Book Review: Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting, Natalia Bonner - Robin Quilts

Book Review: Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting, Natalia Bonner

Review: Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting

Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting by Natalia Bonner (of Piece N Quilt) was one of the first books I purchased when I was first learning how to free-motion quilt. I’m an engineer by day, so the very literal title of the book appealed to me. I was a beginner to Free-Motion Quilting (FMQ), and I needed a guide, so this seemed like the book for me.

The book is laid out in three sections: Focus on Quilting, Six Quilt Projects to Make, and Quilting Patterns. Again, all very literal names which appeals to my logical side.

Section 1: Focus on Quilting

The first section starts out with a brief overview of the various tools and techniques used in machine quilting.

I just wanted to share one of my favorite photos from this book. Isn’t that an awesome picture? I openly admit that photography is my current weak point, and what I’ve been working on the hardest lately.

After the overview, we get to the quilting patterns. I love that the author organizes the patterns by where they go rather than how they’re shaped: Allover Quilting, Background Fillers, Borders and Sashings, Custom Quilted Blocks, and Quilting on Applique. That’s one of the reasons I refer back to this book over and over again, although I am no longer a beginner.  I am much more likely to think to myself, “I need an allover continuous quilting pattern that’s sort of modern-ish and not gender-specific” than I am to think, “What can I do with vines that I haven’t done lately?”

On the left, there’s a description of the pattern, and step-by-step instructions on how to create it yourself. Next to the steps are images where the actions are drawn out for the visual learners like me 🙂 On the right page is a larger shot showing the pattern in more context. That helps me to see if I’m going to like it over a larger space.

Section 2: Six Quilt Projects to Make

In the second section of the Beginner’s Guide to Free-Motion Quilting, Ms. Bonner provides 6 different quilt projects. These projects utilize the patterns taught in the first section. I have to admit, most of these quilt patterns are not exactly my speed (I may be shamed for this, but I hate applique!). However, they are the speed of some of my customers, so I need to know how to handle things like them. I really like that instead of the generic “quilt as desired” you see in so many patterns these days (I also hate that, but that’s a story for another day) she suggests different patterns that would suit each project, and then pictures of those patterns having been applied.


Section 3: Quilting Patterns

The third and final section of the book consists of traceable pages of all of the patterns. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve pulled out my tracing paper or my Plexiglass to trace something from this book. It’s an excellent way to get the memory muscle into your hand.

Overall, it is an excellent book – one I still use as a reference. If you’re new to FMQ and only buy one book (does anyone actually only buy one book??), I’d suggest seriously considering this one. You can purchase it at Amazon. (Not an affiliate link)

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