Monday, July 15, 2013

Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. 2012

For a long time I've wanted to add reviews of quilting books to this blog. And here we go with the first one. I hope to do 2-3 per year, to highlight how I use my library of quilting books.

When I was preparing to quilt my Asian-themed quilt, I had only the vaguest idea of what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do a straight-line plaid stitch through the 2-inch blocks. I knew I would do a simple little curvy stitch through the first narrow border. Like this:

Next, I knew I wanted each panel to have its own all-over design that would in some way reflect the fabric. But I did NOT know how to achieve the results I wanted. That is, I knew I wanted something that looked like water in one panel, leaves in another, etc. But I had never actually stitched designs like that before and I was feeling rather adrift and panicky.

Then I stumbled across this book at my local quilt shop. I had no idea who Angela Walters is. I discovered she's quite well-known among modern quilters for her quilting. She uses a long-arm machine and quilts for clients as well as for herself. In fact, she recently had an amazing quilt featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Quilters Newsletter. For a look at something different, go here.

Anyhow, when I opened the book and saw this page and knew I'd found the answer to my quilting dilemma:
The quilt on the page above features different designs in each panel. I looked at the one called "wood grain" and I thought that if I made my swirls rounded instead of pointy, the panel would look like moving water. I saw leaves and a flower design that looked like the chrysanthemums in one of my fabrics. If I could duplicate her results, I was saved!

This book is a wonderful collection of 28 different quilting designs. There's a wide variety of designs to suit a wide variety of quilts. Each design is featured with step-by-step instructions like this:
The photography is so well-done. You not only see how to do the stitching, but what it would look like when executed in a quilt. She discusses how to use the designs in various types of quilts. There are some great examples. Following her instructions, I practiced drawing the designs on a blank piece of paper. Then using a small practice quilt sandwich, I quilted a small section of each design so I could get a sense of rhythm. Then I went to work. Of the five large panels in my quilt, four of them use designs in this book.

I outlined the printed ginkgo leaves and then stitched Pebbles (p. 26) around them, as if the leaves had fallen on a path.

Flower Power (p. 67):

Allover Leaves (p. 66):

Water (adapted from Wood Grain with Knots, p. 70):

The fifth panel was little flowers that I just copied from the printed fabric:

Finally, the border was meant to look like grass; I've quilted this design before:

I do not use a long-arm machine like Walters. With a long-arm machine, the quilt is stationary and the machine is mounted on a track, has handles attached, and is moved around by the quilter. I have a mid-arm machine set into a table. In my case the machine is stationary and I move the quilt around with my hands and quilt in small sections at a time. The fabulous thing about this book is that her instructions were easily adapted to the kind of machine I use. The only difficult design was the water because I had to pull the quilt through the machine to stitch from end to end. It was hard to keep my stitching smooth and even. The other designs that I could do in small sections were much easier to execute.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough for someone who is looking for inspiration when quilting their quilt. I know that I will be using this book again and again in years to come.


  1. Thank you so much for your overwhelmingly kind review of my book! I am so grateful that you shared how it helped you and will help you in the future!! That was exactly what I hoped for when writing it!!! Thank you!!

    1. You're welcome Angela. It's a terrific resource and I'm glad I stumbled upon it just when I need it. Thank YOU.