Doodle Quilting – Book Review

Does free-motion quilting intimidate you? Does it make you say, “I’m going to send it out to someone else to be machine quilted?” Then looking back you wistfully regretted it, because you want to be able to say, “I did the whole thing myself?”

Have you become a really good hand-quilter to avoid free-motion quilting,and have found yourself moaning, “I could be finishing this a lot faster if I free-motion quilt this beautiful quilt?” (That is definitely me.)

Well worry no more. Cheryl Malkowski has written and illustrated an visually beautiful and easy to use book, Doodle Quilting; Over 120 Continuous-Line Machine-Quilting designs.

My husband loves to doodle and has been doing it for years. To be honest, I never really thought it could help me become a good free-motion


The “How to use This Book” section at the beginning will engage the reader and help them to feel more confident about mastering these skills. And that’s just on page 8-9. She recommends photocopying the patterns in the book that you plan to use. (I used tracing paper which worked really well too). By using one marker or two rigged into a cross; (see below), you will get the feeling of how to do this. It’s muscle and brain memory functions at work.

After a little practice, I was able to do it on a blank piece of paper. I know it seems hard to believe at first, but it works. I have faith in this because I’ve had quite a few orthopedic surgeries just in the last two years, and I discovered in physical therapy, how much my muscles remembered in learning how to walk again.

The first chapter of patterns covers, “Travelers.” They are too many to mention, so I’ll just name a few; loops, pebbles, echoing, flower petals, hooks and swirlies. 

Cheryl gradually bumps the reader up to the next set of free-motion challenges; Boomerangs. Not real ones. Think organically about these shapes. They include many types of leaves, fruit, flowers with centers, (wild roses and daisies), flowers without centers, hearts, stars, Christmas trees, and ribbons, just to name a few.

In all 120 examples, she explains how to do it, and then how to think it through, while you are doing it. (See the little THINK box above, just underneath the petals? It’s kind of a left brain, right brain exercise. The fruit and the flowers have me really inspired. 


The third and fourth chapters covers Feathers and Ensembles, which are combinations of the what the reader learns and masters in earlier chapters.

The final chapter, “Making it Fit,” illustrates how do this by “getting in and out of points with travelers,” such as half square triangles. One of my particular favorites, which I’m sure I will try is “L’s and E’s in a boarder.” 

Last but not least, she explains and shows how to do grid work in negative spaces. This is something I’ve been playing around with in creating some of my own quilt designs. I really appreciate further examples, inspiration and the opportunity to look at it, using this free motion technique.

My other part-time job is that I am a part-time reference librarian. So I would be remiss by not mentioning certain details included in this book, that all readers appreciate. The illustrations are clear, and simply done using black print on a white background. In fact almost the entire book is black on white, with some lively periwinkle pages that begin a new chapter.

The other special feature is that each page edge is decorated with periwinkle sea scrolls, or C’s, which is a very attractive free motion technique. A very clever “traveller” to bring the reader from page to page.

I will use this book for many years to come, and refer to it often. I would say it’s a “must have”, even a “primer” for those who want to learn free motion quilting, gain confidence and beyond.

Happy Reading, and Happy Free-Motion Quilting!! 

Machine Quilting

I have been re-learning how to machine quilt on my new Bernina 750. It is very different than machine quilting on my Bernina 130. 

Notice this meandering foot, and the black wire coming out from the back of the foot?  This is a BSR foot, and the black wire plugs into the back of the machine. 

Two features make free-motion quilting on this machine a dream. First,you don’t have to control your speed with a foot pedal. NO FOOT PEDAL. Yay!!  Just press to stop – go button above.

I have been re-training myself using the pattern in this book;


It has some great exercises with patterns that go from easy to more complicated. I am loving this book, and I’m going to review next week.