Free-Motion Machine Sketching

Learn the basics of drawing with thread and creating stitched motifs with art quilter and popular teacher Candy Glendening.

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Free-Motion Machine Sketching DVD
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Learn the basics of drawing with thread and creating stitched motifs with art quilter and popular teacher Candy Glendening.


You'll love this DVD workshop if:

  • You enjoy machine quilting
  • You are interested in learning new ways to experiment with your sewing machine
  • You love creating art quilts

Free-motion machine sketching is a combination of thread sketching and machine quilting that results in charming drawings and motifs on fabric. Candy developed this technique after much experimentation, and has taught many quilters how to look at their sewing machine as a tool for drawing and sketching.


She begins by reviewing the inspiration for her sketches—everything from birds, to ceramic bowls, to plants—and deftly shows how free-motion machine sketching can capture the essence of the subject in thread. Candy walks the viewer through the process while making a fabric sketchbook to demonstrate and practice machine sketching techniques and her own charming motifs. She breaks down the process for creating the sketches into easy to follow tutorials, and provides in-depth demonstrations along the way.


Finally, she shows how to assemble the fabric sketchbook and create a lasting collection of the sample sketches. Prepare to expand your view of how the sewing machine can be used as a drawing tool to create sketched motifs on a variety of stitched surfaces. You’ll never look at your machine the same way again!


Materials Needed:

  • A sewing machine with free-motion capabilities
  • Several multicolor heavyweight quilting threads that contrast with the fabrics
  • Rotary cutter with both straight and pinking blades
  • Machine needle: quilting, embroidery, or topstitch size 90/14
  • Fabric: 1 fat quarter of multicolor fabric for the cover, 6-8 far quarters of solid or slightly patterned fabrics for the pages.
  • Fusible webbing
  • Self-healing mat
  • and more!

Order your copy of Free-Motion Machine Sketching today!



File Type: MP4

ISBN 13: 9781620337028

Customer Reviews

Skill Builder Review by Beth

Good content to video. I do have a problem focusing on the topic when the speaker repeatedly uses "um" and "ok".

(Posted on 3/24/14)

Build your free-motion stitching skills, and your confidence! Review by Susan Brubaker Knapp

I’ve admired Candy’s gorgeous hand-dyed fabrics, and her lovely, loose free-motion motifs, since I met her on the set of “Quilting Arts TV” a few years ago. (If you want to learn Candy’s dyeing techniques, make sure to check out her first Quilting Arts Workshop, “Dyeing to Stitch: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Colorful Fabric Art.”) She takes her hand-dyed fabrics and makes lots of usable projects like tote bags, baskets, iPad cases, and sketchbook covers. (Many of them have been featured in Quilting Arts and Quilting Arts Gifts magazines.)

If you are a new, or hesitant, free-motion quilter, the technique Candy demonstrates in her new Workshop is a great place to start learning. Why? Well, Candy believes in stitching so that the hand of a human being is evident; she doesn’t want her stitching to look too perfect or mechanical. She likes the sense of movement created by the repeated lines, and stresses that these sketches look better if they are slightly imperfect.

Candy spends a lot of time demonstrating how she stitches her motifs – birds, vessels, and botanicals – and she talks through what she is thinking about as she stitches. This is very valuable for the beginner free-motion stitcher, because she shares tips, as well as practical advice about when to snip your threads, how fast to move your needle and your hands, and how to visualize the motif you are creating.

In one of the chapters, she shows photos she’s taken of botanical subjects, and talks about how she closely observes what she sees before stitching it.

Then she shows you how to assemble these stitched motif pages into a beautiful sketchbook where you can preserve your motifs. Just as artists work in sketchbooks as a way of developing ideas and working through problems before they begin a major piece of art, Candy uses her stitched sketchbooks to preserve motifs, see what works and what doesn’t, and determine if the thread and fabric colors play well together. Then she goes on to use her motifs in other projects.

While Candy doesn’t mention this, I think one of these sketchbooks would be a beautiful gift that could be personalized for your favorite gardener, teacher, or bride and groom.

Candy is very enthusiastic and supportive, and offers great advice to make beginners feel at ease: “The freedom that you feel once you are secure in your subject matter and secure in your free-motion sketching skills gives you that flow you really need to get … fluid lines. Definitely don’t think that you are going to be perfect the first time around. You need to sketch, sketch, sketch.”

(Posted on 3/21/14)

Thread sketching made easy! Review by Vicki

I've admired Candy's botanical and bird thread sketches for a long time and now I know how to create them for myself. I like that she walks us through creating a sketchbook of samples instead of a project. A thread sketchbook is a low risk way to explore the technique and allows us to personalize the motifs for our own art.

(Posted on 3/10/14)