Meet Missouri Star Academy Instructor, Patsy Thompson

Our newest Missouri Star Academy instructor is Patsy Thompson of Patsy Thompson Designs. She is an expert in free motion quilting using rulers. As you scroll through this post, you will find some of the most beautiful quilts quilted and designed by Patsy! Get to know her a bit more and fall in love with ruler-work quilting in her class, Beginning Free Motion Quilting with Rulers!

When did you first give machine quilting a try?

In the year 2000. I had been a hand quilter for over 20 years, and when I would see machine quilted quilts at shows, I thought of them as “cheater quilts.” I figured I could quickly learn to machine quilt, and I was so, SO WRONG!! It was very hard and took me a couple years of what felt like endless practice! I am very glad I didn’t give up, though, because I love to free motion quilt!

When you started, did you first use rulers or are they something you came to use later on?

Oh, gosh, no! I had been free motion quilting for many years before I tried rulers. Back when I did start, there were no ruler feet for home machines and we had to improvise. Nowadays, the market is very much geared to the home quilter and there’s a ruler foot for pretty much any machine that’s available.

What advice do you have for someone just starting out with ruler work?

Get ready to have fun! It will feel very strange/awkward when you first start out, but stick with it and soon it will feel completely normal to be holding/moving the quilt and a ruler simultaneously. The learning curve for ruler work is much faster than for regular free motion quilting, so it’s worth giving ruler work a shot even if you’re a beginner free motion quilter.

What advice do you have for someone who just started machine quilting?

I know that no one wants to hear these words, but keep practicing, then practice some more. It’s all about putting in the time. I would also start with much smaller projects. There are really two very different skills you need to free motion quilt:

  1.  You need to learn how to control the quilt sandwich underneath the needle to create an appealing design.  This requires you learning how to move the quilt from point A to point B to point C to create the design, and also how to do the “dance” between how quickly you move the quilt across the machine bed and how fast you run the foot pedal.  This set of skills is best learned on small quilt sandwiches.
  2. You need to learn to handle the quilt from the standpoint of a mechanical engineer.  A quilt is big and bulky and has a weightiness that will always be pulling against you until you learn how to position it to avoid drag.  When you’re a sit-down quilter on a home sewing machine, you also have that small harp space to contend with.  I don’t think about any of these issues anymore because it is second nature to me how to position/manipulate the quilt as I work, but when you’re first learning to free motion quilt, you’ll really need to focus on how to overcome these challenges.  

Do you have an all-time favorite quilt that you have quilted?

I have two all time favorites. Both of them have some hand-dyed cotton sateen fabrics in them, and there is something about those luscious colors that thrills me as I am quilting! They both have a lot of ruler work quilting, and also lots of feathers, so they each have many of my favorite parts of quilting.

Where do you look for inspiration in your work?

Pretty much everywhere.  I am very affected by color, especially rich, saturated colors, so I generally find myself stimulated by colors I see in everyday things.  I also am aware of combinations of colors (i.e. colors next to one another) that I find pleasing.  Those combinations will frequently find their way into quilts!

How long have you been teaching classes and what do you enjoy most about sharing your skills?

I taught my first class in early 2002. A friend of mine talked me into it and I remember being SO nervous driving to the class, questioning how I let myself get talked into doing it, wishing I could somehow get out of it. By the end of the class, I felt so exhilarated by seeing all these students learning how to free motion quilt, that I never questioned teaching again.  The best part of teaching is seeing a student realize that he/she can “do it.” There is nothing like the thrill of being a part of that spark! 

What are the must have tools for ruler work you always have on hand?

A ruler foot that fits your machine, machine quilting rulers/templates, and either a plexiglass extension table for your machine or the ability to sink the machine so it is flush with the quilting surface. You’ll also want marking tools (to mark your starting/stopping points), a seam ripper, and I like having a short ruler (6-8 inches long) for any measuring/marking that need to be done on the fly.

What is your favorite ruler to use/design to make when machine quilting?

Arc rulers, for sure! You can make so many different types of designs with arc rulers, and the more curves you have at your disposal, the better. Arcs RULE!!

START MACHINE QUILTING WITH RULERS

What is your favorite machine quilting design?
Show us in the comments!

Winter Color Guide 2019

Dread the winter no more! Sure, the cold weather can put a damper on the fun things in life and those cold, messy snow piles all over the house can be annoying, but think about all the amazing things this season presents! Things like…

  • Classic Christmas movies
  • Hot cocoa and peppermint creamer
  • Crock-pot meals and hot casseroles
  • Warm, cozy quilts
  • Fuzzy socks
  • Christmas lights
  • and these beautiful color palettes!…

CLASSIC

BLACK // CHRISTMAS RED // MEDIUM GREY

Shown Here: Mini Tumbler Table Runner

A monochromatic Christmas is the perfect mix of classic and modern. It’s especially great for those with white Christmas trees! An easy way to freshen up the Christmas look without the usual red and green combo. A quilt in these hues draped over the couch or made into a pretty tree skirt is sure to woo your holiday guests!

COZY

TEAL BLUE // TEAL // CABIN

Shown Here: Simple Diamonds Quilt

Imagine yourself snuggled up with a warm quilt covered in these Earth-y tones, hands wrapped around a steaming cup of cocoa and watching loved ones open presents on an early Christmas morning.

I’m already looking forward to this moment, but now I can’t stop wondering how much better it will be wrapped in these calming colors!

ELEGANT

SAFFRON // JUNIPER // FIG TREE CREAM

Shown Here: 4-Patch Stars Quilt

Are you an elegant decorator? The one who only puts gold and silver ornaments on the tree and replaces the year-round kitchen towels for a fancier cloth? Places a giant poinsettia wreath on the front door and dresses in an array of creamy white sweaters through the season? If so, then I have a feeling these gorgeous colors are for you!

What’s your winter style?

Try These Birthstone-Inspired Quilt Projects!

There are some of us who like to feel connected in some way to the mysteries around us. Thus, we read our daily horoscopes and give meaning to our birthstones because whether they hold true or not, fate or folklore, they are a fun way to celebrate ourselves and our loved ones.

To celebrate our birthday this year, we wanted to find a way to set some meaning in stone… or quilt. So we’ve come up with a few birthstone-inspired projects!

Our birthday is in September, making our gemstone, the gorgeous Sapphire. Find your gem color and sew with us!

JanuaryGarnet
FebruaryAmethyst
MarchAquamarine
AprilDiamond
MayEmerald
JunePearl

July Ruby
AugustPeridot
SeptemberSapphire
OctoberOpal
NovemberCitrine/Topaz
DecemberTanzanite

Now that we’ve got the right colors, let’s start making!


Hexi Gems Quilt

Hexi Gems

Get your “mod” on with this insanely versatile technique from guest designer, Lisa Hirsh. The pattern includes a blank diagram of the quilt that can be enlarged so you can color and spec-out a creation of your own. The best part is this quilt pattern is a great place for your scraps to end up! Grab the hues you need, and get started!

Watch the tutorial >
Get the pattern >


Burst Block Quilt

BurstBlock

The Burst Block pattern is especially fun to use for birthstone memorabilia! The 3-D diamond shape creates life-like jewels exploding from the quilt!

Watch the tutorial >
Get the pattern >


The Gemstones Quilt

Gemstones Quilt Pattern

Create this vibrant quilt by filling it with different variations of a single stone, or represent several people whom are close to you!

Get the FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD >


Update Your Account For Birthday Gift

What’s your birthstone? Tell us in the comments below!

Meet Missouri Star Academy Instructor, Monique Jacobs

Monique Jacobs of Open Gate Quilts, is also the instructor of one of our Missouri Star Academy Online Classes! She teaches how to color coordinate and piece together beautiful quilts from just picking through the loose ends of your already-made stash. Learn more about Monique and then join her in Stash Busting with Style!

Have you always had an eye for color combinations or was it something you had to teach yourself to do/look for?

I’ll be honest. I had to learn. According to my mom, she had doubts about my sense of color when I was young. I used to change clothes at least 3-4 times a day and things didn’t always match. I loved trying different combinations and it was when I started quilting that I learned how to match colors. A lot of it was trial and error. As I was working with fabric, I would play around with it until I liked what I saw. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some quilts that weren’t great but I learned from those mistakes and the more I did the more I felt confident in my choices.

Tell us a little about your background – when/how did you first get into sewing and quilting?

I’ve always loved fabric. When I took Home Ec in high school, sewing was my favorite class. Both my grandmas sewed and made crafts. My dad’s mom made quilts and although I didn’t appreciate them when I was young, I sure do now! She used old dresses, curtains, whatever was available and hand stitched all the seams using a feather stitch. They are all crazy quilts and having to repair one, I know how much work goes into them!

I got into quilting because my sister-in-law mentioned that she liked quilts.  I looked at them and thought, me too! So, I took a class and that was the beginning!

Where do you find inspiration for trying new fabric and pattern designs – especially for using fabrics from your stash?

My inspiration comes in different ways. One, I will see a fabric that I like, whether in my stash or in the store and think, what can I make out of this? Or I see a pattern and adapt the pattern to my fabric. Sometimes, I will look at my stash and pull some out and think…what quilt can I come up with to go with this fabric? Truthfully, that’s how I started designing patterns, I saw all this beautiful fabric and couldn’t find a pattern to use it with. So, I started making my own. Same thing with designing fabric, I would see a pattern and think, what fabric could I use for this. Again, nothing would work for what I wanted to do, so I started designing fabric.

Do you have a favorite color combination to use in your quilt patterns and fabrics?

I love them all! If I’m doing a more traditional quilt, I tend to add red in and if I’m doing batiks or modern, I love purple. But, there isn’t much that I don’t like! 

Do you find yourself looking at color, scale and print in other aspects of life? (i.e. home decor, clothing, etc)

Funny that you ask that because I didn’t think about that until you mentioned it. Yes, I do. For sure, color is a huge factor in decorating. I like to have a warm, welcoming home but that doesn’t necessarily mean warm colors. I know what I like, just like my quilts and go a lot by what I’ve learned on how to put quilts together.

Take the class, learn something new, explore new color combinations and most of all, have FUN! Come back and show us what you’ve made out of your stash!

Start Stash Busting with Style


Enhance Your Next Project with a Hint of Red

You know it’s fall when the scenery changes from green to brown with vibrant hints of red. When walking along a pond bank, you can’t see much under the waters, but you can always catch a glimpse of the red koi fish. The red line of a rainbow is always the first to draw in your attention and there are many kinds of fruit trees, but only the splotches of red in an apple tree are able to be spotted from afar.

Red is a color of intensity. It symbolizes passion, love, strength, energy, and desire. Make simple colors pop by mixing in hints of this fiery hue into your next project!

Go Modern with Red, Black, and White

Red, Black, and White Color Combination

Placing a flamboyant color such as red next to the monochromatic shades of white and black creates an attraction like no other. It’s no wonder we find them used in road signs, advertising, and even nature as warning signals to predators. Just look at the coral snake… typically, my fear of snakes prevents me from seeing their beauty, but I have to admit the smooth black, white, and red scales of the coral snake have me mesmerized.

Check our collection of reds, white and black and create an eye-catching masterpiece!

Get Whimsical using Red and Teal

Red and Teal Color Combination

Take a look at that picture. Are your eyes drawn to the red or the teal? Not sure? Both maybe?

That’s because being just one spot away from being polar opposites on the color spectrum, there seems almost an equal attraction to the warm and cool shades. This color combination has a way of cooling down the red and warming up the teal so the two don’t become overwhelming, but instead just incredibly gorgeous!

Explore our reds and teals and get started on your next project!

A Comforting Pair of Red and Navy

Red and Navy Color Combination

For those of us whom live in the states, this patriotic pair is a comforting duo. Although, being two of the three primary colors, these colors together still create a powerful attraction for those all over the world.

Red and navy like to be dramatic, so find your favorites and place them side by side in your next project to create quite the fuss! Check out our tutorial playlist for ideas!

Use Red and Silver to Create an Elegant Look

Red and Silver

These two colors are classic. The essence of elegance. Red and silver are the way to go if you prefer a quieter look. Red can be loud, but silver will tone it down while still keeping it’s beauty.

Browse reds and silvers to create a timeless treasure!

What color do you pair with red?
Post a picture or tell us in the comments!