How to design your own quilt? 4 ways to begin (+ giveaway!)

Quilt-block details from Imagine Quilts

Have you dreamed of designing your own quilts?

Maybe you’ve wondered where other quilters get their ideas.

If there’s one thing for certain, it’s this:

Every quilter has a designer inside, waiting to come out and play.

So, how can you coax her out?

Imagine QuiltsDreaming up one-of-a-kind quilts seems second nature to designer and popular blogger Dana Bolyard. But in her new book, Imagine Quilts, she reveals that there is a creative process—several, in fact—that she relies on. Through 11 unique quilt patterns, she’ll help you rev up your own quilt-design engine in one of four ways:

1. Get inspired by your fabric stash
2. Use common techniques in new ways
3. Look around for inspiration—it’s everywhere!
4. Break the rules and have fun

Ready to grab some graph paper and discover how your creative process works? Dana is here today as a guest blogger, and she’s fired up about helping you turn your own quilt ideas into a reality. Welcome, Dana!

Dana BolyardI’ve never made it a big secret that I’m not a pattern-based sewist. I’ve probably said as much at least 50 times over the years on my blog. I usually have an idea for a quilt and then I sketch, compute, calculate, and scratch my forehead until I figure out how to make the idea in my head translate into a quilt.

Both as a quilter and as a blogger the number-one question that I get asked time and time again is, “Where do you come up with ideas for your quilts?”

Detail of Elephant Parade quilt
One day I realized that I had an abundance of gray fabrics in my stash. As that stack of grays grew and wanted to topple over, I was struck by the thought of elephants, and “Elephant Parade” was born.

My ideas come from everywhere! Sometimes it’s a color palette from the strangest of places. Just recently I passed by an old cinder-block plant. There were dozens of 50-gallon metal drums stacked on top of each other. The metal drums were peacock blue, tangerine, or purple, and each had chunky black lettering stenciled around them. I cannot get that image out of my head. I’m scheming to turn that vision into a quilt this summer.

Ampersand quilt from Imagine Quilts
Our modern world is full of graphic textual symbols. The ampersand strikes my fancy. What strikes yours: the # sign, the @ symbol, or…?

My favorite way to turn an inspiration into a quilt is with old-fashioned pencil and paper. I like graph paper best, but plain paper works well too. I always begin with a sketch and an idea of the basic dimensions that I’d like my finished quilt to be. When making “Patchwork Whale” for Imagine Quilts, I used the grids on the graph paper to figure out how to make the whale with basic patchwork.

Patchwork Whale quilt from Imagine Quilts
“Patchwork Whale”

► See more projects from Imagine Quilts

Colored pencils came in handy too, as so much of a quilt design comes together through color, value, hue, and saturation. That’s exactly how the white underbelly of the whale shows up—through the contrast in colors!

Inspiration for quilts is everywhere! I pay attention to colors, shapes, and repeated patterns in nature. Everything from water droplets on a leaf and colors in the recycle bin to a favorite quote or even a threadbare sweater in need of repair can be the inspiration that sparks the design of a quilt.

From Imagine Quilts
Imagine Quilts

My rule of thumb when buying fabric is that if I love it, I will find a way to use it. The same is true for my design process. If I love an idea, I find a way to make it into a quilt. I hope that through the pages of Imagine Quilts, you’ll find the inspiration to express your own ideas in quilts.

Thanks for sharing your design process and inspiring quilts with us, Dana!

Take a look around… what might inspire you to design a quilt right now? Share your answer in the comments and you could win a copy of the Imagine Quilts eBook! We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

Comments are closed for this post.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Jess, who says:

“Mountains. I’m going camping / hiking this weekend and hoping to get some good alpine views. I still have the pictures in my head from last year. :)”

Jess, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!


  • I’m a garden writer and photographer who is always so taken by the beauty I see in others’ gardens and my own. So the beautiful flowers I see, or the play of light on the leaves of a plant, are the types of things that I would love to capture in a quilt. And I hope to do just that some day!

    Susan Mulvihill on July 10, 2014
  • I am inspired by fabric, I have an extensive stash and love to go to shops and be inspired.

    —DEE on July 10, 2014
  • Nature observed while out hiking-the many different shades of green in a forest, the many shades of brown of rocks in a stream, the pinks and yellows of flowers, etc.

    —Shari Kersey on July 10, 2014
  • I am a fairly new quilter, but I am an artist and I have found quilting to be a very creative endeavor. I started learning to quilt when I joined a group of ladies at church who make quilts for the very ill. They had precut lots of fabric into 3.5 X 9.5 pieces with scriptures written on mostly white or light colored fabric. They were also using the same pattern over and over. I found that I could design many different ways to use the pre-cut pieces into different patterns. I have no idea how many different patterns I have made using those 3.5 X 9.5 pieces. It is a challenge I really like. I ideas come from everywhere.

    Gladys Bacon-Rust on July 10, 2014
  • At the moment I see a couple of brochures and the colours and layout of the covers are inspiring!

    —Vicky on July 10, 2014
  • I would design a quilt by looking at the colors and shapes I enjoy in my summer blooming flowerbeds. I love nature and enjoy bringing the outdoors inside my home!

    —Lana Stewart on July 10, 2014
  • Two of the walls in my office are painted cinder block. They are inspiring me to make a rectangle patchwork quilt. Thanks!

    —Delaine on July 10, 2014
  • I often create a quilt for a specific purpose, like for a friend who likes
    special colors.

    —Patricia D. Roberts on July 10, 2014
  • Architectural details , particularly grilles and tiles, inspire blocks. Nature inspires color combinations. And sometimes it’s just happenstance, design elements resulting from an "error".

    —Sheryl Jeffery on July 10, 2014
  • My efforts at designing has been limited to panels and what to do with them. As my stash grows and GROWS, I must begin to design my own quilts.

    —Betty on July 10, 2014
  • Looking at my flower beds — the many colors plus the shades of green and the shapes of the blooms.

    —Carol Sc on July 10, 2014
  • Flowers in my garden

    —Teresa on July 10, 2014
  • I really like the last quilt shown in the examples from the book. Have just started quilting, so not into designing yet. Right now I mostly look for colors and color combination that I love.
    Do have one question~what size graph paper is used for designs?

    Hi Scorpie, you can use any size graph paper you wish; 8 1/2″ x 11″ graph paper is available at most office-supply stores. Simply scale your design to fit the squares on the paper. For instance, a Nine Patch block could be represented in nine squares on a sheet of graph paper. Hope this helps, and thanks for your question! –Jenny

    —Scorpie on July 10, 2014
  • There is a creek outside my house that has rocks in a beautiful configuration that would make a beautiful quilt

    —Margaret Schindler on July 10, 2014
  • I find my biggest inspiration comes from anything in nature. Or certain colors might inspire me and geometric shapes. I find myself buying beautiful fabric that I want to make a stunning quilt from, and then I get stuck trying to figure out what to do with it. I could sure use some help!

    —Susan on July 10, 2014
  • The colour scheme of the curtains in my dining room is inspiring me to design a quilt. With this inspiration I may be able to design more than one quilt in fact.

    —Marthese on July 10, 2014
  • Floral fabric inspires me. Beautiful large floral fabrics remind me of my grandmother’s garden. Gardening was her passion and she was very good at it. I recently purchased two very different pieces of fabric printed with very life-like chrysanthemums all over. One of these will become a quilt reminiscent of my grandmother’s garden.

    —Debra on July 10, 2014
  • As I look around the one thing I see that inspires me is the sunrise this morning. I really think that with some trial and error I might be able to pull it of. I want to add a foreground that will complement the bright colors.

    —Linda on July 10, 2014
  • I love designs I see in old tile work, very geometric, graphic and symmetrical plus it almost graphs it out for us! Even the old black and white hexies in victorian tiles are inspiring as a great background for applique. I would love to take the photo ideas I see, and there are cross stitch software apps that will turn those into grids as well….

    thanks for always being inspiring!

    sharon in colorado

    —Sharon Schipper on July 10, 2014
  • I would have thought I would most likely be inspired by nature but the pictures of the old typewriter, canvas shoes and ferris wheel has already made my mind explode with ideas. I guess I’ll have to open my world of inspiration more than a little!

    —Darlene Graham on July 10, 2014
  • I love designing original blocks for quilts from quiltdles (quilt doodles) that I sketch during the day. I use EQ 7 software to refine the block design in the computer, color the design & try different layouts in quilts before finalizing the final quilt idea. I enjoy the challenge of taking something original & putting the quilt together & ending up with a beautiful quilt in the end.

    —David W. on July 10, 2014
  • I am looking out the door to my patio and would love to make a fresh, summery quilt to use as a table cover and/or a lap cover for cool nights. I would make it in blue, burgundy, gray, green with pops of yellow! Maybe some bird houses surrounded by flowers?

    Linda Pawlak on July 10, 2014
  • I am drawn to a quilt by colors – not necessarily the same color everytime. Maybe it works by my mood at the viewing time!

    —Denise on July 10, 2014
  • The colors in a very old, Japanese art print hanging on the wall in my office. It was given to us by my mother-in-law. A great uncle was a word traveler and collector of expensive art. The colors would make a beautiful quilt. (steely blue/gray, salmon, black, gray and antique white)

    —Karen Sample on July 10, 2014
  • I totally wish I had the kind of vision Dana and others have. I see a quilt and am inspired enough by it’s design where I can ‘see’ how I’d like to change to make it ‘mine’, but I just dont look at, say a old typewriter, and get a visual to create a pattern for a quilt!

    Debbie D. on July 10, 2014
  • I love the outdoors and nature and am always inspired to try to recreate some of the beauty!

    Bari on July 10, 2014
  • The beautiful bluebonnets were prolific this spring on the hills, fields, and along the byways of Central Texas. I marveled at that tiny flower up close and then from a distance seeing that solid ‘textured’ mass waving in the breezes. I have long thought what a wonderful pop of blue on a wall would look with these bluebonnets as a theme!

    —Marie Eddins on July 10, 2014
  • Garden scenes with light playing against flowers and foliage really makes me want to design. The intriguing part is how to get that play between color and light and dark.

    —Linda Erickson on July 10, 2014
  • I make prayer quilts, specifically for those grieving the loss of a loved one. When I see something serene or soothing, it inspires me to incorporate the color or design into my quilts. I’m always looking for inspiration, but learning how to use them in a quilt is challenging.

    —Pjntx on July 10, 2014
  • I’m a beginning quilter. I usually get my inspiration from pictures of quilts. I then change the fabric to fit my taste. I would love to learn how to design from inspirations in the world around me–I love nature and would like to incorporate those colors to design a quilt.

    Susan Schedlbauer on July 10, 2014
  • Where I live we get some absolutely gorgeous sunsets.. I was pondering the other day and went through my "stash" and started picking out remnants and pieces of fabric and have started to just lay some colors here and there, and I just may create my own sunset quilt! I keep thinking "if only I could" and just decided…I think "I will!". In seeing and reading this recent blog of Dana Boylard, by golly she did it…so can I! I’m going to go for it!

    —Jeanette Spellmeyer on July 10, 2014
  • With my engineering and design & construction background I see possibilities in almost everything. I am terrible about following patterns, I tend to view them as a foundation for the project and go from there. The many styles of quilting are a great outlet for my creativeness since being stuck in a wheelchair.

    —TRACY DVR on July 10, 2014
  • I love a new baby as an inspiration. I usually don’t use nature to inspire a quilt. I’m not that artistic.

    —Linda V on July 10, 2014
  • Football season is approaching and would like to design one for my team

    —Amy on July 10, 2014
  • I use animals & nature to inspire my quilts.

    —Claire on July 10, 2014
  • Just started working in my backyard. It’s been neglected for a long time. The flowers and trees are so colorful. Can’t wait to add ground cover. What a beautiful burst of color for a quilt.

    —Marguerite Namdar on July 10, 2014
  • I’m always inspired by the flowers in my garden. Tulips have especially interesting colour mixes. As do petunias. When I see these colours together, it gives me an idea of how those colours would work in my quilt.

    —Heartsdesire on July 10, 2014
  • I’m inspired by nature, especially mountain scenes

    —Joyce on July 10, 2014
  • The beautiful flowers in a garden provide a great inspiration for many quilts and color combinations.

    —Bonnie on July 10, 2014
  • I use others patterns as a starting point for most of my quilts. Nature gives me color inspiration. My friends say I always changing something in a quilt. I am currently collecting HST’s to make my own creation.

    —Karen on July 10, 2014
  • We have recently been on a cruise and I took lots of photos of designs in the carpets, upholstery etc and these are the designs which I hope to use in a quilt. Thanks for a chance to win your lovely book.

    Carolyn on July 10, 2014
  • I just love close ups of flowers , leaves and vegetables. Our huge Saturday farmer’s market if full of inspirations!

    —Pamela Reim on July 10, 2014
  • Since my husband is a sailor I’d take inspiration from sail boats bobbing on the water.

    —Judy Allen on July 10, 2014
  • Im also a beginner quilter, I have some rooster and chicken fabric I would like to use up in a quilt.

    —Sunnie on July 10, 2014
  • There’s just no end to the things that inspire me, nature is a huge place and full of ideas!! But lines that I see in a room, book, ads and how things relate to each other trigger ideas!

    —Jane Prestidge on July 10, 2014
  • Right now I have crazy collage of pictures, postcards, and clippings over my desk!

    —kathy on July 10, 2014
  • I am new at quilting but may garden inspire me.

    —sonia afanador on July 10, 2014
  • Our first trip to Hawaii has inspired several small projects, & lots of ideas for more!

    —Jeannine on July 10, 2014
  • Fabrics, shapes, nature, magazine photos, architecture — so many things can inspire a quilt design!

    —Lisa Marie on July 10, 2014
  • its funny but everywhere I go I look for quilt designs. Recently I saw one I liked in the restroom of an old restaurant in seattle

    betsy on July 10, 2014
  • Inspiration’s everywhere – photos, something you see during the day, etc. Artworks are helpful in figuring out what color combinations work well. And though it’s hard to describe, I like thinking of how to portray a book or favorite passage in color and cloth, and I like visual puns.

    —Laura B. on July 10, 2014
  • I get inspiration from black and white photography because I pay closer attention to the textures and patterns and I can impose my own colours. For example, the photos of Ansel Adams.

    —Judith Murty on July 10, 2014
  • Fantastic person and creative quilter! Thanks for showcasing Dana’s talents and new book!!

    —Jeannette Brossart on July 10, 2014
  • Flowers – flowers always inspire me. You can put any color of flowers together and it looks good – colors you would not ordinarily think of combining.

    —Mary L. on July 10, 2014
  • The clear blue sunny Summer sky with the wind blowing the clouds into a fantastic parade, a beautiful day indeed.

    —Joan on July 10, 2014
  • I LOVE angels. My husband keeps challenging me to make a full size angel on a quilt and I have been mentally preparing my vision for a while now. My new long arm machine is being delivered and set up next week (soooo excited, been waiting 16 years for this baby come into my life). It’s one of the things that was holding me back because the quilt will need to be quilted differently than a "regular" quilt. Now I can get busy drawing and graphing out the design. I’ll need to make the plan for all the steps it will require to be completed. I moved to AZ 9 months ago and have had one big wall waiting for this quilt. Too bad there is no site for us quilter’s to show off our work.

    Hi Jami, every Friday afternoon we have a Show-and-Sew Friday post on our Facebook page; feel free to post photos of your angel quilt in progress there! –Jenny

    —Jami Price on July 10, 2014
  • I know that it will sound crazy, but my dreams will sometimes wake me up with quilting ideas. They get stuck in my head and until I get up and write them down I can not go back to sleep. I am also inspired by the nature around me and my cats.

    —Tina on July 10, 2014
  • As an architect I always have graph paper and spend meeting time doodling quilts! The sun and summer colors inspire me right now.

    —Ann on July 10, 2014
  • Mountains. I’m going camping / hiking this weekend and hoping to get some good alpine views. I still have the pictures in my head from last year. 🙂

    Jess on July 10, 2014
  • Architectural elements definitely inspire my quilting… just from where I’m sitting there is a brick wall, picture frames hanging on a wall, parkay flooring, and my neighbours roof line…

    —Kelly O. on July 10, 2014
  • Everything can be an inspiration for a quilt. I’m always keeping my eyes open for ideas. You just look for the pattern in something, the color combination. See what catches your eye, then figure out why you like it.

    —Quilting Tangent on July 10, 2014
  • OMG, I just look at my family . hehehe Really, they do make me think of what they do , wear , like to play with and the animals they love. But I do crazy quilting so it fits right into my family scheme of things. hehehe I love to make crazy quilted book covers and bags with that persons favorite colors, sports , sayings they like and such. I always start with a blank slate and let her rip. I never plan ahead just jump in. I never know what its gonna look like til it is done. Its more fun that way.


    —Eileene Gaiche on July 10, 2014
  • I would love to design a quilt of nature. Trees, streams, landscapes. It has always interested me, but getting the ideas from paper to a quilt is the hardest for me. I am more of a realist so I have a hard time "getting out of the box" with designs. That would be my goal, to just let myself go and see what happens.

    —connie b on July 10, 2014
  • we are painting several rooms in our home at present I find the color palate of tourquios brown peach and green inspiring for a quilt of many colors

    lynne mulcahey on July 10, 2014
  • All forms of nature and floor and wall tiles inspire me but sometimes it is that piece of fabric that I really like that speaks to me. There is nothing I find more satisfying than designing a quilt around a piece of fabric I just had to have. Those are the hardest to gift. I look forward to reading Dana Bolyard’s book, Imagine Quilts.

    —Audrey on July 10, 2014
  • Everywhere I look I see inspiration for a quilt, whether it be a pictoral, abstract, ‘conventional, or something in between. And to make it even better for creating one of the quilts is my brand new quilting studio in our new home that we will be moving into in a few short weeks. oh, and thviews from our new home will provide inspiration for many quilts in the futwure. Views of the Puget Sound as well as Mt. Baker and farmland in between.

    —Cindy on July 10, 2014
  • I often let the Fabric talk to me. I make quilted scrapbook covers for new babies and newly weds & special Birthdays never the same design twice. I am making a tote bag for my sisters birthday modeled on our old family home.

    —ELIZAJANE on July 10, 2014
  • I get inspired by magazines, the outdoors, flower beds and just looking at ideas on this website. Yes we all can be creative just by creating it on paper and using various fabrics that l have in my stash

    —Anne on July 10, 2014
  • I’ve been spending a lot of time shopping for rugs for my first house and I love the graphic killim rugs. They totally inspired my Michael Miller MQG challenge quilt.

    Emily on July 10, 2014
  • I really am inspired when I see flowers against a beautiful background.
    Maybe some geraniums against an aqua wall in Greece. Or an English garden with many colors in the garden. Also the farmers market with fruits and veg’s, flowers and brick and stone for backdrops or walkways.
    Love it! Creation is truly beautiful!

    —Mary G on July 10, 2014
  • I look at colors, mostly, as I’ve only made a few quilts and I’m not very comfortable with anything other than straight lines. Once I know what colors I want to use, I plan it out on graph paper with colored pencils.

    —Karen Cohn on July 10, 2014
  • Since I’m at work right now and looking around my office – the 6 panel doors seem to be calling my name! I can imagine doing something with that design! 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win!

    —Debby E on July 10, 2014
  • Oh, the hollyhocks over here are the most divine of inspirations right now, their spacing, their colors!!

    kate on July 10, 2014
  • My flower garden – been pulling weeds and trimming today !

    —Nancy on July 10, 2014
  • Everywhere I go, I’m constantly looking down at patterned sidewalks or floor tiles and imagining quilts designed with those patterns.

    —Susan on July 10, 2014
  • Love the patchwork whale and what a wonderful idea to use graph paper. As for breaking the rules….that’s half the fun. Looks like a wonderful book to add to any collection!

    —Erin on July 10, 2014
  • The bubbles coming out of the air stone in my 39 gal aquarium. . . the two angelfish swimming around the turrets of the castle in the tank. . . the school of seven neon tetras following the trail of flakes dropping. . .

    —Carolyn White on July 10, 2014
  • Right now I am looking at my orange tabby cat sleeping on his perch by the window. I can image making him up in a quilt.

    —Susan on July 10, 2014
  • I like to base it on the colors in my wardrobe – it means I like the color combinations!

    mjb on July 10, 2014
  • Just today, in my blog, I was saying that my next project will be to design some quilts using my overflowing stash of Civil War reproduction fabrics. How fortuitous that I should get this email. I love to look through books, magazines, coloring books, even family photos. They all give me ideas that can be translated into quilts.

    —Cheryl Gunderson on July 10, 2014
  • I’m sitting in my motorhome 1500 miles from home. Reading about quilting while sitting here in a beautiful setting has inspired me to make a quilt to keep in the motorhome. The colors of the pretty blue sky with white fluffy clouds and the varied greens of the trees would be perfect for the quilt.

    —theresa on July 10, 2014
  • I saw a real pretty dainty light violet flower and now I can’t get the color out of my head, I already bought a thread that matches the color.

    —Mara on July 10, 2014
  • I have some large, bright prints I will use as focal fabrics. Some I will surround with scrappy, wonky 4 patch blocks. Some I will use in a planned layout but still scrappy. I love scrappy quilts!

    —Valerie A. Clark on July 10, 2014
  • I just love bright colours but have problems using my imagination to put them together in a quilt so I feel this book would be of great assistance to me. Thanks for the chance to enter this competition.

    —Pamela Dorman on July 10, 2014
  • Definitely my flowers. If nature can put certain colors together, why not? I take tons of wildflower photos and glean thru them for ideas all the time.

    —Trudy Stubbs on July 10, 2014
  • Oh my, so many things trigger my muse! Right now I’m looking at a beautiful english tin I picked up second hand the other day and the floral motif and color palette bring to mind a summery quilt!

    —Cheryl Rich on July 10, 2014
  • The woods and birds outside my window…all shades of green leaves with a touch of bright blue sky and red cardinals!

    —Carlie on July 10, 2014
  • I like to create quilts for a specific purpose, like for my grand kids.They like the marine life and so do I…I like so much the whale quilt..I will do it…thank you…

    —marta on July 10, 2014
  • My hanging basket is filled with gorgeous flowers. I can definitely see a quilt there!

    —Linda Webster on July 10, 2014
  • I’m usually inspired first by finding a fabric I love, and then thinking of how to use it in a quilt design.

    —Marjory W on July 10, 2014
  • As I am sitting on my deck listening to the birds sing, the green grass, and evergreen trees, that is inspiration. It is all very calming, so I would need to add some blue as it is my favorite color.

    —Lynn on July 10, 2014
  • The beautiful orange blooms on my cana lilies and the variegated leaves!

    —Cindy on July 10, 2014
  • I would do a Kansas sunrise with a windmill in the foreground!! thanks for the opportunity!

    —Donna on July 10, 2014
  • I have been feeling very creative over the past year. I love that you use everyday things, or sights to inspire your designs! Keep up the creativeness!!

    —Linda on July 10, 2014
  • While I have quite a good collection of fabrics in my stash, my latest idea for a quilt won’t whittle that down. I want to make a quilt of the skyline of my favorite city but since I’m graphically challenged, my friend, an Art Teacher has agreed to help me.

    —Rosemary on July 10, 2014
  • I have teen boys so I get inspired by the colours in their favourite things–sports equipment, camouflage clothing etc. For myself, my lovely flower garden is a great source of inspiration too.

    —Wanda H. on July 10, 2014
  • The bright neon lights at the county fair!

    —Debbie H on July 10, 2014
  • My daughter’s art has been an inspiration. She sees things so differently from me. It’s fun to play with her ideas.

    —Angela on July 10, 2014
  • The bookshelves in our family room….. every shelf has a variety of shapes. How great would a row by row be mimicking the shapes on each shelf? It would be different for sure! Thanks for making us think outside of the box!

    Margo on July 10, 2014
  • Just got home from a boating vacation; I’m thinking shades of blue…

    —Pat V. on July 10, 2014
  • I have recently returned from a trip to Maui – while I was there I was struck by the beauty in the colours of blue in the water, juxtaposed with the colours of blue/grey and white in the sky. I thought it would make a most beautiful quilt – and have been working one out in my head.

    Lisa@hilltophouse on July 10, 2014
  • I have always wanted to understand the basics of drafting a quilt design. Maybe this is the book that explains it.

    For inspiration, I play with color in my stash, balancing intensity with softer colors.

    —Margaret Shaw on July 11, 2014
  • I love the textures of nature. Tree bark, branch shape, flower and leaf colors. I’m looking out the window at my garden right now and have ideas galore!

    —Judy on July 11, 2014
  • Watching sunsets provides wonderful color scheme ideas.

    —Nancy on July 11, 2014
  • It is all about colors for me. Thanks for the chance.

    —Janie on July 11, 2014
  • The heavens inspire me. I’ve always wanted to do a quilt with applique showing the stars. Big Dipper, Milky Way and the moon.
    I made up a block with the sun on one side and the moon and stars on the other. Just don’t know where to go from there.

    —Karen on July 11, 2014
  • I have a quilt top for me, one that is an Eagle Scout quilt. I used the merit badges as inspiration and changed them as needed, so long as they could be recognizable. I need to figure out the back…

    —Bro AJK on July 11, 2014
  • We live an a ranch and raise cattle so all things western inspires me.

    Julie on July 11, 2014
  • I’m an old sewer but new quilter. My daughter wanted a baby quilt with elephants in grey, teal, orange and yellow. She picked out one fabric and when I went on vacation I started picking up fabrics – from Sedona and Payson, Arizona and Durango, Colorado. I am now sewing pinwheels and playing with elephant designs.

    —Lynn Bohlmann on July 11, 2014
  • My up and coming travel. Lighthouse, caves and oil pumping out of the ground. To go along with using my three 30 gal Rubbermaid full of tiny scrapes and leftover blocks. May I get to twisting and turning them into more UFO tops. Just finished quilting 15 tops in the past four months. All it takes is the money for batting and backing. Not sure were that will come from.

    —Linda Christianson on July 11, 2014
  • I live in a small coastal fishing town. Right now I’m visiting in the big city, sitting sipping coffee on a busy downtown street and taking in everything around me. I’m inspired by all of the unusual (to me) sights, sounds, and smells surrounding me. I’m already doodling on my napkin!!!

    —Paula on July 11, 2014
  • Flowers always inspire me especially the Shasta Daisy which is my favorite flower. Good luck everyone.

    —CindyM on July 11, 2014
  • I’m looking at the bold, graphic nature of my bookshelf and thinking it would make a wonderful quilt, an open door in a wall of colour…many things around here are inspiring if you actually see them.

    Lynne S of Oz on July 11, 2014
  • days outside inspire me

    —teri c on July 11, 2014
  • I love all the vibrant colors! Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the entry.

    —Julia on July 11, 2014
  • The geometric shapes and bright primary colors of a dog agility course could inspire a very modern quilt!

    —Sandy on July 11, 2014
  • Rays of sunshine spark my ideas.

    —Margaret Zupfer on July 11, 2014
  • I am afraid that I am a pattern girl, I guess due to the fact that I am a quilting newbie. I can usually make up my own pattern from just seeing a picture of a block. It sometimes works and sometime I just get a mess. Colors are what actually inspires me. Although, my daughter bought me a program for my computer and I have had fun trying different layouts and changing the colors. You are an inspiration and I could only hope to design the cute quilts you have shown us. Thanks…

    Susan Paxton on July 11, 2014
  • I see quilts I like and then find a way to make them my own.

    —Cindy S on July 11, 2014
  • What inspires me to design a quilt right now, two vintage quilts that I have been given, one by my grandmother and one from my husbands great grandmother. My grandmother’s quilt was backed with bleached flour sacks, and is a crazy quilt. I can pick out some fabrics that where used in dresses for my mother. In order to tie all the pieces together she added a red lattice creating the illusion of squares. The other quilt is a whole cloth with Dresden plates. This quilt was rescued from the goodwill pile and came home to the only quilter in the family. In each Dresden plate our great grandmother used one children’s fabric, this I try to do in each quilt that I make. These two incredibly gifted women inspire me to continue quilting, and give me courage to try new things, including adjusting patterns to suit my needs and desires.

    —Hope on July 11, 2014
  • What inspires me? I go to a lot of Summer festivals and make sure to bring my camera. I take unusual photos and get inspiration that way. This weekend is our annual Carribean Festival-you know there will be lots of colourful inspiration there!
    Thanks for the giveaway,
    Jacqueline in Pitt Meadows

    Jacqueline VH on July 11, 2014
  • imagine quilts. i like the idea.

    —jenny on July 11, 2014
  • Right now I’m surrounded by colorful kids toys. I see lots of geometric shapes and great bright colors.

    —Allison C on July 11, 2014
  • I’m a registered nurse and the lives of famous nurses of history inspire me. I’m hoping to design a line of quilts commemorating famous nurses.

    Laura B on July 11, 2014
  • My husband and I just purchased two kayaks: one bright blue and the other bright yellow. Soon after I saw two kayaks hanging on a wall at the ecology center near my house and took a photo. I wanted a wall quilt for our dinette which looks out over a canal and although I’ve never designed a quilt I knew "kayaks hanging on the wall" would be the theme for my first.

    —Ann Christman on July 11, 2014
  • While doing laundry, I stared at a pair of briefs with quilting in mind. I noticed curves (leg holes) on both sides of a shape topped by two wide horizontal rectangles (top and mid-section). I am planning a quilt of many different hues using "The Brief" shapes in each block. 🙂

    —Marty on July 11, 2014
  • I am inspired by fabric and by other quilters’ finished products. I don’t want to copy anyone’s quilts/colors but I do use them as a place to start. I rediscovered my math skills as I recalculate a pattern or photo to fit the fabric I have.

    —Helen on July 11, 2014
  • My current cluttered, fabric everywhere in all 10 rooms of my home would make for a great scrap quilt of many colors. No tone, primary, secondary or ANY color, whether it be light, dark, medium, bright, or dull would be missing. My white walls and florescent lightimg would start the quilt in motion, and there I would sit, sewing my heart out nerver to be seen or heard from again until this quilt is finished.

    Keep smiling,

    Lynnita Shipman on July 11, 2014
  • The lovely houses in the area we’re staying on vacation; old fashioned, with such interesting color combinations.

    —Sarah on July 11, 2014
  • I can find inspiration from many different sources but figuring out how to combine ideas into a quilt is where I usually get stuck. I keep trying and hoping that my graph paper will eventually surprise me with a workable possibility.

    —Rhonda on July 11, 2014
  • I recently visited my sister, and there was a Japanese Maple just outside our window. I loved seeing the shadow of the leaves dancing on the window shades when I woke up in the morning. I also love the color and texture I see in nature.

    —Nancy Angerer on July 11, 2014
  • I sometimes use a pattern that I run across as a starting point when planning a quilt. Then I consider the person it is being made for, their likes, and the occasion that the quilt is for. After that I start making the changes that will make the quilt special for them (hopefully). I’m planning a quilt for a wedding gift for my nephew right now. Also I saw a signature quilt that I thought might be fun.

    —Louise Buker on July 11, 2014
  • It would definitely be my garden. All of the seeds that I planted are now in full bloom. It is just a beautiful array of color with a lot of flowers swaying in the summer breeze. Thank you for the giveaway.

    —Virginia Bronner on July 12, 2014
  • I really need a book like this! I am a pattern person. I have a hard time creating my own designs.

    —Donna W on July 12, 2014
  • Occasionally a quilt is designed by starting with a part from a pattern and then letting it grow in its own direction…. this I just did and it turned out really well! Now to bind and have ready for a special gifting next week. Other times it is a subject that starts the process like the baby girl quilt I needed … I had a panel and so made a set of blocks for the other side… one side inspiring the other. Then there are the times like for my granddaughter… "mom it needs to be brown and orange and have a giraffe." I did it by adding some green to break up the color and coming up with a cute simple block that stood on its own and finding the just right giraffe (coloring book) and ta-dah!
    I loved the quilts pictured in the book though and I think the whale was what sticks in my mind the most …. awesome job and really cute book!!!!

    —Tonie Peterson on July 12, 2014
  • My garden is going wild right now. Also the soft warm kitty curled on my arm as I write this with one hand. Humm, many possibilities.

    —Susan Clarkson on July 12, 2014
  • Right now I have collected some Legacy Studios batiks to make a simple cover for my bed. Just a light weight summer blanket. Not like we need blankets in summer… Anyway, I want to make a very simple quilt in fat strips and squares to show off the beautiful batiks. This morning I blocked out the size of the quilt and borders. Now to design the pattern… I might just lay out my fabrics on my bed and play with the pretty pieces. I don’t want any corners to match up and make it look kinda random. Why is it so much work to make something look random?

    That reminds me of something Mommy did. They bought a whole bunch of bulbs to plant in their yard as a border. To be totally random, they tossed all 20 or so the bulbs in a bag, shook them up, then planted them in whatever order they came out of the bag. When they came up, the border was red – white -red -white all the way around! Even the bulbs succumbed to Mommy’s orderliness! Oh well… She tried!

    —Mama2eight on July 12, 2014
  • I have been taking photos of some of my quilts, and after I had taken the photo the quilt was thrown into a pile, and that pile is sitting there, very abstract colors and shapes merging together.

    —Nancy on July 12, 2014
  • One of my favorite things to do to relax is to watch the wind cause the leaves of a birch tree to dance. I am always thinking of quilting, so I came up with the idea of incorporating the two and make the leaves a sort of 3D. It’s beautiful in my mind so we will see if it is also beautiful in a quilt!

    —Missy on July 12, 2014
  • I was at a Farmers Market this morning and all the bright colors of all the fresh produce is really inspiring. Thanks for the giveaway

    —Renea on July 12, 2014
  • Nature shapes and colors give me my design ideas

    elr on July 12, 2014
  • I am inspired by color! Right now my favorite colors are turquoise, green and brown.

    —Pamela Hill on July 12, 2014
  • I’m a newbie, but I’ve already discovered that patterns are just a jumping off point for me. I absolutely feel compelled to do something different with a pattern to make it my own. I’m working on machine quilting my first custom designed quilt top based on some Civil War reproduction fabric that I saw, loved and had to have. After thinking on it for several months, I finally screwed up the courage to cut into this beautiful fabric, and I love it as much hacked up into small pieces as I did as a focal fabric. The only problem I’ve had is when I’ve purchased kits and feel I should follow directions closely. I didn’t know I had some latent artistic talent screaming to come out until I started quilting.

    —Ali on July 12, 2014
  • Nature inspires me! Just yesterday I was down at our pond looking all all of the life whizzing around. I noticed a pod of baby catfish swimming round and a round in a small circle, gradually it widened into a doughnut shape, then suddenly they swam off in a teardrop shaped pod.
    I’m already roughing out a quilt to reflect what I felt watching such a magical sight!

    —Wendy on July 13, 2014
  • All sorts of things inspire me, from billboards to magazine pages (usually not quilt mags though!) to, recently, a teatowel. I have still to realise that last one in fabric due to a couple of technique challenges I wanted to overcome first, but having practiced the main one in another project I think I’m good to go now :o) Thanks for the chance to win!

    Katy on July 13, 2014
  • Living in Florence, AZ, I am surrounded by plenty of mesas and buttes. They are begging to be incorporated into a quilt somehow. For now that is the focus of my inspiration.

    —Barb Keeler on July 13, 2014
  • A pattern using 4 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ blocks looked good to me but I wanted to use up 2 1/2″ random jelly roll batiks. So I altered the size of the rectangles to get the same "rick rack" effect in smaller scale and added 2 rows to get the same length (the width was still the same as I used 8 1/2″) I realized when I was done that I usually modify a pattern even if it’s just the borders, perhaps pieced instead of straight cut lengths. The beauty of quilting is that it’s your world, you get to create it, who is to say that your own artistic ideas aren’t worthy? Raiding your stash can make you very creative as you rarely will have the fabric you want in the quantities they call for at midnight in a snow storm when the quilting bug hits.

    —Sarah Silk on July 13, 2014
  • My little ones art work!

    Jeneta@PlumJam on July 13, 2014
  • I find that anything can inspire me; nature, clothing, photos and more!

    —Bridget on July 13, 2014
  • The real question is what doesn’t inspire me…at the moment, though, my daughter’s white and orange cat is contrasting nicely with a grey chair. The wheels are turning!

    Beth Strand on July 13, 2014
  • I get inspiration from my daughter, her toys, and the way she plays with them. What beautiful quilts!! 🙂

    Teresa W on July 13, 2014
  • I just made a mini quilt inspired by an image from the Tour de France on TV. You can see it on my blog. I find inspiration all around me.

    charlotte m. on July 14, 2014
  • If you turn your Ampersand sideways you have a tricycle.
    Just a thought since you posed it with a bike!

    Mary on July 14, 2014
  • My view out my back door. Our pool, a fence of morning glories and trees and grass on the greenbelt. To see the color of others homes and their flowers enter into the thought process.

    —Katy L on July 14, 2014
  • I LOVE the whale pattern. I would like to create a quilt around my husbands orchid collection and my son’s Coast Guard life.

    —Robin R Klein on July 14, 2014
  • I was in Arlington recently for meetings and walking under the freeway, I saw some crystal stars made from tiles. My first thought was what a gorgeous quilt those would make. Thanks.

    —Mom C on July 14, 2014
  • I don’t just IMAGINE I’d love to have this book – I KNOW I would!

    —Donna on July 15, 2014
  • I live in Africa and on the sides of the roads the tomato sellers make little towers out of their tomatoes to encourage buyers. This, together with the wonderful tomato print fabric that somebody gave me has inspired me to start thinking about making a tomato quilt.

    —Barbara Dean on July 15, 2014
  • Inspiration comes to me from the fabrics I have and some of the patterns I see online, stores and in books and magazines.

    —Janet L. on July 15, 2014
  • Flowers, bloggers, quilt sites. I take it all in for inspiration.

    —CindyM on July 15, 2014
  • Necessity if the mother of invention, they say, and I’m usually inspired by need—-I needed to make a baby quilt for a gift, or a doll quilt for my niece’s birthday. Then the ideas started to flow in: colors, patterns, layout. I love how it all comes together! Thanks for the giveaway!

    —Mary Jo on July 15, 2014
  • I look around for inspiration and the colors of summer seem to speak to me. I love bright colors and the feeling of happiness it creates.

    —Dot on July 15, 2014
  • Bloggers,and mountain views.

    —Linda Evans on July 15, 2014
  • I love designing for a specific person – their colors/personality! My brother’s love of order inspires a lot of modern ideas.

    —Laura MJ on July 15, 2014
  • I often get inspired by looking at fabric print or wallpaper or posters etc.

    Another fun way is also to just play with fabric, cut them differently, combine them in another way.

    I have over 20 ideas in my note book waiting to get made into quilt designs…

    It’s basically just a matter of keeping your eyes open!

    Cathy Rush on July 15, 2014
  • Elephant parade inspires me to want to use up my stash of fabrics that are all in one color line with a splash of something else thrown in.

    Jeannine on July 15, 2014
  • summer flowers and birds

    —Kathy Luehrs on July 15, 2014
  • I haven’t actually designed a quilt but constantly see nature, tile floors, etc. that start me thinking about how they could be incorporated into a quilt. I belong to an Art Quilt Bee and am learning and getting ideas from very talented members of this Bee.

    —Nancy B on July 15, 2014
  • The beach, water, and horizon of Lake Michigan. I visit the lake from the Michigan AND Indiana sides often as I live on the border of both states. Every visit brings a different inspiration.
    The size of the lake is SO MIND BOGGLING!
    To think that no matter which state I am in…I am viewing a LAKE, NOT the ocean…is something I will never wrap my brain around.
    From the sunsets,sail boats,waves, rock walls, light houses,and changing colors of the water to the the shifting sand,colorful umbrellas,gulls,and configurations (that change daily)of the dunes….One cannot help but be inspired to design…no matter how "blocked" they may feel.

    —Donna Wentzel on July 16, 2014
  • Nature always inspires me — particularly the colors of autumn.

    —Regina Harris on July 16, 2014

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.