Zentangle, Beginner Level Free-Motion Quilting and Tumbling Tiles

What’s a great way to learn to free-motion quilt?
Zentangles and patchwork with the
Tumbling Tiles pattern, that’s how!

Tumbling Tiles, Designed by Katherine Jones, for Quiltmaker September/October

I am particularly excited about one of the patterns in the new issue of Quiltmaker, September/October ’17. For several years now I’ve been exercising a practice of “thinking outside the box” with my quilting. I’m trying to develop a more creative approach to the process, experimenting with new techniques, tools and design ideas. The Tumbling Tiles pattern, designed by Katherine Jones, fits right into an approach that is trending now for a multitude of disciplines, whether it’s product development team building, strategic planning or leisure arts—a technique to increase creative thinking. For the quilting community, Katherine’s pattern is a terrific example of improvisational piecing and extends free-motion quilting to a practice of free-form quilting. (Check out Joy of Zentangle: Drawing Your Way to Increased Creativity, Focus, and Well Being by contributing artists Suzanne McNeill, Sandy Steen Bartholomew and Marie Browning and Zen Quilting: Fabric Arts Inspired by Zentangle® by Pat Ferguson (both by Design Originals), and The Zentangle Untangled Workbook: A Tangle-a-Day to Draw Your Stress Away by Kass Hall (F+W Media).

TumblingTiles Zen 200x300 Zentangle, Beginner Level Free Motion Quilting and Tumbling Tiles

Patchwork pieced and Zentangle tiles

The Tumbling Tiles pattern has modern appeal with it’s open spaces, the density of pieced patchwork on one end of the quilt opening up to widely-spaced blocks on the other side and a variety of unique blocks made of stitched doodles. When I first saw it, I was reminded of the popularity of zentangles and coloring books that promote ways to increase creative thinking and a technique for stress management. I ask, what quilter doesn’t use quilting as a way to relieve stress some of the time?

The approach used to create the Tumbling Tiles design is a spot-on example of bringing Zen to quilters. I also think this pattern could be perfect for beginners. Piecing the blocks is a cinch; a good skill builder for joining strips to make blocks. The quilting-stitched blocks are a wonderful practice for start-up free-motion quilters. If you’ve followed my series in Quiltmaker (May/June ’17, July/August ’17, and September/October ‘17) you know I’m a novice at quilting on a domestic sewing machine. I’m ramping up for a future article on the topic of learning free-motion quilting. So, I’ve been practicing the movements required to free-motion quilt by drawing motifs on paper and stitching sample quilting motifs while handling multiple layers fabric—and now using a free-form zentangle approach. (See my samples below. Please don’t critique; remember, I’m a beginner.)

ZenMotion 203x300 Zentangle, Beginner Level Free Motion Quilting and Tumbling Tiles

Free-Motion practice with hand-drawn Zentangles

ZenPractice 272x300 Zentangle, Beginner Level Free Motion Quilting and Tumbling Tiles

Free Motion Quilting – Zentangle Stitching Practice

I’m finding that taking this approach is helping to free my mind and tendency to “sew by the lines” that I feel is required to get an exact replica of a quilting motif. With zentangle coaching I do feel creative and it’s working to get a feel for free-motion quilting. I highly recommend it!

And, I recommend the Tumbling Tiles quilt pattern to get you started!!

TumblingTilesStyle 260x300 Zentangle, Beginner Level Free Motion Quilting and Tumbling Tiles

Tumbling Tiles, Quiltmaker September/October ’17

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