Doodle quilting is both a method of learning free motion designs and a way to stitch the patterns out.

With doodle quilting, you will learn your designs with pen and paper first. Your brain learns the patterns by doodling them repeatedly. As a child in class, I would doodle cubes in my jotter. This is very similar. I repeat a doodle over and over until it becomes second nature.

At this point, I am ready to start stitching out the pattern. My hands know the movements, and I can concentrate on keeping my stitch length perfect.

Real Life Doodling

Of course, there are three problems.

  1. Which doodles do I learn?
  2. What happens at the edges of my doodles?
  3. Where can I learn new doodles?

Which Doodles Do I Learn?

In a recent blog post, I shared my favourite doodle designs for beginners. Some doodles are great for borders, and some will fill up an area, and others work on a grid arrangement. Others provide a densely quilted appearance, and others lend themselves to a lighter quilted look.  It is good to learn a mixture of these. This blog post will guide you. To begin with, start with five doodle patterns you like and understand these.

Before long, you will have a set of ‘go-to’ doodles to apply to any projects.  I have a collection of about twenty-five doodles I use regularly. As your doodle set grows, you will find it doesn’t need to develop much before you have a kit bag of simple designs that you can mix and match to suit your quilting requirements.

What About the Edges of My Doodles?

We don’t always doodle in shapes that flow from one area to another. Sometimes we need to doodle into ‘culdesacs’ and back out again. Some doodles are better suited for tricky shapes than others.  There aren’t natural pieced lines to bound the ends of my doodles, I create lines using either a ¼” quilting ruler or walking foot. Combining straight-line quilting and doodle quilting provide a versatile approach to any quilting task.

Where Can I Learn New Doodles?

Ah! You have come to the right place. Pinterest will provide you with lots of quilting inspiration, but I have curated over 80 designs into a doodle bank, with ebook and videos to guide the sewist through each one, pen on paper and then in stitch. Hundreds of doodlers have learnt in this way.

My doodling starting three years ago with my first Doodle Challenge and has built year on year since then. Most recently, in the Doodle Challenge Facebook Group, we have just completed doodling our way through the alphabet. I have included these new videos in the complete set.

I hope you enjoy Doodle Quilting. This is the most important thing. Enjoy doodling and sewing, and give yourself the time to learn.