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Book Review: How Do I Quilt It? by Christa Watson

I am so excited to share my review of Christa Watson’s new book, How Do I Quilt It?, that was recently published by C&T Publishing.  Having read another of Christa’s books recently, 99 Machine Quilting Designs, I was somewhat familiar with her style of writing, and I really felt like Christa was right there to guide me through the process of choosing HOW to quilt my next pieced top.  I have a few (ahem, ok more than a few!) pieced tops that I just haven’t yet decided how to quilt, so having Christa as a guide through her book and careful instructions is just what I need to get those tops turned into finished quilts!  

If you are new to quilting in general, that is new to piecing cut fabrics together to make an entirely new and different piece of fabric, you can start with this book and get a really good lesson on not just the quilting part of quilting, but the whole process from start to finish.  The quilting part of quilting (while the primary focus of this book), that is making of the quilt sandwich and stitching layers of the top, batting, and backing together with decorative stitching is often intimidating even for experienced piecers, and I know that I’m not alone in having a collection of unfinished tops that are sometimes years past their start date.  At least they got started, right? 

But there is SO much good instruction in this book. Christa encourages the novice quilter to relax and find fun in the process of piecing, and offers numerous tips for choosing fabrics so that even imperfections in piecing and quilting are less noticeable.  It’s a welcome encouragement to play and find a rhythm that works for any quilter.  For those who have been piecing and quilting for many years, Christa’s words of experience are a great reminder of ways to not skimp on the important pressing details and choosing quality materials including thread and batting so that the finished quilt will withstand the test of time.   It’s always nice to have a gentle refresher course and see the craft with a fresh perspective! 

The meat of the book is where Christa’s instructions really shine. She goes into so much detail showing you with clear, beautiful photographs how to get an amazing quilt sandwich together for quilting, then she spends much of the rest of the book showing you how to use your regular domestic sewing machine to do the actual quilting on your quilt.  This fills in ALL the gaps to so many of those patchwork patterns that simply say “Quilt as desired”.  That is really the place that stops so many quilters from turning those pieced tops into usable quilts, and Christa fills the rest of the book with thoughtful practice exercises, shows you how to use both your regular sewing machine foot as well as you walking foot.  She includes LOTS of clear diagrams that are illustrated as well as a photographed example, so that there is no question about how the instruction could end up looking. I love the section on free-motion quilting the most because that is where I find so much zen in the quilting process. Christa includes some simple but effective freemotion ideas to try that really add a new layer of interest to the finished quilt.  It’s not just the specific design ideas that Christa includes, but also a reminder of the practical steps to start the free-motion quilting process.  It’s really the next best thing to actually watching someone set up their quilt to start the quilting, thanks to the bright and clear photography that shows just where to put your hands to best wrangle your quilt! 

Christa Watson How Do I Quilt It image from book machine quilting on a domestic sewing machine

There is a section on combining free-motion quilting with ruler quilting to get a wonderful “custom quilting” look for your quilt, and the way Christa explains the process, the reader is left with the idea that this custom quilting is within their reach from the very beginning.  I so appreciate the inclusion of all kinds of quilting techniques for all stages of quilters.  Quilting doesn’t need to be difficult, but it does take some careful thought and lots of quilters get overwhelmed with the quilting part because they’ve put so much time and brain power into the piecing part.  It’s so nice that Christa has broken down the quilting process into such simple, accessible steps and given sample plans for quilting sections or the whole quilt.  Not only that, but if you are a beginning beginner, Christa includes all the steps for three different full sized quilts so that you can piece a top and get it completely quilted by following the steps she has outlined so thoroughly for you.  This book fully fills in the gaps to those patterns that get you to the end and leave you with “Quilt as desired”, but Christa goes beyond even that and details even the process of binding your quilt by hand or by machine.  She wants us to get those quilts finished and out into the world, and hasn’t left a single thing out.  I know that no matter where you are on your quilting journey, you will get a lot out of this book.  Go ahead and pull out that stack of pieced tops and let’s get our quilts DONE! 

For more information, you can check out How Do I Quilt It? on Amazon (https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B0B5W1NLHT&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_FYTRSA2KNT934RPG4PC0&tag=designsbybaby-20)  or get a signed copy from Christa Watson herself at her own website ( http://christaquilts.com).    Watch her video introduction over on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bLnLBfJPUk)  and discover how you might find this book a necessary part of your quilting resource collection!

Thank you, Christa, for writing such a careful and encouraging book!  I look forward to getting that quilting done sooner rather than later now! 

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