Open Line Friday–How Do YOU Doodle?


Welcome back to Open Line Friday.  This is your opportunity to ask and answer questions!  We’ve talked about everything from our favorite beginner quilt books HERE, to how to handle a large quilt, HERE.  Don’t miss the Open Line discussion of washing quilts, HERE.  We have even talked about mascara and stitch regulators  HERE.  Note--be sure to read the comment section–that’s where the conversation takes place!


Doodles on Paper

As you know, I am a big proponent of doodling.  Doodling makes you smarter–(read about that HERE.), but most of all, doodling creates muscle memory that really helps with free motion quilting.

Doodles on Paper I doodle on everything–calendars, notebooks, napkins, and occasionally in my sketchbook. Most of my doodles get thrown away, but when I sketch something I like, I cut it out and throw it in my “doodle-basket”.  If I really like it, I glue it into a notebook. (Read about Doodle Notebooks HERE.)

Doodles on Paper

Many readers have told me that they practice the Tuesday Tutorials on whiteboards or on Wacom tablets.  I’d love to know more about that–which Wacom, etc.–and I’d love to know how and where YOU doodle?

Doodles on Paper

 Remember by motto, if you can’t doodle it, you can’t quilt it!                   AND it’s corollary,                   If you CAN doodle it, you CAN quilt it!

Doodles on Paper


What questions do YOU have today?  Can’t wait to hear!



14 thoughts on “Open Line Friday–How Do YOU Doodle?

  1. I really like to doodle in my multiple sketch books but right now I just blank out when I actually sit down TO doodle. Ugh, creative slump.

    Sometimes I do your newest lesson, but when I’m doodling I try and make it a computer break, since I spend all day in front of it.

  2. First I have to say that accepting “if you can’t doodle it you can’t quilt it” was a breakthrough for me. Early this year I started FMQ and was struggling. Then I found your website and when I read that tip started doodling and it has improved my FMQ significantly. Now I keep a pad of paper next to my chair where I watch TV so that I can try out new motifs whenever the mood strikes (or whenever I am looking at Lori’s site and get inspired). Lori, thanks so much for sharing your passion and helping me get better at mine.

  3. it seems I doodle on most any paper that is around me. I do have a sketch book to doodle in but when I’m with paper and pen in hand they all seem to have doodles on no matter what else they are meant for. I often find myself doodling on my leg if I’m sitting somewhere waiting. Doodling is always there for me.

  4. I too love to doodle. My mantra is similar to yours Lori: If I can sketch it I can quilt it. So I have my steno pads next to my laptop ready to doodle. I like the steno pads because I can use the lines for those rail lines you suggest in the Tuesday tuts.
    I also like to see quilting close-ups on pinterest and sketch what I see. Then every couple of days I quilt on some quilt sandwiches to practice on fabric. By the way I don’t practice on muslin anymore, I use fabric I can use for small projects like pillow backs or purselets.
    Thank you so much for your inspiration FMQ ideas and tutorials- it really helps me to get braver and try new designs.

  5. I am ashamed to admit, I have not caught the doodling bug yet! I DO practice on a white board (with LOW ODOR markers…ask me how I know!). I have really never thought of myself as anything CLOSE to an artist, until I got my 1st longarm. I tell people who say they cannot freemotion that I doodle on fabric. I have sketched out a couple designs…a few I have seen elsewhere but didnt’ fit what I needed. I have an idea for a quilt that will need a design I cannot find. Guess I better tuck a sketch pad in my traveling bag! I have a friend I had to coax into quilting…I could just SEE that quilting twinkle in her eye! That is how I feel about freemotion, so maybe,just MAYBE there is a doodler inside me hankering to be let out! PS I LOVE seeing YOUR doodles…all of them…even the scraps of paper…

    • You are a doodler! Doodling on a white board is doodling! I think you’ll love having a pad of paper in your purse–it will “catch” all your ideas before they get away…

  6. What is a Wacam Tablet??

    Am doodling a lot, but still need more confidence to tackle a genuine project!

    Thanks for sharing all of your artistry.


  7. I credit my success in free motion quilting to my love of doodling. When I first sat down to try fmq I of course started to try to stipple as it is so commonly what we all try to learn first. I was terrible at it, so I switched gears and started trying to quilt daisies which at that point had been my go do doodle for years- and I did a gorgeous daisy first try! I knew it right then- at the very start- if I could doodle it I could draw it! I spent hours that first night with a sharpie and a notebook and I drew stippling over and over and over and over- page after page. Next morning- I give it another shot at the machine and I started stippling- not perfect, but pretty darn good- way better then it should have looked for a first timer. Whenever anyone asks me how “I do that” I always tell them I spend a ridiculous amount of time practicing with a sharpie and sketchbook first. I used to doodle on scrap paper but my darling BF couldn’t stand to see my art get thrown away- so he invested in a bulk lot of sketchbooks and stashed them in my studio, office, car- so I wouldn’t throw out any more doodles. I have to say I have really enjoyed looking back through the old sketchbooks- I recommend keeping all the doodles, even the ones you think are terrible, because they are all part of your history as an artist and maker- and they tell a story that is fun to look back on!

  8. I took my first FMQ class last year and the teacher told us that if we could draw it, we could quilt it. I have since bought a couple of sketch pads and I am amazed at how good my doodling actually is. I have also been able to transfer that doodling to actual FMQ and I have finished 4 large quilts this year. My husband just bought me a Gammill and I can’t wait to experiment with FMQ by moving the machine instead of the quilt itself. I recently found your site and I am really enjoying your tutorials and posts. Thanks for the inspiration and instruction.

  9. I really like the idea of using a white board to doodle on. I have a huge roll of newsprint from the local newspaper office, I got it for free, just asked for it, as they don’t use the end of the rolls. I must have a good hundred feet on the roll as I’ve had it for over a year and still use it. But I must admit, as I am using it to doodle and design on, I am feeling a little guilty about not being ‘green’ and using something that doesn’t create more garbage,, even though it gets recycled.

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