Tag Archives: blog hop

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!!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.

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:

BLOG HOP 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

2015 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop

This week marks the first of four weeks that will be spent introducing a number of wonderful quilt blogs!  In earlier posts, I mentioned that I am taking part in the 2015 New Quilt  Bloggers Blog Hop. There are about 70 of us in the group and for the past several weeks we have been working together to learn more about blogging and to help each other to improve our blogs. If you have come to Needle and Foot for the first time, via the Blog Hop, welcome!!

First, a bit of background.

I am one lucky person. Married to an amazing guy and mom to four kiddos, I live in the Sierra Foothills in Northern California. We have a bit more than three acres which allows us space for a large vegetable garden (which we couldn’t plant this year due to the wretched drought in California) as well as a coop for six hens. Three of my kids (the boys) are adults and are off living all over the country. My daughter is still at home and will enter high school in the fall.

I have been sewing for over 40 years now (which looks so strange when I see it in print!!) Growing up I sewed many of my clothes and when I became a mom, I sewed clothes for my kids. I started quilting when I was 17. I made three quilts over the next three years and then didn’t make another one until 2012. (If you want to read about the first quilt I made, here is a post.) When I retired from a career in Human Resources in 2012, I suddenly had time to devote to sewing again.The quilting bug (obssession, passion, craze, addiction – call it what you will) bit me hard and I have made a number of quilts over the past few years. If I were to try to describe my style, I would say that while I enjoy almost any type of quilt, I have a propensity to the modern. I love large blocky patterns – I don’t often make a very fussy block. I have always quilted all of my own pieces. It feels right to me that I make my quilt from start to finish. (I have only quilted one queen size and one full size piece, usually I make lap size or mini’s.) I use either straight line or free motion quilting depending on the project. My FMQ is absolutely a work in progress – it is challenging and requires tons of practice. With each project it improves a bit more.

This is my sewing space. Totally as it is – no cleaning or organizing before pictures! I sew on a Janome 6500P and also have an older Janome that is a little workhorse. I love them both.

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Here are a few of my favorite projects:

This lap size quilt was made for my amazing daughter-in-law for her birthday. I love the pattern and it was one of the first times I used solids for the bulk of a project.

Naomi's Birthday Quilt February, 2014

Naomi’s Birthday Quilt
February, 2014

The quilt below was made for my daughter. I love it because it is the first time I took on a large FMQ project. I had no idea what I was getting into and quilted this without knowing I had to drop the feed dogs for FMQ – I fought the quilt and the machine the entire time. I remember thinking this is so dang hard, why would anyone want to do this for pleasure. See all of that pebbling and all of those spirals? No free motion there, just an amazing amount of tugging and moving. It was nuts.  I’ve learned a bit since then!

Julia's Quilt  October, 2013

Julia’s Quilt
October, 2013

This final quilt was made for my sister. I love simple patchwork quilts! This is a lap size quilt with a huge heart pieced into the lower right corner. I love the texture of the matchstick quilting on the heart.

Patti's Heart Quilt; March 2015

Patti’s Heart Quilt; March 2015

Though my quilting projects are often leaning toward modern, I have an unstoppable passion for anything vintage. I especially like two eras. I love the fabrics from the 1930’s through 1950’s. I recently acquired quite a collection and you can find more information on that here and here. In addition, I collect vintage linens, usually from the 1970’s. There is quite the stash of these in my sewing room now. I have lots of fat quarters listed in my Etsy shop if you are interested in vintage sheets. There is also a smallish collection of vintage patterns listed in the shop.

Here is a simple blogging tip for you:  Take your time with each post! Last June when I started this blog, I was learning as fast as I could by reading other blogs and trying to figure out what worked best for me. Over the year, I learned so much. Something that really helps the quality of  my writing is to write ahead of time. As much as my schedule allows me, I try to sketch out a post and then come back to it in a day or so. When I come back and edit the post I will invariably find typos or phrasing that isn’t as clean as I would like. It helps hugely to look at the post multiple times. I don’t mean spending hours pouring over it. Rather, I write it, save it and read through it at another time. If I write in a hurry and publish, there will be errors. If I can let it sit for a day and come back to it, I will usually catch a few typos. Also, I can improve phrasing or move pictures around that don’t look just right. That second reading improves the post almost every time.

Finally, three fascinating and compelling facts about me that you are probably dying to know.

1. My favorite vacation I have taken was my honeymoon in 1998. We went to St. John in the US Virgin Islands. It was breathtakingly gorgeous.

2. My husband and I dated all of six weeks before he proposed. We were married five months later. While I do not recommend this as common practice, we were lucky and are happily married 17 years now. To  my children, when they bring this up (usually to give me a hard time about it), I always say, “do as I say, not as I do!” (Which happens to be excellent parenting advice!)

3. I am lucky enough to be the fourth daughter in a family of six girls. My sisters are my dearest friends and you can read about them here, here and here.

Thanks so much for stopping by. If you want to follow me it is easy – you can enter your email address at the top of the page or click on the Bloglovin button (with the plus sign in the middle) and add me to your feed. This blog hop is a wonderful opportunity to meet a host of new bloggers. In the hop with me this week are three other terrific quilt bloggers. Hop on over and check them out!

Nurdan @ Hug-a-bit Quilts

Ali @ Needle Down

Denise @ Craft Traditions