Monday, September 09, 2013

First Steps to Free Motion Quilting - A review

Free Motion quilting can be scary! Right?  I used to think it was impossible.  Then I did a little and just thought it was too hard.  Then I kept seeing things on the internet that  regular folks were doing and it looked amazing.  So, I felt that I had to learn how. I am still learning how.

Enter a friend, not just any friend, but a friend who surprised me by getting a book deal. I was honored when she asked me to read the book and review it.  This friend is Christina Cameli.  The book is "First Steps to Free Motion Quilting."  You can buy it on

When I first looked at the book I was surprised to see that there are several projects to make listed.  Wait a minute!  This is supposed to teach me to free motion quilt - why projects?  So I started at the beginning.  Then I discovered the reason for the projects.  Each one is quilted with free motion quilting, but you don't have to commit to making a bed quilt. If you mess up a pot holder it is not nearly as big a loss as messing up a quilt top. Are you with me here? Purely brilliant isn't it.

So I decided to make the potholders.  I confess that it is a bit different than how I have made pot holders in the past.  Confession number two: in the book project, she did binding on her pot holders.  I cheated and sewed mine right sides together on the machine and left a turning area. Then I used a ladder stitch to close the hole.  I also "cheated" on the quilting. Instead of doing all zigzags, I did several free motion patterns on my pot holders.
I did  zigzags on one side of each. Then on the other sides, I played. I have one (above left) that has diagonals filled with pebbles, leafy vine, and various other things.  Then on the other (below right)  I did a spiral.  When it started spiraling out of control (hey, I was tired!)  I made it a wiggly spiral. 

Now even my mistakes are okay on a pot holder and I learned a bit more about free motion quilting.  There are lots of great tips and ideas in the book. There are nice pages of quilting designs you can use - and you can combine designs to make your own!  I don't know if you can see it in the picture (lower left) but the zigzags reminded me of teeth.  So, every two rows, I added a wavy line to represent the gum line. (Yes I know I am a bit weird.)
The projects are so well done and inspiring that you will want to make several of them. I know that the Strip Sampler quilt is on my "I want to make that" list.  There are a couple of "why didn't I think of that" projects too.  But I won't spoil that surprise for you.
This book is available for Kindle too.  For those of us with limited space that is an added bonus. (and if you have the Kindle Fire or the Kindle app on your iPad, iPhone etc, you can see it in color too.

I am giving this book my approval  recommendation.  If you want to learn free motion but just can't think about trying it on a quilt - try one of the small projects and work your way up to a bigger quilt.

Linking this up with LAFF
Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible unless otherwise stated. Foolishly posted "hate speech" comments will be swiftly removed.


Rhonda said...

Thanks for the review and the mention about using Kindle which is a great space saver.

Susan said...

Practicing on potholders is a great idea! I could use some new potholders actually...I'm still using a couple that are probably 30 years old!

Barb said...

Great review!

Beth said...

Ahhh a way to ease into FMQ that won't mess up a whole quilt.
Thanks for the info and the review.

Pat said...

Looks interesting...I might consider this one.

Christina said...

Gene I'm really glad you enjoyed the book and I'm so tickled that you made one of the projects! You did it exactly as I hoped: your way, using the designs you wanted. I like your "teeth" design mash up! Thanks for the review, I so appreciate it.

Barbara said...

Very nice Gene! But honestly, i think you are way past the first steps. ;) however, others will appreciate it!

Snoodles said...

Great idea, Gene, I think you and Christina have a plan there...smaller projects are a super way to practice without the intimidation of "oh, I might mess up my quilt!" LOL Thanks for a good review; sounds like a wonderful book!

Mike Pearson said...

Welcome to the club! I had nightmares about it for days before I finally dove right into my first quilt with fmq! Now, it's old hat... I don't even have to think about it. It's like I'm on autopilot! I love potholders with food on them! ... i.e. fruits and veggies... they're great!