Why are some people always starting projects and never finishing while other people seem to have a super human quilting speed and one project after another flies off their sewing machine? As a former quilt shop owner and someone who has quilted for more than 30 years, I can tell you that the answer to this question comes down to one simple word -- INSPIRATION. When you're really truly inspired with each project you begin, your sewing machine flies and you can't wait to finish. You are a fearless quilting ninja!

The way to stay inspired is to push yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Choose a "not your usual" color scheme, modify a pattern, tackle that project that intimidates you, try a new technique with each new project. Take a class in something you don't think interests you -- you may (or may not!) find a new passion. Maybe you've never tried paper piecing or appliqué. Find a class and give it a whirl. In a nutshell, never stop learning!

I keep an inspiration notebook that I turn to when I'm stuck or feel myself falling into a quilting rut. When I run across an idea that piques my interest, I'll jot it down in my notebook. I also keep pictures in my notebook of things that inspire me. It might be a flower bed filled with riotous colors or the pattern of a tile floor. Architectural elements often lend themselves to quilting. I see machine quilting design potential in both of these photos:

Source: Standout Fireplace Designs

Source: Rusty Jaw

I can envision potential quilt borders in these tile designs:

Source: Urban Home Magazine

Unless I'm looking at antique or vintage quilts for unique design ideas (eBay is great for this!), it's pretty rare for me to actually look for quilts that inspire me. There are a zillion quilts already on my wish list to make, but it's the creativity of making a unique quilt that inspires me most whether in color scheme, fabric combinations or quilting patterns. This is where my inspiration notebook comes in handy. I will often spend time exploring Instagram or Google Images for non-quilt related ideas that inspire me. One of my favorite searches on Google Images is "cake design" which often yields color combinations that spark my creativity.

Source: Wedding Services Kenya

And if all else fails there's always Pinterest, but that's a rabbit hole you may never find your way out of!

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Look around you. Design is everywhere! How can you incorporate the beauty that surrounds you into your quilting?

Find your inspiration!