Hand Quilting an Antique Quilt – A Story of Serendipity

Life is funny sometimes on how the stars align to bring people together. This is a story about a two fashionistas, two quilters, and a pandemic, and how their lives connected to finish an antique quilt.

My daughter Molly is a hairstylist. A few years back, one of her clients, Amy Moore, was opening a shop for unique vintage clothing, Closet Karma. Molly picked up an extra few hours a week, helping merchandise for sale at the shop which, in her world, was heaven. Working with fashion and get paid in clothing! One day, the two were talking and Molly mentioned that her mom was a quilter. Amy said that she had an unfinished quilt that she would love to have completed. So, Molly called me and put us in contact. Within a few days, my daughter dropped off a project to add to my ever growing to-do list.

The quilt was beautiful, vintage, hand-pieced, basted and partially hand-quilted. It was a Dresden quilt in lovely 30’s and 40’s prints on a muslin background. It obviously had been made with love and was still in very good shape. But the quilting covered about two blocks and then stopped.

The backing fabric totally took me by surprise! This reminded me of a pair of bell bottom jeans that I owned as a kid in the 60’s! Wow! Judging from the fabric choices, this quilt spanned a few years! I found out later that the quilt top was done by Amy’s great grandmother. I was told that the fabric definitely reflected great grandma’s personality!

After a nice chat with Amy and set it in my pile of projects, not terribly excited to tackle this one. A few months later, I talked with a long-arm friend and we discussed just finishing the quilt on her machine, leaving the hand-quilting in place. I thought using a machine was probably the best answer. But again, I stalled out and didn’t go further.

There was a problem with the border. The quilter had spent laborious hours piecing a lovely, scalloped border. But when the backing was added, it was about an inch smaller all around the top, and the batting had completely disintegrated away another 2 inches in. This meant that either I needed to cut off the scalloped border for a clean edge, or undo the hand quilting and start over with the correct size batting and backing. And so, I procrastinated getting the project moving along for over a year.

Fast forward to the week that it was announced that all of California was to shelter in place for Covid-19 in 2020. I looked around my house at all of my unfinished projects and could not imagine working on any of them, due to the unnerving anxiety that was building inside of me. And then I saw the vintage quilt. Handquilting – that I could manage right now. Busy hands calm my nerves. Hand stitching grounds me. I picked up the quilt, grabbed some neutral thread and just began. I didn’t worry about the scalloped border problem or the tattered batting on the edges. I didn’t worry about what quilt design to use. I just looked at the quilt and followed what had already been started.

And so I stitched. And stitched, and stitched and stitched. For weeks and into the next month. At some point I was able to function again. The pandemic had become our new normal. I was able to work on other projects, so this quilt morphed into my evening project, until one day, I actually finished quilting all the Dresden blocks!

All that was left was the border, but that was a whole lot of work all on it’s own. By then I had had plenty of hours to think about how to tackle the problem. I noticed that one side of the back had a little extra fabric. I decided to trim off what I could, and add it to the other sides, so that all four sides would be just the right size. Then I very gently filled in the batting with new batting, trying to meld it into the old. This took a lot of fiddling, but it worked. Great. Now I can quilt the border!

And then, just as I thought I was on the home stretch, I realized that putting a binding on this beautiful scallop would be like a whole other project on itself. Ugh! I put an SOS out to Laura and all my other quilt expert friends to figure out how to tackle this. Everyone had great ideas, but it came as no big surprise, Laura’s made the most sense, and was the one I used.

I cut strips of muslin, which was somewhat close to the muslin background of the quilt. I made 4 strips, matching the length of all four sides of the quilt. The width of the strips was 2/3 the width of the Dresden blades from the top to the curved bottom. I carefully pinned, then stitched the muslin to the right side of the border, following the shape of the curves, and allowing 1/4″ seam allowance. This could be done on the machine, but I chose to stitch by hand. After stitching down one side, I turned the strips inside out, and gently pushed the curved shapes into place. The space between the blades was a bit tricky, but I clipped the corners and that helped tremendously. I folded under the raw edge, and blind-stitched in place.

The four corners didn’t behave so well with this technique, but I would have to write a whole other post on how I tackled that. You can see from the photo below, how the muslin strip becomes a clean finish to such a finicky border. Thanks Laura, for your infinite wisdom on how to finish this border.

Finally, the quilt was finished! I took lots of photos and then contacted the owner, Amy. She came and picked it up and we had a wonderful chat about the history of the quilt. It was made by her great grandmother, Florence Weir of Sioux City, Iowa.

As she left, I said to her, “Turn the quilt over and run your hand over the back. Do you feel the knotted stitches? Those are the stitches of your great grandmother’s hand. I bury my knots, and she didn’t. So you will always know which stitches are hers!”

Pati’s Paintbox

If you would like to see more of my busy hand work – I have an exhibit called Busy Hands Grounds My Spirit, at Bay Quilts in Richmond CA right now. If you are local, you can reserve a time slot online here to visit the exhibit and shop in one of my favorite fabric shops. They will be hosting a Video Chat with me on March 28th about my quilts. Follow them on Instagram for upcoming details – SFBayQuilts. I have also been posting some of the quilts on my Facebook page and Instagram account. Stop by and visit me on Pati Fried on Instagram and Pati Fried on Facebook

Happy March to all of you! Chat with you soon! Hugs, Pati

Promises and Possibilities for a New Year

2020 is coming to an end. It seems so appropriate to wrap up the last blog post for this year on the topic of Promises and Possibilities. This was the subject of the second part of last year’s exhibit, Quilting in the Garden. If you missed reading about the first part of the exhibit, scroll back one post or click here. As I mentioned in the last post, the exhibit was to celebrate the work that Laura and my quilt group had created under the instruction of one of our favorite people, Rosalie Dace. In this particular workshop, I think we pushed ourselves to a point of being a bit uncomfortable with our ideas and process. But that seemed to be where the magic happened. The final work is beautiful. Take a look!

Promises and Possibilities: Design in Action with Rosalie Dace

An in-depth study of the raw elements of design, namely line, mark, texture, shape, and color, and how to arrange and organize these elements into a successful composition or design.


Quilted by Kathy August

img_2340OUTSIDE THE LINES I By Karen McArdle

Paper collage, a tool used to quickly explore design ideas and compositional relationships, was used to generate these quilt block designs.  LINE, TEXTURE, NEGATIVE / POSITIVE SPACE & VALUE were the primary design elements explored in the circle-driven compositions.

img_2339OUTSIDE THE LINES II By Karen McArdle

Created initially as a small paper collage, the design was enlarged for graphic impact.


STRIPE QUILT By Tara Faughnan  

 img_2337IN AND OUT THE WINDOWS By Charlene Dakin

One window led to another and Rosalie was helpful in suggesting whether we were on the inside looking out or the outside looking in and encouraged me to keep making windows.  

IRONS By Pauline Pearsall

img_2415.jpgSTACKED VESSELS By Pati Fried

I spent the majority of this workshop pinning chunks of fabric to the wall, focusing more on the visual in my head and not the construction. It felt as if I was somewhere between painting and sculpting, not piecing and quilting. As the piece progressed, I became more and more open to possibilities and added whatever popped into my head at the moment.


COFFINS By Alethea Ballard 

SWIRLS AND KITES By Nikki Vilas   

The challenge was to play with design, lines and curves – No thinking, just playing and adding color to see what would happen.  

MORNING LIGHT by Dale Fleming
ANOTHER SUNSET By Denise Killingsworth

I hand painted the sky and then cut it into strips and flipped the pieces.

So there you have it. Another year, another memory and hopefully another flash of inspiration for all of our readers. I want to thank you for sticking with See How We Sew for these past 2 years, we truly do appreciate your dedication. We were not terribly prolific with our blog posts, but be assured, we are still here – and continue to love quilting and our quilting community just as much as you do. There are some exciting ideas percolating here at SHWS for next year, so stay tuned for some fun changes in our blog.

In another 8 days, we will begin anew with a fresh outlook on life, quilting and all the promises and possibilities in store for us at the beginning of a new year. Laura and I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Inspiring New Year. See you in January!

Hugs, Pati

Branching Out, A Year Later

I started this post a year ago, December 2019. Wow! That seems like a lifetime ago. So much has happened to all of us in this past year. Some good, some bad, some just downright crazy. It is heartwarming for me to look back at these photos and remember how blessed I am to have so many wonderful friends in the quilting world.

These photos were taken at Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA, on a beautiful fall day in 2019. The venue – Quilting in the Garden – celebrates quilts in a beautiful nursery setting, filled with autumn splendor and showcasing quilts from local artists, whose artwork is hung from majestic, old oak trees. It’s a weekend I never miss. Keeping fingers crossed that it will be on for 2021.

Our quilt group, which we so affectionately call, Opinions are Us, but as Grateful Threads for more serious gatherings, was invited to hold a special exhibit at last year’s Quilting in the Garden. The exhibit focused on celebrating the work that we had created with the mentorship of the amazing Rosalie Dace.

Charlene Dakin and Freddy Moran are also in our group, but were not able to make the opening of the exhibit. Left to Right: Diana McClun, Pauline Pearsal, Laura Nownes, Jennifer Sampou, Sujata Shah, Alex Anderson, Dale Flemming, Denise Killingsworth, Karen McArdle, Tara Faughnan, Alethea Ballard and Pati Fried. Carol Van Zandt joins us in the next photo.
I have linked to everyones websites in the caption under their work.

Gosh, I miss all of your smiling faces in person! This was a second photo taken with Carol Van Zandt joining us – she is in the middle in the blue blouse.

In a year’s time, Sujata’s hair has grown back into beautiful curls, Laura has welcomed a new grand baby and I took the trip of a lifetime to India (more on that later!). Other than that, we have been doing what most all of you have been doing – staying home, washing our hands, and quilting like maniacs! I get a bit sentimental looking back in time. Knowing that not long after this, our weekly group meetings would transform into zoom meetings, hugs would turn to heart emojis through text, and a rare meeting outside, would consist of two and not fifteen – masked and 6 feet apart.

So let’s go back in time, to read the post that almost never happened! The exhibit, featured two workshops we had taken over the past few years with Rosalie – Branch Out and Promises and Possibilities. I wanted to focus on the Branch Out exhibit today, and will post photos from Promises and Possibilities in the next blog post. 


Branch Out with Rosalie Dace 

Celebrating the beauty and diversity of trees, the largest life forms that ever existed.

by Jennifer SampouWHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS By Jennifer Sampou

With NATURE at the forefront of my mind everyday, I no longer behold it’s beauty and grandeur alone, as I once did. It’s BROKEN on the large scale, because of human impact. Worldwide deforestation is just one thing happening at an alarming rate, worse than we realize, especially when you dig in and look at the facts. I donate, make, educate, change habits, worry and speak up to increase awareness. “HOPE”, without “DOING”, means nothing. I am committed to action…What about you?

This quilt is for sale for $400.00, with proceeds contributed to the Sierra Club. Contact Jennifer Sampou at JenniferSampou.com.

img_2360RAINBOW EUCALYPTUS By Dale Fleming

img_2359-e1573100023791.jpgFIRST SNOW By Alex Anderson

img_2353.jpgFOREST LIGHT By Carol Van ZandtQuilted by Alethea Ballard

img_2352.jpgSETTING DOWN ROOTS By Karen McArdle

Images of my garden changing through the seasons symbolize shelter, home, family and the passage of time. 

img_2351PETALS AND TREES By Nikki Vilas

The assignment was to work with a color or colors you don’t typically utilize. Brown is not a color I am drawn to in quilts so I found a metallic brown I could live with and started playing.   

img_2350.jpgBARK By Tara Faughnan

img_2349.jpgCHRISTMAS TREE By Freddy Moran

img_2342.jpgRED RIDING HOOD By Freddy Moran

img_2348.jpgTREES, TREES, TREES By Diana McClun


A Tree with Many Branches By Diana McClun. Quilted by Alethea Ballard

img_2347.jpgI MISS YOU By Denise Killingsworth

My 300 year old oak had to come down two years ago. Imagine a 1.5 inch man in the branches and that will give you an idea how big it was.  I loved that tree and miss it. The sky is from a 20 year old hand dye from Dale Fleming.  I finally found the right place for it.  The tree is reverse appliqué.

img_2346POONAM (Full Moon) By Sujata Shah

I dream in colors, especially on a full moon night.

img_2343SHINRIN YOKU  (Forest bathing) By Charlene Dakin

My second class with Rosalie, Branching Out, was slow to start but after I pinned up tall trees and again Rosalie suggesting that I look into the forest I began to enjoy the journey. The rabbits dancing were on my list of future quilts and they seemed right at home dancing in the forest by starlight. 

img_2341.jpgILLUMINATION By Laura NownesQuilted by Sue Rasmussen

In class I worked on samples using Rosalie’s techniques. I was pleasantly surprised and liked the design that was created using the positive/negative shape of the tree. I used scraps for the small class sample. I didn’t have enough of each fabric to make into a larger quilt. I wanted to keep the original design but rather than change fabrics, I used the leftover pieces but had to fuse the tree shapes rather than use the original reverse applique technique. The end result was the same and the bonus was the unexpected inverted heart shape formed where the branches touch.

img_2416.jpgWELCOME HOME By Pati Fried

A beautiful, old oak graces part of a long driveway before you arrive at my house, with a warm welcoming hug. The branches of the Oak are gnarled and covered in moss and lichen. The background is a forest-like canyon filled with fractures of light that change colors depending on the time of the day. I am so fortunate to have this lovely friend to greet me each day. I wanted to share the joy this Oak tree gives to me.

The exhibit was called Branch Out, but when I look at this group of women, I can’t help but think of the roots of a tree, providing a strong base to support new growth, allowing us to flourish as we continue to Branch Out.

Love these women! I will be back next week with part two of the exhibit.

Pati Fried

Quilts, Trees and a Fall Weekend Outing!

IMG_2314If you are plan to attend the quilt show, Quilting in the Garden this weekend, (Sept. 28-29) in Livermore, CA – you are in for a treat!

Laura and I have quilts that will be part of a very special exhibit. The exhibit celebrates the work of a creative group of women that we are part of, Grateful Threads. We meet weekly to share, inspire and support our “quilty” habit. We chat, we sew, but mostly we embrace a passion for textiles and creativity.

The past two years we have had Rosalie Dace, quilt artist extraordinaire and inspiring teacher, visit our group for workshops. The quilts in the exhibit are from these two workshops. One of the workshops focused on trees, which seems perfectly appropriate for Quilting in the Garden, that feature beautiful, old California Oaks throughout the venue.

Here are a few snippets of the quilts that Laura and I will have in the exhibits. Just a teaser, to peak your interest. I will post the entire exhibit next week.

A little peek of Illumination by Laura Nownes.

A little peek of Welcome Home by Pati Fried.







And… if you are in the area – be sure to save time to visit

Screen Shot 2019-09-26 at 9.51.23 AM

More Info Here!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Pati Signature

Embroidery Workshop with Debby Schnabel

2017-09-22 14.29.58
Close up of Debbie Schnabel’s freeform embroidery.
The annual event, Quilting in the Garden, was held a few weeks back. Alden Lane Nursery in Livermore, CA. hosts this wonderful quilt show. If you have followed our blog for a while, you know that we have covered many of the past shows. It is a gorgeous venue of quilts hanging in majestic oak trees at a beautiful nursery, filled with fall festivities.

2017-09-22 14.39.34
Quilting in The Garden, 2017.
Quilting in the Garden also hosts classes the week before the show, with some truly talented quilt teachers. This year, Laura and I (along with a few of our quilty friends), were fortunate enough to take a hand embroidery workshop with the very talented Debby Schnabel.

2017-09-22 14.31.32

Let’s just digest that for a moment. An embroidery class, with a talented teacher, filled with classmates that were our quilty friends, doing handwork, at a quilt show venue, in a beautiful nursery, that just happens to be filled with massive old oak trees – on a gorgeous fall day.

Got that? Needless to say it was wonderful.

2017-09-22 14.29.21
Debbie Schnabel’s creative threadwork.
Here is a peek at some of Debby’s intricate work. You can see more of her work on her website at https://debbyschnabel.com.2017-09-22 12.35.13

2017-09-22 12.35.13-2

2017-09-22 14.30.25

2017-09-22 14.30.19

2017-09-22 12.42.51-1_preview

And here are a few peeks of the student works.

terri embroidery sampleTerri Carpenter, longarm quilter of Hello Stitch,  played with some improvisational clamshells.

Karen M sample

My table mate and good friend, Karen McArdle, took her project on a plane ride the next week, finished it up, and gave it as a gift! Lucky recipient!

Linda Lambert embroidery

Laura’s table mate, Linda Lambert worked on this whimsical little project.Alex Anderson sample Here’s the cheery piece Alex Anderson was working on.

File Nov 01

I decided to play with paisley’s and background texture. My 1st paisley was a bit lopsided, but I figured it out on the second one!


Laura made this sweet vine and berries piece. She was so inspired that she pulled out some of her favorite embroidery books. Any of these look familiar?2017-10-12-15-35-03

Some times you just need a bit of inspiration to look at an old favorite craft in a new light. Something you did 10 years ago may take on a whole new look with what you are inclined to do today. I know it really got the ideas flowing for me! I can’t wait to incorporate this in a new project!

Hope this inspires you to pick up a needle and thread and do a bit of play yourself!


A Look Back at a Year of Quilts

In past years, January has always been my catch up month. Not this year! I have been in a whirlwind since I shouted “Happy New Year!” a few weeks back. I have been on both a quilt retreat and an art retreat, met and spoke with 2 wonderful guilds at their monthly meetings, and then jumped on a plane to Mexico. As you are reading this, I am hoping to be causally sipping a margarita on a warm and sandy beach. Aaaah! Writing this post gives me a chance to reflect on the past year, and draw a few plans and goals together for me in 2017.

2016 was quite a year for me, with many firsts. I started the year out with a few days at Craft Napa 2016. I used the time to dig in to my creative side. I made a conscious effort to map out what was important to me, and permit myself to say no to anything that I had not enjoyed in the past year.

It was a great decision and made for a year of inspiration and adventures. I followed politics closer than I ever had before. I began speaking and teaching workshops to guilds. I was honored to be invited as the featured artist at a guild quilt show. I spent an inspirational month travelling in Italy. I made many new friends and reconnected with old friends. All in all, it was a glorious year. It is interesting for me to consider how my design work was influenced by my escapades.

Give Me Liberty


Give Me Liberty - close up
Give Me Liberty – close up


Finding My Way
Finding My Way


A Conversation in Color – Achoo! pattern


Holiday Table Topper – Workshop Sample


Tweaking Traditions – Workshop Sample


Continuous Braid – Workshop Sample

This last quilt is an interactive quilt, designed to be a quilt version of the Subway Therapy Wall created in New York City. It is a work in progress.

Wall of Words
Wall of Words

Fabric “post its” are being added every day by friends, family (or anyone that wants to contribute) and will eventually cover the entire quilt. Heartfelt and positive thoughts, quotes and comments have become the overlying theme of this project. I have a stack of notes to add when I return home. If it gets too full, I will simply make another wall!

Wall of Words - close up
Wall of Words – close up

2017 is off to a great start in my little quilty world. I can’t wait to share those adventures with you! See you soon!


My year of quilts: 2016

I can hardly believe that it’s 2017. And that it’s almost February! Sometimes I feel like life has a fast forward button and things go by in a blink.

I found a few themes when looking through the work I did in 2016. One is that I didn’t finish very many quilts! The other is that one quilt commanded most of my time, and it was worth every minute I spent on it. I’ve always been a big fan of applique, but never liked the time it took to needle-turn applique. I still am sitting on one needle-turn project that I started 2 years ago on my honeymoon!

Enter the Dutch Darlings quilt pattern from Cristy Creates. I had seen it pop up on Instagram a few times and when she called for pattern testers I had to reach out.


I just love how it turned out. Here’s a closeup of the quilting: I did this on the longarm and loved playing with the negative space.


Here’s my Meadow quilt (with a terrible photo) that finally got finished in 2016 also. This one lives at my mom’s house now. She saw it and loved it so I sent it home with her. I took the Meadow Quilt class from Lizzy House when I first moved to the Bay Area 4 years ago, and it sat in a little pile for years. Good thing quilting is not a sprint!


After all of the work on patterned quilts, I had to cleanse my pallet with a little improv. This first one is called Flower in a Square and I posted about it in on Darci Sews if you want to head over and read about it.


This purple quilt is the last finish of 2016 for me, and I challenged myself with this one. Purple is one of those colors that just doesn’t pull me, but I ended up with a lot of it in my solid stash so I gave it a go.


I really like how the quilting on this one turned out. I tried to move out of the lines made by the piecing and make the quilting improv-style also. I like where it ended up, but think I could have pushed it a little further.



I’m sure I missed a few, and I also quilted lots of quilts for other people this year, so this just a sample of what I worked on last year. One of the goals I have this year is to document my finishes more! Joining the See How We Sew ladies surely will help with that. I’d love to hear about your 2017 quilty goals. What’s inspiring you?

Here’s to a prolific 2017!





Our Top 10 Tips for Quilt Designs with Solid Fabrics

100qbThe 100 Blocks in 50 days Project sponsored by Janome and Michael Miller Fabrics will soon be wrapping up.  I shared lots of links and giveaway info about the project back in November,100 Quilt Blocks in 50 Days and soon after, Laura wrote about designing her first block Jigsaw Landscape Block. Our final three blocks will be debuting on the Janome Blog on December 16, 17 and 22, including free downloadable directions for our blocks, along with the other 96 blocks that make up this fabulous quilt! I will add the links to each as they are released.

2015-07-17 12.50.31
1. Laura’s Jigsaw Landscape released on 11/9/15    2. Laura’s Squared Block to be released on 12/16/15    3. Pati’s Two Blocks from One, Block 2 to be released on 12/22/15    4. Pati’s Two Blocks from One, Block 1 released on 12/17/15

Since you already have access to the instructions to make the blocks, thanks to Janome, I thought we might discuss some tips for designing with solid fabrics. Because most quilt fabric companies now offer their own signature line of solids, there are so many options available to us, that it can be a bit daunting to know where and how to begin. So, let’s do that – start at the beginning.2015-06-16 11.25.18

When the fabric first arrived in the mail for our 100 Blocks project, Laura and I had a tough time deciding how to ration out our stash. Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture Fabrics are, as you may know by now, some of my favorites. I love the saturated colors, the wide range of color options and the oh-so soft hand of the fabric, which make it really enjoyable to work with. But, it was still a challenge to commit to a color palette for our blocks. We were working at a cutting table that happened to be holding a  beautiful display of gladiolas. I looked up and realized that our color palette was right there in front of me in nature’s display!

Fabric inspiration

It’s not always that easy, though. So, read on for a few great tips. Once you have omitted the need to balance the scales of prints, you will see that you have opened up so many opportunities to new design possibilities! But balance is still the operative word. The balance of color, texture, proportion and warmth in choosing solid fabrics are a key part of your design. Here are our tips –  choose one or all, but be mindful of all of them as you work through your design.

Top 10 Tips for Quilt Designs with Solid Fabrics

Inspiration-Jennifer Rounds, Citrus fruit plate1.  Consider starting with an inspiration piece. This could be anything from a photograph to a ceramic pot, or a historical quilt. You are looking for something that inspires you emotionally, not literally. Draw from the color combinations that are used.

Selection of Solids at Wooden Gate Quilts

2. Be aware of texture, sheen and weave in the solids you are choosing. It may be a simple answer to choose from the same manufacturer’s line for consistency. But by mixing it up a bit in these three areas, you may be adding depth and interest to your final work. Check out all your options at your favorite quilt shops.


Vintage Cheddar and White Quilt3. Choose a minimal color palette to create elements with striking graphic design. Consider the one and two color historical quilts and the strong graphic elements that they evoke. Think of the overall impact of the finished quilt and don’t get caught up in focusing on just the individual blocks.



Salvege-Markings4. Choose a multi-color palette to create a dynamic and exciting overall design. Or as, Gianni Versace once said, “less is a snore.”  A multi-colored print is a great place to draw color inspiration from. Use the colored dots on the selvedge to shape your color palette. These are the manufacturer’s registration marks and are usually tried and true. Now, take a moment and look at the amount of each color used in the fabric design. Read on to # 5 . . . .

Close up of Achoo by See How We Sew5. Explore proportions. You can control the interaction of color choices by size and placement. Solid fabrics have a greater visual impact than prints. Manipulate this with the interaction of large and small elements to create drama and effect. 


Michael Miller Cotton Couture

6. Rely on the rules of color theory –  Just as with prints, be aware of balancing the amount of light, medium and dark colors you choose. You will find solids in every hue, value, tint and shade.Line your stash up in a manageable order by one of these categories. Move them around, tweak the order and placement. Make sure that they all play well together.

Happy Little Placemats by Pati Fried7. Be aware of saturated colors vs. non-saturated colors. Saturation offers wide range of impact and can also play an important role in the final results. Use a large amount of a strong color for a wow factor, or just add a sliver of an unusual color for accent or interest.

8. Combine warm colors with cool colors. Warm colors tend to advance, while cool colors recede. Think of designing a room in your home. Would you be happy with a completely cool, blue bedroom? Adding a lavender lamp to your bedside may give just the touch of warmth needed. How about a sumptuous red dining room? A slate blue vase might be the perfect accent to  offset the warm reds.

9. Add a repeating neutral to bring cohesiveness to the design-even if your neutral is red or turquoise. It will give consistency and flow to a busy design.


Let It Rain by Pati Fried

10. Consider negative vs. positive space. This could be a complete topic on it’s own . . .  but in short, use negative space to your advantage, allowing a resting place between solid color elements. This allows each element and color to be appreciated. I think of it as the difference between a photo collage on a refrigerator vs. choosing a few precious photos to frame and hang on the wall. Each is wonderful in it’s own way, but you are looking at the refrigerator as one big photo essay, and the wall as individual moments in time.


Congratulations go to MoeWest, the winner of a copy of Laura’s book, Quilts! Quilts!! Quilts!!!, third edition.  Laura will be in contact with you shortly to arrange shipping.

Laura and I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with peace, happiness and love. We will see you back here in 2016 for another year of fun with See How We Sew!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Laura & Pati

Quilts Stitched with Love: A Story with Many Chapters

Years ago, a close friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer. As most of us would, I just wanted to fix things. make things better. Do something. There wasn’t a lot I could do to help. I had just finished contributing a block for a healing hands quilt to be given to someone in my quilt group that was battling with cancer. I knew that I needed to make a healing hands quilt for my friend  Jodi. I like to think of this as Chapter 1 to my story.

I gathered her family and many, many friends and had them choose a fabric from a collection I had put together. They drew their hand prints on paper, which I transferred to fabric for raw edge applique. They also wrote notes filled with love and well wishes, which were added in later near each hand.
Jodi's Quilt close-up     Jodi's Qiult close-up

It was important for me to find a unique and artful way to display the many loving hands I had collected for my warrior friend. The hands eventually found their way into an unending circle with the notes of love weaving throughout their fingers.

Jodi loved the quilt. It travelled to chemotherapy with her every week, where she shrouded herself under it, like a big hug from all her friends and family. She is now 6 years cancer-free and the quilt now resides, center stage on her bed, continuing to cover her each night with the love of her friends and family.

Jodi's Quilt

Then there is a Chapter 2. . . . I wrote a lot about Jodi’s quilt and other community minded quilt projects on my own blog, PatiFried.com/healing-hands-quilt as I was working on them. During this time, I received an email from a reader, wanting to make the quilt for her brother fighting cancer. I happily shared all my tips and tricks with her. She created a lovely quilt for her brother and announced that he was on the way to recovery! 

Pamela Kersey's Quilt close-up

A few weeks ago, I got a call from Cynthia, who had known my friend Jodi for many years more than I had. “Pati, someone I know has just been diagnosed with cancer. Would you consider making a quilt like Jodi’s for my friend Brit?” she asked. Here was my chance to prove that a non-quilter could tackle this project. I answered, “No, but I would be happy to help YOU make it!” There was a long pause of silence, and then she replied, “But, I don’t know how to quilt.” I just smiled and said,”I know.”

And so we have Chapter 3 – Over the past few weeks, I have been coaching Cynthia with all the steps involved before a single stitch is placed. She gathered fabrics that she felt reflected her friends life and interests. She called out to family and friends to collect hand prints, notes, and fabric choices. She did a wonderful job. I loved watching the project evolve.
Brit's Quilt close-up

Now it was time for me to help. We determined the layout, tweaking the hands and fingers to give movement and flow. After fusing everything in place, I stitched around each hand with a buttonhole stitch. It was time to add a border. Cynthia said she had been looking for fabric that would reflect the time her friend spent in Italy every year, but couldn’t find anything. Well, it just so happens that I had designed a line of fabric years ago that was inspired by Italian pottery. I ran to the basement and pulled out my old stash – it was the perfect finish to her creation. Next it was off to the longarm quilter.

Brit's Quilt longarm

Kathy August did a wonderful job of quilting. The echo design in the quilting actually leaves an opportunity to add more notes if wanted.

Brit's Quilt close-up

In the center of the quilt, “B” for Brit is surrounded with well-wishes from friends and family. The notes are lovely and the hands have such creative and thoughtful poses.

Brit's Quilt close-up     Brit's Quilt close-up

Brit's Quilt close-up      Brit's Quilt close-up

And so, another chapter is completed. Brit’s Quilt is finished and has been given to Brit. I have received a few emails from her friends and family thanking me for my part. I am so proud of Cynthia for tackling this project. She did an awesome job!Brit's Quilt

I don’t know Brit, but I do know a lot of people that love her. I wish her good health during her journey.

Brit's Quilt

This is a photo of our muse, Jodi’s Quilt, from Chapter 1. It is now about 7 years old and still loved daily.

Jodi's Quilt

And this is the Chapter 2 quilt. The one that my blog follower, Pamela Kersey, made for her brother. What a lovely quilt! And what a lovely family!

Pamela Kersey's Quilt

On Friday, I am going to share a story of another quilt that was given with hopes for healing. It is a very special story involving our own Laura Nownes and her dear friend Diana McClun. They teamed up to make a quilt that has had an incredible journey. I can’t wait to share the story with you!


We have a winner! The lucky winner for Laura’s giveaway last week is Kathe L.  Congratulations Kathie! Laura will be emailing you soon.

See you Friday!