Journal Quilts

Guide to Journal Quilts

Diaries have long been used as a way to express personal insight and emotions. Diaries are a place were people can let down their inhibitions and freely write what they feel. It is a way to deal with regret and loss. It is also an outlet for emotions. At times they are a catalog of events.

Journal quilts serve the same purpose. The Journal Quilt Project, started by Karey Bresehen in 2002, was open to members of Quilt Art. The purpose was to make one quilt page a month. The size was 81/2 x 11. They were to create quilt pages to represent life events, emotions, and inspirations, among other things. Some of these pages were shown at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. Since it’s inception the Journal Project has inspired quilters of all levels to create similar quilts.

What Are Journal Quilts?

Journal quilts are usually art quilts. Quilts that do not hold to traditional rules and materials. They allow more creative expression. They also tend to be the perfect medium to try new techniques, and to step out of your comfort zone.

What is the Journal Quilt Project?

The Journal Quilt Project was started by Karen Bresehen in 2002. It was a yearlong art quilt project sponsored by the International Quilt Festival Foundation in Houston, Texas. In this project, artist were allowed to create one 81/2 X 11 inch journal quilt page a month. Whatever they wanted to do with their creativity and inspiration. At times it can be an exploration of new techniques. It can be something very personal.

Why Make Journal Quilts?

Journal quilts can be great therapy. They are a way to work through feelings and emotions. They can be a memorial to loved ones. Working on a memorial piece allows you to work through feelings of loss and regret. Using pictures, mementos, symbols, and scraps of clothing, you can create a collage of their life.

New to quilting, learn how to stitch quilt borders.

Journal quilts can also represent recovery. Enduring a long illness, or terrible accident can leave feelings of anger and frustration, as well as the joy of survival. Use symbols, photos, hospital bands, and text. Stretch your imagination to create a piece that shows your struggle with an illness. Create a series of small quilts. Each showing a feeling about or phase of recovery.

Events are also a great inspiration for journal quilts. Important life milestones, birthdays, holidays are great topics. As are day to day activities that occupy most of our time. Gardening, work, and dishes are a few examples. Any event with meaning is worthy of expression.

Journal quilts are a way of expressing emotions artistically, in fabric. They provide a release of emotions, similar to diaries. Keeping these little quilts provides a time line of your life. It allows you to look back, and work through issues, feelings of loss and regret.


The Journal Quilt Project started in 2002. It has been a way for artist to express their emotions and creativity in fabric. It is truly a project that encourages thinking outside the box, and trying new techniques and ideas. These little quilts can be a great way to work through difficult times, as well as being a time line of your life’s events. The Journal Quilt Project is an ongoing project that allows you to work with your creative self, across many varied levels.

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