Saturday, August 4, 2012

Free-Motion Quilting on my iPad

Quilt Doodling in Notes Plus app for iPad
Several of the free-motion quilting experts in SewCalGal's 2012 FMQ Challenge have advised doodling new quilting designs with pen and paper to get comfortable with the designs and commit them to muscle memory.  I don't take a notebook with me everywhere I go, but I usually do have my iPad.  Lately, I've been using the Notes Plus app on my iPad, along with a stylus, to practice doodling fill designs that I'm considering adding to Lars's Drunken Dragons quilt. I can doodle at red lights, I can doodle in the drive-through line at Starbucks or at the bank, I can doodle at a restaurant while we're waiting for the food to come, or while watching/listening to the Olympics on television.

Notes Plus is a powerful note-taking app that allows you to create documents combining handwriting, sketches, vector shapes, photos, and even audio.  You can click here to watch a YouTube video that walks you through the features of Notes Plus.  At $7.99, it's pricey for an app, but I originally downloaded it to use as a tool for taking notes in meetings with my interior design clients -- snap a photo of that window, record measurements, ideas, etc, and even move things around on the page so you can go back and add another idea after you've run out of room.  Then the notes can be exported as images or PDF files.  No more misplacing important pages!  Anyway, I think Notes Plus is a great tool for business or student note-taking, but there are simpler, less expensive options if you just want an app for doodling quilting designs.

Might I suggest:
Screen Shot of the Drawing Pad app for iPad
At $1.99, the Drawing Pad app for iPad has a much friendlier price tag than Notes Plus.  It seems to be geared towards children, with an in-app store for purchasing coloring books, etc., but I like the colors and different brush strokes.  This app also allows you to import a photo as a background.  This is a very handy feature.  Say you're reading a free-motion quilting tutorial online, like Wendy Sheppard's August tutorial on SewCalGal's blog.  The tutorial post includes photo sketches of Wendy's Jester Hat quilting motif.  All you have to do is save that image to your iPad, import it into the Drawing Pad app, and you can practice tracing the design over and over and over again on your iPad until you've ingrained that design into your muscle memory to where you can recreate it freehand.  Once you can draw a fill pattern almost automatically, barely having to think about it, it will be much easier to sit down at the sewing machine and quilt that pattern.  You could also use the import photo feature to practice quilting on an image of your actual fabric.

Okay, app developers out there: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to develop a Free-Motion Quilting App "FMQ for iPad!"  It would be based on a simple drawing app like Drawing Pad, but it would have some fabric backgrounds and quilting designs included in the app, like Stippling and Feathers, for instance.  The biggest difference would be that, instead of drawing with virtual markers, ink pens, or chalk, the FMQ for iPad app would let you draw with lines of thread stitches, maybe even letting you use an eyedropper tool to pick up a thread color from your fabric image, and definitely giving you the option to draw with variegated thread stitches.  Hop to it!


SewCalGal said...

I love the idea of a FMQ APP for an ipad. I bet it would be a very popular APP.


Jenny K. Lyon said...

Very cool! Makes me want an ipad all the more.