Around the World in 25 Travel Quilts

I like to make travel quilts inspired by the destinations where I am going. I am sharing some of my favorites to inspire your next quilt project.

My 25 favorite travel quilts

Last Updated on 04/21/22 by Rose Palmer

My website is called Quiltripping because I love to travel, take photos and make quilts. I like to make travel quilts inspired by the destinations where I am going and then photograph the quilt on location. Since I started this blog, I have photographed and shared quite a few of my bucket list travel inspired quilts. I thought it would be nice to put them all together into one gallery for both quilting and travel inspiration.

Get inspired by my favorite travel quilts

“This is Africa” – Africa

I was fortunate to be able to visit Kenya twice within 9 months and I loved both experiences. Encountering elephants, zebras and giraffes in the wild has been one of my most memorable travel experiences. I will never tire of seeing and photographing the African wildlife in its natural habitat and look forward to going back again soon.

One side of this quilt is an African designed batik panel that I bordered with other African themed fabric. On the other side, I used a series of small batik printed panels that I purchased in Zanzibar on my first trip to Kenya. I photographed the quilt when I went to Kenya a second time as a volunteer citizen scientist.  Two lovely Masai grandmas are showing one side of the quilt. The other side is being studied by one of the giraffe’s at the Giraffe Conservation Center in Nairobi.

two Masai grandmas hold my Africa inspired quilt

A giraffe inspects the other side of my Africa inspired quilt


“Under the Midnight Sun” – Alaska, USA

Alaska is one of my favorites states in the US and I have been fortunate to be able to visit a number of times on cruises as well as in the winter to see the northern lights. Most recently, I also visited Fairbanks under the midnight sun, another wonderful and unique experience.

I had made this quilt top a few years ago but was not quite sure how to finish it. Then when I had a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska to experience the midnight sun, that provided my perfect inspiration for finishing this quilt. On the back I used screen printed Alaskan inspired panels that I had purchased in Sitka on a previous cruise to Alaska.

I photographed the rainbow side of the quilt on Chena Dome as part of my visit to the Chena Hot Springs Resort. The back side of the quilt was photographed in Ketchikan with my cruise ship, the Island Princess, in the background.

a rainbow quilt inspired by the midnight sun

the back side of my Alaska inspired quilt


“Gaudi Inspiration” – Barcelona, Spain

I like to search out interesting architecture in my travels, and for that reason Barcelona was a jewel. Seeing and photographing the colorful and undulating creations designed by Anton Gaudi was a pleasure. When his masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia is finally finished (scheduled for 2026), I will go back to see it again.

I used both definitions of the word “gaudy/Gaudi” to inspire this quilt. Gaudy – as in tasteless ornamentation.  And Gaudi – as in the architect Anton Gaudi known for his mosaic imbedded organically flowing buildings in Barcelona. The quilt was photographed in one of Gaudi’s most famous sights, Park Güell.

Gaudi mosaic inspired quilt in Barcelona


“Whoot Do You Love” – Big Bend, Texas, USA

My first visit to Big Bend National Park was in 1992 after I first moved to Texas with my family. I had a chance to visit again more recently and enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. This national park is also a designated International Dark Sky Park which means that when I was there in September, I could clearly see the milky way from horizon to horizon without any nearby light pollution.

This quilt uses some of designer Elizabeth Hartman’s popular quilt patterns. I used up a lot of left over swatches and pieces of fabric for all of the critters on both sides of the quilt. This quilt went with me to Big Bend Texas where I entered it into the Marathon Quilt Show (and it won a first place blue ribbon). I photographed the quilt with all its animals in Big Bend National Park which I thought was quite appropriate.

Elizabeth Hartman owl and forest friends quilt


“Brandywine Flower Walk” – Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania, USA

When the weather is nice, I like to play in my garden, and in my travels, I also seek out gardens for inspiration. I am fortunate that in the Brandywine Valley of Southeastern Pennsylvania where I live, I  have five beautiful public gardens around me. So it seemed natural to photograph this flowery quilt at Longwood Gardens, one of my favorite gardens in the area. The quilt is designed with many different Kaffe Fasset fabrics in bright shades of pink and yellow. Once again, I used leftover blocks to make the back of the quilt interesting as well.

shades of orange and pink inspired by summer flowers

close up of Brandywine Flower Walk quilt

the back of the Brandywine Flower Walk quilt


“Burano Sampler”- Burano, Italy

I love to visit Venice, but I love the little island of Burano in the Venetian Lagoon even more. During the day, Burano is busy with tourists, but early morning and late at night, it becomes blissfully quiet and you have the candy colored houses and canals practically to yourself.

This quilt was inspired by the many little colorful houses on Burano with their striped door coverings and colorful flower pots. For the other side of the quilt I used the leftover blocks in an asymmetric modern setting.

back of Burano Sampler Quilt


“Kaleidoscope” – Burgundy Canal, France

One of my most amazing travel experiences was a barge cruise on the Burgundy Canal in France with European Waterways. This was the epitome of slow travel in style while being pampered and catered to. The trip was a perfect balance of sightseeing, delicious food and wine combined with plenty of down time to relax.

Though not inspired by my travels, I thought that the colors in this kaleidoscope design would look good against the blue and cream colors of the La Belle Epoque barge. This was the first quilt I ever made about 20 years ago and when I look at this first quilting attempt, it looks very amateurish, but I still like it.

kalaidescope quilt


“California Dreamin’ ” – California, USA

There are so many different aspects to California and there is so much to see that I know I have barely touched the surface with my visits to this wonderful state. Still, when you say the word California, it inevitably conjures up images of sun drenched beaches, rolling surf, and a road trips on California State Route 1.

The shades of gold and yellow combined with various shades of blue remind me of the sun and sea on the California coast. I photographed this quilt on the rocky shores of the Monterey Peninsula when I visited the area to take a quilting class with Empty Spools Seminars.


“Aspen Glow” – Colorado, USA

Each fall, my husband and I like to do an autumn trip in search of peak leaf color. Our travels normally take us into the northeastern parts of the US, but we actually had the best fall color experience in Colorado. On our 10 day Colorado road trip we saw beautiful stands of golden aspens at their peak color every day.

I wanted to make a quilt inspired by the colors of the aspen trees in fall, and this quilt really took me out of my comfort zone. I normally gravitate toward bright colors with lots of blues and reds. But for this fall trip to see the golden aspens in Colorado, I needed similar colors in a quilt – which meant golds, grey’s and whites.

In the end I really loved how this quilt turned out and it has become one of my favorites. A lesson learned – I need to experiment with fabrics and colors outside of my usual pallet. Once again, I used leftover fabric and blocks to make an interesting patchwork back.

Aspen Glow quilt in a grove of golden aspens

Aspen Glow quilt front

Aspen Glow quilt back


“My Bohemian Princess Quilt” – Germany

I am of German heritage and when I think of Germany, I think of castles (and beer). Mad King Ludwig’s fairy tale like castle Neuschwanstein inspired Walt Disney’s real fairy tale caste in Disneyland.

For my Germany inspired quilt I wanted whimsical fabric worthy of a fairy tale, and a couple of charm packs from fabric designer Tula Pink fit the bill.  As I like to do, I also made the back interesting. I photographed the front of the quilt at the Hohenschwangau Castle which was King Ludwig’s boyhood home. The back of the quilt was photographed at the ruins of the Ehrenberg castle just across the border in Reutte Austria. I think this quilt turned out perfect for a little princess.

My Bohemian Princess Quilt front

My Bohemian Princess Quilt back


“Turkish Delight” – Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is another one of my favorite cities. With 1500 years of history and architecture, great food and friendly locals, what’s not to love. To design a quilt inspired by my Istanbul travels, I looked for fabrics that were designed and inspired by Turkish Iznik tiles and this quilt is my interpretation of a Turkish Iznik tile. For the back, I once again used the leftover fabrics to make a pleasant pattern.

I photographed the quilt at the Topkapi Palace Harem, one of the most interesting and popular sights in Istanbul.

Turkish delight quilt front

Turkish delight quilt back

“I’m Turning Japanese” – Japan

Japan is one of my favorite countries to visit and I was fortunate to be there three times during three different seasons (summer, fall and winter), including a visit to the great Tokyo International Quilt Festival.  Despite so many visits, I still feel like I have so much still left to see and experience in this culturally rich country. I like the order, cleanliness and punctuality in Japan and the graciousness and politeness of its people. These characteristics make it very easy and pleasant to be a tourist.

For my Japanese inspired quilt, I used an Oriental themed printed panel which I turned into a kimono design. Japanese themed fabrics are popular for quilting, so it was not hard to find some to coordinate. I photographed the quilt in one of the many Japanese gardens in Kyoto during peak fall color change.

I'm Turning Japanese quilt

I'm Turning Japanese quilt up close

“My Bedouin Desert Blanket” – Jordan

The big draw for me to visiting Jordan was the historic site of Petra where we spent two days. But I discovered that there was so much more to see in Jordan. It is a small country, but it is rich in history and scenic sights. And the people were incredibly warm and welcoming. I especially enjoyed our overnight stay in the deserts of Wadi Rum.

My quilt was inspired by the striped patterns of the blankets and carpets that the Bedouin people make as well as by the colors of a desert sunset. I photographed the quilt in the Wadi Rum desert of Laurance of Arabia fame, among other places.

My Bedouin Desert Blanket quilt front

My Bedouin Desert Blanket quilt front


“Not your Grandfather’s Herringbone” –  London, England

London is one of my favorite cities to visit and fortunately it is often a layover stop on the way to other destinations in Europe. Any season throughout there year, I have always found something fun and interesting to do in London, especially in December when London is decked out for the holiday season.

This herringbone quilt pattern seemed appropriate for a United Kingdom inspired quilt, but I wanted to update it a little bit. Inspired by the brightly colored houses in the Notting Hill area of London, I used a rainbow collection of solids set against a light gray background. (Grey for the usual grey London skies). I also used some of the leftover fabric on the back as well to make it more interesting. Of course, I had to photograph the quilt in Notting Hill.

Not Your Grandfather's Herringbone quilt front

Not Your Grandfather's Herringbone quilt front


“Sunset on the Mesa” – Utah, USA

The US southwest is a wonderful tapestry of rock formations and diverse geology. Nowhere is that more evident than in the state of Utah and its National Parks. One of my favorite parks is Arches, where mother nature has sculpted a fantastic landscape of rock skyscrapers, arches and canyons.

This quilt is inspired by the colors and shapes of the southwest. Since I finished it I have not had a chance to visit that part of the country, so a good friend of mine photographed the quilt for me at Arches National Park within view of the iconic Delicate Arch.

Sunset on the Mesa quilt


“Dutch Treat” – Netherlands

I enjoyed my visit to the Netherlands at the end of summer. The canals and buildings in Amsterdam were interesting and the town of Bruges was fun and quaint to explore. But what I really want to see are the tulip fields in spring and the Keukenhof Garden filled with a tapestry of flowers. Till then, I photographed this quilt made up of windmill blocks with the tulips at Longwood Gardens.

Dutch Treat quilt


“Quilter on the Orient Express” – Orient Express

For our 30th wedding anniversary, my husband and I treated ourselves to a train trip on the legendary Orient Express from Venice to London. It was one of the most memorable and special experiences we have ever had. To remember this trip, I made a quilt inspired by the royal blue and gold colors of the Orient Express carriages and trimmed the quilt with the colors of the mahogany wood paneled interiors. Every time I look at this quilt, I am reminded of our special anniversary trip.

Quilter on the Orient Express quilt


“I Love Paris in the Springtime” – Paris, France

Sometimes a fabric just speaks to me and I have to have it. That is how I felt about this Paris themed panel. Ultimately I decided to make a design that looked like a window looking out at the Eiffel Tower  with “stained glass” panels on either side.

Whenever I hang up this quilt it always makes me smile and reminds me of my trips to Paris and brings to mind my many memories of the Eiffel Tower.

Of course, I had to photograph it with the icon that it represents.

I Love Paris in the Springtime quilt

Close up of I Love Paris in the Springtime quilt


“Mama the Llama” – Peru

Our trip to Peru was a top-of-the-bucket list trip. We spent two and a half weeks touring most of the major sights in this beautiful country and had many truly memorable experiences.  The trip was capped off with a tour of Machu Pichu and it was definitely worth the anticipation.

For this trip, a quilt with llamas was appropriate so I used Elizabeth Hartman’s llama pattern. For the back side of the quilt I was inspired by the colorful woven Peruvian blankets. I also used fabric that was inspired by Peruvian weaving designs. I was fortunate that a little llama was quite happy to pose with my quilt.

Mama the Llama quilt front

Mama the Llama quilt back


“Cascade” – Rogue River, Oregon, USA

Oregon is another one of my favorite states. It is also where I did my first overnight rafting trip on the Rogue River. 

While I did not make a quilt specifically for the rafting trip, I knew that one of the first quilts I ever made would be perfect to photograph on the trip. This quilt is a bargello design made with 20 different fabrics and to me looks like a mini waterfall. I decided to photograph it at one of the waterfalls we hiked to on the rafting trip.

Cascade bargello quilt


“In Chihuly’s Garden” – Seattle, Washington, USA

I love the work of master glass artist Dale Chihuly and always look for Chihuly’s works and exhibits when I travel.  When I made this quilt, it reminded me of some of the fanciful glass pieces that Chihuly usually exhibits. It made sense therefore to photograph the quilt in the Chihuly Garden on one of my visits to Seattle. For the back of the quilt I used the same shades of red, pink, orange and yellow batik and cut out a section and turned it upside down.


“Fractured Peaks” – Trento, Italy

I made this quilt for fun, not necessarily with any specific destination in mind. However, when I had a trip planned to Trento, Italy, I felt that was a good location to photograph it. The jagged design reminded me of the dolomite mountains in Italy, which is where Trento is located.

I photographed both sides of the quilt at the Buoconsiglio Castle Museum in Trento where the colors of the fabric perfectly picked up the colors of the marble and frescoes. I used leftover blocks to make a zig zag modern looking design for the back.

Fractured Peaks quilt back

“Falling in Love With Venice” – Venice, Italy

Before my first trip to Venice, a friend who had once lived in Italy told me “you will fall in love with Venice” and she was right. My husband and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in Venice and to commemorate that, I made this quilt inspired by the square floor tiles I saw in many of the old buildings. The blues are a nod to the blue and white striped shirts worn by the gondoliers. The red border is a marbled pattern, similar to the marbled paper that Venice is known for. The quilt was photographed on one of the many bridges in Venice.

Falling in Love With Venice Quilt front


“In Honor of Valor” – Washington DC, USA

When I made this American Flag inspired quilt, I knew I wanted to photograph it in Washington DC with some of my favorite memorials. Here I photographed it with the Women’s Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, one of the most moving statues on the Mall in DC, and one of quite a number of statues and monuments dedicated to women in the capital.

In Honor of Valor quilt


“Dutchman’s Puzzle” – Tualatin Valley, Washington, USA

I had not heard of quilt barns (or barn quilts) until I visited the Tualatin Valley Quilt Barn Trail just outside of Portland, Oregon. I later learned that there are barn quilts in all 50 states and in Canada. A barn quilt is a large (about 6 foot square) panel of wood painted with a quilt block design, and hung on the side of a barn or building.

As I explored some of the 60 barn quilts on display along the trail, I discovered one design that was just like the blocks of a quilt I had made. The Dutchman’s Puzzle quilt was a block-of-the month design at a local quilt shop. I was intrigued how different color combinations in the same pattern could make each block look so different. Of course, I had to photograph my quilt with the quilt barn block.

Dutchman's Puzzle quilt front


These are many of the quilts I have made to date. You can see all my own designs in this Quilt Gallery .

A big thank you to Cindy Carey of North Start Longarm Quilting who has done the quilting for most of my quilts and makes all my patchwork look so much better with her talents and attention to detail.

Thanks also to my husband who never gets enough credit for often being the location scout for the perfect quilt photo shoot.

I hope these travel quilts inspire you to spread your wings and travel and to expand your creativity with more quilting.


Other quilting related posts you may like:

Spice up your quilt back with these ideas18 Ideas for a Unique Pieced Quilt Back

A quilting class with Kaffe FassetMaking a Kaffe Fasset Quilt – Taking a Class With the Master of Glorious color

A list of the best quilting classes and retreats: My Wish List of Unique Quilting Classes, Quilting Workshops, Quilting Retreats and Quilting Holidays to Inspire Your Next Creative Adventure

A comprehensive list of where to donate quilts: Be a Quilt Volunteer – Where to Donate Quilts to Charity

An easy free Quilt Block of the Month projectTriangle Fourplay – An Easy Quilt Block of the Month


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sharing 25 of my travel inspired quilts