Friday, September 23, 2022

Patent Pending - The Quilt!

Introducing Patent Pending!

Patent Pending is a Rube Goldberg machine in quilting form.   A Rube Goldberg machine is a chain reaction-type contraption intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overly complicated way.   Since my least favorite task in quilting is to rip out a seam, Patent Pending offers a way to remove those unwanted stitches with ease

I’ve always wanted to submit a group quilt to QuiltCon.  When the (bizarre) idea to make a Rube Goldberg machine quilting style popped into my brain, I decided to reach out to a bunch of quilting friends. 

I am thankful that Linda @flourishingpalms, Sarah @saroy, Val @valbetweenquilts, Charles  @feltlikesweets, Kitty @nightquilter, Yvonne @quiltingjetgirl and Pat @peacockcreekdesigns all responded enthusiastically when I asked if they’d like to contribute a block.  Everyone was given an entry and exit point for the ball within their block and then it was thinking caps on to figure out what happened inside their 12” x 12”.  (At this point,  I know that more than one of them wondered what they actually got themselves into.....)    (Pattern from Kristy @quietplay was used for the scissors, seam ripper and pin cushion.)

The blocks arrived in early June and Patent Pending became my primary quilting project for the summer.  The first block (the whirligig) and the final block (seam ripper tower) were created by me once everyone's blocks were here.  At times it was great fun and at others, well, let's just say I was questioning my own sanity!  

So how does it work?

The first ball is tossed out of the whirligig  . . . . .

Credit Patty (that's me!) - @elmstreetquilts

..... and is caught up in the spinning fan, only to be launched into the air once more!  

Credit to Linda - @flourishingpalms

The large scissors directs the ball into the cup which releases a second ball to . . . . .

Credit to Sarah - @saroy

. . . . .   travel down the loop and . . . . .

Credit Val - @valbetweenquilts

. . . . . cause the small scissors to snip the thread which tips the fabric bolt and launches the third ball.  

Credit: Charles - @feltlikesweets

The third ball knocks into the bowling pin, releases the bird from its cage and then rolls downward only . . . . .

Credit Kitty - @nightquilter

. . . . . to be pinballed back up to . . . . .

Credit Yvonne - @quiltingjetgirl

. . . . . roll down a ramp into a small wagon.  The wagon delivers the ball into the pipe and the ball rolls a final ramp, . . . . .

Credit Pat - @peacockcreekdesigns

. . . . . knocking down the seam rippers which are holding up a pin cushion.  As the pin cushion falls a string is pulled through a pulley which then moves the seam ripper to get rid of a single unwanted stitch!  

Credit Patty (that's me!) - @elmstreetquilts

After catching the bird, the machine is reset and ready to remove the next stitch!

The quilting was done on my domestic machine - mostly walking foot and some FMQ.  There were a gazillion threads to bury at the end.  

Primary fabrics used were Kona Crocus, Kona Morning Glory, Kona Duckling Yellow, Bella Magenta, and Bella Summer House Lime.  (Contributors could add additional solids of their choice.)

The quilt measures 51" x 66".

Patent Pending will be entered into QuiltCon in the Group category.  Fingers crossed - I hope to see it in the show and then I can grab a photo with everyone and the quilt.  Until then, I jumped into the picture!.

Have a wonderful day! Patty


  1. Patty, what an amazing idea! And all those blocks. Gosh - I think you all did an amazing job. Such fun ideas of how this "machine" is working. I remember a similar idea used in the Elementary tv series intro. Never new this type of thing had a name. So thanks for teaching me. xo

  2. Sheer (or is that shear? :)) genius!

  3. I loved how we all worked together to find a solution. It was a lot of fun to see how everyone creatively approached their block and I love how you pulled it all together, Patty. Thank you for the fun experience!

  4. This is amazing and a truly useful tool. Why one stitch at a time with all that fun to watch, it should be a big hit on the market. Seriously, this is an awesome quilt, and I hope to be at Quilt Con to see it in person this year!

  5. This is so awesome! Congrats to all of you!

  6. Oh that is BRILLIANT!!!! I love the whole thing and what a fun collab!!!

  7. Just glorious, Patty! Your bizarre idea became reality, and isn't quite so bizarre after all! The whole "machine" makes complete sense when it's explained, and you did that beautifully. Love all the intense quilting you did; it's evident you spent hours and hours accomplishing it. It's also great to see YOU with the quilt. I'll strong suggest that you volunteer at QuiltCon so you can stand in front of your quilt and explain it to everyone who comes to admire it! :-) Patent Pending is so well done! Kudos to you.

  8. Your quilt idea was inspired and the result just enchanting. I sure hope it gets to be seen by many at QuiltCon!

  9. Wow - this is fabulous!! I love it - a great (and fun) idea superbly executed. Your quilting takes it to the next level.

  10. Congratulations on having a quilt in the show! I was there....wish I'd had the presence of mind to let you know! I enjoyed the event so much that it took me four blog posts to summarize it. See you in Raleigh next year!


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