Machine Quilting Practice #10: Zendoodles

Here we are: our final machine quilting practice session of the summer. Can you believe it? We have practiced a straight line grid, clamshells, orange peels, a free-motion quilted star motif, background fills of stippling, echo quilting, loop-de-loops and teardrops, and free hand feathers. Now, for our final session, we will pull it all together with a free-hand, free-for-all: zendoodles!

Zendoodles, or zentangles as they are also called, are a collection of doodled patterns that fill sections of an overall design. Originally developed by a calligraphic artist, this style of random free-hand patterns translates very well to machine quilting. Simply divide up your block into sections and start stitching!

If you are working on individual practice sandwiches, you will need an 8″ square of fabric for the top and slightly larger squares of batting and backing fabric. If you are working on a nine-block sampler quilt, you should have one empty space left. Draw some lines on your block to divide it into sections or you can trace my Contour Lines for Zendoodles.

Set up your machine for free motion stitching by lowering (or covering) the feed dogs and installing a darning or free motion presser foot. Begin in one section and fill it with a pattern of free-motion stitching. Use your imagination or try some of the patterns in my sample – but just let loose and have some fun. Think of this as your machine quilting graduation party!

Machine quilting has been the subject of my blog all year – 35 posts so far! There’s at least one more important topic we need to cover before we move on, so look next week for an article on thread tension.


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