Doodles make the BEST quilt designs!

I hope by now, you have had  time to do a little free motion quilting using your favorite doodles…I find it very relaxing.  After 10 minutes of warm up, I’m usually in the zone, quilting away.  The first 10 minutes can be the hardest...It takes the right brain at least that long to wrestle the left brain to the mat and force it to give up the lists of things to do…problems to be solved…etc… ( More on the right brain/left brain another time..)

Doodles make the best quilt designs because they are personal.  They are as unique as your signature.  They are also original.  As much as I love quilted feathers, they are not original.  Everyone does quilted feathers.  There are many many books about how to create the perfect quilted feather!  This brings me to my next point, doodles are easy.  Doodles are hard wired in your brain.  They have been repeated so many times throughout your lifetime that there are neural pathways making them automatic.  You don’t have to think about them (let alone read a book about them!).  Doodles are as easy as riding a bike!  Because they are automatic, you can concentrate on the mechanics of sewing: stitching speed, moving the quilt, even stitches…

For the next few days, work on free motion quilting your doodles.  Try to work for at least 20 minutes at a time.  Turn off the news and just day dream or listen to your favorite music.  (oh, and see if you can connect your motifs without lifting the sewing machine needle….)

Assignment 3: Start small….but not too small


I just returned home from celebrating a family wedding in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin.  The bride was beautiful, as was the setting:  the sunny shores of Lake Michigan…It is no surprise then, that my doodles have taken a rather nautical turn: sailboats, sunshine, fish….  I’m sure there is a quilt on the horizon.  Perhaps a turquoise and white quilt or maybe, red and white-always one of my favorites.  I need to do a bit more doodling (and noodling)..and maybe….with a little more practice…I’ll be able to quilt doodle an anchor and even a lighthouse…

What have you been doodling?  By now you should have collected your doodles in one place and perhaps added them to your notebook. (Read more about doodle notebooks here)   Have you noticed any themes?  Sometimes a consistent doodle can provide inspiration for a quilt.  So let’s get started….

Assignment 3: Pick a few of your favorite doodles and give them a whirl on your sewing machine.  Just make a quick quilt sandwich-preferably with a solid colored fabric- so that you can see the quilt lines, lower the feed dogs, and doodle.  Don’t be too fussy.  Just get the doodles on fabric.  Keep repeating motifs and see if you can find a logical way to connect them. This is just a practice piece so have fun with it!    I think it is best to keep these practices pieces small, but not too small.  Your fabric should be small enough for you to handle easily, but large enough that once you get on a roll-you won’t have to stop.  I like at least an 18 inch square.

Later this week, I’ll share some of the fun ways I use these little practice pieces

So now, steal away a little time and a little fabric and doodle for 20 minutes… (oh, and start thinking of a color scheme for YOUR doodle quilt!)

Work in Progress Wednesday-Mini Doodle

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that all of my doodles were converging on a flower that resembled a lollipop.  Finally, I had to get it off my brain and onto fabric…I quickly sandwiched some fabric together, used my large 15 inch square ruler to draw a boundary and I came up with this little piece.  It took a little over an hour -as I was not very careful and because the pattern was so ingrained in my head.  I didn’t have any plans for this doodle diversion, otherwise I would have left a little space for a proper border.  As it is, I have to lop off some of the corner border in order to sew on the binding…Another lesson learned…

My daughter saw the little doodle on my sewing table and instantly proclaimed that she wanted that motif on a quilt for college. (See more here)  Now that my twins have left for college, (one with a quilt and the other with a promise for a quilt), I’ve decided to bind this off and use it under a vase of flowers.  So I’m off to my garden, where I will look for something red or yellow in the garden to decorate my doodle….