Figuring it out…

When designing a quilt from a photo, you have to figure out where to start. I opened my photo in Photoshop and cropped in to focus attention on the part of the photo that I liked best.


I usually work in Adobe Illustrator where I can make layers and trace over a photo to make a pattern. But there’s a cool filter in Photoshop called Find Edges. I used it to generate this almost-drawing:


I am not going to fuse or glue this quilt. The pieces will be pinned, then basted on a light fabric base. I projected the image onto a 60″ x 60″ piece of thin, prewashed, white muslin on my design wall. I used a soft pencil to draw a stylized version of the image onto the fabric.

I decided to work loosely, cutting fabric to fill in the different areas without making templates or pattern pieces. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the drawing needed to be on an overlay so that I could still see it as I added fabric to the wall. I cut a great big piece of upholstery vinyl, pinned it over the muslin, and traced the lines with a regular Sharpie marker—the kind that comes to a blunt point.


I’m not aiming for photo realism here. Instead, I’m working in a looser, slightly more impressionistic fashion. It is both scary and fun!

14 thoughts on “Figuring it out…

  1. Glad you are having fun! It is way beyond me as a quilter and I have no art talent so it is great to hear how you are going about this.


  2. I love that you are showing how to do something as complicated like this. I’m sure this is something I will never attempt (I still working on that ‘perfect’ 1/4″ seam :))) but to watch your progress is just fascinating and I can’t wait to see it as it progresses. Thanks so much for sharing this!!


  3. Thank you, Becky! I love what you are showing us. The working of your brain is a delight to see, so educational. I look forward to the progress you will make. Thanks!


  4. I have been thinking about you and taking pictures for days. I’m on a trip to Ireland with my students, and there are so many wonderfully amazing doors. You’re in my thoughts every time I see one. Awesome


  5. How wonderful to see your creative process, especially in a style that is new to you. I did not feel inspired by the photo you started with, but in seeing fabrics as you are adding them it becomes clear what you see in your mind regarding this photo. Fascinating!! Thanks so much for sharing!!


  6. Good luck with your Kauai quilt!
    I am sure it will turn out great, given your eye for color and your skills with fabric & thread!
    Frances from Oahu


  7. So interesting to see how quilter’s style evolve over time. thank you for showing us your process! I have several photos from Trips I would like to try this with and had no idea how to get started! I think you will be bringing many of us along with you on this journey.


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