While I was in Seattle last weekend, I stayed with Mary and Jim Woodring, and on Sunday night Mary invited friends and family over for a good ol' stitch and bitch. Mary had a wonderful example of a "doodle cloth". Just like a scrap piece of paper, it's a scrap piece of cloth that you practice (and mess up) stitches on. But I think that after a lot of "doodling" it takes on its own charm. Especially this one, because Mary's so meticulous with her stitches and is not afraid of tackling complex ones. You can see the photos from the SnB if you wanna.
Related: Jim Woodring Embroidery Patterns