Thursday, September 10, 2009

Weekly Tip: Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)

My website has a tip each week which I cross-reference here.  This week's tip is about expanding your FMQ motifs, and jump starting your own creative brain.

Are you tired of doing the same patterns over and over on your fiber art?  In a class, I once heard a teacher comment that no one should ever do stippling anymore, now that sewing machines could be programmed to make the stitch.

There is an easy technique to train your brain, eyes, and hands to create new quilting motifs. It has several things going for it:  easy, portable, no fancy equipment needed.  In fact, you may already be using this technique subconsciously.

What is this magical technique?  Doodling.  That's right....doodling.  By doodling, you are commingling those right and left brain skills, training your brain, hand and eyes to make the motions and designs you use during FMQ.  Get a sketch pad, white board, or one of those Magic Erase boards--I may be dating myself here--the ones that have the sheet you lift to erase the page.  I don't use Etch-A-Sketch (TM) for this purpose simply because the motions are not the same.  The photos above are from my sketchbook.  Start with lines, loops, geometrics, then try flowers, leaves, butterflies, hearts, and so on.  Make your designs multidirectional.  Draw them facing left, right, upside down, diagonally; after all, that's how you'll be quilting them.  When using paper, I prefer a felt tip pen, but if all I have is a pen or pencil, I go with it.

In the past week, my friend Dorothy Hayes recommended  an awesome FMQ blog, Leah Day's 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs.  When you get there, bookmark it, then try doodling some of the designs.  After doodling them for a while, try quilting them, and I'll bet it will be easier!

Last tip:  keep a sketch pad or another pad of blank paper (the larger the better) and a felt tip pen with you at all times, and try to doodle something everyday.

1 comment:

Barb said...

Hi Aleeda -
I noticed you doing this at the past 2 guild meetings - what a great idea. I'll have to give it a try.