10 Things That Inspire Me: Ellen Luckett of The Long Thread


1, 2, 3 Sew book

As part of the Chronicle Books 1, 2, 3 Sew Blog Tour, we’ll be sharing the top 10 things that inspire author and craft blogger Ellen Luckett Baker of The Long Thread. Her latest book features 33 delightful projects that range from clothing to decor and accessories, each with easy-to-follow instructions as well as 12 patterns tucked into an enclosed envelope.

10 Things That Inspire Me: Ellen Luckett Baker of The Long Thread


1. My children. Kids create with such abandon. My daughters are six and eight years old now and they still come up with ideas that I find completely unexpected. I don’t think I truly felt comfortable with my creativity until I had children.

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2. My grandmother’s style. Aside from being an incredibly brave and intelligent woman, my grandmother had great style. Her love of travel mixed with her Southern upbringing to create a simple, uncluttered home with Asian influences and clean-lined antiques. One of my favorite memories is of her floral striped kitchen wallpaper. I was lucky enough to find a roll of this wallpaper online in a different colorway, which I used as a background for the Initial Blanket in 1, 2, 3 Sew.

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3. Color field painting. I was an Art History major and worked at a museum for several years. But it is this style of Abstract Expressionism that interests me most, evoking emotion through saturated color and simple forms. I particularly love the work of Helen Frankenthaler.

4. The online craft community. I continue to be inspired and motivated by seeing all of the creativity that is shared online.

5. The history of craft in the South. As an Alabama native, I am still awe-struck by the painstaking hand work that made the amazing quilts of the past. Seeing the quilts of Gee’s Bend was a transformative experience for me. I think the past has directly informed the modern resurgence in crafting; as the styles and fabrics have changed, the basic techniques and patterns still remain the same.

6. Geometric shapes. I love neat lines and shapes of all kinds, which you can see reflected in the projects from 1, 2, 3 Sew. The book’s photographer, Laura Malek, did a great job getting things just right, since it seemed there was always something the needed to be precisely aligned in each photograph.

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7. Kitschy European style. Since I spent much of my childhood summers in a Swiss-themed town in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina, I have had an affinity for kitschy Dutch, Swiss and German style—wooden toys, cuckoo clocks, hearts and flowers.

8. Flowers. After college I worked in flower shops and still love to have fresh flowers in my home whenever possible. I used flowers as often as I could in the book photos. Vera Neumann’s painterly floral textile designs are among my favorites, so I was happy to find a bright and happy vintage tea towel to use for the apron project in 1, 2, 3 Sew.

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9. Texture. Whether it’s embroidery, quilting, pleats, or smocking, I think texture makes any project better.

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10. Fabric. Like most people who sew, I am a fabric junkie. My favorites include Marimekko, Liberty of London and Japanese imports, but I appreciate a wide variety of design styles ranging from classic to contemporary.

Thanks for sharing, Ellen!

Be sure to check out Ellen’s wonderful blog at!  Her latest book 1, 2, 3 Sew is available now for $24.95 at Chronicle Books.


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