We have been following Diane’s adventures in learning to quilt and a few weeks back I gave some doodling tips to help her (and you). You can read that post here.
More Doodling Tips
I have a few more tips that will shorten your learning curve. Things you can do to make your doodling help develop the skills you use when actually quilting.
Define a space
Diane talks about this in her blog post. She found it very helpful to define a space to practice a design in. While quilting you are likely to be quilting within blocks or other defined spaces on the quilt, so practicing within a space helps you to know what works and what doesn’t. And to know how to navigate the space.
Doodling over a wide open space can be helpful in learning to draw a motif and that’s important.
When you doodle inside a defined space, not only do you learn how to draw the motif, you learn how it behaves when you approach an edge. You experience how it can be adjusted. You figure out how to change directions.
You also learn how to avoid getting stuck in a dead end. And how to travel to get yourself back on track to filling the space, without cutting your thread.
Doodle real size
Diane took a photo of her block and then printed it out for some practice doodling.
A happy accident occurred, the print-out was almost the actual size of the block itself.
She stumbled upon another trick we use and that is doodling in real size. But printing a photo of a block will not always result in an image that is real size. Diane just got lucky with that block!
There are a couple of ways we can create a template of our blocks or areas on the quilt that will allow us to doodle for practice. Or for R & D (research and development), discovering a new design that works to enhance the block. It will allow us to audition designs as well.
Simply lay the clear film over the quilt and use a marker to trace your block or area to be quilted. Use a permanent Sharpie marker for the outline of your block. Then you can doodle in the space with a dry erase marker. Use a scrap of batting to wipe away the dry erase marks and the Sharpie outline will remain so you can try again. (Sharpie marks are easily removed with alcohol and a scrap of batting when you’re ready to move on.)
The other tool you can use is
While Quilter’s Preview Paper is a clear plastic film, Golden Threads Quilting Paper is actually paper. It is a high quality tracing paper that is easy to see thru to trace your shapes.
For this you’ll want to use a pencil to trace your block.
One advantage to Golden Threads paper is that if you come up with a fabulous design, you can make a stencil from the paper to mark your quilt for easy, follow-the-line, free-motion quilting. I’ll write about how to do that next week.
Another advantage to doodling real size is it helps to see the density of the quilting. Remember, the denser the quilting the stiffer the quilt will be. For a soft and cuddly quilt you’ll want to keep the quilting designs larger.
It also changes the look of the quilting. Look at these two 4″ squares with swirls in them.
Same design but quite a difference in appearance, just by changing up the density of the design.
You can learn so much, just by doodling. Then you’ll come up with your own doodling tips! Please share them in the comments.
by Mary Beth Krapil