Sunday, April 24

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting - a Book Review

Book cover, for which photo credit goes to Brent Kane & Martingale 

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting is an inspiring and unusual book.  It is co-written by two of Quilting Blogland's most beloved teachers and authors: Christa Watson and Angela Walters.  Their book skyrocketed to the top of the quilting book genre almost immediately upon publication.   Some of this incredible popularity might be because of who they are and their stellar reputations, but the rest of it has to do with the excellence of the book.  I'd like to share with you what makes me love this book. 

Inside cover, for which photo credit goes to Brent Kane & Martingale 

The tagline sums it up perfectly: "Learn When, Where, Why, and How to Finish Your Quilts"   (By the way, that white, wholecloth quilt is Angela's version of "Swirling Butterflies".)

The way the book is divided between Angela and Christa is so interesting. Christa focuses on quilting with your home sewing machine and Angela focuses on quilting with a long arm sewing machine. Every page is information packed and I learned so much while reading it!  They both explain in helpful detail how quilting differs between long arm and domestic sewing machines and they go into the advantages and challenges of each method.  Right from the start, Christa and Angela talk about their favorite tools, marking aids and threads.  Some of these are specific to their types of machines and some of it is transferable from method to method.  

Which brings me to something that took me by surprise:  I had this preconceived notion that I'd mostly be focusing on Christa's domestic sewing machine half of the book as I read.  I'm not a long arm sewing machine quilter, so thought that Angela's sections of the book wouldn't have as much information that I could use.  This was not at all the case!  All of their design ideas and techniques are incredibly helpful and interesting, no matter how you choose to quilt.  

One of my favorite aspects of the book is how Angela and Christa take turns teaching throughout each chapter.  When I got to where they each made their own version of each project I was in Reader Heaven.  They created modern quilts with patterns they designed especially to illustrate their lessons for quilting, so you, the reader, get to see two versions of every quilt!   For every project, each author discussed and showed how they decided what to quilt on the quilt.  Then they went about teaching the reader how to achieve these results.  It was very exciting to see how differently Angela and Christa approached each quilt pattern.  

Here's a photo of the opening pages for the "Directionally Challenged" project (a favorite!) to give you a glimpse of how the authors switch back and forth:

Chapter opening for "Directionally Challenged", for which photo credit goes to Brent Kane & Martingale

I think The Ultimate Guide for Machine Quilting is a "must have" book for anyone interested in learning how to quilt their own quilts or improve their quilting skills.  If you practice and master a few of the designs in this book and try a project or two, you will find that you have a really great go-to repertoire at your fingertips!   

After taking Christina Cameli's Wild Quilting class on Craftsy and now reading The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting, I'm more excited than ever to practice my machine quilting!  

My only "problem" with the book is that my bucket list just got longer.  I think my favorite project in the book, which is the whole cloth quilt you saw above, called "Swirling Butterflies" might be something I'd like to try.  This weekend got a little out of hand, so I only have just this one butterfly to show you. I traced the butterfly onto the fabric and then tried quilting it on my trusty Singer 301, because I needed to follow the lines.  I have better control over my speed on that sewing machine.

One little "Swirling Butterfly" - waiting for some background quilting

I love how Christa's butterfly design has a Davinci-esque flying machine look to it!  :)  Just that pattern alone made me thrilled to have bought the book. 

I highly recommend The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting!  You can purchase your own copy of the book, signed by both authors, at either Christa's or Angela's blog shops.  I did!  (These are not affiliate links.  I just loved the book.)


Two last things to share:

My own book Crafted Appliqué... New Possibilities has been doing really well in the Amazon sales rankings too.  I peeked at the numbers on Sunday and the book had reached #62 in the Quilts and Quilting category and was #48 in Needlework!  I know that is due to all of you who have purchased books and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your interest!  Thank you, too, to those of you who have left such wonderful feedback for Crafted Appliqué on Amazon!  It means so much to me!

The Crafted Appliqué Blog Hop will begin on Monday, May 2nd!   I hope you will stop by often, because throughout the month of May (and a little into June) there'll be a whole lineup of terrific bloggers sharing their reviews of Crafted Appliqué and showing off amazing appliqué projects.  Plus...we'll be giving away a lot of really fun prizes too!

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  1. This is a great book review Lara. I looked at it, and I won't say I wasn't tempted, but I thought it probably wasn't for me if half of it was for long arms. Now you sold it to me, and I'm still waiting for yours to be delivered, hopefully today, by Wednesday at the latest. I will do a review in Amazon UK where I bought it. I love appliqué so can't wait.

  2. I just received this book too! Yes, my bucket list has grown now too (YES, a whole cloth!). So many ideas for designs, and how to approach them. Your butterfly looks pretty!

  3. When I first saw this book I thought the sit down part was for Tiara type machines, now you've convinced me to take another look. I'm really interested in the two takes on a shape, it's nice to see options. You're butterfly is beautiful, I'm attracted to that cover wholecloth too, it's beautiful.

  4. I have looked at this book trying to decide if I wanted to add another book to my FMQ book stash. But after reading your review I see another book being added to that stash. Congrats on the sales of your own book!

  5. Oh wow - your butterfly looks fantastic!! Congrats on your new book as well!!

  6. Beautiful FMQ!!! I totally went and got that Craftsy class after seeing your review. And now I'm intrigued by this book. Would you say it's more of a "how to tackle quilting a quilt" or ideas for motifs for FMQ? Or maybe a combo of both? I have two quilts looming before me to quilt for teachers and am looking to add to my FMQ book library. ;) AND a HUGE congrats on your book! I'm so excited for you!!!

  7. Oh, Lara!! Your butterfly looks wonderful! I have GOT to take the Wild Quilting class! Time. . . need time!!! LOL

  8. Beautiful butterfly! Thanks for the helpful info on this book :)

  9. You are a good student!! The butterfly looks awesome. It sounds like a great book.

  10. The butterfly looks fantastic, Lara and I LOVE how you showcased it with your beautiful sewing machine. I am not surprised that your book is doing so well. It's going be a super fun blog hop :)

    -Soma xx

  11. Love your butterfly - that looks brilliant! Had great fun using your method on my Darth Vader mini swap - worked out perfectly! The butterfly in your book is calling to me too!

  12. Well clearly your butterfly rocks our world, Lara! Maybe "floats" our world would be more à propos :-) Great book review, and so happy to hear how well your book is doing, yay! I am going over there toute de suite to write up a review, as I am SO IMPRESSED, woman! Very well written, great instructions, and I LOVE the ingenious method!!

  13. What a gorgeous butterfly! Your quilting is really amazing!! I think this book sounds so interesting , being able to see both Angela and Christa's process in making the same pattern.
    Congratulations on the awesome book sales!!

  14. I'm pinning this for when (not if) I finally get around to doing something with my quilting aspirations. And that butterfly! Your work is beautiful.

  15. This books looks just like it should belong beside my machine! Thanks for the review! It's now on my wishlist!

  16. I love your butterfly, lovely work! And thank you for the review, I am probably not the only one who thought only half this book would be of interest for me... Now it has to go on my wish list!