Zentangle®-Inspired Quilts


I have structured my one-day instruction with a 3.5 hour morning session using pen and paper- my standard Introduction to Zentangle® class- so that every students can enjoy the sense of accomplishment, experience the calming effect, and understand the process and patterns

Zentangle®-Inspired Quilting (ZIQ) uses the same tangles, or patterns (sometimes adapted for continuous line application) using free-motion quilting. The morning class is prerequisite for ZIQ.

I am a very experienced free-motion quilter, very confident with Zentangle® design, and have a lot of teaching experience. What I do not have is enough technical know-how to troubleshoot on many different models of sewing machines. It is not my intention to teach basic free-motion quilting, as we are using complicated designs. I want to teach for success, and it is important the “zen” quality of Zentangle® can be appreciated by the afternoon students. For these reasons, I encourage only students who are fairly confident with their free motion quilting to attend the afternoon session. 

Cost of Course
Course Difficulty
Course Type
Course Time
Sunday afternoon, 1 pm to 4 pm
List of materials
• Free Motion foot or Darning foot for sewing machine
• Extension table (preferred, but you can manage a small piece without the extension)
• Erasable Fabric Marking pen* (air-erase, heat-erase or wash-out...your preference – these may be borrowed from instructor in class or purchased on site)
• 2 Quilt sandwiches approx 12” x 12” :
1. Top fabric is light coloured quilting cotton
2. Medium weight fusible interfacing
3. Batting (cotton, cotton blend or thin poly – not puffy poly)
4. Backing fabric is muslin or quilting cotton (any colour or pattern)
• For the Tangles: Black or Navy thread (or any other colour that is really important to you). Heavier threads give better results visually. A 30-weight works well. My personal favourite so far is Coats Dual Duty XP Heavy (available at Fabricland for $2.80) – my sample heart quilt is done with this – it really ‘pops’ the patterns, and is very forgiving.
• For the background: Your regular quilting thread (usually 50w) to match the quilt top.
• Bobbins wound in advance to match both heavy and background threads (bobbin for heavy thread is regular 50 wt.)
• Machine Needles appropriate to size of thread. Heavier threads need 90/14 or 100/16 Topstitch (preferred), Quilting or Jeans
• Quilting gloves (if you use them)

Prep Before Class:

#1. Create your Quilt sandwiches:
1. Fuse the interfacing to the back/wrong side of your TOP fabric
2. Sandwich preferably using a spray fabric glue product (e.g 505 Spray). We will be working small and pins are awkward to work around. If you are committed to pinning, fine, but I really like the freedom of movement afforded by the spray glue. I will bring some 505 you may use if you are willing to a) come early and b) go outside to do your spraying)
We will complete the quilting of one sample in class, and may do some practicing on the second. Use a 1-3” strip along one edge of one of your quilt sandwiches to complete task #2 below (so you are trying it out on the exact same materials you will be using in class.)

#2. Try out your thread, needle and tension combination:

I have recommended using a heavy thread such as Coats Dual Duty (which I think is intended as upholstery thread). I usually use a 50 weight thread in the bobbin. It is really important that you come prepared to sew, and not get all hung up with tension issues in class ... we will all have a lot more fun if you do all the thread auditioning and tension adjustments at home before class. Try a few curvy lines, some stops and starts at corners and some tight S-curves to ensure the thread does not pull on the curves.

In my experience some people’s machines just cannot adapt to the extreme heavy weight threads while doing free motion quilting. If this sounds like your machine, don’t give up – just choose a slightly less heavy thread and try again until you find a combination of top and bobbin threads and tension setting that work for you. And/or try a different needle.

Some people have come to class with regular 50 weight thread because that is what works for them. One of my samples is completely done in 50 weight Gutermann cotton thread... the design just isn’t as bold. Just please be confident before coming to class that you have a combination that works, so that your class time is not taken up struggling with your machine.

Remember: The class is about becoming comfortable with the patterns and process so you can do innovative things in the future, not on creating a masterpiece the first time out.

Basic machine-quilting workshop supplies:

• Sewing machine with bobbins, electric cords, foot pedal and manual
• Lamp
• Extension cord – duct tape/wide masking tape to tape down cord
• Power bar
• Spare machine needles
• Pins
• Seam ripper and thread snips
• Scissors
• Any other basic sewing supplies you may need

And don’t forget personal comfort items (chair or pillow for your chair, eye glasses, etc.) and water, lunch and/or snacks.