Inspired by | The Last Runaway

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Happy Tuesday! Can you believe that it’s already May 10th? Time for a new Inspired by!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material) and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th, when we show you and each other our creations.

This month’s theme

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: The Last Runaway

It has been a while since we read a book for Inspired by! Tracy Chevalier’s books have come up as a possible theme before and this time we decided to go with it!

Tracy Chevalier is famous for her book ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’. I didn’t want to pick that one, so I choose ‘The Last Runaway‘ instead. The pick was totally random: it’s the first one that comes up when I search for Tracy Chevalier in my local library’s catalogue and the readers had given it 5 stars. I didn’t even read what it was about!

When I actually read the description I was worried that the story would be too heavy for Inspired by, but Riikka said it would be fine. Riikka had already read books by Chevalier before… but I hadn’t, so I didn’t know what I was in for!

I read the book whilst on vacation. It turned out to be the perfect vacation read!

I liked the book a lot. It was an easy read and the story was quite light considering the theme. I expected more drama, more depth… I kept waiting for a twist or a turn, but it just didn’t happen. The leading lady seemed too sensible, the whole story seemed a little tame and the ending certainly seemed rushed to me.

That said: Tracy Chevalier is really good at setting a scene and describing everything to the details. You can just ‘see’ the quilts the main character Honor Bright quilts and the bonnets that are made at the milliner’s shop!

The project

Quilts are mentioned first on page 1 of the book. I took a mental note just there, but little did I know that the quilts would be a thread throughout the book.

The further I got into the story, I knew that those quilts were going to be my inspiration.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: The Last Runaway

I was especially interested in the Star of Bethlehem pattern and I thought I could create something like that on paper.

My first thought was that it would be cool to make it out of paper that ‘meant’ something to me. Like scraps of scrapbook paper that I had used on other projects. Only thing is: I do not keep any scraps… Not of scrapbook paper. What I do keep are endless supplies of gelliprinted papers. So I dove into that pile and I even found some odd bits and pieces to collage.

Now for the pattern. I knew I had to have quite a few diamond shapes. So I dug out my Silhouette machine and started to cut diamond shapes. That didn’t work… You need a diamond shape of a precise lenght and width to be able to create the star. It took me hours to get it right! In the end I copied a page from a quilt book from the library. I altered the image in Illustrator and then I was finally able to cut it with the Silhouette.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: The Last Runaway

The pattern came along nicely. But once I had every piece glued down, I thought there was something missing. So I decided to doodle the Running Feather Stitch on top of it. This is the quilting stitch the main character of the book is supposedly known for.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: The Last Runaway

It still didn’t look right to me though… There wasn’t enough depth. It looked like a background for a scrapbook page. But it was far to busy for a scrapbook page. Where was I heading with this?

Then last night, when I was supposed to be sleeping, I thought: beeswax. I have no idea where that came from! Funnily enough it is actually mentioned in the book, because the main character keeps it in her sewing box and uses it on her quilting thread.

So that’s what I did this morning… I added melted beeswax. And some collage-elements while I was at it. And some scribbles. And… now I think it’s done!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: The Last Runaway

It’s hard to capture the vibrancy of this page. Photos do not do the neon colours any justice!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: The Last Runaway

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: The Last Runaway


This was fun! It was frustration too… But it was fun! Reading is my ‘first love’, so drawing inspiration to create something from a book is always such a treat!

Now… I’ve kept you for far too long! Go and see what Riikka has made this time! I have a feeling it’s inspired by quilting! ;-)

2 thoughts on “Inspired by | The Last Runaway

  1. Love the vibrant colors you used and especially those doodled stitches! So stunning!
    It’s fun how this time we used same facet of the same source! It’s also fun that you went with that pattern and “Honor” style – using a template and using little pieces to make a bigger pattern!

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