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.)