphics have really advanced since I've had a chance to really keep up with them.
Take the following picture for example:
That's crazy! I have pictures from my own childhood that look worse than that picture does, which is a screen capture from a video game about fishing.
Thankfully, I have a lot of experience with retro games and there is one that I would love to make a quilt of - Zelda! Specifically, the character Link in the Zelda series of games. He's the hero who always finds the magic sword and defeats the evil wizard in order to save the princess and ultimately the world. That fits perfectly!
Also, I happen to know that the drawings of these characters that they use in the game are called "Sprites" and that they are conveniently divided into squares that will very easily translate to the patches that I will sew together to form a quilt top. A couple of google searches later to find the exact, heroic pose that I wanted, and boom! - design is complete:
So now I have the design - which is just the very beginning step in this whole process. I still have to figure out how to turn this design into a real quilt top. But I'm excited, because it means I have a direction and can start to figure out what I need to start on the actual work. Once that happens, I will be sure to update you on the process.