I think I’m going to load a Chinese Coins top next and rather than using my Swirls template again, I might quilt it freehand…..so first I’m drawing…

and drawing
and drawing
and drawing

Because I have no natural drawing ability (don’t laugh at my drawings!), I fill pages and pages in my sketchbooks before I even think about trying to quilt something. How about you? How adventuresome are you with freemotion quilting and do you draw designs first? A few times? Or over and over like I have to? I have a theory that naturally artistic people are better quilters.

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  1. I have a dry erase board that I draw on before I free motion quilt anything other than loops or swirls. I can say that I cannot “draw” with pencil or pen to save my life, but I’m getting pretty good at drawing with needle and thread 🙂

  2. I draw in a sketchbook too. I have two – a big one that looks a lot like yours and a little 5 x7 or so portable one that I sometimes bring to court and “doodle” quilt designs during waiting time. I agree about the naturally artistic people being better quilters – but I think YOU are more natuarlly artistic than you give yourself credit for!

  3. I usually draw for a few minutes on the white board and that’s it. I’m much better at drawing with the machine than a marker so once I know the general path I jsut go for it – but always on a practice quilt first!

  4. I draw on tablets, too. And my pen and ink drawing isn’t very good– much nicer with the machine and thread. I agree– some people are naturals. But your drawings look great– I’d say you’re ready for the machine on this one.

  5. Funny…I am on my 3rd quilt this weekend and decided this one needed freemotion feathers…started out a little shakey but on a roll now! It’s my quilt! Your drawings are great mary!laurie

  6. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has to ppp before I start a project! White board is my weapon of choice. For someone who says she can’t draw, I think you’re doing a mighty fine job of proving otherwise~

  7. I think your drawings look great. I have a small dry erase border that I practice a bit on, but my problem is I tend to jump in and just do it without practicing a lot. Of course, I am only doing it on my own quilts. Practicing on the board just doesn’t have the same feel as actually doing it on a quilt.

  8. I draw all the time before I quilt.Just because you draw your designs out before you quilt does not mean you are not artistic..in fact, good design and execution come from planning and practice. Looks like you’ve got that down pat. Art is a personal vision and yours is as good as mine. Our styles are just different. Different is different..not less and not more.

  9. ^^What Deb said!!^^I draw and draw and draw. I draw in sketch books too so that I can save the drawings and go back later to look at them. Sometimes I will draw something that doesn’t work with what I am currently doing but later it just right for what I need. So I am glad that I saved it in a sketch pad.

  10. Then I’m not naturally artistic. I kind of freeze up at the thought of doing free hand quilting other than the basic meandering. I just feel safer using pantos, less likely to ruin a quilt. I like that design you’ve been practicing.

  11. Mary,I’ve been quilting for almost four years now and the “quilting” part of making a quilt is definetly the hardest part for me. I practice, practice, and practice (on paper and practice quilt samples), and even so I still stink! Not only am I unable to draw, I have no sense of proportion or direction. Your drawings are far better than I could ever do on an actual top or on paper. When I am able to mark my quilt top, I can do a fairly good job of free motion quilting. I keep deluding myself that if I keep at it, someday I will be able to quilt a whole top with an allover design (besides meandering) without marking. I should mention that I do not have a long arm machine but quilt on a regular machine, which I think is more of a challenge since you have to deal with a small work area and constant repositioning of your hands. Personally, I’d be delighted if I could turn out work like you do. Linda

  12. Your patterns are wonderful! I guess I have never practiced like this on paper of whiteboard and that is why I never improve. I’ll give this a try and then put a quilt under the needle. Hope you don’t mind if I adapt one of your patterns!

  13. I like to just run with it, and see where it leads me… This is a good idea to try though, then maybe I wouldn’t do such a sloppy job most of the time…

  14. I too draw on a white board. First I draw out the quilt on the board and then with a different color I draw the quilting ideas. When I finally find one that looks “good” I take a picture, print it and keep it by me while I quilt. I have no artistic ability (I am creative) but between DVDs and designs I see online, I am building a design library I can try and then return to.

  15. I don’t feel I have an artistic bone in my body when it comes to the actual quilting, which is why I leave my ‘good’ quilts to the paid help. I really do think they have a vision for what will fill a spot and in creating movement. I have to say I think you are right up there with the best of them! What a lovely response from your sister, too. Like the rest of life, I just tell myself it’s not a competition and what I’m able to do, I do.

  16. Hi Mary – wow, if those are your drawings, I think they’re great! I don’t have any natural drawing ability either but I find that my quilting looks so much better than my drawing – it’s amazing. I have a dry erase board and I try to practice, but I’m impatient and want to “get right to it”! I was flabbergasted when I quilted the “rose” from the 1st Pajama Quilter video – it looked so great. I give all the credit to Dawn for that and emailed and told her so!

  17. Those drawings are a great idea and yours look very disciplined! For myself, I became much braver after watching the Pajama Quilter and PatsyThompsonDesigns. Now, I’m not afraid of too much, but I DO practice on a MagnaDoodle (kids toy, like an Etch-a-Sketch. I also practice occasionally on the quilt sandwiches as recommended by Patsy Thompson. Thanks for all the visual stimulation – I always love to peek at your blog. 😎

  18. I absolutely agree! I too must practice and practice with anything that looks like these. Hence the reason I’ve still not done them on a quilt! I have artistic talent – but absolutely none of that is drawing talent. One of these days I’ll find time to practice for real . . . . First I absolutely must learn to use my circle lord.

  19. I like to doodle and often doodle quilt designs (very sloppy) even though I have no plans at all to quilt!!! But my son absolutely loves it when I doodle. And he is getting very good at it too. Believe me though, my doodles are not as nice as yours!Cheers! Evelyn

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