Photos to Quilts Pictorial Appliqué Workshop


My applique process is quite extensive, and I would suggest starting with a simple image for your first project. You will not finish the project in the time we have together, but you will be able to make a good start and you'll have the information you need to continue on. Please choose a subject matter that appeals to you, as you'll be working on the project for some time. Here are some examples to demonstrate which images will work best for this workshop.

I do ask all workshop students to email possible photo(s) in advance of the workshop to the email address on the supply list. This will avoid disappointment in a multi-day workshop if the image is not conducive to my pictorial appliqué technique. Humans, portraits, landscapes, seascapes, trees, and animals with definitive markings (i.e. zebras, butterflies, giraffes) are not recommended.
For additional resources on image choices, download this PDF: IMAGE IDEAS.


My process requires a full-size pattern, which we will create on the first full day of the workshop. Once your image has been selected and approved, a grayscale enlargement is required to make the pattern. THE SIZE OF YOUR ENLARGEMENT WILL BE THE FINISHED SIZE OF YOUR QUILT! It is best to work at a MINIMUM size of 30" x 40". For reference, my quilts (such as the raccoon below) are usually 40" x 60". There are several options for this step, which should be completed BEFORE you arrive at the workshop.

OPTION 1. I will provide a color-adjusted, grayscale enlargement of your image for $20.00, which I will have delivered to the workshop classroom, rolled in a tube, ready on Day One. I will need an emailed jpeg of your final image selection at least 10 days before the start of the workshop. The $20 fee is payable at the workshop, and highly recommended by students from previous workshops.

OPTION 2. Print the image in grayscale on your home PC printer in "tiles" and then tape the pages together with Scotch Magic Tape.

OPTION 3. Contact your local commercial copy center to inquire about having your image enlarged in grayscale on large format, plain, copy paper - usually 36" wide. The cost should be no more than say, oh, $20.

It is not necessary to have the enlargement in full color.
Please do not have your image "Posterized" for this class.
Please do not trace your image prior to having it enlarged.
Please do not trace your image before the workshop.
Please do not apply 'filters' in Photoshop or other photo editing software.
Please do not bring your image in full-color on your iPad, iPhone or other digital device. The full-color print of your image needs to be in a prominent place at your workstation and it's very difficult to pin an iPad to a foamcore design board.


We'll be creating our patterns on Day One. To do this, I trace the enlargement on to Canson® brand, exceptionally transparent, 25lb. artist's foundation tracing calque. I will have 36" wide rolls of the tracing paper available at the workshop. Please do not bring another brand of tracing paper or substitute. Once the pattern is complete, we'll be tracing large sections of the pattern onto freezer paper from the reverse side. Then the fun really begins on Day Two!


I'd prefer you select an image for which you have a variety of fabric options. For example, please don't select an image of a 'bluebird' if you don't have any suitable blue fabrics! We will be choosing fabrics based on the full-color print (4"x6" or larger) of your image. Be open to possibilities!

The key to my work is not how much fabric I use in each quilt, it’s about HOW MANY fabrics I use. For creating the face of the baby raccoon for my quilt “I Need a Nap,” I pulled a few dozen fabrics from my stash in colors similar to those in the original photograph. I included a number of unique, purchased hand-dyed pieces, some batiks, a few novelty prints and a lot of commercial prints – all cotton, and all about the size of a fat quarter.

Because I'll be fussy-cutting a bit from each fabric, my hope is that from a distance the viewer will see a baby raccoon, and then, upon closer inspection, be able to appreciate all of the different fabrics required to create that effect.


My goal for this workshop is to demonstrate a different way to create appliqué patterns. I can tell you for certain that once your subject matter starts to come alive before your very eyes, you'll be hooked and you won't want to stop working on it. What seemed impossible on Day One will open up every possibility by Day Three. Do you have to applique by hand? No. However, it is my preferred method of assembly. I've had students fuse, glue, machine stitch, satin stitch and piece together by hand. Actual construction of your project will probably not happen until well after the workshop ends. But, trust me, it'll be worth it. To see what some of my students have created, visit the Student Showcase by clicking HERE.


To download a PDF version of the supply list for the workshop, CLICK HERE.

If you have any questions or concerns, please use the CONTACT form on this website. I want you to have the best possible workshop experience!