Machine Quilting Monday

#MachineQuiltingMonday :: Making Connections Blog Hop

Good morning, my quilty friends!

And an extra special welcome to those of you who are visiting for the blog hop!

Making Connections

Today is my stop on Dorie Hruska's Making Connections Blog Hop! We are celebrating the release of her new book, Making Connections: A Free-Motion Quilting Workbook with C&T Publications. This magnificent book breaks down the mysteries of continuous curve quilting and, through a series of worksheets, trains the quilter's mind to navigate a block or pass of quilting without breaking thread. The book builds on itself, adding more motifs and navigating increasingly irregular and complicated blocks as the book progresses. Ultimately, the quilter has a toolbox of designs and strategies to make his or her own quilting plan for any grid-based quilt (or any quilt with a grid added via chalk stencil). 

The Quilting Plan-- don't skip this step! (even though you will probably tweak it later)

When I first began reading Making Connections, I knew right away that I wanted to tackle En Provence (Bonnie Hunter's 2016 Mystery Quilt). I started En Provence last year, and the closer I came to finishing the top, the more anxious I became about how I was going to quilt it (it's huge, super complicated, and already has a gazillion hours of work invested in it). After reading Dorie's book, I drew part of the En Provence quilt top in my sketchbook and used the techniques from the book (plus a couple other ideas) to create a quilting plan.

I'll admit, getting the swing of things took longer than I expected (it probably didn't help that my quilting plan wasn't exactly simple or that Leopold the Longarm and I are still hunting for a thread we can agree on). While Hubster insists that quilting and ballet are nothing alike, I'm continually surprised by the parallels.

When a dancer is working at the barre, the instructor shows (and sometimes only tells) the combination once, then the dancer is expected to execute it perfectly from memory (and be able to reverse it, as barre exercises are done first with the right side of the body and then the left). Learning a continuous curve quilting plan is a lot like learning a new combination at the barre. I can read and trace it on the page, but carrying it through on the long arm with the needle moving is a different game. I had to find the rhythm of the motifs, much like I once had to learn how to count music and match steps in time. When it came to quilting En Provence, I was the whole upper border and a couple of blocks in before I felt confident. But when it finally clicked, it was beautiful!

So what am I saying? I'm saying that this technique is well worth learning and that Dorie's book is the perfect resource for learning it! I have only had my long arm for two months, and most of my quilting practice has consisted of filler designs (love me some swirls, paisleys, and McTavishing!). Making Connections gave me an entirely new skill and mindset for quilting that will shape the way I approach my quilts moving forward. Thank you, Dorie, for this wonderful chance to learn something new and to share it with other quilters! 

(More to the point: Go buy the book! It's so worth it.)

Notice that my final quilting varied a little from my quilting diagram. Each of my first four blocks was a little different as I worked out the kinks in order to be able to travel continuously around the entire block. This final path starts in the lower left of the block and works inward toward the center then outward again, always moving clockwise. a portion of the bottom of the block remains unquilted until the entire pass is complete. 

The Blog Hop continues for the next couple of weeks (see full schedule at the bottom of the post), and each host is giving away a copy of Making Connections. Speaking of which, it's time to enter to win your very own copy! Each option in the Rafflecopter (leave a comment, follow me on Insta, join my Newsletter) is worth one entry, and the giveaway will close at 11:59pm EST on September 15th. I'll email the winner as well as announce the winner in my Newsletter. Also, if you would like to purchase a signed copy of the book, visit Dorie's website. 

It's been a treat to share with all of you today! If you haven't already, I'd love it if you followed me on Instagram @stringandstory and signed up for my weekly Newsletter so we can stay connected! Oh, and be sure to check back next week on #MachineQuiltingMonday as I hope to have En Provence done by then!

Happy Quilting!


Making Connections Blog Hop Schedule


Friday September 1st

C&T Publishing Blog@ctpublishing on Instagram

Monday September 4th

Holly Anne Knight Blog@stringandstory on Instagram

Susan Arnold Blog@quiltfabrication on Instagram

Tuesday September 5th

Becca Fenstermaker Blog@prettypiney on Instagram

Teri Lucas Blog@genqmag on Instagram

Wednesday September 6th

Sherry Shish Blog@poweredbyquilting on Instagram

Pam Morgan Blog@sweetlittlestitches on Instagram

Thursday September 7th

Katy S Blog@katyquilts on Instagram

Laura Piland Blog@sliceofpiquilts on Instagram

Friday September 8th

Suzy Webster Blog@websterquilt on Instagram

Bernie Kringel Blog@needleandfoot on Instagram

Monday September 11th

Jamie Mueller Blog@sunflower_quilt on Instagram

Nancy Scott Blog@masterpiecequilting on Instagram

Tuesday September 12th

Sherri Noel Blog@rebeccamaedesigns on Instagram

Anorina Morris Blog@sameliasmum on Instagram

Wednesday September 13th

Yvonne Fuchs Blog@quiltingjetgirl on Instagram

Barbie Mills Blog@thequiltingmill on Instagram

Thursday September 14th

Afton Warrick Blog@quiltingmod on Instagram

Kathy Bruckman Blog@kathyskwiltsandmore on Instagram

Friday September 15th

Susan Arnold Blog@quiltfabrication on Instagram

Dorie Hruska Blog@foreverquilting on Instagram


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