A Matter of Scale–A Sketchbook Assignment

Sketchbook, Doodle, Free Motion QuiltingCHOOSING MOTIFS AND SCALE

One of the challenges (and great joys) of free motion quilting is choosing a motif to match the style of our quilt tops.   (If you need any ideas…I think you can find a few HERE…)  Once you’ve chosen a motif,  the next decision is a matter of scale.  How big will you stitch the patterns?  I tend to quilt very small and fill even very large quilts with lots of quilting, but more open quilting is beautiful, too.    The important thing is to be consistent throughout the quilt.  (NOTE–The amount of quilting does not affect the softness of the quilt.  Softness is a function of batting and washing.)


All of the tutorials and motif patterns found on Tuesdays here at The Inbox Jaunt are stitched small for purposes of photography.  However, each of the patterns can be stitched in a much larger scale.  First practice the pattern by doodling it in different sizes on paper.  It’s important to get the feeling of the larger sweeps you will make to quilt the motif larger.

If you keep the motifs about the size of your hand or smaller, you should be able to move your quilt to create the pattern.  If the motif is too large, it will become unwieldy to handle the bulk of the quilt in your domestic sewing machine–We’ll leave very large motifs to the long armers!

Sketchbook, Doodle, Free Motion QuiltingHOMEWORK

Your assignment today… (should you choose to accept it)…Find a very large sheet of paper and try drawing any of the patterns in different sizes.   If you don’t have a large notepad, use a sheet of newspaper or a piece of freezer paper-anything will do.

Sketchbook, Doodle, Free Motion QuiltingFirst doodle the motif in a small size, then double it, then triple it.  When it gets larger does it still look as nice or do you need to add a little echo stitching.   Which size seems to fit your quilt top best?   Which size do you think you would be able to accomplish while moving a bulky quilt?  Try several of the tutorials and see which ones look best in larger sizes.

Keep Doodling and Noodling!


PS…All images, tutorials and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog and Pin and tell all your friends with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other uses, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com

20 thoughts on “A Matter of Scale–A Sketchbook Assignment

  1. Thank you for addressing this topic. Scale as always been a problem for me. One other thing that I have a problem with is consistency. For example, I have a quilt with an 8 inch block surrounded by 2 in logs ( modified log cabin). I could do an all over design but I would like to do a design in the 8 inch block and a different design in the 2 inch logs. Does density matter in these different designs? Does consistency mean the same density throughout the quilt? I would appreciate any comments. Thanking you in advance.

  2. Great idea. I tend to stitch small and then it takes forever to finish a large quilt. I need to practice drawing things in a larger scale!

  3. I happened upon your blog a while back and want you to know just how much I enjoy it! A little over a year ago, I started quilting after I retired and I have learned so much from reading your blog. I have resolved to significantly improve my FMQ skills this year.
    My question is this. Do you ever draw your pattern on freezer paper, iron it on and then quilt? Im thinking of doing this in a border for my granddaughter and think I could do a more intricate design with a little help on the spacing and curves.

    Thanks for your help!!
    Jane from Texas

    • I have done that. I find it easier to take out the paper than to mark the quilt in advance. Also, I don’t always know how I want to quilt the quilt until I’ve basted it. It’s so much harder to mark after it’s been basted, but you can just stitch over the paper and then take it out. It works for me.

    • Hi Jane, so glad you’re here! I do not recommend free motion quilting over paper. I’ve tried the specialty papers for this purpose, but they move a little, get crinkled, etc. and end up getting in your way. Just keep doodling the pattern over and over on paper until you develop the “muscle memory” for it then do it “free hand”. The pattern will be imperfect, but beautiful–I promise!

  4. Thank you for trying to educate people that dense quilting does not automatically equal a stiff quilt! I have a quilt that I used a “Frankenstein” batting (scraps I zigzagged together), where I did modern, dense quilting and it is very soft and flexible. Love your designs and how you explain what you are doing!

  5. If the space that needs quilting is small, I’ll trace the area on to a piece of paper and then make several copies. I’ll use these copies for my practice doodles.

  6. I have a queen size paper pieced mariners compass I designed and luckily my sister pieced one first for her son. It is all done in batiks of his choosing! So, I have been trying to figure out how and what to quilt in it. I know I will do a stitch in the ditch but couldn’t figure out what else. A laddie at “the Stitching Time” in Twin Falls, ID suggested I take a pic of it, print off one of the whole quilt and then some of the individual parts….which I did…and then use tracing paper over the pics to doodle/design what I might do! I finally decided after lots of erasing. Then I made full size paper copies of the pattern and tried my hand with them and the tracing paper! This has been great. Thanks to the Stitching Time and YOU for all the info and designs you have made me want to doodle!

  7. You should see my notebook and agenda papers when I come out of meetings. I can always tell how boring a meeting was by the density of flowers and feathers!

  8. Thank you for sharing all these tutorial with us, I only made one tutorial in my life and it took forever. So I can only imagine the time it takes you. Thanks again

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