Puzzle Blocks

Blocks are Puzzles and Puzzle Pieces too

Blocks are the basis for traditional quilts.  They become the next level of Puzzle Pieces.  Puzzles within another larger puzzle.  Blocks are often about repetition.  But let's free our minds from that. Think more about it as a variation on a theme.  Or even a way to expand on process.  again

some thoughts with morning coffee

some thoughts after morning coffee

Ok, so in the stream of consciousness thing, which always gets me rolling, maybe I reached to far.

So let me roll again...  audio-three

an old plan

because I love these

How it might go...

So I am building a block.  From a plan. But keeping my mind open. To the past and the future.

Let me talk, it's easier.

audio- Puzzling

when it happens in front of you

To be continued....

(Reference for some simple block design from Patchwork Beasts)


The Next Day...




So to Continue... I cut 1 tail piece and 4 legs,  prepared and basted, tacked over the graph paper plan on the wall.

The basic figure is complete, since I will do the ears later.

I am whispering because the Man is sleeping.

my thoughts... audio- Forming

Maybe, this time I will just stitch the figure together without the background and see how I feel about that.

9/30/2019...Loosening up on the last day of September:

In a way this is a great lead in to something looser.  Still a puzzle block,  no need for it to be square.

Free the Puzzle




Can I get to 9 versions of this stray cat form before the end of October?  Doesn't matter.  As it looks here, this patchwork puzzle block is a loose patch right?  Loose patches are strays in a way, waiting for a home and a purpose.  Such a good symbol story character for me to use to explain how I feel. So  I will continue with variations on this cat block through the end of this  segment. Continue to post progress on this page.  Let me talk a bit.


October 6th, still at it

Yeah, I'm moving slower.  I stitched the loose puzzle block to an old piece of upholstery cloth.  It has a woodsy feel. Like where are are going.


Variation 1

I also used another thicker, but soft cloth scrap to draw the same pattern. Freehand.

To skatch upon.  To see what happens.  To compare the process.

audio- freehand

Continuing... October 10

This method just encourages freedom.  I knew this would happen.


October 14th, still at it.  With just a basket of scraps not packed for the move.  I love the challenge.

I added a drawn face patch and stitched over it

I added a layer of sketch, a circle/ spiral.

I filled in the spaces with what I have on hand.


  1. Sharon Koch

    such a regal presence… winds of change are ablowin’ in the spiral of life, but this cool man cat, wise beyond words, seems to know it’s all gonna be okay. he’s a keeper!

  2. Anne L

    This Stray Cat is my favorite of all. I see so much of the scrappy essence of life and the circle feels so right… wind is in the ruffling of the fur too.

  3. Sharon Koch

    sigh. this last stray with the soft, raggedy edges ‘n crumpled silk just melts me. wondering what her name will be. her story. perhaps in a children’s book. each reader would give her a home in their heart. she already has mine. your videos are an art also. soothing, yet intensely inspirational. the sequential format builds suspense, not knowing when the next episode will magically appear. okay, time to go play with my scraps…

  4. I love this idea of seeking what you need through the cloth. You are feeling ungrounded, and yet you end up with a block that is grounded and attentive. I think I get focused on what is missing — I would probably have asked “how can i represent feeling ungrounded and adrift? But I can think of times where I was able to make the switch — when I was feeling lost and I stitched pathways and maps. It gave me trust that I would find my path, or that I was on my path, I just couldn’t see it yet.

  5. Jen NyBlom

    So! in light of continuing with an idea; I am playing with how to continue on with “wishing stars”….how can I evolve this design idea, but still within the patchwork piecing parameter? This is where graph paper really shines! ha! I love the organic direction of your stray moving with the trees, whichever way the wind blows. Your symbolism shines! <3

  6. Kay

    appreciate the richness of these ideas. took a while for the penny to drop – i am sometimes spatially challenged – but the penny has dropped and i look forward to puzzling some more and touching space…

  7. Joan Hinchcliff

    So very much information in this post, thank you! Thinking on my version of a puzzle beast…still swirling in my mind…hopefully I will be able to let it come to life.

  8. Sharon Koch

    love how you think, jude. and rethink. and place the new thought beside previous thoughts. then cut them apart ‘n see how those pieces of thought fit together. your creations, a visual record of imaginary pathways. true magic. so now you have a new place to start from “skatch” ‘n see where it takes you… we ragmates await your upcoming move on “pins ‘n needles”!

  9. Joanne

    Each time you add a class component -it’s like fireworks in my mind. My fabric collection–sigh–leaves much to be desired–but working with what one has can lead to surprising results– I’ll fly–see what happens. I make components each evening. So odd a stack but the possibilities are there for adventure. Many thanks for this class at such a busy time for you.

    • jude

      i have to admit, i have a lot of cloth from my obsession with rescuing them over the years…
      making do tho can being such simple joy.

  10. Susie Peterson

    Really enjoyed this lesson, and how I will translate it! A great way to use all of those special pieces of fabric I have been collecting…

  11. the timing of this is just perfect for me, as I was stuck with my BirdQuilt, not knowing what to add, and now I do….no not cats as they would chase away the birds, but I am going to attempt designing my bird-block design!

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