Books on Monday – Piece and Quilt with Precuts

This week we are looking at Christa Watson’s most recent book, Piece and Quilt with Precuts: 11 Quilts, 18 Machine-Quilting Designs, Start-to-Finish Success! The links below are to the Kindle version and the paperback version on If you use them, you will be helping to support this blog. Thank you for considering helping in this way.

This book came along at the perfect time for me. I had just looked around at all the jelly rolls, layer cakes and charm squares that I have around here and started to wonder how I am going to use all those precuts before I become nonproductive. And then Christa answered my question! With 11 quilt patterns I’d be interested in making. All from various precuts.

In addition to the quilt patterns, Christa has provided quilting ideas and directions on how to do the quilting for each of the quilts. If you’ve ever taken a class with Christa or read one of her other books, you know that she is a wonderful teacher both in person and in writing. That makes these quilting designs achievable and way less threatening. At least, that’s how I feel about them.

So let’s look at the book from the beginning using the annotated Table of Contents.

  • Introduction – This is the basic Introduction material written in Christa’s usual style.
  • Working with Precuts – This includes some definitions of precuts, information about choosing fabrics, speedy sewing and not enough fabric (like if you make a goof or something).
  • How Do I Quilt It? – This is some basic information about machine quilting and making decisions about quilting your quilt. It includes some information about basting, Christa’s favorite machine features, and tying off the threads too.
  • Walking Foot Quilting – These are the patterns that lend themselves particularly well to walking foot quilting. For each pattern, there is a walking foot quilting suggestion.
  • Free-Motion Quilting – These are the patterns that include quilting plans that are free motion quilting.
  • Combined Quilting Techniques – Guess what these are! You got it! The quilting plans include both free motion and walking foot aspects.
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author

Disclaimer – I have met Christa and I like her a lot. This may not be a completely unbiased review, but I will say that I am expecting myself to make the main cover quilt and three or four of the others. Whether i ever do any free motion quilting is another matter entirely! Thumbs up for this book though!

Quilt on!


Shipshewana Quilt Festival 1 – Fangirling

Last Friday, three friends and I went to the Shipshewana Quilt Festival. This was the second time that Carolyn and I have gone down for the day. Amy and Stephanie joined us this year and a good time was had by all. There will be a few posts on this trip over the next couple of days.

Today I am playing the fangirl. Before I get to that, however, allow me to mention one of the biggest highlights of this trip. I got to meet Kathy Mathews of  Quilting, Sewing, Creating fame. We’ve known each other online for several years now, but this was our first in person meeting. I had asked the Twitter Facebook group whether anyone would be at the Shipshewana Quilt Festival because I was going on Friday. Kathy had replied that she usually goes on Saturday, so I didn’t expect to see her there. Near the end of our quilt show time, just prior to food, I heard a voice call my name and looked up to see Kathy. It was just like running into a friend I haven’t seen in a long time and I can’t wait to see her again sometime. I was sooooo excited! Can you tell from the picture? (I’m the short one.)

Now on to some quilts. Since I’m calling this part fangirling, we will start with some quilts by one of my favorite quilters, Margaret Solomon Gunn. You remember that I reviewed her book earlier, right? And how much I adore her quilting? Well, she had entered three quilts in the show. The first was Twisted Sister, which took first place in the Machine Quilted category.

Yes, those are hexagons that she made by hand. I’m sorry the zebra print around the outside of the hexagon flowers doesn’t really show up well, but you’ll just have to go see this for yourself someday. I did take some close-ups of the amazing quilting.

This quilting is amazing. Want to see it a little closer? Note, the clusters in between those feathers are hexagons, not circles.

Now that you’ve seen the borders, here is a bit of a look at the area between the hexagons. And some of the outsides of the hexagons too. Here it is!

This next quilt is one that I saw at the AQS Grand Rapids show last August. It is Ode to Spring, also by Margaret Solomon Gunn. It took First Place in the Mixed Media Large Category. 

And here is a little closeup of the quilting. I’m sorry it is a bit blurry. 

And the final Margaret Solomon Gunn quilt is Illuminations which took first place in the Pieced, Large category. This is the quilt in front of which Kathy and I are standing. And a couple of closeups of the quilting:

I hope you’ve enjoyed these as much as I did.

One last fangirl quilt for this post, and then I’ll end this for now. I’m a fan of Claudia Pfeil’s quilts ever since the special exhibit of her quilts at the Grand Rapids AQS show a couple of years ago. She had one here this year. This is Fractal, an honorable mention in the Mixed Media Large category. They don’t show up well here, but there are 30,000 (yes, I said 30,000) Swarovski crystals along with all of the other embellishments. I have a feeling this quilt is very heavy. It is also very gorgeous.

I’ll post a few more quilts in a future post. In the meantime,

Quilt on!


Books on Monday – Walk

Welcome to the second Monday in December and Books on Monday. Today we are looking at WALK: Master Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot by Jacquie Gering.  Yes, that link below is an Amazon Affiliate link and will help to support the podcast.

As you can see from the picture in that link, this is a very interesting looking book. The black areas of the cover have machine walking foot quilting on them. The back is especially attractive. I don’t usually do this with books, but here is a photo of the back of the book:

Isn’t that pretty? Did you ever think walking foot quilting could look so good?

Well, maybe if you’ve taken Jacquie Gering’s Craftsy class Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot or the follow-up Next Steps With Your Walking Foot, you recognize how cool this kind of quilting can be. (Yes, those are Craftsy Affiliate links. Apparently today I am a marketing fool!)

This book is an awesome and very complete walking foot quilting resource. (To be honest, I expected nothing less.) While I strongly recommend the Craftsy classes, I find that this book will be a great resource when I want to double check on just one thing. (Books are much faster than Craftsy classes for that, in my opinion.) So, yes, for anyone who ever plans to quilt with their walking foot, I recommend this book.

Here’s a look at the Table of Contents:

  • Spreading the Love
  • Walking Foot 101 (more comprehensive than I remember the classes being)
  • Lines
  • Gentle Curves
  • Marked Curves
  • Decorative Stitcehs
  • Reverse
  • Turning Designs
  • Gallery
  • Templates/Acknowledgments
  • Resources

You may have noticed in the Table of Contents that there are no basic quiltmaking instructions and no patterns. Jacquie does send you to a downloadable PDF from Lucky Spools for the Quiltmaking Basics. As far as quilt patterns, this is an awesome quilting reference book. Enjoy!

Quilt on!


Quilting This Week

I know that with today being Friday this week is not yet over, but this (unfortunately) this won’t take me long to write. It hasn’t been the world’s most quilty week.

I’ve only had an hour or so a day to work on it so, although I’ve made progress on quilting Scrap in a Box, it is far from finished. However, I am enjoying my first experience of quilting with my new sewing table!

What I’m not enjoying is having to relive how sloppily I put this together. Seriously! I love little pieces and usually try a lot harder to get things properly aligned than this. And this one is not one of the worst! I’m blaming it on that fabric in the lower left hand corner, which is one of the (in my opinion) ugliest fabrics I’ve ever seen. (To be fair to this fabric, my friend Carolyn really likes it.) That and the fact that I couldn’t picture all these fabrics together and happy. (Note to self: less scrappy.)I’m hoping to finish the quilting this weekend and then get it bound and completed. I chose to do this before putting the borders on the 2012 Designer Mystery BOM because I had used the MuVit foot for putting the binding on the table runner and it just made sense to do this while the foot is on. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What are you up to this week?

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Divide and Design


Welcome to Books on Monday! Today we are looking at Divide and Design by Lisa H. Calle. This book is a technique book for designing your quilting on your quilts. And, of course, as usual, the link below is an Amazon Affiliate link.

In this book, Lisa Calle walks us through her process for designing the intricate quilting she uses on her quilts. She does pretty intricate quilting (which we already know that I do not picture myself doing!), but she points out that this technique can be used for planning any kind of quilting.

This is a visually beautiful and clean book. It is designed with lots of white space, which means that when you get to the projects the directions go on for many pages but are very easy to use and maybe more difficult to lose your place and do something wrong.  Anyway, all that white space is visually relaxing.

Here is what the book includes:

  • introduction
  • The Process
  • Designing for Appliqué Quilts
  • Fabric, Batting, Thread
  • Choosing the Right Template
  • The Projects – There are five, and I love them all.
  • About the Author

I must admit that the cover quilt is what drew me to this book in the first place. Soooooo gorgeous!

This one is a keeper for me. Check it out!

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting

Remember how I said in my Friday post about the Craftsy sale that I’d have a quilty post for you the next day? Remember how that didn’t happen? I am so sorry, but life got to me. Sigh.

But enough about that! Today is all about the books! Or book.

Today we are, like ever so many other bloggers around the web, looking at The Ultimate Guide to Machine Quilting: Long-arm and Sit-down – Learn When, Where, Why, and How to Finish Your Quilts by Angela Walters and Christa Watson. Yes, the link below is an Amazon Affiliate link that helps to support the blog.

I have had this book for a month and a half now, and have not finished reading it yet! That’s how carefully I’m reading and attempting to learn from it. I actually wanted to wait until I had used some of the information that I’m learning before writing this, but it’s Books on Monday day and I didn’t have anything else this time, so here you are!

In case you haven’t seen any of the other reviews around the web (and there are many), this is an awesome book. Full of great information. Applicable to any kind of machine quilting. Well illustrated. You can always tell whether you are hearing from Angela or Christa because the pages are color-coded. Angela, of course, covers longarm quilting, while Christa covers home machine quilting. And, of course some of the information and ideas work for both. If you are thinking about quilting your quilts by machine yourself, this is the book for you. Seriously. It is awesome.

I may be a bit biased and my copy may be a bit more awesome than yours. (Note: subtle or not so subtle bragging or fangirlness here.) I have an autographed copy personally delivered by my BQF Christa Watson. Because I was attending her class at the EQ7 Academy in April, Christa brought it with her when she came to Ohio and hand delivered it. You too can get a signed copy at her website, but you might not get free in-person delivery (and that is sad for you because Christa is fun!! Just tell her I sent you!

I seriously hope to do a real post very soon!

Quilt on!

Books on Monday – Foolproof Machine Quilting

Yes, I am aware that it is Tuesday (and maybe even Wednesday for some of you), but I thought I’d get this out there anyway. Starting today, Books on Monday will be happening only twice a month on the second and fourth Mondays of the month. I need to spend more time actually quilting than reviewing books. So mark your calendars accordingly.

Today we are looking at Foolproof Machine Quilting: Learn to Use Your Walking Foot Paper-Cut Patterns for No Marking, No Math Simple Stitching for Stunning Results by Mary Mashuta. The first link below is an Amazon Affiliate link to the paperback book version. The second link is for the Kindle version.

This book is a great companion to the two walking foot quilting classes I have recently viewed via the Craftsy platform (Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot and Next Steps With Your Walking Foot). The number of different kinds of motifs that she quilts with her walking foot is very impressive.

My one concern is that I don’t think (for me at least) I would feel very confident about trying some of her methods without having already watched Jacquie Gering’s videos on Craftsy. This may just be me, but I felt like some of the description or instruction in this book was unclear or lacking some detail. Especially the part about planning how to take your motif around a corner. I would really have appreciated more words with that one. Maybe a few more pictures too.

Not that this book lacks pictures! There are lots of pictures and examples of the quilting. My favorite line from the book is “Quilters are visual, and I know that some of you will only look at the pictures.” It explains why there are so many awesome pictures.

She does do an excellent job of explaining how she uses freezer paper and shelf paper to make her templates (and why) and how and why to use the walking foot for quilting. Her introductory and beginning pages are quite thorough. Maybe my real concern is just that I really needed a few more words or hints on how to round corners!

Anyway, here are the main sections of this book:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Why the Walking Foot for Quilting?
  • Chapter 2: What Can You and Your Machine Do?
  • Chapter 3: Selecting a Project and Supplies
  • Chapter 4: Preparing the Quilt Top
  • Chapter 5: Creating Your Own Quilting Designs
  • Chapter 6: Let’s Quilt!
  • Chapter 7: Bordering Your Quilt
  • Resources
  • About the Author

I know this is sort of a wishy washy back and forth review, but I do think the early chapters of this book are more helpful than the later chapters as far as thoroughness of descriptions. Maybe if you’ve worked your way through the first few chapters (and you’re not me) you don’t need as much as written description.

Quilt on!


Books on Monday – Machine Quilting with Style

This is the last book review this calendar year, I’m afraid. The next couple of months are going to be busier than usual, so I need to scale something back! Plus, I’m running low on books to review & my local library does not stock many quilting books. Sigh.

Be that as it may, today’s selection is Machine Quilting With Style: From Walking-Foot Wonders to Free-motion Favorites by Christa Watson. The first link below is to the book version. The second is to the Kindle version. And, yes, as usual both are Amazon Affiliate links.

This is where I confess that I hesitated to review this book once I realized that Christa is a Twilter (a quilter on Twitter or the Twilter FaceBook page), because I worried about the possibility (before spending much time with the book, that is) that the projects wouldn’t appeal to me and I’d feel like the quilting lessons/directions were redundant with all the books I have.


I started looking at this book yesterday morning and polished it off this morning. Okay, true confession: I did not read every word of the directions for each project. I don’t always do that when I’m doing a project, so why would I do that for a review?

Next true confession: There are a couple of projects I do not think I would ever make because wonky (even the tiniest bit) makes me cringe. (I am not sure how I ever became a precise person because basically I am lazy, but there it is. Can’t. Do. Wonky. Not even a teeny tiny bit.)

Next true confession: There are a couple of very modern projects in this book that I am very tempted to try at some point. Not in the near future mind you, but someday. When did I become this modern?

In case you haven’t noticed this already, this review is a bit different than my usual reviews. I’ll list the sections at the end of it, but for now I’ll just tell you what this book seems to have done for me. As in, I think it is going to save me money.

Having come to the difficult decision that this year’s church quilt is not going to be finished in time for the church auction, I decided to quickly put together a machine quilted throw-sized quilt and then have it longarmed so there is at least some kind of quilt in the auction. That is almost assembled and you’ll see pictures in a later blog post.

But today as I was looking more closely at Christa’s book and all of the different walking-foot quilting ideas, it suddenly occurred to me that I have my new machine and I haven’t even tried out the Mu-Vit™ foot yet. And maybe I should. And save the quilting money. (You may or may not remember that with my previous machine I had some bad experiences with my walking foot that led to me doing straight line quilting without a walking-foot.) So maybe what this book has done for me is give me the confidence to actually quilt this quilt myself. Or the inspiration or something like that. Stay tuned for the quilt reveal later this month (or week, if I’m really disciplined).

What it (unfortunately) hasn’t done is basted the quilt for me. I hate basting.

What is inside this book:

  • Introduction
  • You Can Be the Quilter
  • Walking-Foot Wonders (Here’s where I start since I have not yet mastered feeling comfortable with free motion quilting!)
  • Free-Motion Favorites
  • Finishing Touches (A few quilting basics in case you missed them somewhere in your quilting education.)
  • Acknowledgments
  • About the Author

Quilt on!

Books on Monday: Mastering the Art of McTavishing

Today we are looking at Mastering the Art of McTavishing: 2nd Edition, Expanded & Revised by Karen McTavish. Yes, that is an Amazon Affiliate or Associate (or whatever we’re called these days) link below this intro.

For full disclosure, Nonnie reviewed this back in June, 2014. At the time I thought that, although I like the look of McTavishing, I would probably never do it because machine quilting and I do not get along well. So I decided to take a pass on this particular book. “What changed your mind?” you ask. To be honest, I’m not totally sure. Maybe my aching hands had something to do with it, but maybe not. I really can’t say. I just know that one day in late December I ended up ordering a few books from Amazon and this was one of them. And I agree with Nonnie!

I have not tried anything in this book yet, nor have I watched the DVDs. But I have been inspired. I am impressed with Karen McTavish’s instructions and the encouragement to name our versions of McTavishing after ourselves. I was extremely impressed with all the pictures of examples of McTavishing. But, I must confess, the thing that really made me happy I had purchased this book, was the example of hand quilted McTavishing. I actually picture myself doing that before I picture myself doing it by machine.

 So, some book statistics. First, there are two DVDs included. One is the original DVD included in the first edition and the other is one recorded especially for this edition. The sections of the book are:

  • Introduction
  • Basic McTavishing
  • McTavishing on a Sit-Down (Domestic) Machine
  • McTavishing Appliqué Quilts (contains a gallery of McTavished quilts)
  • McTavishing Wholecloth Quilts (contains a gallery)
  • McTavishing Pieced Quilts (contains a gallery)
  • McTavishing Modern Quilts (yep, contains a gallery)
  • McTavishing Art Quilts and Apparel (and, yes, a gallery)
  • McTavishing Background Fillers
  • Resources

So, yes, I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in the quilting part of quilting.

Quilt on!