Phoebe Moon Quilt Designs

Designed for Fun!

Catching the Muse

Unleashing your own creativity to create

a quilt design that represents your unique style

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All pictures are thumbnails.  Click on them to see them close up.

Human beings are born with the ability to imagine. We can daydream, we can pretend, we can wish. We have the unique ability of being able to envision the path we need to take to make our wish into reality. This is called creativity and it is something we all have.

So how do we tap our creative side and translate that into design? First, accept the fact that the act of creation is a journey of many steps, but there is no step-by-step manual. There are no rules to follow. Flashes of inspiration take lots of hard work!

Start by paying attention to your moments of inspiration. Sometimes we get so caught up in the workaday world, we just don’t see what is in front of us. Look for inspiration in:

Fabric. Okay, that’s obvious, but sometimes the fabric will tell us what it wants to become. Or it will suggest the direction it wants to take, which may not be our preference, but you can’t argue with fabric. It doesn’t listen.   Wild Friends and Blackbird Pie (below) were made to take advantage of a motif in a fabric.  St James Star (below right) was also made to highlight a idea - the setting triangles were fussy cut to create a frame around the quilt.  Click on the picture thumbnails to see them up close.

Blackbird Pie Quilt

Blackbird Pie

Wild Friends

Wild Friends

St James Star Quilt

You can be inspired by other quilts, paintings or objects d’art. Sometimes the designs, the color arrangements or the motifs in an object will . spark an idea.  Try to imagine the same quilt, but made using a different block, or set of blocks. Or perhaps the same blocks , just recolored.  What would it look like if you gave it a completely different border? (See the two shop hop quilts below left.) 

Aurora Borealis Aurora Borealis  X 4Design programs like Electric Quilt make this very easy. 

Aurora Borealis (left) is a single-block design that makes an interesting wallhanging - and a fabulous quilt (right) after being recolored.  



Shop Hop Quilt Pattern

Shop Hop quilts


Winters Day
(blocks reverse color)

Woven Stars

A unique way of making this design using flying geese
blocks and half square triangle blocks


Bias Beauty Star

Giggling Geese

Giggling Geese

March Winds

Paying attention to the world. Look for colors and compositions that might translate into a quilt. Tall redwoods, a mountain range, storm clouds, a short vase, a great tile floor. Could any of those spark a design?

When an idea whispers in your ear, write it down! Even a half formed idea can transform itself through the act of writing it down, or being combined with another idea. Free associate. Doodle. Preserve new ideas as they come to you without judging them. Maybe they don’t make any sense, or can’t be done. Write them down anyway.  Share ideas with your friends. They will have a different perspective and may offer a solution that you would not have considered. 

Challenge yourself - give yourself a problem and try to figure a non traditional way out of it. Look through books and magazines for ideas.  How did other quilters solve the problem?  What could you do differently? 

Challenge yourself to make an interesting quilt with only one block.

Corn off the Cob

Corn off the Cob reverse the direction of every other block.
 What would this quilt look like if the block were set on point?


Shoeboxes uses the same technique

Calls Crossing

as does Calls Crossing

Circle of Life

Appian Way (with sashing)


Double Irish Chain

Double Irish Chain uses an alternate block.  Maybe this is a two block quilt?

Apple Butter

Path to my Garden

Path to My Garden

Slalom Race


Challenge yourself to make an interesting quilt with only two blocks.

Years to Come

Years to Come

Bubbles and Squeek


Love of Chocolate


Cook Your Goose

Challenge yourself to try new techniques such as the cut up nine-patch below, or to learn a new ruler.

English Baskets

English Baskets
An experiment in cutting blocks apart and recombining them.

Savanna Scramble uses an interesting technique to create the blocks.
Stars in My Window

Stars in My Window has 3 dimensional elements


Exhuberance Quilt Pattern
Exhuberance cuts apart a nine patch and rearranges the pieces.

Challenge yourself to use a non standard layout for your quilts.

Around the Block (left) was a challenge to find a layout to accommodate the six bird blocks.  Notice how the center one is actually two panels combined? 

Roller Coaster is a fund-raising quilt pattern for Cystic Fibrosis that only uses Half Square Triangle blocks.  (It shows you a very clever way to make them:-)) 

26 Acts of Kindness

26 Acts of Kindness



Fashionista uses a triple panel

Log Cabin Bargello

Log Cabin Bargello

Kestria- A circular design with a border that takes advantage of the fabric. 


Consider the eventual use of the quilt.  A tablerunner will need a different scale than a baby quilt or a full size quilt. Maybe you can just take one block of a full size quilt and extend it creatively with borders to make a table runner.

Okey Doke Okey DokeWork through all the steps in your design. Do you have a lot of odd sizes? Can you redraw the pattern to use similar sized blocks or strips? Can you use the extra fabric or leftover blocks in the border? Is there anything you can add, subtract or rearrange to make the cutting and/or piecing more efficient? 


The Okey Doke pattern to the left had some leftover pieces.  Adding just a bit more fabric and arranging the leftover blocks creatively allowed a matching wallhanging and tablerunner design.

Give yourself permission to fail. So what if one idea won’t work? Maybe the next one will or maybe it will inspire another idea. Remember what Thomas Alva Edison said: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."  Think of your mistakes as design opportunities.

Are you stuck?  Go for a walk, or work on some other unrelated activity. The creative side of your brain will continue to perk, making associations between unrelated ideas. At some point, newly combined associations break into consciousness, and you will have a flash of inspiration!

It is important to keep learning.  As you become a more experienced quilter, you will incorporate new tips, tricks and techniques into your design style. This gives your brain new information to consider, more fertile ground to grow new ideas. 

Keep a journal of the quilts you have made.  Next to a picture of the quilt, make a note of your inspirations and aspirations for that quilt. What tools or techniques did you use?  What did you like or dislike about them?  Go back and review your journal from time to time.

Are you feeling a bit more creative now?  Go make a quilt!  If you have any questions or comments, send it me, and I will add it here. 

More tips, tutorials and techniques are available at
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