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How to Doodle with Yarn

When I first started learning stranded colorwork knitting, I began describing it as doodling with yarn. To me, it felt like each row was sort of a slow-motion version of coloring in a pattern. Except instead of using markers or colored pencils - you’re using fiber.

One of my favorite things about colorwork is seeing the pattern emerge over time. And I find myself drawn to both knitting and designing patterns that encourage you to “knit just one more row.”

I created the “Doodle Pattern Series” to use mix-and-match charts that enable the knitter to choose:

  • The construction (infinity cowl, standard cowl, reversible cowl, or hat)

  • The motifs (holiday, autumn, valentines, etc.)

  • The order or arrangement of charts

  • The color palette (endless options)

Because it can be different every single time, you'll want to knit these patterns again and again!

How to Doodle with Yarn

Your unique “doodle” is created by combining micro charts with optional stripes of color or other borders between charts.

All of the charts from every doodle pattern and expansions work together, so get creative with how to use them. You don’t need to use all of the charts – pick your favorites! Additionally, the same chart can be used repeatedly, in different color combinations.

Depending on the desired outcome, consider the difference between changing MC (background color) with each chart compared to keeping one consistent MC throughout the colorwork section.

Most importantly, get creative and have fun!

Tips for Doodles

While these patterns are designed to be flexible to allow for creativity, I understand that some people may not know where to start - and that's okay!

Here are a few tips to learning how to work with Doodle charts:

  • You can plan out your whole Doodle or decide as you go - it's up to you!

  • If helpful, print and cut out charts to rearrange (or use the Doodle Card Deck)

  • Alternate high contrast and low contrast in the MC for consecutive charts for visual balance

  • Border larger charts with smaller charts before and after to help frame the focal points

  • Always hold the CC dominant for each chart

  • Use black and white mode on your camera to check for contrasts between colors for each motif

Doodle Patterns

The Doodle Patterns are the perfect way to dive into modular colorwork because they include all the details. That means they include all the information you need such as yarn, gauge, needles, and actual instructions, to knit your Doodle from start to finish.

Other full pattern options include the 8 Bit Doodle Cowl and Hat, which use the blacks and neons to highlight some classic vintage video game motifs, and the Striped Doodle Cowl, which is a perfect minimalist first modular colorwork.

You can also check out the Cup Cozy pattern for a quick way to sample or swatch!

Want to hack a reversible cowl from your existing charts - check out the How to Make a Reversible Doodle Cowl.

Doodle Expansion Packs

The Doodle Expansion packs are the perfect way to add new chart options to your existing Doodle pattern. Rather than re-buying a full pattern, these digital expansion packs are chart-only – which means an additional 20-25 new charts in several popular themes.

  • Valentines Doodle Expansion includes vintage hearts and florals (website)

  • Winter Skies Expansion includes snowflakes, stars, and pine trees (website)

  • Holiday Doodle Expansion augments the original Holiday Doodle Cowl and includes reindeer, snowmen, and vintage ski sweater motifs (website)

  • Autumn Doodle Expansion augments the original Autumn Doodle Cowl includes black cats, fall leaves, and witchy brews (website)

All of these expansion pack charts work with any of the original patterns or you can even use them to add to your very own idea!

NOTE: Doodle Expansion packs are currently only available on as Ravelry does not support "chart-only" PDFs.

NEW: Doodle Card Deck

The Doodle Card Deck is the ultimate way to inspire creative colorwork! Use these flexible, mix-and-match chart cards to visually re-arrange and design the perfect Doodle pattern. How it Works:

  1. Choose your construction method

  2. Choose your doodle charts

  3. Choose your order/colors

  4. Start knitting

This card deck includes instructions for 2 patterns: Infinity Cowl (3 sizes) or Standard Cowl (3 sizes), as well as 52 Doodle chart cards! Use the chart cards to help visually plan out your colorwork.

  • Use charts in any order

  • Use charts in any theme together

  • Stack vertically see what the full chart looks like

  • Change your mind? Re-arrange again!

Once you have your order determined, collect your stack of cards in that order to work charts one at a time.

How to Use the Doodle Card Deck

Check out the Instagram Reel here.

Are you ready to start Doodling with Yarn? Me too!

I love seeing all of your Doodles, so please tag me on Instagram @pnw_knitdesign!

Happy doodling!

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