Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

What do you get when you let two awesome quilters (Angela Waters—award-winning longarmer, and Christa Watson—sit-down machine quilting goddess) collaborate on a quilting book? You get the Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting (That Patchwork Place-Martingale Press), that’s what!

What I love most about this book is that it is completely unique, presenting quilting designs, how-to’s, and tips for both the longarm quilter and the sit-down machine quilter, side-by-side in an easy to follow format.

On the left side of each page, you’ll find Angela’s wisdom. On the right, you’ll find Christa’s. I loved comparing and contrasting both styles as I applied them to my quilting, which I did recently for my Charming Stepping Stones quilt, “Rainbow Connection.”

Although I don’t own a longarm machine and probably never will, I found that I could apply much of the information Angela shared to my quilting at home. She’s a natural, easy teacher and her approach to quilting (filling your “toolbox” with a few useful designs you can apply to any quilt) is something everyone can benefit from.

Christa presents the home-machine quilting sections, and in them I found tips and techniques I could apply immediately. Her thoughts on preparing the quilt top and back, setting up her machine, and dividing and conquering the task of quilting a quilt were things I could immediately relate to. And there were lots of little tips like scaling the quilting designs throughout a quilt that were both thoughtful and instantly applicable to any quilt I might be working on.

This book is filled with small projects you can quickly piece and quilt alongside these two experts. Angela and Christa each offer a unique strategy for quilting each project, so it's like getting two-for-one!

Reading this book was like taking a private class from two award winning quilters guiding me along the way. Although I don't think I will make any of these quilts, it was incredibly useful to read Angela's and Christa's thought processes behind their chosen quilting designs. I not only walked away with a variety of quilting designs and tips on how to implement them, but also some expert thoughts on when and why to apply those quilting designs to particular quilts.

The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting really deserves a spot on everyone’s quilting bookshelf. I’m so glad it’s on mine!

You can pick up a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting at your local quilt shop, order it direct from Martingale or Amazon, or purchase a signed copy (autographed by both quilters) directly from Christa or Angela. (Full disclosure: I am not receiving any compensation from the sale of this book. I did receive a free digital copy for review, but the opinion expressed in this review are my own.)

Images of the book used in this blog post are courtesy of Brent Kane and Martingale Press.

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Continuing My Exploration of Color and Quilt Design

A daytime guild meeting that I attend regularly has declared this the Year of Color, dedicating each of the 12 meetings this year to the exploration of a single color. January was blue, and February is red.

Prompted by my guild's exploration of color, I recently added this to my quilter’s book library:

I’ve studied color theory and even included a chapter on it in my book, Idiot’s Guides: Quilting.

Idiot's Guide: Quilting

Still, there's always something more to learn when it comes to color and design in quilts, and I thought Color & Design was a good addition to my bookshelf and a nice jumping-off point for further exploration.

The book is divided into three sections: The Language of Color, The Language of Design, and Workshops.

The Language of Color section explores basic color theory and harmonious color combinations. The first color harmony explored in the book is called Neutral or Achromatic, and includes true neutral colors such as black, gray, white, tan, cream, taupe, and pale brown-based colors. This is the palette I explored in my quilt, Stepping Stones.

In the alternate version of Stepping Stones, I used the Direct Compliment color harmony of yellow-green and red-violet (pink).

The Language of Design explores the elements of design (line, shape, form, texture, and so on) and design principles (contrast, balance, unity, etc.).

The Workshops section at the end of the book is probably what I'm most excited about! Each workshop explores a different aspect of color and design, and I'm thinking I might use them to challenge myself. I don't have a formal plan as yet, but I know I want to complete as many workshops as I can this year.

What about you? Would any of you out there in cyberland like to join me in a few color theory workshops? Comment here and if there's enough interest, I'll put together a challenge for us!