Long-arm look, home machine: meet Eva Larkin

Example of Eva's "Stippling Simplified" technique

If you’re looking for someone to help you to learn how to machine quilt at home, look no further—we found her! Whether you’ve gone as far as experimenting with your own quilting designs for machine quilting or you’re at the “um…what IS free-motion quilting?” stage, popular author and teacher Eva Larkin welcomes you. Read on to learn how Eva came to love quilting, and how she became inspired to turn her home sewing machine into an amazing machine-quilting tool that rivals the long-arm.


What inspired you to write your first book, Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy?

Eva LarkinEva: I had a small quilting business in which I used a regular home sewing machine. I was frustrated that there weren’t more designs and methods available that could be used on a regular sewing machine without a lot of tracing and resizing. I started studying classic quilting designs and playing with shapes that I could draw and use in my quilting. I shared my designs and methods with my free-motion quilting students and they loved them. I then put together an actual class using them and it was a big hit. I finally realized that there had to be many other regular everyday quilters like me that wanted and needed easy designs and methods that were created specifically for their home sewing machines.

Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy has been a best seller since it was released in 2009. How do you manage to make such beautiful designs so easy for home quilters?

Eva: Thank you so much. However, I think the fact is that these designs and methods do not necessarily require you to be an “artsy” person, even though quilting is a very artistic craft. I want to be able to create and then re-create designs and methods that are basic and simple, and then expand upon that. This is possible for beginning free-motion quilters as well. Also, when I’m working on a design or an idea, I tend to think in steps. I usually end up drawing it out several times while trying to think what would be the easiest way to explain it to someone else.

Detail of Plain Block Quilt Design Sampler
Eva says this “Plain Block Quilt Design Sampler” was a fun way to showcase all of her favorite machine-quilting designs.

What can readers expect from your latest book, Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting?

Eva: I’m so excited about these new designs and methods in my second book. They are extremely easy to work with for any skill level of free-motion quilter, and the book offers so many choices. Plus, I’ve added a section called “Stippling Simplified,” which really takes the mystery out of how to create the classic stippling design used in the book.

Detail of Flowers and Baskets quilt
This “Flowers and Baskets” quilt features Eva’s Four Corners Frame quilting design.

How did you first become excited about quilting?

Eva: I grew up using a quilt that my grandmother had made from my mom’s and grandfather’s clothes. I absolutely loved it and knew that someday I would like to try my hand at quilting. I ended up taking a quilting class when I was living in Australia. After that I was completely hooked on quilting.

You had the opportunity to live in both Australia and Singapore. What did you enjoy the most about the experiences?

Eva: I enjoyed the different kinds of people. I loved learning about the different cultures and perspectives of other countries. I would like to spend more time in other countries again if I have the opportunity. It also can give you new ideas on designs and methods as well.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Eva: I wouldn’t say I like to exercise in my spare time, but I try to regularly. Once that is out of the way, I love to spend time hanging out with my husband, dog, and two cats, riding my motorcycle, going to sporting events and concerts, being involved with my church/faith, traveling when able, and spending time quilting (of course).

Eva at Fall 2012 Quilt Market
Eva signs copies of her new book in the Martingale booth at Fall 2012 Quilt Market.

Do you have a favorite tip that you’d like to share with beginner free-motion quilters?

Eva: Yes. I would tell them to make sure that they “stop often” so they can keep their hands surrounding their needle at all times. The more they stop, the more in control and relaxed they’ll feel while they work on their quilt.

If you could spend a day any way you choose, how would you spend it?

Eva: If my husband was around then I would want to be at the beach, under a shaded umbrella, reading a good book, dinner with family/friends, possibly taking a motorcycle ride together, or going to a sporting event, concert, movie, or church function. If I had a day by myself then I might just sleep in, then get up and have a cup of coffee while my dog and cat sat with me in my special chair. Then I’d stay in my pajamas and work on my quilting the rest of the day.


Eva's free-motion quilting booksThanks for sharing your machine-quilting story with us, Eva!

Learn more about Eva’s newest book, Easy and Fun Free-Motion Quilting, and her bestseller Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy.

Visit Eva at her website.


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