I keep a sketchbook handy to draw out quilting patterns I want to remember and to draw out the step by step procedures of how they would be stitched so I can go back to it later and browse for ideas or to see how it is done. This is just a notebook of white paper that can be purchased in a lot of places. I think I got mine at Hobby Lobby but believe I have seen them at discount stores too. It doesn’t matter how heavy the paper is and I suppose you could even use lined paper notebooks if you wanted to but the solid white paper is less distracting.
Here is a scanned page from my book – I know it is hard to see exactly what I drew from this photo but scroll down on the page and I have cropped the individual steps and posted larger photos of them. This design I call Continuous Flying Geese and is one I came up with when I wanted to quilt a wavy flying geese design on a quilt border. I don’t have the quilt to photograph but hope you get the idea from the design step outs. This is what the design would look like all stitched out. The line of triangle flying geese could be any shape or length you want or need.The first thing to do is to draw registration marks on your quilt using the marking device of your choice. Use something that can be removed in case your stitching does not follow your markings exactly. You will mark outside lines, center line and then cross lines to indicate the spaces between geese units. Make sure to angle the cross lines to follow the curves.Step 1 - Start stitching at the bottom corner – either side is fine but since I am left handed I started on the bottom left which feels more natural for me but you could mirror image it if this feels wrong. Which ever side you start on you will want to draw/stitch the same on all geese. You stitch from the bottom corner to the peak of the first goose then down to the bottom corner of that goose.Step 2 – draw/stitch across the bottom to finish the goose unit.Step 3 – Stitch from the initial starting point up the side to the starting bottom corner of the next goose. You will stitch this goose the same way as the one below. Follow the arrows to see how it is done.Step 4 - Continue stitching the geese units up the line keeping your connecting line of stitches on one side. When you reach the top goose you draw/stitch across the top then down the long side that has not been stitched.
Now wasn’t that easy? These drawings are taken directly from scans of my sketchbook so are a little messy but they tell me what I need to know if I want to stitch this design again.
The best advice I can give you about stitching a new design is to draw it and draw it until the path and shapes are imbedded in your mind. I doodle quilting designs on scrap paper and envelopes I pull out of the trash when I am talking on the telephone or watching TV. If I come up with something new then I draw it in my sketchbook to refer to later.