Good morning, my quilty friends!
And an extra special welcome to those of you who are visiting for the blog hop!
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).
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.)
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!
BLOG HOP SCHEDULE
Friday September 1st
Monday September 4th
Tuesday September 5th
Wednesday September 6th
Thursday September 7th
Friday September 8th
Monday September 11th
Tuesday September 12th
Wednesday September 13th
Thursday September 14th
Friday September 15th