My Doodle Canvas Notebook is born…

2015-06-23 ToitI have been contemplating starting a “Doodle Canvas” for years but have just never got around to it. Well, I have found “a round to it and wooden nickle” all in one …so I now have a Doodle Canvas too.

I have always thought you should have a “Doodle Canvas” but just never listened to myself. I have taken classes where teacher/designers have either suggested this; asked you to bring a Doodle canvas on stretcher bars; or supplied you with canvas (you bring the bars.) Susan Portra uses French Knots and suggests you practice making about 10-20 French Knots on a “Doodle Canvas” before doing on the stitching.

Then when I discovered “blog-dom” and became addicted to following blogs,  I began to see Doodle Canvases with purpose and still I did not heed. PinTangle ( ) has documented hers. Here is how it all began:

Blogs had been speaking to me for years about “doodle canvas” but I just wasn’t listening…

Be Stitched several years ago ( ) and

And Threads Across the Web: She calls hers a “Doodle page”

Needle Bug ( ) calls theirs a “sample canvas.”

And even Mary Corbet on Needle n Thread blog tried to tell me to start a doodle canvas.  (

Thought these were very cool but still it did not motivate me to start my journey. BUT I wasn’t able to get these out of my mind and I would think about this when I was stitching. So for the last several years I have had good intentions and we all know what road that paves; but still I did not heed that little voice in my head until earlier this year.

I had cleaned out some UFOs and knew I would never finish stitching but it seemed a shame to dispose of the canvas, so I put the canvass aside until I decided how to use them. And then while cleaning out a sewing drawer too, I found two things I had purchased in quantity.  Grommets and bias tape…I must have had something in mind or just thought I needed them because I bought 2015-06-23 Toolseveral packages of both and have never opened any of them. At that same time my daughter-in-law showed me this neat little gadget she had bought for something she was making and I realized I could use my grommets with this cool little gadget.

Canvas, bias tape, and grommets…hummm… the “doodle canvases” were born. I made two and put one on stretcher bars. Now I had no excuses. Still that canvas sat around for a couple months until one day I needed to practice something and I did it on the bottom of the canvas I was working on only to wish I had done it somewhere else. Not because I didn’t like it or that it ruined the canvas I was stitching, but rather because when I finally finish this piece you will not see my experiment that I like. If I had done this on my “doodle canvases” I would have it for future reference…as it is now I will have this scape of canvas to keep track of.  So then when I needed to practice some decorative flower stitches and ribbon stitches for this same project I remembered the “doodle canvases” and thus was my start.

2015-06-23 Notebook 1 2015-06-23 Notebook 2 2015-06-23 Notebook 3

Remember early this year when I was taking about notebooks? Well I have been pretty faithful about documenting all my stitching in this notebook. When I finish stitching a piece, I put the notes in the computer and fold the pages up with the name of the project written on outside of folded pages. So I started documenting the “doodle canvas” too. This week I finished using the first “doodle canvas” and documented it in the computer. I haven’t decided if this is the final format for this but I wanted to get it computed and move on.

2015-06-23 Doodle Canvas 1So now I have “Doodle canvas #1” and its documentation; another notebook in the making.  Here is my canvas and how I documented it. I had thought I would use something I found at the quilt show to make a cloth print of the documentation to use as the backing of the piece but as you can see I have lots of documentation and it would be larger than the canvas…so 2015-06-23 DoPg01b2015-06-23 DoPg01aI am formatting and incubating ideas again. I am thinking that I have several other projects that I want to make into book formats and this will be the canvas I use to experiment with the covers. Someday I will be blogging about these too but right now the book finishing is still in the incubation stages, doing research and formatting ideas in my head and on paper too.

I don’t think everyone has to go to the extreme I have but I hope you will all consider the merits of a “doodle canvas.” You can experiment with threads: new threads, combination of threads, number of plies needed to cover the canvas or to get the desired effect. You can play with stitches: change the direction of the stitch, play with threads to give the stitch a different look, or just practice those French Knots  or as I have found Bullion Knots too. And best of all reasons: On a doodle canvas there is no “frog stitching”,  there are no mistakes only less usable ideas. And for those of you who are really creative you could create a design and make Christmas ornaments or scissor fobs, any small project for all your stitching friends. If you keep them, think of the reference canvas you will be making…. I like the roll that Sharon B on Pintangle makes (  but that is not for me…a book will serve me better…find what works for you.

Thank you for stopping by… I hope you find time to stitch today!


Color notebooks: start with gray

“He who works with his hands is a labourer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
– St. Francis of Assisi
Read this on Threads Across the Web blog August 27th, 2013 (

I love this quote…My heart just wishes my hands would work as fast as my head. I can wake up in the middle of the night with either a new idea…or an “ah-ha” moment for a problem that has been bugging me. I have learned that to try and maintain my sleep pattern, a notebook by the side of my bed helps. I just write down the thought and sometimes I can go back to sleep…and well yes other times I just give in and get up and “putz” around the house, computer, or stitching. (a nice lady once told me “putz”…it means “to do”; she also told me to “utz” someone was to give the a joyful dig or pun. So since “utz” is in “putz” I always take a second look at the “putzing” I have done in the wee hours of the day…I need no surprises…I can create those on my own with a good night’s sleep.

And before I forget, Kurdy Biggs sent me a comment and she has posted the pictures of her tote and stitching book to her websight ( and even linked you to her finisher…Now I can go lust and drool over her finishing anytime. They are beautiful.

Can’t believe August is over, seem like it just started a few days ago…but  I did OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAspend August organizing the color and design notebooks. I spent a good deal of time working on just sorting and getting myself more organized in the color and design notebook area ( don’t want anyone to get the idea I went over board and organized my life) These notebooks have long been neglected; they were sitting in the corner of the library just growing. This month I whipped them down to a manageable size…okay so I just cleaned them up a bit. (I am also trying to convince myself that I am a packrat…not a hoarder…you can still walk through my library but it is filling up. After a general clean-up of the growing color and design area I eliminated one computer box of stuff and several piles of growing “I may need this” piles; I feel like I have a grasp on this project now and I am committed to working on this project long term.
When I was in teacher certification you were required to take adult education classes related to art…and this never hurts anyone…you’ll find a bunch at your local colleges and now even online (and in some areas if you are over 55 these classes are free or at least offered at a reduced rate). I was and am a sucker for a color class and so I signed up a few times in different medias…silk dying, watercolor, acrylic…you get the idea.
The one thing that was consistent in all these color classes are the first thing they would talk about is value and most would also start with gray value system because once you understand the value system in grays then value of colors is easier. So I have started with my “The Value of Gray” notebook too. Notice I didn’t say much easier…gray values and even color are greatly influenced by the values or color used together (one color influeces another and this can be very frustrating), the light we live with and our very own color perceptions. My gray OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAvalues may be warmer (more to the browns and greens) or cooler (more to the blues) than yours. I may see a different number of gray values between white and black than you do. A value scale can have many grays or just a  few…a good number to strive for is: white, 5-9 values of gray, and black in your value scale. I took a picture of some of the value scales I have collected or made over the years, most have 7-9 gray values.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have started to organize the gray notebook and even planned some of the exercises but not all the stitching exercises. I have folders in the back of the notebook with extra pictures I collect. I have started some of the exercises and have others at least written down. I have also collected the floss for this project and have taken 13-09-04 floss togetherpictures of the floss by brand as well as13-09-04 floss company family by color, even scanned the floss for better color clarifications. This month my goal is to get the gray notebook pretty much completed and ready for a pilot test.
I’m off to gray stitch a value scale or two…Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!