14 August 2012

book review - free-motion quilting

I've got a new book to review - this one is Free-Motion Quilting by Angela Walters.

As a novice quilter I was really excited to get Angela’s first book on free motion quilting and it didn’t disappoint.

Angela starts off the first section by explaining that getting started in free motion quilting is all about practice and she suggests drawing designs on paper first – that way you learn how to space your design and move around without getting stuck which is something I can relate to !!

The second section is about supplies with suggestions on threads, marking tools and other helpful notions.  I was interested to learn that Angela uses polyester thread in her quilting !

Then its straight into the designs  where Angela explains how to make swirls and circles, squares, lines and vines and arcs and points – Angela’s easy to follow directions make this a perfect starting point to learn free motion quilting.

Angela then shows how to use your practice designs in modern quilts which usually have a lot of negative space and she suggests designs to use in different styles of quilts - square in a square and log cabin, zigzags, wonky quilts and strip quilts.

In the final sections of the book, Angela looks at designs for modern quilts that contain different shapes and designs and makes suggestions for using more than one design on a quilt - she also takes you through her ideas and thought process for designs on modern quilts that she has quilted.

This is a fabulous book full of design ideas that work wonderfully on modern quilts.

so I thought I'd show you some of my quilting ... I've been practicing drawing as suggested by Angela ...

and after some hesitation I just started quilting...I tried to do some of the designs ... some wannabe swirls and pebbles shown here...

and some not too bad double loop swirls...

I'm doing ok when I'm moving to the right and looping but I seem to have trouble changing directions - I think that's why I can't seem to do stipple quilting !

but I'm pretty happy for my first attempt and the back is ok - no puckering or bird's nests that I've heard so much about ...

and it seems my tension is ok as well...but my pebble attempt (top left in the photo below) needs quite a bit of practice - again its the where to go next that I have issues with!

one thing I did notice is that quilting uses a lot of bobbin thread so next time I'll make sure I have a few bobbins wound in advance so I can practice for more than half an hour !

I'm also pretty happy with my 26 year old Elna that seemed to cope quite well with my very fast quilting even though I can't drop the feed dogs !

so now I just need to practice, practice, practice and then practice some more and one day I might even be able to quilt my own quilts :)


  1. Great review and love how you practiced the technisue(s). Oh, that left brain movement, yes I know that problem well! Have fun practicing - and I have more faith in those 'old' machines than the new ones.

  2. Thank you for giving us a review. I've been seeing this book a lot on blogs and it's nice to know how useful it might be!
    If you COULD drop your feed dogs, you might find it a lot easier to do the FMQ, but you're off to a good start!

  3. That looks like a great book! When I FMQ I use a thread called the bottom line in my bobbin. It is a polyester and is very fine so your bobbin lasts much longer!

  4. Looks great - I'm such a wimp at FMQ but I can admire anyone who can!!!!

  5. I am thinking I need this book now Leanne Practice is key and the ability to relax!

  6. Great start Leanne. I haven't attempted this yet either. Many Modern Quilts have parallel lines and sharp angles. Is there any mention of straight line quilting?
    I am still sorting out what kind of quilter I am so I like your go for it attitude
    Thanks for the review I am a circular person so like all the swirls & pebbles.

  7. How do you get so lucky to be asked to do reviews!? I follow Angela's blog for all the good quilting design ideas. Now to implement them. I've finished my Great Granny Along quilt top and will be basting it this week in preparation for FMQing. Fun to look forward to... after I figure out which quilting design(s) will work best! Thinking along the lines of a carnation-type shape in the Grannies, and meandering feathers in the spaces. Hope you'll stop by for a look when I get to that point. Practice makes perfect, for new quilters and old ones!

  8. My old Singer couldn't drop te feed dogs, either, but it had a plastic plate that fitted on top of the feed dogs, so they didn't engage. There may be an overlooked plastic/metal plate lurking for yours? This may or may not make life easier!

  9. It looks like Christmas - what fab swap gifts! Your fmq looks great too!


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