Doodle Quilting!

Eons ago I celebrated a bloggy milestone with a give-away. The idea was to make a wee piece of art specifically for the winner of the draw. I had planned to make the piece right away, but it took longer to connect with the winner than anticipated!

Judge Certification work, travel, and a super busy summer took over.
Long story, short(ish), Emily @ Toothpaste & Orange Cat won the draw, and has been waiting patiently for her prize to materialize!

Happily, this sweet little quilt will be on its way in the very near future!

Based on our emails, I chose a dance theme for Emily's quilt. After a couple of half-hearted attempts at something more realistic (blah), I decided to allow a fun doodle to come forth. I love it, and hope Emily will, too!

I'm a girl who likes to keep her word - so finishing this is such a relief. Now I can move forward with a clear conscience and a happy heart.

Speaking of hearts - another doodle recently came to life.

I'm currently experimenting with black lines and colour, attempting to achieve a painterly effect in my work.

First I do a quick sketch of an idea in a spiral bound notebook. It can be messy because the book's not precious.

A messy sketch in my notebook

If I like something I've drawn, I quickly trace it onto tracing paper, keeping lines loose and not worrying about being too exact.

Traced and laid on top of the block for consideration

I lay the tracing paper over the fabric to see how things look. I can flip the paper over to see how things look in reverse, too. Always worth considering.

Flipped to consider the reverse image

At this point drawings can be moved around or revised to better fill the space. When I'm ready, I pin the tracing paper in position and free-motion stitch right through it. It is easy to pull away when I'm done.

Drawing is stitched and tracing paper removed

Once the basic drawing is stitched, it's time to add some colour.

Crayon and ink look darker when they are wet

Caran D'Ache Neocolor II artist's crayons are permanent on fabric once they are heat set. After "painting" with wet crayons, I decided to spritz the whole thing with an ink meant for use on paper. I figured ink would stain, wouldn't it?

I let it dry overnight, and pressed it with a hot iron to heat set the colour. The heart still needed help, so I kept stitching and colouring until I was happy.

Stitch and colour until it feels done - can always add more!

The ink worried me, so I decided to rinse the whole thing and see what would happen. To my surprise, the ink completely washed out, even after heat setting. Hmm. Guess that didn't work (but, that's okay!).

Finished heart, rinsed and pressed - no more ink!
Confession Time
Honestly, there were times when I took the next step and then dearly wished I hadn't - despairing that I'd ruined things - but it all worked out in the end. Without a map to follow, a person has to embrace the idea of serendipity and follow new paths as they appear. Knowing when to STOP can be the trickiest part!

Quick Tip
If you decide to try a doodle, stabilize your stitching before you begin. Either work on a quilt sandwich (like the giraffe), or use a fusible interfacing on the back of your fabric (like the heart).

Such fun!!! There will be more of these in my future, for sure.

Progress Update: Brynne's Quilt

Brynne and I sewed like crazy on Thanksgiving weekend to get her quilt top pieced. We finished all except the borders!

Brynne and my son, Derrick, in the family room/temporary quilting workshop!
We broke out the paint for the finishing touch on one of her hand-drawn critters. Just a dot was all it took. (I think that paintbrush has 6 teeny tiny bristles!)

We took it out to the studio so Brynne could select thread and choose a pantograph before she left for the city again. Since Brynne doesn't know how, and we are out of sewing time for now, I will finish things up for her.

Brynne's scrappy quilt top, minus borders
Isn't it amazing how scraps come together in a quilt?

My Mom and Latifat joined us on Saturday, working on their own projects. It was a happy and productive time!

My Mom, discussing a project with Latifat

All three of our kids were home for Thanksgiving . . . AND their partners were all present, as well! That's practically a miracle for this globetrotting group!

On "turkey day", we decided a family picture would be a good idea.
Ha! Getting us organized (and behaving) is darn near impossible!

Eventually we got formed up - only to have my husband get up to his usual mischief of hiding behind me and poking me in the ribs! What a guy!

Our family says "Happy Thanksgiving!" hubby (Chuck) and I (Carole) are standing on the left, our grandchildren (Laina and Riley) are down in front, my Mom (Bev) is on the right. Our two boys (Brandt and Derrick) are standing on the right, and their girlfriends (Amy and Brynne) are seated in front of them. Our daughter (April) is seated beside me, and her husband (Chad) is standing behind her.

Didja get all that? There's gonna be a quiz later, so I hope you paid attention! (ha!)

Here's hoping you had a wonderful weekend, too!

Linking up with:

Needle and Thread Thursday, at My Quilt Infatuation
Free Motion Mavericks, at Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing
Whoop Whoop Fridays, at Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Fabric Frenzy Friday, at Fort Worth Fabric Studio
Finish it up Friday, at Crazy Mom Quilts
Creative Goodness Linky Party, at Quilt Shop Gal

Try, Learn, & Grow!
P.S. Find me on Instagram under my blog name, FreshofftheFrame


  1. Carole, I love your little giraffe, and must try that technique sometime! Thanks for sharing your process...and your IG handle - I'm now following you! Whoop whoop!!

  2. I love your mini quilts! So sweet. The cat quilt is really nice, too. I love cats!

  3. The giraffe is wonderfully, whimsical and adorable. She'll love it. Thanks for sharing the process, it was fun to see the heart come together. It looks like you've had a wonderful week, family and sharing your love of quilting.

  4. What a great mixed media technique!

  5. What a sweet giraffe, I'm sure she'll love it and what a good feeling - clearing your conscience in that way! Been there too! I was wondering what you used to colour your 'dots' on it so thanks for showing us more there. And the cats look amazing, Brynne (and you) must be so happy with it, really looking forward to seeing it quilted now. Late Happy Thanksgiving to you all, how lovely to have the whole family there and it's a gorgeous photo even with your husband misbehaving! He's about on a par with my children - they can't all 'pose' for a photo together without at least one of them getting up to tricks, just a shame he's the grown up!

  6. The dancing giraffe quilt is adorable! The lucky recipient is going to love it, I'm sure. :) And the cat quilt is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing some of your process - I'm definitely going to try out the tracing paper tip on my Frozen pillow, it might help me make a final decision.

  7. What a great family photo; it is clear that you are a vibrant bunch. I never think to use tracing paper, that sounds like a great trick. And Brynne's quilt top came together so well! It looks like you had a very cozy time working with her.

  8. I have a cat quilt like that on the bed at the moment! Mine is pink background with grey cats, a memory/friendship quilt to remember our previous cat Misty.

  9. I so enjoyed your post today! I bookmarked this page as I totally want to try your paint technique as I so love your whimsical giraffe.

  10. I love love LOVE the giraffe!! So cute!
    I love that you try new things, and spend a long time on them, even... And that you share them here.
    I love that you and Brynne are sewing together, and made an awesome quilt. Out of scraps! (and that she had to add paint to her quilt ;-)
    I love that all of your kids could be home for Thanksgiving - that does a momma's heart good!
    And I love the picture of you and the people you love .
    ~ Tracy

  11. Hello Carole,

    The dancing giraffe is hilarious. It looks like an illustration from a children's book. Bravo with the writing! I would be terrified of missing out a letter and having loads of unpicking to do.

    The heart design is great too. I tried quilting over tracing paper once. Absolutely shredded it.

    Lovely picture of the family gathering. I'm ready for the quiz.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

  12. Fantastic - I loved reading about your process and thoughts on the doodles!

  13. The most perfect Thanksgiving! Your family is wonderful Carol! So fun that you spent part of it sharing the love of quilting. And your son serenaded you by guitar too, LOL.
    That quilty doodly giraffe is so adorable and truly expresses joie de vivre! Emily must have been so thrilled!

  14. Hi Carole,

    I'm not sure exactly sure what trail I followed to find your blog, but I'm glad I did (definitely the last bit was Kelley's linky party - Needle and Thread Thursday). It was fascinating to read your process for your pictures. Congratulations to Emily, who is so lucky receiving your giraffe! Wow, I'm so jealous. I draw plans for what I make but I would never have thought of a giraffe!

    I'm so happy to have found your lovely blog, Carole! You have a new follower here!

    I love the cat quilt too!

    Barbara xx

  15. The giraffe is too cute. I love it!! Your tutorial is great. I can't wait to make something and maybe use some of the $300 word of Shiva paint sticks I bought!


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