Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters: A Book Review

With the free motion quilting sew-in next week and the holiday gift season approaching, I thought I'd review Angela Walters' new book, Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. Some of you may recognize Angela's name and her work as she quilted several of the quilts that Jacquie Gering showed at the MMQG September trunk show and book signing for Quilting Modern. Angela blogs at Quilting is My Therapy, where you can see how she beautifully brings life and texture to quilts with her creative use of free motion quilting.

When I see intricate FMQ designs, like those featured on Angela's blog, I'm generally intimidated and wouldn't consider them within my reach as a new-ish quilter. However, with this book, Angela breaks each pattern into steps that are easy to manage and understand.The section on quilting designs (section 2) includes more than 50 pages of step by step instructions for making a wide array of designs. I was impressed not only with the level of instruction for each pattern, but also the number of designs featured in the book. Angela also shows examples of what one can do to vary some of the designs, for instance by making different sized shapes, or framing some of the curvy designs in squares. The images that accompany each pattern show how much texture can be added to simple solid blocks of color and make you want to try each and every pattern!
I tried a sample of a few of the simpler designs in the book this morning. Though far from perfect, I was left thinking "I could actually do this"--with a bit more practice of course!!

Section 3 of the book (Using the designs in Modern Quilts) focuses on using the quilt patterns in some common modern patchwork designs such as wonky log cabins, strip quilts, and zig zags. This section was particularly helpful for me as I often have a hard time visualizing how a quilt pattern will look on a quilt. The combinations she presents here are artful and bold, and do an excellent job of featuring the shapes and fabrics commonly found in modern quilts.

And as if the book were written just for me (decision-making has never been my strong suit), there is a section called "Still Stuck? Tips for Deciding on Quilting Designs". Here, Angela gives a handful of tips and questions to ask yourself about your quilt that will help you come to a decision. And like the rest of the book, it includes  more beautiful images and combinations of quilting patterns to help your thinking.

I should note that this book is not a free-motion quilting 101 book. It assumes that you have some knowledge about how to FMQ. It does not have tips or exercises on the basics such as keeping stitch length consistent and avoiding birds-nests on the back of your quilt. But, if  you are wanting to expand your skills beyond meandering or straight line quilting, I would say this is definitely a must-have addition to your quilting library. It is a book you can pull out again and again as you think about quilting each new project. Add it to your Christmas list, buy it for a fellow-quilter. I know I'll be adding Angela's second book (not out yet) In the Studio with Angela Walters to mine!

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