203: Sue Patten

Sue PattenThread Play

Get ready to have your socks knocked off! Sue Patten does things with thread and a longarm machine that no one else does. Sue is not your typical quilter. Her high energy and innovative designs and techniques tip you off to expect the unexpected! Sue started her quilt journey twenty-one years ago and has gone from self-taught, closet hand quilter to award winning, internationally acclaimed longarm quilter, instructor, designer and author. She has traveled around the world teaching the art of longarm quilting. Her trunk show offers a variety of quilting styles as she makes her way through the years culminates in her amazing embroidered quilts. Yes, they are made on a longarm.



Week 1

Sue Patten has taken the longarm machine in a totally new direction. She uses her longarm as an embroidery machine in a technique which she calls “thread play.”
Her work is free motion using variegated thread. Using her simple thread counting technique the she anticipates and paints with the thread as it changes color. This produces subtle shading as if you were water color painting. Gorgeous!



Week 2

Our introduction to Sue’s technique begs the question: Is this a whole cloth quilt? A thread art quilt is definitely one piece of cloth but it has a whole lot more thread stitched on it and less quilting texture than a whole cloth quilt.

Sue takes us through each step in making her designs, beginning with getting a design on the fabric and then right to the stitching by tracing the design with thread. Watch as the fun begins playing with the thread exchanges and see the design begins to come to life.

Short Takes on Longarm Quilting with Vicki Hoth


What do you do to keep your machine working smoothly? Vicki gives you the scoop starting with the all-important (and often overlooked) advice: oil your machine every time you change the bobbin. These machines are run hard so they need some TLC, but knowing the do’s and don’ts is important. For example, don’t use canned air to clean these inside areas but it is good for cleaning up your work area. Follow Vicki’s tips to keep your longarm stitching along perfectly.



Week 3

Now Sue Patten takes us to the most exciting part of her thread art technique: shading the design. Filling in the pattern she sketched out previously, Sue adds texture. The colors meld together. Sue shows how putting colors next to each other can change the neighbor color just as fabric color affects thread color. As for the area outside of the “embroidered” designs, Sue shows us a sampler of quilting designs to use in the unstitched areas. Sue then shares her surprising hint to soften up a heavily stitched quilt while it’s on the machine.