Friday, July 25, 2014

Zen Free Motion Quilting

I really wanted to do some fun free motion quilting today. I didn't want to work on the projects I wanted to do, just stitch for the fun of it. Martie Rowland of Purple Hat Fabrics posted a pic of a drawn Zentangle on Google+, wondering what it would look like as a quilt. I totally felt challenged to quilt it out.

"She thought she could, so she did." That's a quote I like to think of to keep me motivated on my quilty adventure.

zentangle quilting with ruler

It was the perfect design for using a longarm ruler. The 1/4 inch space around the foot made it easy to space the ending of the line. I marked a 10" square and divided into quarters, then again diagonally. Then around and around each triangle with straight lines that start from the end of the previous line and finish the line 1/4 " away where it intersects the line from the next side. (Clear as mud? It's easier than it sounds)


The big design forms from the repetition of the triangle shapes. I had to make sure I filled them in the right order to make sure the orientation was repeated. I bet there are variations of this design that are worth exploring.


It works great and I like the resulting design. I worked the design backwards from the original drawing, so the resulting psychedelic pinwheel rotates the opposite direction. That's perfectly OK.

free motion quilting a zentangle

Once I finished filling in two triangles, I shot a video.


This certainly isn't the first time someone's been inspired to use Zentangling in quilts. In fact, there's a lot of cross-over between free motion quilting and Zentangles.

Both Pat Ferguson and Susan McNeill have books out on using the meditative drawing process to inspire quilting stitches.

Martie Rowland might not be aware of it, but she lives very close to me. It's pretty neat to think of how we can "meet" someone online whom we might not know of otherwise and find they don't live to far away. It's also pretty neat to find I have readers all over the world (Hello Australia!) and I'm looking forward to visiting with my friend Robin, who is now a real-life-friend, during the Charlotte AQS show.


And in other news, my new business cards arrived! They turned out great. So much better than what I could do on my computer with those tear apart things.


I made my hubby run over to the neighbor's house to scan the QR code and make sure it worked. He tried to tell me it pulled up a naughty site, but I didn't buy it. The code went straight to the blog. Isn't that cool? They make me feel a little big for my britches, but it's a good thing I think to stretch myself a bit and lean into my work.

33 comments:

  1. This is totally weird. Even after watching you quilt on the video, I felt as if I really couldn't figure out what had just happened!! Really, how did those curved lines come to be! :) I'm going to have to study/disect this a bit more.

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    1. Technically, there aren’t any curved lines! And using the ruler makes it so easy to get that uniform ¼ inch segment that helps the whole thing rotate inward to create the ‘spiral’!

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  2. Wow! A 'QR' code even!!!!! (Will she even speak to us little people ever again!!?? LOL,LOL,LOL!!) That "Zentangling" has found a place in my sketch book but has yet to transfer to the machine BUT the "gauntlet has been thrown"!!! First thing Monday.....I'm on it!!!!!! Hugs....................

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    1. LOL! If I don't speak, it's because I am shy and socially awkward! (Unless I am on a roll speaking about free motion quilting!)

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  3. oh yeah! That is definitely cool, and I am so going to have to try that! Until you showed the video, I just could not get my head around how you were doing it, but now it is definitely going to be a practice piece for ruler work!

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  4. Oh wow Amy, that is just fabulous! I must try that too!
    For the moment i am a feather-holic! Ha ha!
    ( caused by craftsy class by Angela Walters and your excellent videos!)
    Esther

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  5. Outstanding! That is totally cool. Definitely one to try out. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Very cool and I like that idea for the back of your cards. I'm going to be ordering new ones soon and I just might have to do the same.

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    1. There's a book titled "QR Codes Kill Kittens", a very tongue in cheek book about how tech like QR codes have been used in poorly thought out marketing plans. An example is a QR code on the back of a tractor trailer so you can report poor driving! I wondered if I was making a poor choice, but I figure if you've got a smart phone/iphone, it could be a handy way to get to the blog.

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  7. I really like the Zentangle design. Could make a great center for a whole cloth quilt. And your business cards turned out really well.

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  8. Hello from New Zealand!! I have been following you and you inspire me very much. I have been trying hard (or determine) to learn FMQ for a while now. I have a Bernina 750 QE. Do you think the pressure foot that you are using suits my machine? Where can I buy it?

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    1. I am so glad to hear that you’ve found my blog helpful. Thanks for telling me so.

      Bernina has a bunch of free motion feet to choose from (some are called darning or embroidery feet) and usually they have every foot one could ever dream of using (I myself long for the free motion couching foot which is better designed than Janome’s), but…. For the ruler work technique, there is no suitable ‘ruler toe’ for Berninas. I’ve had several readers run the gamut of shank adapters trying to get the Janome foot to work to no avail. Some have gone on to try to modify a Bernina foot, with no real success so far. (Update me if I’m wrong folks!)

      It is possible to do ruler work very, very carefully with a regular free motion foot. But there’s a real risk of the ruler sliding over/under the foot and breaking the needle.

      I suggest letting folks at Bernina know that yet another owner would love to have a ‘ruler toe’ and hoping that they come out with one soon. In the meantime, there are plenty of free motion quilting designs to work on that don’t need rulers. There’s a ton of fun to be had as you learn.

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    2. I was able to use the 10D foot with a ruler on my Bernina 830. Since I couldn't do free motion, I had to turn the piece a lot but I made it work and was very pleased with the results. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Wow, that is amazing! Yes, zentangle definitely has a place in quilting. It's just stunning. Wish I had a ruler foot for my machine to try this. Still might even without it, it's just so cool. And nice business cards. That photo ended up being the perfect background.

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    1. Thanks so much!

      As far as the business cards, I wish having the guts to talk to new people and hand them out was as easy as making them or writing this blog, for that matter.

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  10. And this girl is looking forward to you being here! Just FOUR DAYS! Wish that I could say I've been keeping up with my DM quilting ... but I would be lying. BUT this inspires me!

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    1. I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  11. I first saw this design as "Jack's Paradox." I tried it & it's so much fun. I love your take on it using the triangle. Great job! I can't even think how you came up with that code for your business card. The card looks good with the design you chose.

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    1. Thankfully, Patti, Vista print comes up with the code. I just had to enter my blog addy.

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  12. this was so cool, I had to try it out as quickly as I could! Thanks so much for sharing the video Amy, it has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities! Here's my attempt - http://round22.blogspot.ca/2014/07/sunday.html

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    1. I saw it before you even commented here! Great work. Wasn’t it fun?

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  13. Wow! That is beautiful! I will have to give it a try! Thanks

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  14. Love this idea! Also love your cards.

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  15. This idea is so great. I love your quilting and you inspire me every time.
    Grit from Germany

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  16. Oh so cool and gorgeous stitching!! I have one of the books on zentangle for quilting and lhad ooked forward to trying it out someday. Now you've opened my mind even further (once again and thank you) to consider applying ruler work to it.
    Great business cards too, BTW!

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  17. This is awesome, Amy! I've been wanting to do something like this for ages, but couldn't figure out how. Thanks for sharing how you did this!

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  18. Amy, thanks so much this tutorial! I just wanted to play yesterday so I stitched your zentangle using both the BSR and the fmq foot on my Bernina. I had a blast! Quilting is my favorite part of the process! If you have adapted any more zentangles, I would love to see them.

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    1. Thanks for commenting. I've worked on a few, I'll have to put something together to share.

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  19. I can't for the life of me figure out where to start - and I can't find it on your blog. I LOVE the reverse direction on it and would like to make it into a bag. Can you tell me if there are directions somewhere?

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  20. Thanks for your wonderful tutorials! I've been so inspired since seeing your zentangle video. I've finished 2 triangles starting in the center each time. I'm not sure about the reverse, but this is so much fun! I just wish my stitches would become more uniform.....

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  21. I sat down and did this design right away. Fun and easy. The best part is coming up with different shapes and combining them. This sort of reminds me of the string structure my mom did in the 60s. Very mod, and I loved it so much. I stared at the lines all the time, kind of how I'm staring at the lines in these design.

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