A Doodle Exercise–How to Design a Free Motion Quilt Block

Heart Doodles


This is a page in one of my (many) sketchbooks.

I sketch almost every day for at least a few minutes.  Mostly doodling…After a while (this may take days, weeks, months)  the doodles converge on a motif or and idea and a quilt idea takes root...

For me the Creative Process of developing a quilt or quilt motif is always the same:

  • Scribble
  • Doodle
  • Ideas Converge
  • Quilt Idea
  • Sketch Several Variations
  • Stitch the Quilt


  • Begin with a square and then draw a larger square around it….
  • Most people doodle a motif or two…Take that motif (or-pick a pattern you have been practicing from the Tuesday Tutorials HERE)
  • Add your motif in different sizes within the two squares.
  • Add some upside down motifs.
  • Add half motifs..
  • Try to fill the entire space
  • Modify the motif to add interest…
  • Now use another sheet of paper and do it again…
  • Divide the space into rectangles or triangles…

Heart Doodles

Once you have a few ideas sketched…give them  a whirl on a piece of fabric…(and send me a photo!)

Pretty soon you’ll be writing your own “Tuesday Tutorials” and Guest Posting at The Inbox Jaunt…then I can retire….?!


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 blog, pin and tweet with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at lckennedy@hotmail.com.  Thanks!

8 thoughts on “A Doodle Exercise–How to Design a Free Motion Quilt Block

  1. I REALLY would like to see a book with all your ‘FMQ’ designs that you have shared with us. I have a computer, but it is 4 rooms away from my sewing room. I do not have a laptop or any other ‘portable’ device which I could use. Anything like this in your future?

  2. You don’t need a computer in your sewing ….get an iPad or another tablet device! That’s what I use to look back at a tutorial or watch a video.

  3. Thank you, Lori, what a great idea because I know if I can do it on paper, I can do it free motion quilting. I plan to start carrying a doodle notebook with me on road trips, waiting at doctor offices, etc.

  4. I have a couple of drawing apps on my iPad that I use for doodling quilting motifs. It’s nice because I always have it with me, my stylus never runs out of ink, and I never run out of paper. What I would really love is if someone designed a drawing app SPECIFICALLY with quilters in mind, that would draw in a dashed line of “stitches” and maybe have some preloaded options with basic quilt block shapes that you could use on your background paper for testing out how different motifs would work on HSTs, flying geese, etc. If only I were a developer!! 🙂

  5. Do you do these ornate designs on a long or mid arm? OR on a regular home sewing machine??? I am able to quilt smaller items on my machine (Bernina 440 and Bernina 880), but I still have a challenge when trying to quilt a larger quilt. ANY IDEAS OR HINTS???

  6. pour les dessin ça va ;mais le piqué libre je n’arrive pas la marpue de ma machine pfaff 6087? pourquoi je n’arrive pas ?vite des conseils merci

  7. I’ve wondered if your doodles that make it to your spriral tablet (the one we see) are your first attempts or are they second or third variations?

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