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Where do you get inspiration for your quilts?

I have some quilts under way from patterns, but I just can't resist changing the pattern to better suit what I want to do. I'm also really interested in taking images and using them to inspire a quilt, not just literally by attempting to reproduce the photo, but also by taking lines, shapes, colours and textures from the image and playing with them in fabric.

This quilt I made for the 12 by 12 challenge on the theme of 'Spring' was quite literal in reproducing the image. I even traced some of the flowers.



2013-10-05 10.52.17

The butterflies and some of the leaves were decoupaged from a paper napkin, and the background is a fabric I hand dyed. I used fabric paints for the flowers and leaves and parts of a pack of silk waste for the stamens.


For my 'Leaves of Autumn' quilt I went walking and gathered some leaves to work from. Here are some of the 'prototype' versions:

2013-05-03 19.59.23


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And the finished quilt:

Leaves of Autumn

I will be teaching workshops on this quilt at the Ashburton mini Symposium in April and at the Palmerston North Symposium in January 2015. If you would like to learn how to do this fabric painting and freehand borders you can register at or


However when we made 12 by 12 quilts on the theme of Sunflowers I didn't want to do a pictorial quilt, so I thought of the colours and textures of sunflowers in a field under a blue sky with a late summer storm brewing, and came up with this:

Sunflowers 12 by 12



So what sort of quilt would one of these photos inspire you to make?












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