Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Call it what you will... Doodle, ZenDoodle, Zentangle, ZenSuedle... it is still the art of finding your Zen through design and texture... like I always say’ “a rose by any other name would still have thorns to protect its beauty”. What ever medium you use to channel your Zen Designs, it is still a work of art to be inspired by. I have been an additive doodler my entire life. It was the number one reason I was asked to leave class as a child and now as an adult it is the way I unwind at the end of a long day, rediscover my lost creative mojo, or pass the time during an endless meeting. My doodling has lead to countless quilting and embroidery designs, stencils, fabric line set to be released in May2012 and has even been tattooed on other people’s body parts. I have been known to doodle on any scrap of paper I can find, on my jeans, my shoes, the wall by the phone in the kitchen... if it’s in reach it can be doodled on. This article is meant to inspire you to create texture and designs regardless of the medium you choice.
Now don’t get me wrong I know the difference between art and doodling. What you need to understand is that it all starts with a doodle, a scribble, a movement created with a pen, a paint brush, or whatever your medium choice might be. In the last 11 years my simplest doodles have been used to create countless quilting designs, edge to edge panto’s, embroidery designs, countless quilts, wall murals, quilting idea books, stencils and fabric lines. Oh and let’s not forget that my designs have also been inked for all time onto peoples skin in the form of tattoo’s... ooch!        

From This:
To This: 
There are as many different ways to design as there are designers or uses for the designs. I would like to share my process with you in hopes that it may inspire you to take your raw doodles to the next level, what ever that may be. I doodle on everything, all the time, then at night when I am in my hotel room or in my limited spare time at home, I take all my doodles and sketches and lay them all out on a large table in front of me. I then start pulling design concepts that I think could go together, be revamped, or just played with until I like the end result. Some of my starter designs get filed away for future play and others get pulled from the pile and re-drawn.
I like to work with different sizes of sketch paper, a large light box, black sharpie markers ranging from ultra fine to thick and a full range of eye glasses to help magnify small areas so my eyes do not get strained. I also have a full array of acrylic shapes in every size imaginable. Most, well almost all of my shapes have been purchased from Quilters Rule. I will include a link at the end of the article for those of you who would like to check out there on line site. I also keep my stencils, and a few scrap booking border tools close at hand. Although most of my designs are free form drawings I use the tools listed above to create specific shape spaces to fill in and repeat.
When I am happy with the finished design I then start pulling variations or sections of the design to create repeats, background fillers, and complementary designs so the finished pieces can be used together to create a full line of fabric or on there own for other projects, such as stencils or embroidery and quilt designs. I like to have at least five pieces that go together. I then take them to my graphics guy and have the designs scanned to be sent to my computer and photo copied at least three times so I came colour them in. Be sure that the copies are done on good paper or your colour medium will bleed when you start to apply it to the copies.

What ever your style, what ever medium you work in, how ever you choose to tackle the creative process, my best advice to you is that you enjoy that process from start to finish. I design and create for me first and foremost; I never tackle a project with the end result in mind. This allows me to be free formed and have fun without bending to the end need for the doodle. When I feel the project is complete and I am happy with it I then decide how I will present it and it’s end purpose.
Well I hope I have inspired you to look at your doodles in a whole new way. A very awesome quilting instructor, Linda Taylor, once told me "let your quilting reflect who you are inside", and this is my advice to you... "let your works of art reflect who you are and never second guess your ability to create something awesome!"

A Special thanks to my good friend Dusty for sharing his tattoo's of my art work. To see Dusty's awesome quilting and design work go to To view all the wonderful templates from my good friends at Quilter's Rule please visit

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Let's Get Started...

I thought I should start my Blog with some insight on how I ended up where I am today... It all started with a trip to a local quilt shop, Jillybean's Pride, in Oakville, Ontario Canada. I was of course picking out new fabric I had to have and thread to add to my collection, when I noticed the most AWESOME Quilt I had ever seen. I can't tell you what blocks the quilt had or even what colour it was, but the quilting on it was life changing for me. The texture, the designs, I was lost in the moment. I found out that day that the quilt had been quilted by a lady named Carol Cunningham from the Quilt Batt, on her longarm! I had no idea what a longarm was at the time, but I knew I had to have one. Later that day I ordered my first longarm sight unseen, over the phone! I, of course, do not suggest that this is how you choose your first longarm, but looking back on my last 11 years it was the right call for me. The machine arrived at my house on Dec 22nd 2001 and after punching holes in the wall of my dinning room, to make it fit, I had a wonderful 14 foot table in my 14 foot room. Although I had no idea how to turn it on I knew that with hard work I could have a nice little stay at home job... it was a 5 year plan to start with. I would learn how to turn it on, take in a few client quilts and earn a little money while staying at home with my three children. I had no limits to what I thought this magical machine could do and no one to tell me the do's and don't so I just started doing what ever I wanted and that magical longarm became my design tool. Before I knew it I had a 6 month waiting list and more quilts on my shelf then I knew what to do with, so I bought 2 more longarms to help get the work done quicker and I was in business.
In 2002 this quilt hung in a both at Houston. It was my first Thread Art Quilt and was adapted from Rosemary Mekhan's applique design,from her Woodlands Garden Patterns. The quilt was noticed by some big wiggs in the longarm industry and before I knew what was happening... I was teaching that year at MQS one of the largest longarm shows in the States. My 5 year, stay at home little business idea took on a whole new dirrection. It has been a world wind from there. Trips to Germany, France, England, all across the US and Canada teaching, lecturing, designing for all things quilting. I've have 2 books published, appeared on Quilting shows, in magazines and turned my weekend hobby into a thriving business, that takes me around the globe about 9 months out of the year. I have made new friends, met thousands of wonderful people, won some ribbons, had countless opportunities, all because of my passion for creating and a simple phone call, I thought it might be nice to include some of my work before fast forwarding to today... Kalidescope Of Threads
Birds Of A Feather
Another Sleepless Night
Alexis Winter Garden
Artistic Threads
Thread Art Tapestry
Bitter Sweet Revenge- Front
Bitter Sweet Revenge- Back
All Dressed Up With No Place To Go
Dare To Be Different
This year we hope to launch our new web site , distribute our new fabric line, share our new line of thread by YLI, offer my new training videos (we start filming in two weeks, right after a trip to Denver) and share our travels and experiences along the way... So I hope you enjoyed my intro to my blog... Tell a friend... share the link... and I'll catch you on the flip side of somewhere else... I Remain Crazy For All Things Inspiring...Or Maybe Just Plain Crazy... Sue Patten
As my company, Patten That Quilt, or PTQ gears up for another crazy year of traveling, teaching and vending I would like to start sharing our journey with you through by weekly blog, which may turn into a monthly blog during show season. We have a lot of exciting things happening this year, a new fabric line, a new web site, new show locations and new classes. So I thought it would fun to share the ups and downs of our new adventures. In the past we have offered video up dates on our PTQ Productions, we will continue to do this as well. I have included the link and some videos below on the shows we have attended, what's new in the world of quilting and interviews with the "who's who" of quilting. This Blog will take you inside the classes, behind the seen with the vendors, up close and personal with the quilts, and explore the creative process of designing for all areas of the quilting industry. I will share my tips and tricks on submitting classes, book proposals, presenting fabric lines, creating stencils, panto's, digitized designs, thread colour combinations and so much more. So welcome to my new blog and I hope you will join me on this journey...