Free-motion quilting for those who think they can’t (blog hop + giveaway!)

From Free-Motion Quilting for BeginnersDo you dream of free-motion quilting on your home sewing machine? You need a teacher. And a copilot. And a cheerleader! Today we introduce you to an extraordinarily talented young quilter, Molly Hanson, who wears all three hats for you in her new book, Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners (and Those Who Think They Can’t).

With her quilting grandmother as her champion, Molly learned the ropes of free-motion quilting step by step—and became a pro along the way. From setting up your space to prepping your project; from perfecting thread tension to her value-packed Five Prep Steps for Free-Motion Quilting, she’ll help you reach your goal. Plus, she’s included 15 fun projects to make as you practice!

Projects from Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners

We’re happy to be a part of Molly’s blog hop for her book and to have her as a guest blogger today to tell us about her quilting inspiration—her grandmother. Welcome, Molly!


Molly and PatriciaMy Grandmother, Patricia Ditter, is fantastic, vibrant, fun-loving, and 80 years young. She is my hero in life and my friend in quilting. She didn’t start her quilting journey until after she’d retired, and by the time I began, about 10 years after she did, she was just starting to look into options for quilting her own quilts.

I didn’t have the benefit of living near Grandma when I decided to take up quilting. Instead of taking classes and joining a guild like she did, I pieced fabric together in ways I liked and cut appliqués that pleased me, not paying mind to a single rule. Let’s just say my first quilts are not pieced very well! Grandma could have scoffed at my haphazard approach. Instead, she saw something in my ability to have a vision in my head and recreate it in fabric. She encouraged me to continue doing things my way but gently informed me of important rules when she thought I needed to hear them.

With Grandma’s encouragement I kept at it and was prolific in my making. I’d been drooling over the textural quilting of Angela Walters (who would later write the foreword to my book), so when Grandma took up free-motion quilting I had to join her.
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Free-motion quilting patterns
Four of 10 designs you’ll learn to quilt in
Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners (and Those Who Think They Can’t), clockwise from top left: pebbles, paisleys, wood grain, swirls.

I found a home in free-motion quilting. I had no problem finding time to practice, as I wanted to be at my machine all the time. When I wasn’t practicing, I found myself drawing designs on any surface I could find. My boyfriend decided to save all my little “art scraps.” I have a box of paper bits—envelopes, coffee-stained napkins, grocery lists with beautiful borders—you name it. To say I was addicted is an understatement.

Grandma again saw something in what I was doing. She told me that I was getting it fast and doing beautiful work. I felt reassured and reached out to my quilting hero, Angela Walters, who like Grandma gave me nothing but encouragement to continue honing my skills.

Grandma's test projectsWhen I got the opportunity to write Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners (and Those Who Think They Can’t), I knew I would need Grandma’s help. I felt comfortable writing the book knowing that I had her wisdom and experience to back me up. She jumped on board for whatever I needed, and she helped me edit and write the patterns. She also tested several patterns for me (right). I had so much fun seeing her versions of my projects—just like I can’t wait to see your versions!

I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Grandma on this project. I will cherish the memories forever, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am without her encouragement. I asked Grandma what her favorite tip is from the book:

“My favorite tip from your book is the section on Tips, Tricks, and Reminders. This section should be reread often. It’s easy to get frustrated when things don’t go well, and we need to be reminded about these ways that help so much.”

I also asked her what she thought of working on the book with me:

“What Grandma isn’t thrilled to work with her granddaughter? I learned a lot and I think I helped a little. In the end we both had fun and that is what quilting is all about.”

I think that sums it up perfectly! Don’t you? Thanks for reading; stop by my blog on Fridays for my weekly chat with Grandma about quilting, from her perspective and mine.


Free-Motion Quilting for BeginnersThanks for sharing your story with us, Molly!

Rate your free-motion quilting skills: cruising down the highway, practicing in the parking lot, or too scared to take a spin? Tell us in the comments and you could win a copy of the Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners (and Those Who Think They Can’t) eBook! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

Follow the Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners (and Those Who Think They Can’t) blog hop—enter to win a copy of the eBook at each stop!

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Chris, who says:

“I am still very much a rookie quilter, but I have tried free motion (last year’s Christmas gift to my quilting buddy) and I am hooked. I love the designs shown in this email and it is encouraging me to do more. Good luck Molly (and Grandma) I think we will be seeing more books by you.”

Chris, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!


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