Friday, October 12, 2012

Book Review - Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting

Hi everyone:

I've recently been spending time working on my free-motion quilting skills - of which I have few. No, really, when I say that I'm not good at free-motion quilting on a domestic sewing machine, I actually mean it. I can see the quilting motif in my head and I can feel it when I move the fabric, but when I look at the result - well, let's just say that it's a good thing that I quilt with wine close at hand. Part of the problem may be that I've never really worked on quilting my projects on my domestic machine. I would do them on my mid-arm machine. Now that I no longer have my mid-arm machine, I've been forced to quilt on my sewing machine. But that's okay because it was a skill that I definitely needed to work on and master. I have seen an improvement in the consistency of my stitch length and I don't feel as intimidated to quilt as I did at first, but I'm still at the "working on" stage. 
Photo courtesy of Martingale
In my quest to improve my quilting skills, I've taken classes, watched videos and accumulated many books and I refer to them constantly. I've recently added Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting - Frames, Fillers, Hundreds of Ideas by Eva A. Larkin to my library, thanks to the generosity of Martingale. This is a great book with such a simple idea: fill in specific design areas with a stipple stitch. As Martingale describes it: 

"Turn stippling and simple lines into fabulous designs! By focusing on only one block or area at a time--rather than the whole quilt at once--Eva A. Larkin makes it easy to create eye-catching free-motion quilting." 

I can't believe that I haven't seen this concept before. While I find it difficult to master some free-motion designs, I can stipple, so this idea really appeals to me. As Eva explains, "My belief has always been that a good quilting design doesn't have to be complicated or intricate to be interesting and effective." I definitely agree with her philosophy.

With this technique Eva uses several different frame shapes and then fills in the "empty" areas with the stipple quilting. You can choose to do the interior of the frame or the exterior corners, or... there are many possibilities. 
Photo courtesy of Martingale
 I love the look this gives the quilting - almost like a filigree. 
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Eva provides lots of general information about machine quilting, everything from how to set up your sewing area for quilting, tackling thread tension issues and even how to choose designs appropriate for your particular quilt. She takes you through the components of a stipple stitch to show you how to achieve that perfect "stipple" look.
I like how Eva takes you step by step through this technique with great diagrams and explanations. 
I can see lots of possibilities for this type of quilting and can't wait to try it out on some of my existing quilt tops. This would also work well on a wholecloth or trapunto quilt.
I would recommend adding this book to your library if you need a good reference book on free-motion quilting.

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