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Favourite Free Motion Quilting Books

When I first started dabbling with machine quilting in the late 90's, it was a quick means to a finished quilt. The machine quilting was very basic and simple. It was utilitarian and nothing more. It was after I became acquainted with Diane Gaudynski's work, that the amazing world of free motion quilting opened up for me. Seeing her incredible quilts, with their flawless execution and elegant designs inspired me to pursue this technique with a renewed excitement.

Both of her books, "Guide to Machine Quilting": American Quilter's Society, 2002 and "Quilt Savvy: Gaudynski's Machine Quilting  Guide": AQS, 2006 are still my first "go to" resources for everything related to machine quilting.

"Guide to Machine Quilting" covers every possible aspect of machine quilting, from managing that great big bulk in a domestic machine, to controlling and coordinating machine speed with hand movement, to detailed descriptions on perfecting precise, intricate stitches, and everything in between.

 "Quilt Savvy", Diane's second book, is more of a quick reference guide, but it's complete with detailed, close-up photos of her work. Both books are constant companions at my machine.

When I saw Diane Gaudynski reference Cindy Seitz-Krug's book: "The Grid Design Workbook": American Quilter's Society, 2016 book in her latest blog post, I wasted no time to get a copy of it. I have not been disappointed. Although fairly new in my library, Cindy's techniques and ideas have already had an influence in my designs.

Cindy describes a logical, simple way to make sense of background filler space in a quilt. Her step by step instructions make the process easy to follow and to adapt to any design.

You can see some of her amazing work on her website "Quintessential Quilting".

And while you're there, check out Cindy's new on-line class, which is airing very soon. 
In her latest blog post, she discusses the problems relating to thread tension. Well worth a read.

Photo courtesy of Cindy Seitz-Krug

Photo courtesy of Cindy Seitz-Krug

Another more recent addition to my reference library is Bethanne Nemesh's book, "The Fast and the Fancy: Feathers for Freehand Quilters":, 2016

For some reason, I have found feathers intimidating. The graceful, elegant flow of feathers seen in quilts such as Diane and Bethanne create, don't just happen. It takes a lot of practice to make them seem so perfectly effortless. It's with good reason that Bethanne has won so many awards for her amazing quilts.

Working through Bethanne's tutorials has given me more confidence and ease when designing and stitching feathers. Bethanne teaches a logical sequence in the creation of feathers, from simple and straightforward, to intricate and formal, to whimsical and fun.

Below are a few of my rather pathetic attempts to implement her technique on paper. As you can see, much more practice is needed with needle and thread.

Aside from "The Fast and the Fancy", Bethanne has a number of other books that are well worth a read. All are available through her website. Like many in this business, Bethanne is generous with sharing her expertise, so  I was delighted to see that she has a new book, "Quilted textures from A to Zen". It is sure to become another favourite.

Check out Bethanne's amazing quilts on her website, White Arbor Quilting and Design".


  1. Wow...I didn't realize you had such a nice collection of machine quilting books. No wonder you are so good at this! You do beautiful work on your home machine!

  2. I had to check my bookshelf. Yes, I have that first one too. But it's about time I read it again! I keep putting off my quilting until a convenient longarm shows up (meaning, in my basement), but I probably should have another crack at it with my DSM. Plenty of food for thought, thank you!

    1. Are you thinking of a long arm? Lucky lady. I don't even have a basement!!!


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