making connections blog hop

Every quilter seems to have a particular part of the quilt process where they get hung up. For some, it’s choosing the perfect fabrics. Others can’t stand binding. Me? I struggle with deciding how to quilt my quilt tops.

I don’t like doing lots of marking, and I prefer to avoid stopping and starting if I can help it. So, when I read the objectives of Dorie Hruska’s new free-motion quilting workbook, Making Connections (from C&T Publishing), I knew I had have the book on my shelf.

“Objectives for This Book

  • Learn how to use connecting designs to connect stitching lines with fewer stops and starts.
  • Complete the quilting faster by using freehand designs (versus ruler work).
  • Limit or eliminate stitch-in-the-ditch quilting.”
from Making Connections: A Free-Motion Quilting Workbook, by Dorie Hruska

I picked out one of my oldest unfinished quilt tops to quilt my first project using Dorie’s advice and instruction. I made it in December 2011, only two months after learning to quilt. It’s a Broken Dishes quilt with three borders–so lots of half-square triangles and lots of open space to play with. I looked through all of the designs in the book and found one that echoed a motif in the red border fabric that seemed to fit the bill.

Dorie emphasizes the importance of practicing your designs. That’s always an important reminder to me. First, I took one of the paper grids and filled out the top row to get a feel for the pattern. Then I sketched in a couple of rows of blocks to match my quilt top and ran through the design with HSTs thrown in there.sketching the motifs on paper for practiceDorie’s advice to move clockwise helped inform my choices on those diagonal lines, and I absolutely talked to myself out loud through the whole process. “Over and curl, and over and curl, and down and curl, and up and curl….”

glad press n seal

I needed to visualize this, so I pulled out an old trick of using Glad Press N Seal to audition the design.

glad press n seal audition quilt design

Finally, it was time to warm up on fabric. I drew the blocks onto a little quilt sandwich and started working my through. I had a really tough time getting those longer diagonal curves nice and smooth, so I started breaking them in two. That worked better, but it really clicked with an extra little curl thrown in there. You can see all of the different ideas I tried as I progressed through the pattern. “….and over and curl, and down and curl, up diagonal and curl, down diagonal and curl….”

practice quilting on fabric

Time to quilt! The book is written for either long-arm or domestic machine quilting. I used my Bernina 550QE for this project. The only stop in the center section was to change a bobbin. I got a rhythm going and truly enjoyed the process.

I would recommend this book to the quilter with some free-motion quilting experience who would like to broaden their design repertoire and learn how to better plan their movement around the quilt top. I will definitely use Dorie’s tactics on future quilts! (….and left and curl, and up and curl….)

Broken Dishes Christmas QuiltSigned copies of the book Making Connections can be ordered from Dorie’s website HERE. Read to the bottom of the post to learn how to enter to win a copy!

folded finished quilt

Here’s the full Blog Hop line-up. Visit everyone to see how they’re Making Connections in their quilting and to find more opportunities to enter to win a copy of the book!
Friday, September 1, 2017

C&T Publishing

Monday, September 4, 2017

String and Story

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Pretty PineyΒ (that’s me!)
Generation Q Magazine

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Powered by Quilting
Sweet Little Stitches

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Slice of Pi Quilts

Friday, September 8, 2017

Webster Quilt
Needle & Foot

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sunflower Quilts
Masterpiece Quilting

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rebecca Mae Designs
Samelia’s Mum

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Quilting Jetgirl
The Quilting Mill

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Quilting Mod
Kathy’s Kwilts and More

Friday, September 15, 2017

Forever Quilting

You can win your own copy of Making Connections!

Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll be entered in a random drawing at the conclusion of the blog hop. (If you’ve already subscribed, just enter the e-mail address you used.)

***Note: Only winners with addresses within the US will receive a hard copy of the book. International winners will receive the e-book version.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

















41 Replies to “Making Connections Book Review + Giveaway

  1. Your FMQ is quite impressive! I’m not ready for such a fancy design just yet, but I like wavy lines, swirls and simple flowers when I quilt. I just wing it after practicing on paper.

  2. I free hand all my quilting on my quilts. This book would be a really great help. Thanks for the giveaway.

  3. I use a walking foot to do straight lines then I free motion in between the lines usually doing somesort of loose design!

  4. Hi, I make my own designs with a washout pen for hand + machine top stitching. Thanks for sharing a neat book!

  5. I really need this book, I’m hopeless at quilting! I can only do matchstick or stitch in the ditch

  6. I use straight line, ruler work, and FMQ. Still have lots to learn and I’d love to win this book to help me improve!

  7. Becca, Congratulations on finishing your Broken Dishes quilt! It is hard to believe you were a beginner quilter when you pieced it. I love the quilting design you chose, so pretty (piney) 😊
    Thanks for the saran wrap tip, new to me!

  8. I like using pantograph when I want it quilted fast, but I love free motion quilting best. I love the design you used.

  9. I typically wing it and will do a free handed all over pattern so gridding your quilt using the block unit motifs is a tool I’d like to learn. I will always practice whatever design I choose on my white board first to get muscle memory strengthened before quilting anything, that helps me attain a presentable finish.

    Thanks for the chance and I just signed up for your newsletter.

  10. I don’t have much quilting experience so I’ve just been doing doodles all over. This looks like a great book. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I have been winging it, but I so want to learn a way to organize my attack, so to speak! I love the results you got, especially the curls πŸ™‚

  12. I use rulers, mark the quilt, free-motion…anything I can do from the front of the machine! I don’t like pantos so they are off the table!

  13. Just catching up on everyone’s posts – you’re quilting looks great! Amazing how adding in a few extra curls really makes for a pretty pattern.

  14. I quilt with my Bernina QE 440, but struggle to do free motion curves, so the book for help with this and other ways would be a huge bonus. I have tried to draw the lines, practise on paper, but anything other than following a straight line spells disaster for me.

  15. I use a combination of all things….rulers, pantographs, grid designs, FMQ designs etc on my longarm machine. But always on the lookout for a new idea!

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