No Christmas UFOs: the 1 skill you need to machine quilt at home (+ sale!)


With Christmas just a few weeks away, it’s time to put the (machine) pedal to the metal! For many quilters, that means machine quilting is in your very-near future.

If you feel like your machine-quilting skills aren’t what they could be, if you’re stuck on what and where to quilt, or if you’re terrified about even trying machine quilting, today’s post is for you.

Machine Quilting with Style author Christa Watson is a champion of machine quilting your quilts at home, on the machine you have right now. In her book, Christa reveals the single most important tool you need for machine-quilting success:

Christa Watson“The concern I hear most often in my quilting classes is, ‘I don’t have a fancy machine. How can I quilt my own quilt?’ My answer is that the most important tool you need for successful machine quilting is a can-do attitude. Often it’s my students with the least expensive machines that have the most success. What these students lacked in bells-and-whistles features they made up for in determination and creativity. It’s taken me nearly 20 years to afford the machine of my dreams (a Bernina 710), yet if I’d waited until I had the perfect machine, I would never have gained the experience I needed to write Machine Quilting with Style.”

Just like most anything in life, right? With a positive attitude from the get-go, much can be accomplished. Moving beyond fear and doubt is key.

So let’s breathe in, breathe out, and state the mantra of all machine quilters, beginner to pro:

I can do it!

For instance, have you ever stitched in the ditch? Then you’ve already got the basic skills to master Christa’s eight walking-foot motifs. Try straight and wavy lines, spirals, and even decorative stitches on your machine. You’ll be surprised at the texture, movement, and beauty you can add to your patchwork with a walking foot. At home!

Walking-foot designs from
Machine Quilting with Style

Ready to take your free-motion foot for a spin? Christa’s 10 free-motion quilting designs start simple—no marking needed. Try easy loops, boxes, and triangles on practice pieces to feel the rhythm of the motifs; then give it a go on that Christmas quilt.

Free-motion quilting designs from Machine Quilting with Style

If you choose, you can combine walking-foot and free-motion designs in a single quilt too. Christa’s anchoring technique in the book works wonders.

With easy-does-it motifs, tips, and advice every step of the way, you can do it—and you can do it all on your home sewing machine.

Christa’s been celebrating the one-year anniversary of Machine Quilting with Style on her blog by reimagining every quilt featured in the book. The transformations are fascinating.

Broken V (original at left; alternate colorways at right)

Color Crystals (original at left; alternate colorways at right)

Ripples (original at left; alternate colorways and layouts at right)

You’ll find more of her fun switcheroos on her blog. They’ll inspire you to think of your quilts in new ways too!

Machine Quilting with StyleSave 20% on Machine Quilting with Style this week only—we’ll even pay your shipping in the US and Canada. And when you buy the book, you’ll get to download the eBook version immediately! Christa’s quickest quilting motifs will help you sail through your holiday gifts, and her skill-building lessons will help you improve through 2017 and beyond.

What level of machine quilting would you say you’re at: a true beginner, a just-the-basics quilter—or do you love that you’ve made the leap from quilting by check to quilting at home? Tell us in the comments!





27 Comments (leave a comment)

  • I would say the basics

    —Linda on December 5, 2016
  • I think I am a beginner bordering on intermediate. I am to trying easier free motion designs other then stipples and enjoying some success. I have a very small home machine (Janome Magnolia) and can not afford a larger one so progress is very difficult but I am becoming more comfortable with machine quilting.

    —Kim Light on December 5, 2016
  • True beginner: I’ve sewing-machine quilted one small piece of my own design (quilted hanger covers) and am now doing a lap quilt.

    —Marty on December 5, 2016
  • I am basically a straight line machine quilter. I am afraid to do anything more, so yes, I usually quilt by check! I would love to go further and admire and am amazed by what some people can do on their machine!

    —Patty on December 5, 2016
  • I am a true beginner with machine quilting and would like to learn to do it.

    —Janet Wiener on December 5, 2016
  • I’ve seen some beautiful quilts that were quilted on the home machine and I’m green. Would love to learn to do it so instead of paying someone else to quilt my work I could buy more fabric to make more quilts that I could quilt LOL!

    —Vickie Keith on December 5, 2016
  • I consider myself a true beginner. I am not happy with the sandwich or keeping the three levels from movement. I don’t like my stitch in the ditch. A true beginner.

    —carol on December 5, 2016
  • Truly a beginner, but eager to learn. Realize that practice, practice, practice is the most basic step.

    —Katherine Cronn on December 5, 2016
  • Truly a beginner; I’ve done a few bags but that’s it! And yes I need to learn as I have a quilt to do for my daughter that is soon to be at the stage where I need to do something with it!

    —Judys on December 5, 2016
  • Just the basics but trying to learn. I have the stipples and meander stitch down pretty good, it’s time to move on.

    —connie b on December 5, 2016
  • I’m an award winner quilter, but I’m always up to learn more.
    I agree that a can do attitude is the most important attribute. While I don’t recommend it, I did my practice on quilts for my family. They loved them. Do not be afraid.

    —Stephanie Woodward on December 5, 2016
  • Basic level for me – in the ditch and grids. Any and all attempts at FMQ have been a total disaster…I need H*E*L*P big time!

    —Gai on December 5, 2016
  • A true beginner who has to get her nerve up.

    —gail on December 5, 2016
  • Just the basics. Now that I know some basic patterns I need to branch out and try others…but I am very comfortable with the few I know.

    —cj on December 5, 2016
  • Just the basics! I need more ideas and more practice.

    —TaraA on December 6, 2016
  • Just the basics. I love to hand quilt, but sometimes machine quilting is the technique that fits the quilt. I’d love to learn more.

    —Janetrg on December 6, 2016
  • I’ve been machine quilting for over 20 years but there’s always more to learn. I love to see the quilting designs that people such as Christa Watson and Angela Walters come up with.

    —Karen M on December 6, 2016
  • Just the basics describes me best. I get along fine with my walking foot and stitching in the ditch. It’s the ideas for going beyond those is where I need help. This book looks like it could take me a long way.

    —Dunlapquilter on December 6, 2016
  • Soy una verdadera principiante en el acolchado. El libro se ve muy útil y muy bonito y bien hecho.

    Translation: I am a true beginner in quilting. The book looks very useful and very beautiful and well done.

    —Margarita on December 6, 2016
  • I’m fairly proficient with the walking foot, but hardly My free motion is very much in the beginner stages!!

    —Tammy on December 6, 2016
  • I have longarm my back would not take big quilts on the home machine. It is also hard to fit all the material into a small space. I do touch up with the home machine after I have taken the quilt off the frames. It is boring to do the same loop, circle 10,000 on a large quilt. I have been quilting for over 50 years. It is OK to have space between a pattern like the straight line border shown, but the pot holder look is not necessary when batting can have 4″ of space. Also when one works outside job, who wants to spend 40 hours finishing a quilt unless it adds to the quilt?

    —Linda Christianson on December 9, 2016
  • I am slowly learning the enjoy the machine quilting part of quilting. The planning of what to put where in FMQ design is still in the beginning stages!

    —Elaine C on December 9, 2016
  • I am a basic quilter. I can SITD and do grids, but it has to be straight lines. I need LOTS of practice to FMQ. My hands and foot do not co-ordinate well so I can consistently get same size stitches.

    —Joanne Scott on December 9, 2016
  • Still not as comfortable with free motion machine quilting as I would like to be.
    Trying to get some old no-nos out of my head.

    —Sue Smith on December 9, 2016
  • I do fine with the walking foot and can FMQ stipples and meander. Other than those, I am pretty much inept. This book would surely help! Always interesting to learn to do more.

    —Mary C. on December 9, 2016
  • I would class myself as a adventurous beginner, willing to give anything a go. I usually think "yep I can do that" and find I really couldn’t but had fun trying to. =)

    —Janet G on December 10, 2016
  • I can quilt straight lines with the walking foot, and can follow printed panel outlines with the free-motion foot, but my stitch length is very tiny and inconsistent. I have been practicing on table runners and hot pads as gifts fort nieces and nephews, but need to expand into larger quilts.

    —Linda Towers on December 10, 2016

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