How does the embroidery design inspiration process take shape?

A doll’s house miniature carpet (called ‘Judith’) designed at the ‘right’ time!

I was thinking about how I actually start designing, today, as I can sometimes go for weeks without any inspiration, and then, like buses, several ideas come along at once.

The embroidery design inspiration process, for me anyway, is a strange thing. I can be inspired by so many things for my doll’s house embroidery kits – colour schemes, historical artefacts, shop window displays, nature – almost anything, really. But one thing that I know now DOESN’T help, and that is to push an idea out when it isn’t ready. In the past, I have felt pressured to perhaps ‘get four designs out this month’, or something like that, and forced myself to sit down at the computer and produce something. But it simply doesn’t work like that, so I don’t try any more. With writing, I can do it, but with embroidery, it has to come of its own accord.

Also, I have noticed that my design spurts are linked to my hormones! Not to put too fine a point on it, there are times of the  month when I can design stuff that I’m really pleased with, and times when what I design is only fit for the round filing cabinet on the floor. Unfortunately, though, part of the ‘hormone effect’ is that the rubbish that I design at the ‘wrong’ times, seems fine for a few days, until common sense returns and I can see it for the drivel that it is. I have noticed that colour schemes, in particular, are affected by the hormone effect – shades that look strange together look vaguely alluring when it’s the wrong time for me to be trying to design. It’s a bit like having cravings for foods which don’t go together, I suppose!

This doll’s house miniature carpet (called ‘Tanya’) was definitely designed at the ‘wrong’ time! It has since been discontinued.

When I am designing a ‘good one’, though, the test that I apply is quite simple – I keep on tweaking the pattern until I start to get the itchy feeling of  ‘I want to start stitching this one NOW!!’  Then I know it’s finished – if I keep going, I’m just going to overdo it.


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