Free Motion Quilting is for the Birds! Explaining Creativity???


It is impossible to explain creativity.  It’s like asking a bird ‘How do you fly?’ You just do!

—Eric Dickey

Bird Free Motion Quilting

(I think it has more to do with stick-to-itiveness!)

What do YOU think?

For more on Creativity, I recommend:   Seven Habits of Highly Creative People


PS…Experimenting and making samples with Sulky and Aurifil threads using Superior Titanium needles on my new and fabulous BERNINA 770 QE!  (and rolling around in my super cool red chair!)


PS.  Tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and is intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, share or Pin with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!

27 thoughts on “Free Motion Quilting is for the Birds! Explaining Creativity???

  1. i agree practice, practice and then more of it!! As I watch the birds in my yard they don’t just get out the nest and fly!

  2. Not to brag but ideas flow out of my head in abundance….Actually it is bothersome sometimes. as there is not enough time in a day, etc to produce it all. Sticktoittiveness (sp?) is what it takes for me to bring anything to fruition. I try to at least get them written down so my mind is free to continue working on any current project. Always
    need to leave time for refinement ideas that come along. I had to learn to forgive myself for not getting to all on my cherished list and let it be OK that 30% finished,
    is good enough. Excuse me, I have to go write something down…scallops within
    scallops..half size smaller/two to one…

    • Marta, I sometimes feel the same way. The inspiration is not the problem, it’s the “perspiration”…Getting the ideas to fruition. I think it’s easier to be inspired when you work at something (even for a short time) every day. That keeps ideas flowing.

  3. I agree completely. Creativity – you’ve either got it in your DNA or you don’t. You can, however, work on it and when you find an expert (like we were lucky enough to do when we met you), seize that opportunity & learn all you can. Like doodling – I’ve never doodled in my life but your tutorials are so helpful. When you mentioned you were going to teach us that I wondered how in the world you could do that. But, like everything else, you’ve done it and we appreciate learning from the best.

    Stick-to-it-iveness……..yep – that’s the key. If you don’t try or give up to easily you’ll never succeed. A friend one time said to me “I could never do that” (something I’d made) and I thought – oh…..if you only knew how long it took me to figure it out and how many times I failed before doing it right. You quit trying – you fail. You keep at it – you’ll succeed & build up your confidence.

    Yah-yah….your new Bernina and your new red chair. OK – we’re envious……but no one deserves it more than you. 🙂

    • I think everyone has creativity is in their DNA-it’s a matter of finding one’s personal expression of it. For some it is fashion, or solving business or medical problems. The other challenge is that many people use “I’m just not creative” as an excuse not to try.

  4. Interesting thought(s) to ponder and one that has been on my mind of late, due to teaching some FMQ workshops recently. Expectations (felt but not expressed) on the part of some of the attendees got me wondering if they thought that taking classes would answer all those “How do I quilt it?” questions. I can show them how to acquire the skills to stitch individual motifs but only experience, creativity and practice will result in knowing the “where and when” to use them on a quilt top. Some totally fail to “get” that concept and become somewhat discouraged in this beginning stage. (speaking from my experience only)

    • The where and when is difficult and I can see (and remember clearly) how frustrating that can be. I guess we just need to remind beginners that they are not alone. That is one of the challenges of quilting and it gets easier, but only through practice and we all still find parts of quilting challenging…and if it wasn’t challenging, why would we bother?

  5. Expertise is based on experience no matter the subject. If your experience is small, you do not have the foundation to go on to the next step. I read somewhere that new discoveries are based on discoveries that went before. So in your words……practice, practice, practice. I learn something new every time I practice.

    • Marcia, I agree. One needs a certain level of Mastery of a skill and along the way the creativity develops. After the basic mastery is acquired, it is important in the creative process to ask “is there a way to do this that works better for me?” etc…

  6. Hi and Good morning every one
    I think anyone can be creative. It takes a certain spark to get it going
    People express their creativity in different ways, some of that might not appear to be creative to others. Funny how those brains are.
    just never give up on something you want to pursue, even if it is to be come more creative,
    In medical school, you are also given exercises to push yourself to be more creative, which leads you to refine a focus on patient care, and teaching.
    Anyway, I like that new machine, Lori. and that red chair. I love a zippy chair on wheels. So fun. I have wood floors and …… never mind…. I almost ran over a few kitty paws.
    Enjoy your perfect summer weather. Here it is getting hot and humid.
    Thank God for A/C

    • Hi Rosemary,
      You make an excellent point…that creativity comes in many forms. A novel approach to a medical problem is extremely creative and can literally save lives…Sometimes the creativity is how to handle a cranky toddler, or a crabby customer. The key is to use all of one’s experience and to THINK about the problem/idea and conjure up possibilities…not just do that which has been done before. Maybe we should all brainstorm a definition of Creativity…

  7. In our home there are 3 creative people, I am the quilter, & sculptor, my daughter does this intricate embroidery, beading, polymer clay, & has just begun stained glass classes, my son is a wood carver of very different types of woods & barks. We 3 do our own thing & kind of ignore each other because “we’ve been through the show me how you do that” phase except I do a lot of hand embroidery needle work,that I enjoy & my daughter & occassiuonally collaborate on.

    What I am trying to say is that creative people’s brains seem to be wired differently than those who do not pursue creativity. My grandfather would be considered a “master carpenter” in today’s world of building & creating, my grandmother was a seamstress, we grandchildren had gorgeous clothes, even to coats with matching hats, she also made drapery & curtains, & was a divine cook. My mother was great with needle work, & decorating, her sister was a quilter & did needlework. I did have a great uncle who could “whittle” anything from tree limbs. I wish I had the little animals he made for me all those years ago.

    Of all the grandchildren who like me had the same advantages I am the only one who does anything creative. Even my brother & my cousins often ask how we 3 became so artsy. I do not know but in my family that is how the creative mind has evolved. Are your families similar or are they more creative? I find this very interesting.

    Lori, when did you discover your very creative talent? I would love to know how all your creativity evolved. Thank you everyone for your thoughts.

    • Interesting question…I have always (my earliest memories) been interested in sewing, embroidery and crocheting. My mother always had those materials around the house. I never considered myself creative because I couldn’t (can’t) draw…and I’ve always thought that was a pre-requisite to being creative. I have always had a “need” to be doing something creative, usually hand sewing of some form. It is as necessary to me as sleep in my over all well being. If I go too many days without sewing, I feel a sort of anxiety. I think this brings up another aspect of the creativity issue. The ACT vs. the RESULT. I think most of us NEED to create-and as Rosemary points out, it can be a novel approach to a medical problem or baking, or gardening…We don’t always feel that ACT is creative because we are self-critical of the RESULT…not that good, not original, etc. This is the first time I’ve thought about this in that way. Thanks for the prompt. I need to ponder it more…while I’m stitching today!

  8. I agree. it’s great to have ideas, but if there’s no follow through, it’s just air. Thanks for sharing your creative energy with us.

  9. Thank you for posting this. Basically, creative people are willing to take risks. Those who aren’t creative are usually afraid to take the risk of tying 🙂

  10. Most people are creative in one way or another, but not all are artistically creative. Artistic creativity can atrophy through disuse (as I know to my sorrow), but it can also be rekindled through use and a willingness to not be discouraged by less than perfect results during the re-ignition process.

  11. I am crushing on the tangerine solid fabric you used for the beautiful birdie sample in this post. Can you please tell me the color and manufacturer? By the way, I have the same red Bernina chair. My kids call it Mom’s Throne and no one else is allowed to sit in it! 🙂

    • Hi Rebecca, The Orange fabric is called “Orange” #1265- Kona by Robert Kaufman. I purchased it at Hancock’s of Paducah on line. It’s even prettier in person.

  12. My humble opinion is that you can help creativity by thinking about it, and practising, and experimenting and feeling free to try out new things. You may practise, but if you do it mechanically, without thinking, it might not lead to anything; whereas if you support it with thinking, creativity is more likely to happen. Maybe not instantly, but after an internal process in your brain, which puts together what you’ve been doing, thinking and some other issue that you may have come across.

  13. I’ve been making quilts since 1997, and I always either use a pattern or follow others’ direction. As far as creativity, I feel my creativity is in choosing colors rather than designing patterns or anything else…otherwise, I call myself a good “technician.” Now that I’m starting to do my own quilting, maybe my creativity will go up an notch…if not, I’m happy following along on others’ creativity!

    • Terry, that IS very creative. Every aspect is creative, from choosing the pattern to the deciding on the fabric and of course, the quilting–All creative acts!

  14. Such interesting conversation. I think some folks narrowly define creativity as being able to “create” something with a tool held in the hand(s) – harkening back to elementary art class with tempura paint and brushes.

    I especially found Ana Perna’s comment about consciously thinking while creating to provoke a feeling of discovery on my part. In looking back at some of my more successful creations, I realize this was probably why they turned out well – because I was engrossed in the thoughts about the project, the process, etc. Some of my not-so-great creations were done when I knew they HAD to get done to meet a deadline, but I was distracted by other pressing issues or problems in my life.

    Thank you all for putting these observation in words which we can reflect upon and see how they apply to our own processes.

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