Dividing Space

When Small is about the Bigger Picture

When we play with patches, we are  building.  Using small pieces to create or repair  something larger.  Maybe even if it is just an idea.  But sometimes , if viewed from another perspective, we are actually  design mending, dealing with a kind of divided plane of wholeness, even if just an idea.  Although we often begin with small pieces,  put them together,  in  design especially, we may have envisioned , or even realized, a larger whole and then we break it down into  convenient (puzzle) pieces so we might rebuild that idea bit by bit.

The Magic 4 Patch

Personal Math again

This little 4 patch  puzzle piece is a good example of  the two ways I might view  (patchwork) design.  You might say it is four 1" squares.   Or you might say it is a 2"  square, divided.   It fits into both puzzles.  Somehow, although  classic seamed patchwork  is a way to build,  it just as intriguing as a system of almost infinite divisions.

Division here is interesting because it  creates smaller spaces, without taking anything away.  And there is more line play.  I like line.  Seams are lines. They divide space.

So we might divide a larger puzzle piece , a chosen space,  by using smaller puzzle pieces to build with,  and then we might also  use the cropping concept,  a different point of view,  to divide space again.  This is the alternative method I use to achieve tiniest puzzle pieces.

Poof, a patch!


JUST Talking...AUDIO-Smaller


The magic 4 patch symbol

This patch has symbolic meaning for me.  Especially combined with the  high contrast I associate with magic, but it is also  a symbol for time.  I developed it back in Sun Moon Stars, although it was just a loose stitched patch, later to become a puzzle piece. For me it is also a kind  of square circle.

So this patch seems to divide time and space,  which makes it quite human.  I imagine it tumbling though my next big storycloth.

Round and Round



  1. Sharon Koch

    Such a treat seeing how you develop a cloth vocabulary, creating your own symbols and incorporating them into the overall design… Naming the pieces… The worlds you create, Jude, seem so familiar. Somehow you teach us to re-connect with that inner child artist who lost her way when she felt pressured to realistically reproduce the external world and to let go of her intuitive vision. You remind us of what we’ve known all along and then show us how to continue that original “magical mystery tour”, embracing imperfection and chance. Ah, the joys of simple observation! Viewing ideas against a variety of backdrops. What does it look like upside down? Or side ways? Window cropping’s like playing with a homemade kaleidoscope. I’m especially eager to begin pairing multiple pairs of bits. SO freeing to play with smaller components! You’ve opened many doors with this post. Would LOVE to see what you do with clay!

  2. Kristin Freeman

    How I love to take small pieces of fabric and stitch along as I watch and listen to you. I am not making what you’re making, but putting together pieces and responding to the rhythm of your stitching, cutting away and making something new. The resonance of stitching together is cloth magic for me.

  3. Pam S.

    I learn a lot seeing your methods Jude! my method is a little different, but we still end up on the same path. 💙💠

  4. Shannon N

    “Cloth is like clay….” That gives me a whole other way to think about it. And yes, cloth is kind. Thank you, Jude.

  5. These ideas will be great for filling the center of my frame made with three inch squares. I was stumped when I realized a one-inch four patch was not going to fill it! (somewhat math-challenged) I thought oh, I’m going to have to make 1-1/2 inch squares, but I didn’t want to do that. So these ideas are much better, thank you!

  6. Anne

    I’m having such fun with all the puzzle pieces I’ve pieced over the last few weeks. Playing, discovering, growing, letting go and letting things be…
    Much thanks!

      • Dale Odberg

        I turned 70 on July 5, a few weeks before when watching you, I thought lucky me to see newness, thought about I would soon be 70, then realized I had almost completed living 70 years and although I would be 70 I would actually be starting my 71st year,,,or my 71st patch…thank you for everything, real fun.

  7. Joanne

    I am happy to have you back here with us. I have stayed busy but now I am interested in the ‘appliqué” method for inserting smaller patches. Love seeing the “cat mat”. I can see my dog pressing it to get to go out.

  8. Rita Hollingsworth

    I love “tiny”…I tried a half inch square…what a joke! My brain is willing, but my old fingers just won’t cooperate.
    With your technique, I think it will be a slam dunk for me to make those tiny guys. Thanks Jude!

  9. Leslie Alt

    Great way to start my Monday. Making more squares today. I have 3″ squares sewn together, ready to insert a center. Thanks for a great class today Jude!

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