Becoming A Doodler

Doodling ain’t easy and neither is Free Motion Quilting, but I have heard that doodling is a great segue to FMQ. That’s all fine and good, but what if you don’t even know how to doodle?! This is me. Or rather, this was me. Thanks to Christina Cameli, I am becoming a Doodler! And guess what, it really does help with Free Motion Quilting!

Let me back up a little. Since I developed this passion for quilting in 2011 I’ve wanted to do FMQ, but it requires A LOT of practice. Honestly I wasn’t willing to put in the practice, especially not on a domestic machine. So…most of my quilting over the years has been simple organic wavy lines done w/my walking foot.

I told myself I would learn FMQ from using Pantos when I got a longarm. Well, I recently acquired a longarm and I planned on becoming the Panto Queen! I ordered a few, watched some videos, and dove in. I didn’t do too bad.

However, there is a pretty steep learning curve to pantos too. That steep curve along w/the realization that I’d have to switch the handles ( to the front of the machine to baste the edges each time I advanced my rows caused the novelty to wear off rather quickly. Which brought me begrudgingly back to FMQ. I have since gotten a couple of REALLY good ideas on how to circumvent having to switch the handles.

I almost resigned myself to organic wavy lines. But I told myself how ridiculous that is. I have a longarm now!

So I attempted to do some things I’d seen, (I cannot even say “learned” because I was so terrible at it), at a Quilting Is My Therapy Quilting Clinic last summer. I allowed myself a few rows of this atrocity before I found my groove w/a largish meander.

After quilting almost an entire king size quilt w/this meander I’m chalking it up as mastered!

But I want to be good at more than just organic wavy lines and meander. So I prayed about it and soon after, I started watching Christina Cameli’s videos on IGTV @afewscraps. She’s also on YouTube under the same name, afewscraps. And I finally, finally started doodling!

At first I was really bad.

But the more I doodled, the better I got.

Which gave me the boost I needed to keep doodling!

After practicing this Flourish pattern for awhile, (several pages) I worked up the nerve to try it on a quilt.

I quilted this entire lap quilt w/it and now I’m chalking this up as mastered too!

The next doodle I plan to turn into FMQ is Echoed Swirls. And as you can see, I have been doodling it quite a bit. I’ve thrown in some Flourish as well. Another great thing about doodling is I can do it while I’m on conference calls!

And…I’m super excited about having finally got this book! I’m completely smitten w/edge to edge, organic style quilting.

When it’s all said and done, I may not even want to use Pantographs! How about y’all? Are there any other doodlers out there?

Linking up at:

Long Arm Learning

Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?

Finished or Not Finished Friday

Beauties Pageant

A Thread for Life

Who am I that the highest King would welcome me?
I was lost but He brought me in, oh His love for me
Free at last, He has ransomed me, His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin Jesus died for me, Yes He died for me
I am chosen not forsaken, I am who You say I am
You are for me not against me, I am who You say I am
Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God, yes I am
In my Father’s house there’s a place for me
I’m a child of God, yes I am
– Who You Say I Am – Hillsong Worship

16 thoughts on “Becoming A Doodler

  1. Way to go, Zenia! You are doing really well, learning as you go. I just cannot embrace free motion, much as I think I would like to. I love to doodle things like zentangles, but find it difficult to discipline myself to doodle for free motion. And I don’t want to free motion on a domestic. Good thing I have a long arm friend 🙂

  2. Congrats on getting a longarm! And congrats on doodling! I love Christina’s books, she is awesome. You should also look into Angela Walters books and learn the FMQ hook swirl:) I hate doing panto’s, it’s either FMQ or ruler work for me.

  3. Great job, Zenia! Great practice! I doodled for years before I finally got my longarm. Like 8 years. I kept a doodle notebook in my handbag. I love Christina’s Flourish design from the cover of her book. That’s my fav FMQ design to use. That’s pretty intense on that big of a quilt. Awesome!

  4. You have inspired me to begin doodling again. I was doing it for a while and then stopped. I, too, want to become better at FMQ and practice makes mastered. Congrats! on your beautiful quilting progress.

  5. I can doodle til the cows come home, but that just doesn’t translate to the large muscle groups required to quilt my doodles on the longarm. SEW glad to hear that it’s working for you!!

  6. Oh my gosh; where do I start? First of all, your doodling is awesome. You have some really interesting designs in those pages. When I read that you prayed to get better with your quilting, it reminded me of reading in one of Judi Madsen’s books that, when she went out on a limb and invested in her long arm to start a business, she would pray and ask God to help her get good, fast! You doodle quilting designs during conference calls? Well, I doodle quilting designs on my iPad up at the front of my church where the choir sits, right behind the pastor while he’s giving sermons. That’s why the quilt I just finished is called “Sermon Scribbles,” because I planned and doodled all the quilting designs while I was pretending to take notes on sermons. (No one is fooled). That Flourish pattern looks really good on your quilt, even better than it does in your pen and paper version. And yet those wavy organic lines are so effective, too. I see something like that on a quilt and I think, “I love it! Why do I never think of something like that?” Finally, the Hillsong Worship song you quoted at the end is one that our contemporary choir used to sing, before we all got grounded by this pandemic. We have been just doing “virtual choir” for the past few months, which is about as close to real choir as Madden NFL on the PlayStation is to playing pro football!

    Thanks for linking up with Long Arm Learning!

  7. Hi Zenia! What a fabulous post – my first one to read after a week from H. Love the progression of your quilting and even your doodling, for that matter. It makes perfect sense – draw it until you feel comfortable and happy with the result and then switch to needle and thread. Your pictures really show your growth in realistic terms. And praying about it – I know how much that helps. Just this week I was awarded with a calm response to many stress-filled situations just because I asked for His help. I’m so glad that Rebecca’s linky party led me to you and your blog! {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne P.S. I adore a good wavy line, and you shared several fabulous examples!

  8. Great idea to try the doodling. I’m stuck in walking foot land and only have a domestic sewing machine, but I’m going to try the doodling to master FMQ. I like to quilt my own quilts even though they may not get the long arm professional finish.

  9. My dear, you are an artist for sure! Thank you so much for sharing your progress, your thoughts as you learned and your beautiful quilting! What a wonderful journey you have been on!

  10. Okay. That’s it. I’m going to start doodling the FMQ designs from that very book you showed, which I bought a couple years ago. Sigh. I have a mid-arm, so really no excuse. Thanks for this post!

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