When life gives you lemons, draw ‘em – and then make a quilt from your drawing!

sue beevers headshotSue Beevers

By: Sue Beevers – QCN
Date: 02/25/2010


“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” 

It’s a silly saying that basically tells everyone to make the best of what they’re given.  Not a bad idea, but personally, I have a better idea:  “When life gives you lemons, draw ‘em – and then make a quilt from your drawing!” 


In other words, take what’s at hand, and see the possibilities for creativity and joy.  Don’t want to draw?  That’s fine.  Perhaps the lemon’s shape will give you inspiration, or the texture of the skin.  Even the lovely lemony color is a great place to start.  Don’t have a lot of yellow in your fabric stash?  Get out your green crayon, and turn the lemon into a lime.  Not so fond of green?  Elongate the lime a little, and turn it into a sweet potato.  Okay, maybe not, but you get the idea.  Look at what you have, and then see beyond the initial image. 


Like many quilters, I seem to have spent my entire life exploring fibre-related media. I knit, sew, tat, crochet, weave, spin, make baskets – well, you get the idea. But sometimes it seems that the more you partake in an activity, the more you take that activity for granted. And the more you work in a particular medium, the more you take the limitations of the medium for granted.  As soon as you do that, you start to limit your creative possibilities. 


I love quilting and teaching. Traveling to a new place, walking into a new room and finding it filled with sewing machines, lots of fabrics, and lots of chatting folks is like coming home. I will never get sick of teaching a quilting class. Yes, I do love to teach a new skill, but my first love is to get someone to look at something that they already know in a new light. As soon as that happens, their creative juices start flowing, and I know that their quilting endeavors will reach new heights of creativity. Best of all, I know that they will never again run short of quilting ideas.


There are many things that I love in my life (my family, living in a rural area, teaching), but it’s the small things that make my life rich. Long ago, I began to observe how everyday things could be fascinating. I’d see the way that flower petals inter-twine, how the light and shadows on the petals change the colors of the flower, and that would become inspiration for a quilt.


sue beevers quilt

Click to enlarge quilt in a new window


An activity, such as walking in the woods can also be inspiration for a quilt. The quilt above is about the joy of experiencing an autumn day. New colors constantly emerge and disappear as my family I walk with the dog around our field. As we chat about the day’s events, we once again appreciate the way that our lives and the natural world are intertwined.


The sun seems to change colors as we walk, and the leaves swirl around as the dog races through the woods. It’s a magical time of year. People often refer to autumn as a time when trees and woodland creatures prepare for the winter. I suppose that’s true, but for me autumn is just another part of the Earth’s fascinating cycles.                                              


It’s as true today as it was so long ago; it’s the simple things in life that make me happy, and continue to inspire me to make quilts.

sue beevers headshot

Sue Beevers is a dedicated quilter, teacher and author. Sue’s books; Dancing Dragonfly Quilts and Off the Shelf Fabric Painting are available here directly from the publisher (C&T Publishing).

Leave a Comment!

Nationwide 24 Hour Phone Support
ms friends ad banner
With your support,
you can be a friend too!

Click for more info