It’s July — vacation time. When packing up for your vacation, make sure you pack your camera.

I usually forget that I can take pictures with my cellphone and have been trying to take more pictures using it. But whatever method you use to take pictures make sure it’s charged and in working order.

Traveling provides the perfect time to snap away so that when you return home, you’ll have those pictures to provide fond memories.

Pictures can also provide inspiration for your next quilt. Quilt shows and magazines are full of quilts that were inspired by someone’s picture. Beach scenes with children building sand castles, or landscape quilts of the mountains that were hiked. Your pictures are an incredible source of ideas for quilts.

Many quilt books are available with instructions on how to convert your photograph into a quilt. Teachers writing these books have many different procedures to ensure your quilt matches your photo or memory. Some are difficult to achieve, and some are incredibly easy.

Needless to say, some research needs to be done if you’re not confident on how to achieve the results you want.

One rule that seems to be included in all instructions is to simplify your quilt design. There is no way you’re going to include every little detail from the photo into the quilt. Trying to decide what will be included in the top and what won’t is where most quilters bog down in their design.

Of course, we want all the details in the quilt top, but it depends on your design expertise and quilting abilities. And as with all things worth doing, practice, practice, practice ensures your memory quilts will improve and turn out as you envisioned them.

The easiest way to preserve your photographs on a quilt is to just print the photo on special photo fabric using a copy machine and incorporate the fabric picture into your top, pillow, or wall hanging, etc.

This special fabric can be found in hobby and quilt shops. This process has greatly improved through the years. The colors are better and some can even be gently washed, without washing the image away.

The direct printing of a photograph is quick and easy, but most art quilters want to interpret their photo as an actual quilt. A quick search on the internet lead me to a site for Terry Aske Art Quilt Studio ( where she gives precise instructions on how to manipulate a photo into a photo that can be used to make a picture quilt.

Her instructions include how to use computer software to scan the photo and reduce the colors and values into a workable format for your quilt.

There are several software programs available to work with photos. The best would be Coral Draw. This software is excellent but not beginning user friendly. I use Photopaint. It’s easy to use and beginner friendly. Whatever you’re familiar with will probably work.

If you’re not computer savvy, find someone who is and ask them to help you. Quilters are always willing to help other quilters, so just ask.

Nancy’s Notions has a new book and CD available for landscape quilts, and Cynthia England’s Picture Piecing book is also very informative, although anyone familiar with her work knows she has a very precise method for piecing her art quilts.

Whatever method you use, someone else’s your one you’ve worked out for yourself, the satisfaction you’ll have in converting a photo you’ve taken into an art quilt will be well worth the effort.

Nancy C. JUDD is a Herald correspondent.

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