free-motion Machine Quilting, by Don Linn

A new quilting book published by CT Publishing, “free-motion Machine Quilting“, written by Don Linn, will begin shipping in February 2011.  I’ve had the opportunity to review an early copy of this book and am excited to share insights with you.

From cover to cover this is an excellent book for quilters that want to improve their free-motion quilting (FMQ) skills, or learn the art of FMQ.  The introduction was inspirational. I loved the reference to “Machine quilting has gone from a dirty word to an accepted art form”.

Lin has been teaching FMQ for 10+ years. This book captures his insights on how he has been able to teach and inspire the basics and art of FMQ to quilters of all levels.  

Basics are provided on selecting necessary tools vs optional tools and project supplies.  And good insights on the all too overlooked need of having good seating posture while doing FMQ.  Don also shares insights on proper batting and backing selection, preparation of your quilt for FMQ, machine tension, starting and finishing a quilting design, hand placement, practice exercises, potential problems and solutions, as well as bad habits to avoid. 

Excellent insights are shared on “Learning to Draw and Stitch Designs” with practice exercises that help you learn a create beautiful ropes, feathers, grids and more.

The section on how to select designs appropriate for your quilts is very helpful.  It also includes insights on how to transfer and mark your quilt, echo quilting, as well as making designs fit your border.

There is a lovely quilting gallery included in this book, with many inspirational quilts made and quilted by Don.

Lastly, Don also included an excellent section packed full of beautiful quilting designs that you can use on your projects.  There are actually 50+ quilting designs that are included in this book.

Overall, excellent blend of insights and visuals in this book.  I also found that Don’s words of encouragement were as if I was seated in a class with him standing next to me and giving me the confidence that I could do this.   This book radiates a “you can do” approach to FMQ.

You can pre-order copies of this book directly from CT Publishing, or check it out at your local quilt store in February 2011. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to improve their free-motion quilting skills, and an absolute must for anyone interested in learning FMQ.  I’ll even go further, by sharing, if you are to purchase just one book on free-motion quilting, this is the book you will want to buy. 


Fast Favorites From McCall’s Quilting

Fast Favorites from McCalls Quilting“, published by Martingale & Company, Home of That Patchwork Place, is a recently released book that is already a best seller!  And SewCalGal believes this book is going to be in hot demand for a very long time.

McCalls Quilting has been creating wonderful quilt patterns for generations, where just about every quilter is familiar with McCall’s Quilting family of magazines.  They pride themselves on publishing accurate, complete patterns for quilts of all descriptions.  And they also create quilt patterns that are fast, that work with fat quarters, Jelly Roll strips, fat eights, or other precuts, along with sharing insights on various time-saving techniques for their patterns. 

This quilting book contains 20 patterns that are easy to follow, have inspirational photos, and great visuals.  Sizes range from 16 3/4″ x 31 3/4″ to 81″x92″.

The majority of the designs are pieced blocks, with a few including simple applique.

There is also a nice section on Basic Quiltmaking Instructions which provides insight on rotary cutting, machine piecing, chain piecing, applique’ (freezer paper for hand or machine, needle-turn hand applique’, fusible applique’), borders, finishing , and more. 

These beautiful projects would look great in a variety of colorways.

Nearly all the patterns are fat quarter friendly; many are suitable for other precuts as well.

Excellent ideas for making beautiful quilts quickly, yet will last for generations.

Seems to me that I can think of someone that I’d love to give a quilt to with every pattern in this book, as well as designs that I’d love to make to have in my home.

I have so many fond memories of making quilts with patterns from McCalls Quilting. Have you ever made a quilt with a pattern from McCalls Quilting? Do you subscribe to any of their magazines?

Congratulations to First Time Quilt Book Authors

Everyone probably knows how much I enjoy quilt books, as I find great value in the inspiration and patterns through reading quilt books.  As such, Quilt Books are  one of my favorite areas to research and share insights.  I love to spend time checking out new quilt books when I visit quilt stores, as well as reading about them online. 

I recently began to notice how many of these delightful quilt books are actually written by first time authors.  Some have been quilting a long time, whereas others have been quilting a few years.  I realize it takes a lot of work and commitment to bring ones designs and insights from concept to a published book.  And I’m truly appreciative of those that have taken time out of their lives to do this, as well as publishers who focus on bringing quilters throughout the world such wonderful books.

With this in mind I set out to do more research to identify as first time authors of current and soon to be released books.  This is my way to congratulate them and thank them.  While this is not a review of these books, I’m sure they are wonderful books and I believe these quilters need to be recognized.  

Here is my list of very talented quilters that are first time quilt book authors:

Sarah Bisel released her first quilting book “ Fast, Flirty and Fun”, in June 2010, published by Martingale & Company. She has a trunk show that is available for quilt stores, quilt guilds and others to display in 30 day windows.

Alethea Ballard has written her first book “Dream Chair Quilts”, published by CT Publishing will hit stores December 2010.

Sara Diepersloot released her first book, Simple Style, December ’09 and it has  been very popular. Her 2nd book is in the works.  Both of these books are published by Martingale & Company.

Amy Ellis has written her first quilting book, “Modern Basics”,  to be published  Feb ’11, by Martingale & Company

Elizabeth Hartman is a self-taught quiltmaker and pattern designer for modern sewing and quilting. Having grown up in a family that was always making things, she got hooked on quilting as soon as she tried it. She loves the play of color and pattern, the orderliness of the process, and, perhaps best of all, the reward at the end…a fantastic and functional piece. Elizabeth lives in Portland and is the author of “The Practical Guide to Patchwork“, published by CT Publishing.

Cherri House is a quilt designer and co-owner of Cherry House Quilts. She has written her first book “City Quilts”, published by CT Publishing. Cherri believes that people in her home will always feel welcome when they are “warm with a quilt”.

Rose Hughes recently published her first book  “Dream landscapes” and has also released her 2nd book “Exploring Embellishments“.  Rumor has it that before her first book came out she was convinced   (and very outspoken about it) that she would never write a blog or even appear as a guest on a blog. Well, she has now joined the the blogging community and has a delightful blog called “RavenSpeak Quilts“. 

Tonya Riccuci has her first book, “Word Play Quilts: Easy Techniques from the UnRuly Quilter”, has just been published by Martingale & Company.

Camille Roskelley has written her first book “Simplify with Camille Roskelly”, published by CT Publishing. Growing up in a home brimming with creativity and quilts, it was only natural that Camille Roskelley started designing her own quilts and fabrics. Visit her popular blog, Simplify, at

Christine E. Barnes has written her first book “The Quilter’s Color Club”, published by CT Publishing. Christine began teaching color workshops in 1997.

Emily Cier has written her first book “Quilt Remix”, published by CT Publishing.

Debra Gabel’s first book “Quilt Blocks Across America”, published by CT Pubishing, is being released in December 2010. She started quilting as a teenager and in 2003 began thinking about making it a career.

Colleen Granger has written her first book “Circle Quilts”, published by CT Publishing. Colleen began quilting in 1988.

Eileen Wright released her first book, “Twist-and-Turn Bargello Quilts“, in  December 2009.  It was published by Martingale & Company and turned into a HUGE bestseller, where reprints are even in hot demand. She’s from Nanaimo, British Columbia. Her book is being sold on many internet sites.

Sue Abrey ( has her first book to be released in the summer of 2011. Her new book will be published by Martingale & Company. While I enjoy new quilting books, and new quilt book authors, I’m very excited about Sue’s pending book release.  I enjoy following her blog as she shares many great quilting insights and also hosts the Christmas Quilt-Along.

I also enjoy and recommend reading author interviews which are available on many publishing sites, and my favorite is: Martingale & Company, Home of That Patchwork Place ( )

Pretty impressive list of first time authors, all with wonderful quilting books. 

Do you have insights you can share on other first time quilt book authors?  If so, I hope you will post a comment and/or email me to share your insights.  I do believe these talented quilters need to be recognized for taking time to write their quilting books for us to enjoy, and their respective publishing houses also need to be recognized for their contributions in our world of quilting.

‘Tis the Season, Quilts and Other Comforts, by Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks

‘Tis the Season, Quilts and Other Comforts“, by Jeanne Large and Shelley Wickes, published by Martingale & Company, Home of That Patchwork Place, is an exceptional quilt book packed full of fun quilting projects that are perfect for the holidays, and many could easily be adapted for beautiful quilted items for anytime of the year.  And, many of these cute projects are easy and fast projects that you could easily have ready for Christmas this year.  

I’ve been enjoying reading this book, while listening to Christmas music.  It has really helped me get into the holiday spirit.  This book would make an excellent Christmas gift for any quilter.  Thus, I’m excited to share merry insights with you about this cheerful quilting book.

Helpful insights are shared on fabric selection, along with techniques on  fusible web applique’, along with using wool. 

There are ten spectacular projects for quilted items that range from 10″x18″  to  60-1/2 x 72-1/2″.  Each project has clearly written instructions with great visuals.

This is truly an exceptional quilting book that is a must for anyone looking for any quilter looking for decorating ideas and gifts for Christmas.  It would also make an excellent Christmas gift or Santa stocking stuffer. 

Jeanne, Shelley and Martingale & Company clearly did an excellent job on this inspirational quilting book.  I truly feel this book is going to create quilting treasures, for many years to come. 

My First Schnibbles

I have had fun enjoying all the beautiful quilts at the Charming Girls Club, but as I tend to focus on making charity quilts, I rarely get time to make anything for myself.  As I’ve just finished this quilt top, I wanted to share it with you.  It is also my first schnibbles quilt.
The lighting in the room, my camera, and my desire to step back far enough to capture the entire quilt, doesn’t allow the beautiful colors to show up in this picture. Thus, I decided to include a picture taken outside, when I started this quilt at the Mogel Mountain Quilt Retreat last month.

The design is from the book “Schnibbles times two“, by Carrie Nelson, which I wrote about previously.  It is a fun book, with 12 cute designs that all have well written instructions and great visuals.

This pattern is “Bennington”, but I made it slightly longer, as I wanted to use it as a good size lapquilt. 

Now, off to do some fun machine quilting.  I want to finish this quilt and will most likely do a smaller schnibbles next time, possibly a table topper or wallhanging, for my next schnibbles.

More Loose Change, by Claudia Plett and Le Ann Weaver

Wouldn’t More Loose Change be a wonderful Christmas gift?  I certainly think so. Yes, I think “More Loose Change” would make a wonderful gift anytime of the year and is certainly something every quilter should have.

More Loose Change, 14 Quilts from Nickels, Dimes, and Fat Quarters, by Claudia Plett and LeAnn Weaver, published by Martingale & Company, Home of That Patchwork Place, is a delightful new quilting book that I certainly find inspiring and full of great designs and insights.

You may be familiar with “Loose Change: Quilts from Nickels, Dimes, and Fat Quarters”, also written by Claudia Plett and Le Ann Weaver. This new book provides 14 new quilt designs that are perfect for use of 5″ and 10″ squares and fat quarters.  Each design has a rating of Easy, Intermediate or Experienced and are well written, with excellent visuals.  I also like all the “Piggy Bank Tips” that come with each design.

The book also has a great section of “Useful Information” for “Where do Nickels and Dimes come from?” and insights about color.

The majority of the designs are 100% pieced, but some of the designs have a little bit of applique that really make the design spectacular.  On the other hand, you could also skip the applique and still create a beautiful quilt, if that is your preference.

There is an excellent section on “Basic Quiltmaking instructions” that shares insights on “tools of the trade”, pressing, block construction, applique (fusible and hand), adding borders, quilting and binding.

Overall, this is an excellent book at a great value.  Thus, I recommend this book as a “must have” for any quilter.  And, “More Loose Change” would also make a great gift for a quilting friend.

House Party

I love quilts and going into a home that is decorated with beautiful quilts, pillows and various handmade items.  But I’ve never picked up the talent for decorating a home.  Thus, I was very excited to find a book that really helps to show how to create beautiful quilted items, but also how to use them to decorate a home.

House Party: Coordinated Quilts and Pillows“, by Sue Hunt is a delightful new book published by Martingale & Company, home of That Patchwork Place.  This book has 12 patterns, for six pillows and six wallhangings. Decorating ideas shows way to use quilts as table toppers, on chairs, and, of course, on walls. All designs are well written, with great visuals and inspirational photos, and all perfect items for decorating your home, as well as for gifts.

This book contains an excellent section on Quiltmaking Basics, that shares insights on pressing, foundation piecing, making templates, freezer-paper applique and bias-strip applique.  Insights are also provided for Pillow contruction to help you quilt your pillow top, make piping, cover buttons, and constructing a pillow back. And, of course, insights are provided on Wall-Hanging contruction.  Thus, I view this book is also an excellent book for a beginner quilting and/or sewing enthusiast.

I am truly inspired by House Party to decorate my home with quilted items, as well as making gifts. I hope you’ll check out this book, as I think you’ll also like it.