Book Review: First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting by Christina Cameli - Robin Quilts

Book Review: First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting by Christina Cameli

Book Review: First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting

First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting by Christina Cameli (of A Few Scraps, amongst many other things) was one of the next books I picked up in my quest to teach myself free motion quilting. Christina came to my attention when I signed up for one of her Craftsy classes, “The Secrets of Free-Motion Quilting“. I liked her clear, laid-back teaching style, so I picked up one of her books. (I now own at least 2 of her books, and am enrolled in 4 of her Craftsy classes, so apparently her teaching style really works for me :P) Plus, she has awesome hair. I just love how relaxed and happy she seems, she’s a pleasure to watch. (I probably sound a bit fan-girly, but she really is awesome!)

First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting begins with a couple of sections on quilting basics. Next is a section on free motion quilting designs, followed by a section with projects that illustrate the use of those designs.

Quilting Basics

Aimed at someone new to quilting, the first few sections of the book teach the reader the names of the tools used in quilting (sewing machine, darning foot, thread, batting, etc) and how to use them. The author then takes the reader through making a quilt sandwich, and how to begin machine quilting. 

Quilting Designs

The section on quilting designs starts with teaching an assortment of basic edge-to-edge patterns.

Edge-to-edge designs are a specific type of all-over design that (as the name implies) travel from one edge to the opposite edge in lines of regular intervals. The lines can be straight or curvy, or even a shape like bricks or puzzle pieces. I’ve used these in quilt blocks or panels, but I tend to avoid using them on a whole quilt. Without marking end points, I find my lines tend to slope rather oddly. Maybe this would be less of an issue on a longarm machine, but on my sit-down longarm (Handi Quilter’s Sweet Sixteen) it’s an issue I don’t want to deal with. In a block or a panel, though, they’re very handy.

There are examples of pebbles, kissing designs, echoing designs, branching designs, and then my favorite – meandering designs.

I love meandering. I just relax and let muscle memory take over, while my brain wanders. I picked this book to review because I actually used one of the swirly designs in it on a quilt I recently listed on Etsy.

As a reference, this book has a good selection of continuous motion designs that are excellent for tracing and practicing.


The book contains 24 projects that utilize the quilt designs described in the previous section. There are three types of projects: small stitched projects, small quilts, and embroidered projects. The wide variety of projects pretty much guarantees there will be something that appeals to everyone. The embroidered clothing and bag projects don’t particularly appeal to me, but this quilt most definitely does.

It’s a quilt-as-you-go project, which I don’t have a lot of experience with, but the simplicity of the shapes and the bold colors attract me. I also love the wall hanging that has my new mantra embroidered on it.

Done is indeed better than perfect!


If you are new to quilting, or even just new to machine quilting, this book is a perfect guide that’ll get you started. For those with more experience, the projects alone make this book worth it. Definitely a good addition to any quilting library!

First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting by Christina Cameli is available on Amazon. (Not an affiliate link)

PS. Seriously, if you’re a perfectionist like me, grab a post-it note, and write “Done is better than perfect!” on it. Post it somewhere you can see it! Or, make the wall hanging 🙂

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