Book Review: A Beginners Guide to Free Motion Quilting & Giveaway

Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting


I was thrilled with Natalia Bonner asked me to review her new book, “A Beginners Guide to Free Motion Quilting”.  I’ve been a HUGE fan of hers for years, ever since we were both posting regularly on the Moda Bake Shop blog.  I had the privilege of taking a class from her at the Sewing Summit last year, and I interviewed her for my blog last year. You may not know Natalia but I’m sure you know her work,

I think this quilt is one of my all time favorites of hers!

After attending the Sewing Summit last year, I made a goal for myself to learn how to free motion quilt. I took a class there last year and decided it was a skill I wanted to work on.  I admit… I had pretty much NO idea what I was doing.

Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting

Then last year I purchased a sit down long arm quilter, and practiced.   a lot.

I’d get stuck with things like tension, what thread to use, what kind of batting etc.

Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting

I am not very good at knowing where to quilt when the quilt is done, so far I’ve mostly stuck to an overall stipple pattern. Lately I’ve really wanted to start branching out past that.

Then I sat down and read Natalia’s book and had about a million “a ha” moments… and “oh that’s how you do it” thoughts.

The book is great. It covers a wide variety of topics related to free motion quilting including:

  • Thread Selection
  • Tension
  • Tools (i.e. special machine feet)
  • Needles
  • and other tips & tricks

Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting

There are chapters dealing with only free motion quilting designs.  Designs for quilt blocks, quilting on applique, quilting in borders & negative spaces.

In her book Natalia breaks down complex quilt designs into simple DO ABLE steps.  The photo above is a good example.  Each quilt design in the book is like that- broken down into easy to follow steps.

The book also includes 6 quilt patterns, each one makes use of one of the techniques featured in the book.

I sat down and used one of the free motion quilting patterns in the book, I’ll be sharing the finished project with you this month.

I’m excited to be a part of a Blog Tour for the book, On the blog tour Natalia asked us to share a little bit about our families.

Here’s mine by the numbers:

  • Number of Family Members: 5
  • Number of dogs: 1
  • Number of Ballerinas: 1
  • Number of Field Hockey Players: 1
  • Number of introverts: 3
  • Number of extroverts: 2
  • Number of people that like tomatoes: 2
  • Number of people that HATE potatoes: 1
  • Number of bikes in the garage: 5
  • Number of loads of laundry to put away right now: 20 (okay I may be slightly exaggerating but it’s close)
  • Number of runners: 2
  • Number of twins: 2
  • Number of girls: 3
  • Number of boys: 2
  • Number of years we’ve been a family 19
  • Number of years we’ve lived in Kentucky 17

Thanks again to Natalia for asking me to be a part of your Book Tour!  It’s fantastic!

Check out the rest of the stops on the tour:

Amy Webb – October 6th
Melissa Corry – October 7th
Melissa Mortensen  – October 8th
Stash Books – October 9th
Amy Ellis – October 10th
Kimberly Jolly – October 11th
Vicki Christensen – October 12th
Candy Glendening – October 13th
Angela Yosten – October 14th
Gen Q Magazine – October 15th
Tracey Jacobsen – October 16th
Vickie Eapen – October 17th

AllisonHarris – October 18th

Leave a comment here to be entered to win a copy of “A Beginners Guide to Free Motion Quilting”.

Let me know what sewing skill do you most want to develop?

Contest open until October 19th, if you are outside the US you will receive an “e” copy of the book.

*disclosure: I was sent a complimentary advance copy of the book for review purposes. All opinions are 100% mine.

Melissa Mortenson is the author of the Polka Dot Chair blog which is in its 7th year of sharing fresh and creative ideas with readers. She is the author of “Project Teen, Handmade Gifts your Teen will Actually Love”. Her first fabric line “Derby Style” debuted in January 2015 through Riley Blake Designs. A mom of 3, she considers herself lucky to be living in Kentucky.


  1. says

    Hi Melissa, I just enjoyed reading your book review of Natalia’s and I also read your interview with her. You both sound like very sweet loving ladies! But I’ve not run across yet that isn’t sweet and love! The more I read about Natalia’s Free-motion Quilting book the more I know that someway, somehow her book has to end up in my quilting room!! I have looked at alot of free-motion quilting books and they barely touch on the subjects of thread, tension etc. So that is a major eye catcher there, then to take each block and break it down! She’s done her job for the quilting world! Also I’ve run across where free-motion quilters just each the applique and don’t actually applique the well applique itself. I’m starting a new portion of my life with a new granddaughter due on Feb.14, 2013 and I would love to be able to quilt something more than stippling, meandering or quilt-in-the-ditch. I just want more and it’s driving me nuts not being able to do that without the confidence of a fantastic quilter and fantastic quilt book writer. Thank you for such a wonderful review of Natalia’s book and for the fantastic chance of winning her book! God Bless, Maria Carroll [email protected] PS I am VERY new at blogging…another thing that scares me! LOL

  2. Mary says

    So silly… machine quilting.
    I would really love to learn how to knit as well. And to teach my girls to do the same. I am jealous of women who tell me their grandmas taught them.

  3. Cheryl says

    I most want to learn free-motion quilting. I sew a lot of quilts and want to expand my quilting beyond simple straight lines. After reading your review, I know this is a book I need.

  4. says

    Me encanta este blog and I love the tutorials and want start to free motion quilting, I think so this book me ayudaria muchisimo. I want this book is my first intent. Me encantaria tenerlo para practicar una y otra vez ojala y tenga suerte.

  5. Katie Y. says

    This book couldn’t have come at a better time, as I am really wanting to branch out with my quilting abilities. I have been stuck quilting grids (which I absolutely love the look of), but I want to try something new! :)

  6. Anita says

    I would really like to learn how to FMQ, so this book would be perfect! It looks like it is full of lot of helpful tips and tricks! Thanks for the giveaway :)

  7. Heidi says

    I have been free-motion quilting for a year now, and I would love to learn more designs. Can’t wait for the book to come out. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  8. Margaret says

    The skill that I need most work on is definitely free motion quilting! I like to quilt smaller items that I make, tho I will send all queen size quilts to a professional.

  9. LIsa E says

    Well, besides free motion quilting, the skill I would most like to develop is hand applique. Even better, I would love to learn how to do it quickly and efficiently.

  10. Lisa Gus says

    To be truthful, I am needing to expand my free-motion skills and get out of my “rut”. Besides that, I have never considered myself to be a “sewer” since I only quilt. ; ) Hence, I really should learn how to put in a zipper!

  11. Anna says

    Apart from FMQ, sewing curves is definitely not my strong point, though something I am trying to improve (drinkards path blocks!!)

  12. says

    I just got a new Ruby Viking and I am so anxious to learn FMQ on it. I have saved for 4 years to buy this machine, and the book would be an answer to my prayers to have a few Christmas gifts made by me!!

  13. Sarah says

    I would love to develop more of all of my quilting skills. Just this year I have started to sew, and I love it so much, I feel like everyday I am learning new techniques, and it is so fascinating to realize just how much I have learned in such a short period of time. I would really love to work on some more quilting patterns.

  14. Cloud Mom says

    Thanks for the book review. I would love to learn how to make better triangles especially when 4 seams meet together.

  15. Etta H says

    I would like to learn more about FMQ and just what design would make the quilt finish nicely. It seems to be the most difficult for me to choose a quilt design.

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