Monday, 4 February 2013

Free-Motion Quilting

I borrowed these two books from the Library at my quilt guild, the Waterloo County Quilters Guild, last month.  I quite often  choose books that are about art quilts or landscape quilts, but I was in the midst of quilting my Christmas quilt, and needed more inspiration!  Imagine that.

The one book,  Colouring with Thread, by  Ann Fahl, has been very interesting and informative about things like thread draw-up, free-motion embroidery and blocking. Ann has given me much to work on in my own quilts.

And the other  book, Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting, by Natalia Bonner, is also an excellent resource.  With good info on the basics, Natalia also covers some easy-to-master quilting stitches such as feathers, flames, and swirls. I've already applied some of these designs in my Christmas quilt, and was glad for the guidance.

And now, I've gone back to another resource I've known about for some time. This resource is Leah Day's Free-Motion Quilting Project. Check out her website here. When I first heard about her, I went to the website, and wasn't ready to take any of it in.  And now, just recently, I am gobbling it up. Now that I've made a few messes with my own quilting, I'm ready to do better!  Leah does any size quilt on her domestic machine, and will convince you that you can do that, too.

I've been determined to master this skill myself, and have previously been afraid to try quilting my own quilts, for fear of doing it badly. This Christmas quilt has been a good practice ground, and I've been concerned less about it being judged, and more about actually doing it. And you know what?  In actually doing it, I've gained some confidence.  I think with a little more practice, I could get good enough at it.

If there is one thing everyone seems to agree on, it is this:  The quilting makes the quilt. I think I've finally grown beyond the straight-line quilting and stippling that I've been doing.  Who knows where this will go?  Time will tell.


  1. I recently purchased Ann Fahl's book too (also bought Dancing With Thread) and am following Leah Day's wonderful site to try and get up the courage to free motion quilt my pieces. I feel comfortable doing free motion thread work on the quilt top(because the back doesn't matter) but machine quilting through 3 layers is another story. Sounds like you are making good progress!

  2. Juanita,
    Thanks for the comment. Leah says on her website, to set up 3 or 4 quilts that may not be as important, and do FMQing all over them, and you will be good by the time you finish them! I love that. I would say, just jump in and go for it. Once I realized that I wasn't turning pieced tops into quilted quilts because I was afraid of being judged negatively, I also realized that the only way to get better at it was by just doing it. So that's where I am. Also, I think thread painting like Ann Fahl does is not the same as quilting a bigger quilt sandwich like Leah Day does.


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