Where do you find inspiration?  In the past week or so, I’ve been interviewed twice.  Once, finding inspiration was a small part of several questions.  On the second interview, the main topic was about finding inspiration.  I’m not going to give away details about where I find inspiration because . . maybe you’ll just have to buy an upcoming issue of a magazine to get my answers but pretend I’m interviewing you . . all of you.  Yes . . YOU!  🙂

Where do you find inspiration for your quilting?  That’s the main question I’d like answered but a lesser important (to me) question is how often do you find yourself seeking inspiration or how often do you find yourself uninspired?

I’ve already given my answers so I’m not going to copy what you say . . but some of you may say what I’ve already said.  It just got me wondering . .

Thanks for answering my question(s).



  1. 1


    Inspiration is always other people’s quilts, which is why I spend so much time on the internet!! I would like to say I get inspiration from nature, or Rembrandt, or something a bit more high-brow; but honestly it’s seeing what other people have done with fabric and thread that makes me think about what I could do.

    And when I get stuck it’s the simple blocks, and basic patterns, that I return to and which get me rolling again. A pretty boring answer all up! but it’s true for me.

  2. 2


    More often than not these days I am inspired to “replicate” the quilts I see on Flickr! Mostly they are improvisationally (Think Gees Bend only a bit different) pieced, so the basic idea that I follow is start with “X” frame it with “Y” frame that with “Z” sash it…
    Also I am still inspired by the quilts of Denyse Schmidt & FunQuilts. (The use of solids mixed with a small amount of prints – I don’t know, but that is what I am going with right now.)

  3. 3


    I am most inspired by quilts I see made by fellow bloggers. I’ll start with an idea they spark and will go from there……making a few changes most times…..but the inspiration definitely comes from quilts I see online and often leads me to discover designers and books I’d not otherwise have found. The internet has certainly widened our quilting world!!!

  4. 4


    I get my inspiration pretty much the same as the bloggers have already answered. It starts by looking at the art (I consider quilting an art) of others and from the wealth of books available. I then take that idea and make it my own. Changing the fabric, setting, etc. Although it began as someone else’s quilt, by the time I have finished, it is mine. I am a student first, so I spend a lot of time reading about and learning to make the pattern in theory, and then I tackle it in fabric, never making a test. I am now moving toward true improvision (think also Gee’s Bend and Marston, Freddy) and even art quilting using stamps and discharge. We’ll see what comes of it.

    BTW Judy, thanks so much for all the inspiration you give us. I really appreciate and respect your “art” work!

    Have a great day!

  5. 5

    Julianne says

    Inspiration is every where..Nature, books, magazines, Internet to name a few. Nature gives me a sense of calm and peace, every thing else is seeing what others are makeing…new fabrics and patterns. Time spent with fellow quilters is a great inspiration or a trip to a quilt shop.

    How often do I seek inspiration…Well I guess daily. Not always because I am stuck or uninspired but I never know when or where I might find that ONE perfect idea. LOL

  6. 6

    pdudgeon says

    LOL, ok i’m different (but then i already knew that!)

    I get my inspiration from the fabric itself, from patterns, and sometimes from individual blocks.
    When i need a kick start to get out of a quilting slump, i go back thru my old quilting magazines to see things with fresh eyes. usually that’s enough to get me back into a quilting mode again.

    When things go ‘wonky’ in the quilting process, I have been known to re-purpose fabric from several different projects into a new project, blend fabric lines, and even throw in a zinger.
    my latest quilt top that i just finished is a prime example of all the above.

  7. 7


    Judy – YOU give me inspiration ! Seriously – when I’m tired, and think I’ve had an ultra busy day, and I simply cannot pick up my hands to sew a stitch, or even cook dinner – I catch up on your blog posts of the day –

    I’ll usually see a finished quilt or two, or a pile of quilts that you magically put bindings on – all in one weekend ! Of course, that’s along with the chickens that you got up to feed at some ungodly hour in the freezing cold, and lets not forget the fresh bread that’s baking in the oven (after of course, you ground your own flour !) Yep – YOU give me the inspiration to do just a little bit more in my day !!

    As for inspiration for my quilts – lately it’s been stain glass windows – I see quilt patterns in them everwhere. Actually – last time when my family and I went to Alexandria, Egypt – I ended up in the middle of a grand bank – taking pictures of the tilework on the cathedral ceiling (dh was trying to look like he wasn’t with me ….) One day I will certainly figure out how to turn THAT into a quilt !

  8. 8

    Becky says

    I once found inspiration for a quilt in a walmart parking lot, the puddles had beautiful grease spots in them! Turned out to be a pretty cool quilt too!

  9. 9

    Lydia says

    I also am inspired by the quilts that others make, but I confess that I’m given to being inspired by other things as well. Perhaps I’ll see a color combination that I like especially well — in a piece of [some other medium] art, or in an outfit someone’s wearing, or in a photograph or in a garden or some other outdoor scene. Or sometimes it’s a particular piece of fabric that will inspire me, and that’s why I’ll always have SOME multicolor prints in my stash, because often they become the basis for a color scheme for a quilt, even if they themselves don’t make it into the actual project. Recently I saw a particularly beautiful sunrise, and those colors are with me now, and will be in a quilt in my future. I’m sure there are lots of other things that inspire me, but that’s what comes to mind at the moment. As to your second question, I get “bombarded” with inspiration all the time, when I’m open to it, so I really never have to go looking for it at all. I just have to open my eyes and my mind.

  10. 10

    Betsy says

    I used to go to quilt stores and was inspired by the samples they had. Then I began looking at blogs and found myself inspired by those. And now I am transitioning again into being inspired by the things around me. I’ve realized that in applique (funky applique), there is no right or wrong because there is no real pattern. It’s interesting how my quilting is following my life- going from very structured to a little more forgiving, a little more loose, a little more determined by me.

  11. 11


    One of the best things about inspiration is that there’s *no* limit to its sources! Lots of times I’m inspired by fabrics that totally captivate me. Sometimes I’ll see someone else’s finished quilt and be inspired by that. Sometimes a ‘scene’ will inspire me. Or a desire to marry certain colors in a pleasing pattern.

    Can’t wait to get ahold of this magazine and see what inspires you, Judy! 🙂

  12. 12


    What an interesting question! I find a great deal of inspiration from old, antique quilts…I am drawn to them. Using modern techniques to make them, of course!! I love quilt magazines, quilt books, and quilts on blogs, but usually I try to add my own twist to the patterns.

  13. 14


    What a good question. Sometimes I’ve been inspired by sample quilts in quilt shops. Sometimes I’m inspired by what my friends are working on (both in my quilting group and my blogger friends). More recently I’ve been inspired by the fabrics themselves, which I think just get more beautiful all the time. Yesterday I took a picture of Roseate Spoonbills (pink birds) and Black-Necked Avocets (black-and-white birds) in the same picture, and it made me think I need to make a black and white and pink quilt!

  14. 15


    frequently I’m inspired by quilt patterns…my brain goes, “what if?” and I pull up EQ and start playing.

    Fabric is a big inspiration to me. Color also. I have dreamed (yes, in my sleep) a certain color and then had to make it into a quilt.

    Also images inspire me. I live in a town with lots of Victorian era homes (think oil boom) and the gingerbread and other details delight my imagination.

  15. 16


    I seem to have wide open eyes and find inspiration everywhere. I have to hold myself back often because there are only so many hours in the day.
    Fabric inspires me beyond belief and light and color do as well.
    I think because until I was in my mid forties I thought I was not creative in any way. My mother often said, “You’d better teach school because there’s not much else you can do well.”
    Thankfully a wonderful and generous husband nudged me forward.

  16. 17

    Jane says

    One of the reasons I belong to sewing groups to learn new techniques is for the inspiration. I can take the new technique and apply it to aspects of my quilting. Recently I learned about a new pillowcase technique and now I am thinking about how that would work as a quilt border. Everything around me is inspiration for my quilts, from colors, from shapes, from concepts, from purpose, even from new quilting tools.

  17. 18


    You inspire me, not only with your gorgeous quilts, but you inspire me to use my stash, to use my imagination. I’m not very good creating an original twist on pieced quilts, but I get real imaginative with needle in hand doing applique. I just started designing an applique project because of a bundle of six FQs of wovens sitting there all tied up neatly. Don’t know why that flipped the switch on the creative lightbulb.

  18. 19

    Marky says

    I’m inspired by other people’s quilts seen in magazines, on blogs, and at quilt shows.

    I’m inspired by fabrics (good excuse for a large stash!)

    I’m inspired by nature around me.

    I’m inspired by phrases, quotes, and/or Scriptures and a desire to illustrate them.

    I’m inspired by emotions. Two of my favorite quilts are in memory of our past dogs.

    I’m inspired by a need to try new techniques.

    I don’t remember ever lacking for inspiration.

  19. 20

    Sandy Gail (Sandra Neel Hutchins) says

    I love antique quilts. I love old quilt magazines printed in the, gasp, last century. (You know, like 1983, 1992, etc.) I love looking at my collection of antique quilts. It is amazing how small the pieces are in those quilts. Old patterns are the ones that I make quilts from. I love curved piecing and curved borders.
    Why, do you ask, am I commenting on this blog? Because you are multi-talented, you blog daily, and who knows, someday I will make a quilt from one of your patterns! Actually, it is your borders that I am leaning toward and hoping that you will write a book just about borders. Now, I know this is totally honest, but you asked! So, in a nutshell, I am inspired by antique quilts and also by a very modern lady named Judy L. !

  20. 21

    Penny says

    I often find inspiration in tiled floor patterns in ancient monuments, stately homes etc and only this week, the tiled wall in a restaurant we were building. Another source of inspiration is on various blogs I follow where I may see a quilt and make it my own using my choice of fabrics. I very rarely copy a quilt faithfully. Just lately I have been particularly inspired by the fabrics of designers such as Amy Butler, Heather Bailey, Tanya Whelan and others who use bright, zingy colours and patterns. And of course your beautiful quits Judy!

  21. 22


    I NEED to be inspired to ‘feel’ energized, but sometimes, like many of us, I slide into a slump. Usually it is short-termed, but when I start wondering, “when will my mo-jo return?, I remember a statement by ???? . “Don’t want to be inspired to do something, DO something and you will be inspired.”

    I’m sure this was a quilter who said it, but sometimes, if I just sit at my machine for 5 minutes, something will begin happening in my brain. The BOMs were very good at inspiring me — and then when that brain activity happens, I just take off! So, ANYTHING might inspire me – colors, shapes, friends, a challenge, time limitation, but I have to be in the right frame of mind.

  22. 24


    Lately, it’s been EVERYWHERE! If I’m in a slump, I look at what everone else is doing but recently, I am finding I have my own creative bent. I used EQ6 to design my first quilt and in the process, I think a little damn on my creativity burst b/c I’ve got ideas flowing.

    However, my next quilt (maybe) is going to be based off a card I picked up in the $1 bin at Target. It’s a simple little thing and I’ve seen similar quilts so it’s not completely original but… I know I’ll like it just the same!

    🙂 Beck

  23. 25

    Nancy Garner says

    I get inspiration from a variety of places. Often times from other bloggers on the net, last week I walked around Balboa Park in San Diego and got inspiration from flower colors I saw there.
    I have learned to looked with eyes open.

  24. 26

    Deb says

    I cant remember ever being in a creative slump. Maybe a “I dont feel like quilting” slump, but it usually doesnt last long! I get inspired by techniques, (I want to try EVERYTHING) and others quilts, a pattern I might see that intrigues me, but has ugly (to me) colors, and I start thinking about how else it could be done, nature, too many things, because there is not enough time in the universe for me and my ideas and the things I want to do with fabric!

  25. 27

    Caryl W says

    Judy….I get inspired by reading blogs like yours, following quilt alongs online, flickr groups, my quilt group, magazines, quilt books…it seems like there is inspiration wherever you turn. 🙂
    Caryl W in San Diego

  26. 28

    Cynthia H., El Cerrito, CA says

    Where DON’T I find inspiration…a quilt top inspired by the colors of my pets + red. Another inspired by the colors of green in a winter garden (a survivor garden, very sad-looking, but lots of greens), the neutrals of soil/fence, the sky (whether blue or overcast), and a lone rose on a rosebush. A quilt for Haiti Quake Relief: I had a container of pre-cut bricks which finish at 3″ x 6″. I pulled lights and darks but didn’t put food fabrics, animal fabrics, or other culturally questionable fabrics into the quilt. It was plain, as requested, but still had life in it. A life of optimism.

    Any day now, someone will no doubt make a quilt based on photos of The Chicken Girls and their castle, their ramp, and the grasses of summer/snows of winter. Those would be some terrific colors, too!

    And as to shapes to use? My motto has always been, “The more geometry, the better,” so I’ve designed and drafted my own quilts. No EQ; I’m talking pencil, graph paper, etc., or even less: rough sketch, calculations, and get to it!

  27. 29

    Bobbie says

    One of the best places is Patchwork Times. I am so ready to get in there and get to sewing after visiting there. And another place is just for me to look at my fabric in the sewing room and figure out which of the many many patterns I have to get going on. I also think that if “she” can sew most of the day, I can cook a good meal that night also. Thanks a bunch Judy. Hugs, Bobbie

  28. 30


    That is a great question and one that I’m glad I get to answer. I find my inspiration in my family. I’ll never get enough made to complete my list of to do’s. Of course my family has several extensions. Such as friends granddaughters birthday. Sister’s boyfriend (That one can wait maybe he will go away). But I make what appeals to me so they don’t get to choose. The pattern has to challenge me. Color does not concern me as they usually end up scrappy. shirley

  29. 32

    Candace says

    Inspiration for me comes from seeing completed quilts in books, magazines, some people’s blogs (you know who you are) as well as sometimes I just roam the LQS and fondle the fabric and listen for it to speak to me. I generally want to change the fabrics around to be something that I prefer but not always. Once in a while I will be riding in the car and see something out the window that causes me to think “just how would I go about recreating that in a quilt?” Thanks Judy for all your inspiration!

  30. 33

    Jennifer Collard says

    I get my inspiration from many sources, my children, friends and things we discuss. It all translates into color and form for me. I love applique quilts, even though the majority of what I do is piecework. My most recent designs are of snowmen and swans, from a greeting card and a book. But they are mine because I can’t and don’t wish to reproduce somebody else’s art. I use a lot of freezer paper to draw things out and cut it apart for templates. Never do anything the same way 2 times anyhow, so why not. Looking at any one thing always makes me turn into left field, so to speak and I’m off to get someplace else by still another route–like the time I went fishing with a romance novel and a camera. That quilt isn’t past the freezer paper stage yet either. LOL Great question, gives me something new to think about. Thanks and hope to catch that magazine! Jennifer

  31. 34

    Amanda says

    For me inspiration is everywhere. I love looking at pictures, finished quilts, magaazines and such. But, in January I was in Houston at the hospital with my then 2 week old grandson. I found some inspirations there oddly enough! The carpet in the halls was amazing. The designs painted on the walls were eye catching! Just to share a couple! Oh, and by the way my grandson is doing wonderful! He’s a little chubby, very happy and healthy 2 1/2 month old!

  32. 35


    Fabric itself is my biggest inspiration. But inspitation is everywhere. Sometimes I just walk behind someone who is wearing a nice shirt and I find myself thinking: that shirt could just as well be a short sleeved shirt, maybe I can also use the pockets…. Aarch, I do not know this person; I am not allowed to cut up this shirt … 🙂 Color combinations are everywhere (I am known for my secret photoshots of color combinations). Too much inspiration is a bigger problem than no inspiration at all.
    When I do have no inspiration I just pick up a UFO and work on that. It always makes the juices flow again.

    Thanks for an inspirational question!


  33. 36

    Carol says

    I find inspiration everywhere. From the internet, from quilt shop samples, from fabric, from patterns, from magazines and books, from blogs, from fellow quilters, from nature, from BOM, from classes, from quilt shows, from man-made designs, products and structures, from novels and history about quilting, from learning about the humble beginnings of some of the quilt industry’s stars, from learning about the development of modern quilting tools and techniques, even rearranging my stash (“Oh, I forgot about that!”), etc. I’m just amazed by the how many talented and generous quilters there are.
    Some days I’m not opened to inspiration but when I am, the simplest thing can get me thinking. I just need to do something with all that mental activity! LOL. When I’m in a slump, I either take a break from quilting and let my mind rest or work on something simple.

  34. 37

    Sherry says

    Like most every one else, I’m inspired by pictures of other quilts,
    magazines and fabrics. I enjoy very much, trying to make a quilt out of black and white line drawings. Sometimes coming up with
    a different interpretation of what the designer meant. But I think
    my most favorite inspirations are mystery quilts. Not knowing what
    the outcome will be gives me great excitement in choosing the fabrics. I don’t think that there is a single one that hasn’t made me
    say “WOW!” Can’t wait to hear more about that magazine article

  35. 38

    okperi says

    I usually find inspiration when I am looking at a new quilting magazine or a new quilting book that I have. I will see a pattern or a collection of fabric that I like and then try to find the fabric or pattern I like to go with it. I have lots of inspirations, just trouble completing them, lol. i also find inspirations from looking at blog postings showing finished quilts or ones in the works.

  36. 39


    I’m NEVER lacking for inspiration although I do lack the time to make ALL the quilts I’d like to make.

    Where do I find inspiration? Books, blogs, books, traveling, books, art museums, books, books, and more books. While I don’t usually make quilts from books I frequently am inspired by the quilts, blocks, borders, and color schemes I see in my books.

    In fact I was looking through your new book again tonight.

  37. 40

    Dawn says

    I keep a binder with quilts that I have cut out from magazines because I like that pattern or color combo etc. When I am uninspired, I page through that binder for inspiration. Sometimes I find that the quilts that I previously liked the pattern for, I now like the color combo. I find that my tastes change.
    I am also inspired by the internet , quilt shows, and things I see around me. sometimes I think hmmmmm I wouldnt think to put those two colors together but I like it.
    My binder is my little quilt show. Who isnt inspired by a quilt show wanting to buckle down at the machine and create something?