13 ways to find inspiration for quilt making

Posted by Ruth on 16 February 2011 | 0 Comments

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Each quilt tells its own story and is unique with its own characteristics, but where does the inspiration come from to make a quilt? Over the next 4 blog post I'm going to give you 13 ways to find inspiration for quilting. Each post will be divided into a category group. In most points, I will include my own personal examples to give you further understanding for each. Our first category is visual inspiration.

Visual Inspiration

Visual inspiration is the most common form of inspiration. It can be broken into several subtitles.

1: Nature

Nature is likely the most common of all inspirations - for me any how. It is all around you. Look at the flowers and trees, parks, rivers and mountains, and don't forget animals, birds and insects, all of which fit into this category.

After looking at my website, you will know that flowers are a great inspiration for me. Many of my best patterns are appliqued flowers. Here is just one quilt "Light Upon the Earth" that was inspired by nature. I started by taking a photo to capture the moment so I could draw in the comfort of my home, thus the creating began.

Calla Lily Photo

Calla Lily

Light Upon the Earth

Light Upon the Earth










If you want to find out more about the process of designing this particular quilt, see my blog post: Calla Lily Applique Creation - the idea >>

2: Photos

Photos go hand in hand with nature and all visual inspiration because it is the visual picture that we capture within the photo. Photos will grab the moment and set it ready for us to transform into a quilt. Here are a couple of examples of how I used photos to make small quilts. I printed the actual photo on fabric. In the first photo I free-motion stitched over it to enhance the colors and add textile and in the second, I made a small quilt using several photos after a day at the San Diego zoo. 

Redwood Valley

Redwood Valley quilt

Zoo photo on fabric quilt

Printing on fabric zoo quilt










You can find out more about Printing on Fabric by downloading our e-book.

3: Architecture 

Buildings can be a great source of inspiration. Architecture is an art source of its own so transferring it into patchwork can create some very interesting results. My Bargello Blues quilt, although wasn't inspired by architecture, often reminds others of the Great Wall of China so could well have been.

Bargello Blues

Bargello Blues quilt

4: Artwork

Artwork such as statues, masonry, woodcarving and the likes are another great source of inspiration. Often we will find great designs carved that we could easily transfer into quilting lines.

I'm sure you have heard of Claude Monet's famous lily paintings. Lily Pond is my interpretation of his artwork.

Claude Monet's Lilies

Claude Monet's Lilies

Lily Pond

My Lily Pond

5: Movies

Movies can be another source of inspiration especially mythical scenes such as castles, serpents and dragons or galactic scenes. If you ever watched Lord of the Rings, there were some truly beautiful scenic views that could easily be used as inspiration. "Phantom of the Opera" by Andrew Lloyd Webber, inspired me to make several pieces. One of which you can see here in a short movie >>

This covers the main areas of visual inspiration. You can see, there are many forms of inspiration around us, many of which we may not even be aware of. What inspires you visually? Let us know by leaving your comment and examples below.

Follow this link for the next segment of quilting inspiration.

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