The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Have you seen the new book by not one, but two of the most prominent (and awesome!) current modern quilters?  Angela Walters and Christa Watson have joined forces to create The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, a resource that is a must have for any quilter.  The title of this book is perfect because it really does embrace machine quilters of all types:

  • Longarm Quilters
  • Sit-Down or Domestic Machine Quilters
  • Anyone contemplating purchasing a longarm or sit-down longarm
  • A Quilter who is interested in sending a quilt out to be longarm quilted (more on this later)
Image Courtesy of Martingale

Image Courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale

The format of this book moves fluidly between longarm quilting with Angela and sit down machine techniques with Christa.  This creates a conversation between the experts and the reader.  The projects provide a common starting point for each artist to demonstrate quilting options on their respective machines.  This is where things get really interesting- for each quilt pattern in the book we are given two possible quilting options.  So many people worry about making the “right” choice when it comes time to quilt their painstakingly created quilt tops.  By showing multiple options for quilting the same top, the idea that there is only one correct design is thrown out the window.

Image Courtesy of Martingale

Image Courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale

Beyond showing us quilting options, Christa and Angela openly discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of each type of machine.  This is a topic that I have hardly ever seen discussed, and this is some seriously useful information for everyone who quilts.  I love my longarm, and I do use it for almost all of my quilting, but if my sit-down machine would be a better option for a design that I would like to do, I’m going to use it instead.  It can be really tricky to determine what is the best tool for the job, so it is exciting to see these comparisons included throughout the text.  This information is valuable for everyone, even quilters who send their projects out to be quilted.  Longarm machines do have some limitations, so this will help quilt top creators to have an informed conversation with their quilters.  A perfect example of this is the “Exploding Star” Quilt on page 104.  Christa quilts this project with large, stunning spirals, and then Angela tells you why a spiral design would not be the best choice for a longarm before offering up her lovely quilting options.

Image Courtesy of Martingale

Image Courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale

Even more than the specific projects, I love the information at the beginning of the book and all of the fantastic tips in the sidebars of the pages.   The first 19 pages are packed with information regarding the different machine types, thread options, tool recommendations, and general quilting tips.  Then as you work your way through the book, the sidebars provide tips that specifically address the techniques and challenges presented in specific projects.  Directional quilting, thread amounts and weights, starting and stopping (or how to avoid it!), using two layers of batting, quilting fusible appliqué, and turning corners are just a few tips found throughout the book.

This is one of the most exciting machine quilting books I have used, and I really think most of you would like it too!  It is available on Christa’s website, Angela’s Website, Martingale, and Amazon as well as other quilt shops and book stores.  (Full disclosure:  I receive no compensation for your purchase through any of these websites, but I did receive an advanced digital copy of the book for this review. This review is my honest opinion of the book.)

Color Challenge Mini Quilt

In February the Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild began its first member challenge, and I was excited that it was based on color.  Each participant drew two crayons from a bag and combined them with their tints/shades and a single neutral to create a quilted project.  I pulled out carnation pink and cornflower blue crayons and this mini is the result.  For an added bonus, these colors are pretty much the Pantone colors of the year!Finished EPP Challenge Quilt

The initial designing was done on AutoCad, and from there I was able to print out my templates for English paper piecing (EPP).  Pattern Drafting

I debated about which technique to use for assembling this design, but ultimately I decided that EPP would allow me to eliminate some of the seams, creating a more streamlined visual design.EPP on Challenge Quilt

I was intrigued by the idea of embracing the color gradients as a design element for this project, so I decided that the most effective way to achieve this look would be to dye a set of fabrics in each color.  Since this was not a particularly difficult dye process, I went with the relatively simple (and mostly mess-free) liquid RIT dye.  I had a large piece of white American Brand Cotton, and used it throughout the project.Detail Finished EPP Challenge Quilt

Recently I have done quite a bit of ruler work with lots of starts and stops in my quilting, so for this project I challenged myself to quilt with no rulers and no design based starts and stops.  This was a lot of fun, turned out cute, and went super fast!Back EPP Challenge Quilt

We have had lots of wind this month which has made it challenging to get decent photos, but this shot of the quilt trying to blow away does show the quilting off nicely!EPP Challenge Back Detail

Quilt Stats

Title: Gradient Geese

Size:  24″ x 24″

Techniques:  English Paper Piecing

Quilting:  Free motion quilting with A-1 Longarm

Fabrics:  American Brand Cotton Solid, dyed in gradients with RIT dye

Batting:  Warm and White

Thread:  White Aurifil

Binding:  Dyed blue bias, machine stitched to the front, hand stitched to the back

This project was my One Monthly Goal for April.

 

Goal #19 is Finished!

Goal #19 is Finished!

2016 Second Quarter Finish Goals

Its already time for the second quarter of the year, and another long list of desired goals!2016 Finish Along Q2

1.  Hoffman Challenge QuiltHoffman Challenge Fabric

2.  “Construction” baby quilt for my nephew’s new addition that will arrive this summerConstruction Quilt Fabric

3.  Riley Blake MQG Challenge Quilt- Awesome Fabric, now I just need an idea to go with it!Riley Blake Challenge Fabric

4.  “Happy New Year” Star QuiltStarburst process

5.  Grey Diamond QuiltDiamond Quilt

6.  Mystery QuiltMeadow Mist process

7.  Plus QuiltPlus Fabric

8.  “Waves” PillowPillow Top

9.  Sand Dollar Star Pillow or Mini QuiltSand Dollar Star

10.  Green Baby QuiltGreen Baby Quilt

11.  Coral Baby QuiltPeach Baby Quilt

12.  Peppermint Forest Mini QuiltPeppermint Forest

13.  Broken Circle Mini QuiltBroken Circle

14.  Lemondrops and Gumdrops MiniLemon Drop Mini

15.  Blue Wholecloth Mini

16.  Radiating MiniRadiating Mini

17.  Wool “needle-minding” MiniNeedle Minding Mini

18.  Cotton Felting Mini

19.  Color Challenge Mini (Finished already this quarter, but still needs to be blogged about)Pattern Drafting

20.  “Secret” MiniSecret Mini

21.  Polar Bear Mini
Polar Bear Mini

22. Medallion MiniMedallion Mini

April One Monthly Goal

This month, I am so excited to be going to Paducah for the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week.  My Mom and I have gone at least six times before, but this is the first time that we both have quilts exhibited, and it will be my first time attending the awards ceremony and preview night.  Since this is coming up in less than two weeks (how did that happen?), I am selecting a project I have to have finished prior to leaving!

The Central Ohio Modern Quilt Guild has our presentation of our color challenge quilts this month.  Each person drew two crayons from a bag and we had to make a quilted item using just those colors, tones/shades of that color, and one neutral.  I drew Carnation Pink and Cornflower Blue.Pattern Drafting

So far I have Drafted the pattern in AutoCad, dyed the fabrics in a gradient, and done the English Paper Piecing.  In the next week I  will need to add the borders then quilt and bind it.  Its a good thing its small!EPP on Challenge Quilt

 

 

Hour Basket Swap

This month one of my local quilt groups, The Columbus Modern Quilters, had a swap of one hour baskets, and I was eager to sign up.  The tutorial we used is by Hearts and Bees, and is available on Craftsy.  I had never made one before, but all it took was one practice basket, and I was hooked!

Hour Basket Exterior

Hour Basket Exterior

My partner listed Carolyn Friedlander as one of her favorite designers, so I thought it would be fun to make a basket entirely with her fabrics.  Flying geese patchwork made up the design on both sides of the basket.

Patchwork panels for an hour basket

Patchwork panels for an hour basket

For the interior, I used a strip of orange fabric that matches the arrows on the exterior of the basket, and finished it off with a wide grid that also coordinates with the basket exterior.

Hour Basket Interior

Hour Basket Interior

The swap was so much fun, and everyone loved the basket they received.  I was delighted that this basket was for me!  This is one of my favorite shades of blue, and it is just perfect for spring!

The Hour Basket that I received in the guild swap

The Hour Basket that I received in the guild swap

This also completes my One Monthly goal entry for March!