Working It: Pinterest and the Creative Person
the GenQ Crew • July 25, 2011 • 16 Comments

If you haven’t yet heard of Pinterest, we won’t accuse you of living under a rock, because Pinterest is a fairly recent Internet invention of the social media-type that we ourselves only learned about a couple of months ago.

It was started by app developers Ben Silbermann and Paul Sciarra after a single feature on another app drew raves from test users. (That would be the image saver utility, according to Enid Hwang, Pinterest’s communications manager). With the delight that comes from hitting on something unexpectedly popular, Ben and Paul birthed Pinterest in May 2010. Still in its beta phase, the site just hit its 75 millionth pin (a “pin” is simply an image found on the Internet) and is growing strong. It has quickly spread through the online design and décor community, and has since reached into the nooks and crannies of the quilty-crafty-stitchy community in a big way. After all, there is an overlap there, and it’s a natural transition, Enid says.

“We’re still in private beta because we’re still invite-only,” she says. “We’re adding new features every day, experimenting with things, pushing new codes. We’re fairly large for what people think of as beta.”

So, future q-generations take note: For us visual, creative types, Pinterest is going to be big, bigger and then huge in no time at all!

Here’s our evidence: Jake first heard about Pinterest while attending a Michael Miller Fabrics Schoolhouse lecture a few months ago during Spring International Quilt Market in Salt Lake City. Kathy Miller, one of the founders of this awesome fab house, was at the lectern talking about trends. She offered up Pinterest as a wonderful new addiction of hers. Jake grabbed her trusty iPhone (her version of the Swiss Army Knife), tapped in the web address and voila! The rest of the presentation, she’s embarrassed to say, was lost because she couldn’t peel her eyeballs off that little screen as image after image of way-too-cool stuff flashed before her.

Here’s how it works: You ask to join Pinterest at It can take a few days to hear back from these guys. (That’s the invite-only part, but we’ve been told that everyone gets approved.) Once you’re in, you set up your profile and start pinning. They have a nifty little tool that goes on the bookmark bar of your web browser which allows you to “Pin It” to your Pinterest page with a couple of clicks. Load it. It’s worth it. From there, you can start pinning images of almost anything you like and you can write captions of notes or commentary for these images. The images are sorted onto Bulletin Boards that you create (think of file folders) and seem to be unlimited in their capacity. There’s an iPhone app too, and it’s worth grabbing to pin on the road.

One of the very cool things about this free service is that when you pin an image you love, you’ll forever be able to click onto it to get back to its main source/original posting. So, let’s say you’ve fallen in love with that incredible Tula Pink half-yard collection on your fave online shop, but you just can’t plunk down the green because rent takes priority. Pin it to your bulletin board (entitled “Thanks for the Trouble, Tula”) and when your crazy 98-year-old second-cousin twice removed goes to the big LQS in the sky, leaving you the lost family fortune, you can click on your pinned image and it will take you to the original catalog page that started all the drooling.

(Of course, if it’s sold out by then, you’ll get a missing link notice, but then you can try your luck on eBay! We’ve located many older fabric bundles on the great, all-powerful eBay.)

If you’re an Etsy seller or an online retailer, you’ll love Pinterest ‘cuz it’s the best way to get your products out. They ask that you don’t use it for self-promotion, just for pleasure. But someone liking something you’ve created can get shuffled around the Pinterest community pretty fast. That’s called “re-pinning,” which is when you pin an image someone has already pinned on their on boards.

Now, here’s the kicker: Just like having Twitter followers and Facebook friends, you have Pinterest followers. These are fellow Pinterest addicts who keep track of what you pin. If you’ve got a good eye for something visual, you can rack up the followers fast. It’s kind of a rush to have people who think your pins are all that and more. Makes you a style maven of sorts.

We use Pinterest to remember great quilts and projects we’ve seen. Also, for inspiring photos of nature, architecture, food, quotes and more. Sometimes it’s the image that grabs us; other times it’s a color scheme, a shape or a mood.

From our GenQers following us socially, Jenny Tweeted us that she keeps track of tutorials on blogs through Pinterest. On Facebook, Robin wrote, “It’s finally one place where I can keep the randomness of my life organized! Boards for all my hobbies and then topics within them. For quilting I have pieced quilts, machine quilting inspiration, art quilts and then I can jump over and get a recipe for dinner!”

So, go forth and Pin, we say. (But don’t forget to also go forth and quilt.)


GenQ will launch its own Pinterest account shortly and we’ll post the info for you all if you’re interested in following us. In the meantime, feel free to follow Jake, Melissa or Megan individually.  


  • Penny • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    Love this pinning idea!! Who may someday be organized enough to make a website?

  • Sarah Craig • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    I absolutely love Pinterist to keep track of my “bucket list” – quilts I want to make someday. I used to use my favorites button on the browser, but with no picture, I had to open every link to find a quilt I remembered. This is so much easier – a fabulous tool!!!!

    • Scott • 7 years ago
      COMMENT #

      I am signed up there too, but I forget that I am ….yet every time I go, I fall in love with ideas all the time…. I didn’t think of what a good organizational tool it was until I just read your comment….I figured it was one more place to get lost in the web…a good place to get lost mind you, but still lost….thanks for another outlook on it!!

  • Kristy • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    For those of us who are organization-obsessed, Pinterest is like the Holy-Grail.

  • Sara • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #4

    Great post about Pinterest! I have recently joined and love it. It’s great to link bag to beautiful quilt or fabric images when you have finished browsing!

  • Lisa Sipes • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    Lind Lum DeBono sent me an invite to Pinterest but I forgot to accept it. Somebody invite me, pleeeeeeaaaaase?!
    People have pinned me. That got me interested in it (I’m crazy enough to google myself) and I haven’t had a whole lot of time to check it out, but as I understand you have to have an invite to join. Right?

    • megan • 7 years ago
      COMMENT #

      You don’t really need a special invite – I didn’t have one. Just go to the site and look for where it says “Request An Invite.” They’ll approve you in a day or so and you’ll be in!

  • Krista - Poppyprint • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #6

    I can’t do it. I just can’t have one more thing hand-cuffing me to my laptop or iPhone. Honestly, my family has gotta eat! Note to self: teach kids to make something other than KD and pancakes.

  • Erica • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #7

    So this just allows anyone to copy photos from other people’s sites without asking for permission? Copyright applies on material on the internet just as much as for print works, you know. 🙂

    • Anna • 7 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Erica, Actually the coolest thing about this is that it automatically attaches a link to the image back to the source where it was found. And as far as I can tell (in my limited experience) people aren’t using it to rip off ideas but to catalog all the great stuff out there! Good point though.

      Anna (who is also pindicted!)

  • Anna • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #8

    Also a note, way back a few months ago I requested an invitation directly from the website and never heard anything. Then a bloggy friend said she was “in” and that she could send invitations so I requested one from her. I think if you find a “friend” who has an account, it’s a lot easier to get in. AND you need to have either a Facebook or Twitter account for it to work, from what I’ve encountered. My local Mod Quilt Guild has bumped up against that because we have a few non FB and Twitter people who wanted to be on Pinterest but couldn’t get in. So just be aware if that is why it doesn’t work. Happy Pinning all!

  • Erica • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #9

    Thanks for the reply Anna, but it’s still copying to another site without the permission of the copyright owner, link or no link! 🙂

  • Lori • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #10

    Totally cool way to make an inspiration book / file. Just sent a request to join. Thanks for the info.

  • Wendy • 7 years ago
    COMMENT #11

    I just joined what a great way to keep special things organized on the web. Cool!!

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