Making Connections; Quilting Book Review & Bloghop

About two weeks ago, I was contacted by C&T Publishing asking if I would provide a review of one of their newest quilting books. Always up for learning something new or reading pretty much anything about quilting, I was happy to help.

The author, Dorie Hruska, is a long arm quilter, mom, and blogger.  She has her website,  Forever Quilting, set up as both her blog and her professional site for her long arm business. I really enjoyed looking at her gallery to see the work she has done for others. Her quilting style is lovely with many intricate patterns.

The book, Making Connections, is all about free motion and long arm quilting. The goalof the book is to help the quilter choose a motif or pattern for the quilt and then to set a travel path up for moving around the quilt in the most efficient manner, with the least amount of starts and stops possible.  This is really appealing to me. Like many of you, I struggle with how  to quilt something once that quilt top is done.

Reading this book through, I noticed two things that I really liked.  It is written as a workbook with very clear illustrations and directions. The practice builds in complexity as the reader learns the steps.  Also, there are lots of grids printed in the book to draw on.  The grids are bigger than graph paper but not quite big enough. When I practiced, I copied the page and enlarged it on our printer.  Finally, the book is printed in landscape orientation, not portrait. This makes it much easier to use as you don’t have the binding on the left side making it awkward to draw.

I took away a few really helpful ideas from Dorie’s book:

  1. Doodle the design before quilting.  I know this, we all know this, but it helps so much! There is such muscle memory in free motion quilting and by drawing it several times over, that routine settles into our brain before we begin quilting.
  2. While doodling the design and then while quilting, think, or say, the pattern you are moving in to keep you on track.  For example, Up, Down, Over, Up, Down, Over – or whatever works.  When Dorie maps out a path in the book, she sets this up for the quilter. As a beginner quilter at best, this was pretty helpful.  Seems so simple, but that little mantra was kinda cool. 🙂
  3. Don’t try to quilt the whole design in one pass.  Dorie layers the design so you might do one pass, the come back and add a layer to add another detail.  I get this and think, eventually, it will be helpful to me.  I am not quite there yet.  Some of the designs she illustrates for the reader are quite complex. She does use different colors so you know which pass you are working on each time. Also, she numbers the path so you can see what direction she is taking you in. This is quite helpful.

Note the complexity of the design, stitched in several passes.

The method used in this book is based on grids.  The perfect example is basic patchwork, or nine patch blocks, where there is an obvious grid.  The more experienced quilter would be able to apply it to more complicated blocks.

I didn’t have a quilt top on hand that would work for this so I didn’t actually quilt anything.  I did do some drawing to get that path ingrained into my brain though.  After drawing a bit, I made a quilt sandwich with some scraps of fabric and batting.  I drew a 3″ grid on it to practice.  Once I got going, my sewing machine gave me fits.   So, I had to quit and I took the machine in for service.  I have been putting it off and now it was sending me very clear messages that it wasn’t going to perform well! But ugly as the stitching was, the idea worked – I knew how to move along the design without getting stuck in a corner somewhere.  This methodology requires planning though.  It isn’t one where you move freely around on the quilt top, filling in sections as you go along.

If I were asked, I would tell the readers this is probably a book for an intermediate quilter. I think I could follow it for the basic design and travel flow but I don’t think, as a beginner, I could layer the designs and achieve a nice result.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and think it is a valuable resource for my library.  As I continue to practice, this will be very helpful.  Dorie and C& T Publishing have generously provided a book for me to giveaway to a lucky reader.  If the winner lives in the US, a hard copy will be sent.  For winners outside of the US, an Ebook will be provided. For those of you that want to go ahead and purchase the book, it is available through C&T Pubs or directly from Dorie’s website (she will send an autographed copy!)

To enter to win, please leave a comment on this post.  If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you are welcome to leave a 2nd comment for another entry.  Sign up for my newsletter (which is sent out every month) for another entry.  (Sign up form is at the top of the page on the right side.)  That is three possible chances to win!!


For even more chances, please visit the other bloggers involved in this hop.  Lots of gorgeous quilting has been done to display all this book offers. Go check it out!  Here is the schedule:


Friday September 1st

C&T Publishing Blog@ctpublishing on Instagram

Monday September 4th

Holly Anne Knight Blog@stringandstory on Instagram

Susan Arnold Blog@quiltfabrication on Instagram

Tuesday September 5th

Becca Fenstermaker Blog@prettypiney on Instagram

Teri Lucas Blog@genqmag on Instagram

Wednesday September 6th

Sherry Shish Blog@poweredbyquilting on Instagram

Pam Morgan Blog@sweetlittlestitches on Instagram

Thursday September 7th

Katy S Blog@katyquilts on Instagram

Laura Piland Blog@sliceofpiquilts on Instagram

Friday September 8th

Suzy Webster Blog@websterquilt on Instagram

Bernie Kringel Blog@needleandfoot on Instagram  — You’re here!!!

Monday September 11th

Jamie Mueller Blog@sunflower_quilt on Instagram

Nancy Scott Blog@masterpiecequilting on Instagram

Tuesday September 12th

Sherri Noel Blog@rebeccamaedesigns on Instagram

Anorina Morris Blog@sameliasmum on Instagram

Wednesday September 13th

Yvonne Fuchs Blog@quiltingjetgirl on Instagram

Barbie Mills Blog@thequiltingmill on Instagram

Thursday September 14th

Afton Warrick Blog@quiltingmod on Instagram

Kathy Bruckman Blog@kathyskwiltsandmore on Instagram

Friday September 15th

Susan Arnold Blog@quiltfabrication on Instagram

Dorie Hruska Blog@foreverquilting on Instagram

92 thoughts on “Making Connections; Quilting Book Review & Bloghop

  1. Janet T

    Looks like a great book to help us jump start quilting our UFO’s. So many times we make the top and then don’t know how to quilt the quilt. Or we get intimidated by the whole quilting process. Most of us need all the help we can get!!

  2. Kathy R.

    Thank you for the review. I do doodle, but telling myself where to go next in a design might help me get into the feel of sewing it.

  3. Anita Jackson

    I am definitely at the beginner stage of quilting with my domestic machine but love moving up. This might just be the book to make my way to becoming “intermediate”.

  4. Ann Dunn

    I’m a newbie as far as FMQ goes. It’s still a bit frustrating for me and I do have issues traveling around the quilt. It sounds like there are good ideas for dealing with that in this book.

  5. Allison

    Hi Bernie!! Great looking approach to quilting especially on a domestic machine!! Thanks for reviewing it!

  6. Kathy E.

    I do appreciate your thoughts on this book, Bernie. As I’ve looked at the diagrams offered from the book, my mind boggles with trying to duplicate them myself on my machine. If it’s easier for an intermediate quilter, I know I need to practice more with simpler designs to get myself up to speed to try these! No sense in knocking my self-confidence as I fail…but I’d still love to work up to this level!

  7. Gloria Cotten

    Great review, Bernie —very helpful, and the book sounds
    Ike one that I would enjoy over many years. Thanks!

  8. Roseanne

    Hi Bernie,
    Thank you for reviewing this book. I am definitely a beginner FMQer, but the picture you shared looks very interesting. It looks like it is laid out well, with one skill or pass could be used by the beginner and then the additional techniques added as you build up the skill. I would be thrilled to win this book! ~smile~ Roseanne

  9. Dione

    A very thorough review! I have a tumbling blocks quilt that needs some quilting ideas, and it strikes me that this grid-approach would work for it. Thanks!

  10. Susan Stanton

    Your review of this new book is excellent. I like that you are honest and that you try out the methods that the author suggests. It looks like it would be a wonderful addition to anyone’s FMQ library.

  11. Susan the Farm Quilter

    This book looks like it would be a valuable asset to any quilters library, especially those who enjoy custom quilting fast!!

  12. SarahZ

    FMQ is getting closer to the top of my priorities, always!! You do a very nice job reviewing this book! It certainly sounds like an asset for any avid sewist! Sure would love the nudge in the fmq direction!!!

  13. Susan Snooks

    Looks like an interesting book! I think I need to broaden my repertoire of FMQing! Thanks for the chance to win a digital copy, as I am in Australia!

  14. Becky

    Looks interesting! I wouldn’t consider myself an intermediate free-motion quilter, but I think I could learn a lot from this book. Thanks!

  15. Mom C

    Always looking for ideas and how to’s for FMQ. I get stuck in a rut and have to go looking for a different look for my quilts. Thanks

  16. Sarah J

    Thanks for your honest input about this book- some of the designs look really intimidating, but it’s good to know this can be valuable for a beginner as well!


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