Jan 29 11

Fabric Give-Away Winner Announced, Questions Answered, and New Give-Away

Congratulations go out to Jan Hood, who is the winner of the most recent fabric give-away! Thanks to everyone who played and I hope Jan can make something neat out of those fabrics that have been languishing on my shelves!

This has been a weird past couple of weeks because of my wrist; it’s been frustrating to refrain from as much sewing/quilting as I would normally do. The last few days have been remarkably better, though, and I spent a big part of yesterday out of my splint. I’m shocked how much muscle mass I’ve already lost in my hand and I can definitely tell a loss of power. My goal for this week will be to see how much I can resume and build strength while avoiding a setback. Because I don’t have much new work to show, I’m going to answer a question with some photos so you’ll get some kind of “quilting buzz” from your visit here.  This photo raised the following question:

Debbie wrote:
How do you come up with your designs? Do you draw them out free hand or use a
library of different designs you have collected? Your stitching once again
leaves me wondering if I’ll ever be able to do something like this?!?!?! I know
practice, practice and more practice.

I’m stitching these designs out freehand, but it’s a lot easier than what you’d think.  Before I start showing you photos, I want you to know that I’m just like most of you.  I have no formal artistic training and I haven’t spent hours painting or drawing.  I learned how to draw by doodling with my sewing machine needle.  I found that for myself, the most wonderful things would emerge if I simply allowed myself the freedom to just play around with designs on fabric. This means going into it with less of a preconceived notion of what the outcome should be or will be.  Do I have a library of designs I’ve collected?  Yes!  I have a library in my head and a physical library of fat notebooks filled with quilt sandwiches covered with tons and tons of designs I’ve stitched out.  But really, the secret to innovative free motion quilting is that you just keep re-using and re-purposing the same designs in different settings.  The petal designs above are a great example; they’re swirls or curly-cues that flow from a slightly curvaceous “stem line.”  Can you see the similarity in the asymmetric feather below:

Here, you see those same swirls and all that’s changed is the structure from which they flow. Here’s another example:

In this case, the swirls flow from a circle which serves as the inner spine line of the feathered wreath. Same swirl designs, just a different substrate. And in this photo, a smaller version of swirls also flows from circular base, but in this case, it’s the wreath spine itself:

So, at least for me, the key is to keep finding novel ways to use design elements that are already familiar to me. The curly-cue or swirl is a great example, because there are 20 million ways to reconfigure it. If you can even get 15 minutes of free time to play on a quilt sandwich that doesn’t matter to you, go for it! You’ll be surprised how much more creative you can be when you have no expectation for yourself!

And now on to the next give-away spurred by my ongoing sewing room clean-out. I’ve got a set of quilt blocks purchased off ebay many years ago that are looking for a nice home:

If you would like to piece this quilt (the blocks are in good shape; I just didn’t take the time to iron them before I took this photo), leave a comment to this post by 11:59 pm (eastern time) Saturday, Feb 5, 2011. I’ll pay shipping!


  1. Shelley C Says:

    They would make a lovely spring/easter wallhanging!
    Your work is phenomenal by the way. Did I spell that right? Probably not…

  2. Billie K Says:

    Shelley’s right your work is phenoo….grin…beautiful.

  3. Elisabeth Kosnar Says:

    Sorry! My english is not perfect. I am a fan from austria and I try all the thing what you do. Can I send a photo from my last quilt?
    The tulips are beautifull!

  4. Marcia W. Says:

    Your work is beautiful. Sending prayers your way about your hand/arm.
    Please enter me into the draw for the blocks.

  5. Maria Nickler Says:

    I would love them!!!!!!!

  6. Alice Says:

    Patsy, glad to hear you are on the mend, but do take it slowly. We don’t want you to have a set-back.


  7. Marilyn Says:

    those blocks are gorgrous. What a great start to a girly quilt!

  8. Betty Green Says:

    Applique is my favorite form of quilting and I would love to have the blocks. The colors are really pretty.

  9. Elise Tuma Says:

    If I become the winner of these great blocks, I will donate them to my quilting group. We call ourselves “Bosom Buddies” and we make quilts and donate them to women undergoing breast cancer treatment here in North Idaho.

  10. Lori Ginsberg Says:

    Those blocks are beautiful. I can’t help but think of the woman who made them. I would love to honor her work and finish her project.

  11. Sally Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your wrist. Hopefully soon you’ll be back to cranking those babies (quilts, of course) out!

  12. Bev Says:

    Glad to see you are on the mend. Take it a little easy so you don’t have a setback. Blocks are lovely and hint at SPRING

  13. Sarah Says:

    I hope your wrist feels better soon! Once in a while I have problems with my wrists and it definitely cuts into the quilting time.

    I also love those quilt blocks! I’ve been looking for some things to practice quilting on! 🙂

  14. Carol Sc Says:

    Did you fall and hurt your wrist? — or is it from over use? The winding of the vines in the blocks gives a wonderful headstart to curlyques.

  15. Margaret Says:

    Hope you ease back into working.
    Love your art/quilts

  16. Ivory Spring Says:


    You inspire me. Seeing your quilting makes me smile.

  17. Rebecca Says:

    Pick me, Pick me! the blocks are lovely.

  18. Patty Says:

    The blocks are lovely. I’d love to have them for a quilt.

  19. Frankie White Says:

    What lovely spring like blocks, how would these blocks like to fly across the Ocean th England to be made up?.

  20. MoeWest Says:

    I’m glad to hear that your wrist is starting to feel better. Those blocks would make a beautiful spring project. Thanks for the chance to win them.

  21. Madeline Watson Says:

    Hi Patsy, I am such a big fan of yours. I just finished my second quilt which was my great grand-daughter’s crib quilt. I practised your wall board spray basting method (love it) and practised free motion until I decided to go ahead and do it. I did! Turned out okay for a first time project and boy was it fun. Thanks for being such a good teacher.

  22. Corine Levy Says:

    We have been snowed under here in Connecticut. If I had these blocks my quilt group would make a top for our local Audubon Center to sell in their gift shop for funds to help with bird rehabilitation. The blocks speak spring!

  23. Annette Says:

    Hi Patsy,
    I have most of your DVDs and seem to learn new stuff each time I view them. In fact, I bought a laptop computer for my sewing room so I can watch the DVD and practice with my “instructor.” I love your beautiful and inspiring quilting techniques and designs — and the spring blocks are beautiful. I hope I win them.

  24. Rose Landon Says:

    Hi Patsy,
    You are such an inspiration to me and have ventured into the world of machine quilting and love it. While I still need lots of practice I am forging on. I would love to win the blocks (who wouldn’t). Hope you are in full swing sooon!! 🙂

  25. Karen Berkey Says:

    Hi Patsy,
    Glad to hear you are able to do a few thing. I love looking at your quilting and the bright colors you use. I have all your CD and try looking at them when time permits. The tulip are great looking and I would love to have them. Thank you for all the inspiration.

  26. Pamela Says:

    Dear Patsy,
    Sorry to hear about your arm must be so frustrating for. I have quite a few of your cd’s and ask Patsy really helped me to finish off my latest quilt. It was for a competition and was a pictorial quilt I used your no binding technique and I am so pleased with it as it would not have looked right with borders or binding. Thanks so much for those hints.The quilt blocks are definately what I would say are Patsy colours. Cheers Pamela in Oz.

  27. Pat Minnick Says:

    There are blocks like the ones you have in a book I received many years ago from my husband’s grandmother. They would be a lovely addition to our home.

  28. Jodi Scaltreto Says:

    I love the colors of the flowers in those blocks!!

  29. Sandi Watters Says:

    A wonderful taste of spring right in the middle of winter blizzards, is what these blocks are! Glad you’re feeling better and as mentioned before, DON’T OVERDO!!! : )

  30. Terrie Says:

    Our quilting group would love to win your lovely blocks to make into a lap quilt for those undergoing chemo for breast cancer at our local hospital. Thanks for the opportunity to win those quilt blocks!

  31. Michelle Eacret Says:

    These quilt squares just jump out to me….as tulips are my favorite flower! I’d much rather get a bunch of tulips than roses anyday. I can see alot of possibilities with those squares… I love your work!!!!

  32. Roberta Says:

    I could find a place for those blocks. I see a spring wallhanging or a lap quilt for a friend just waiting to be made.

  33. Evelene Sterling Says:

    Wow they are so cute and do remind me of spring.

  34. Sheila Hixon Says:

    I would love to stitch these blocks they are sweet and make a lovely spring WH.

  35. Lori Kinney Says:

    Just beautiful work you do ! love the patterns you created!

  36. Barbara Says:

    Love your work, and the color!!! I’m in awe.
    Hope to learn more from your site

  37. Pamela Says:

    Dear Ernie and Patsy, congratulations on your 20th anniversary. I love watching your dvd’s that you produce together and watch right through to the very end because of Ernies quirky sense of humour. It is obvious when you watch these dvd’s the depth of love and affection between the both of you as well as the knowledge that although you are both working hard to achieve work of such excellent quality that you both thoroughly enjoy what you do together. I reckon (very Australian expression) that your fellow quilters are lucky to have the Thompson/Bode team because the joy,love and enthusiasm you give to your quilting business to a very large extent is due to the happiness of your relationship. I hope that you will have many more years of marital bliss together. cheers Pamela

  38. Sue Goodin Says:

    Oh how I would love to win these blocks.

  39. Marjory Says:

    Congratulations Patsy and Ernie! My husband and I have been married for 23 years, so we are in the same neighborhood. I would love to win the $50.00 gift certificate from such a wonderful, local quilter. We are not celebrating much today, as my mom is in rehab and not doing well, but a gift cetificate to your great site would be such a nice Valentine’s treat.