Nightstand stack: Quilting books

In December, during my Master Knitter portfolio correction avoidance phase, I stopped by our local library to sit in cozy wing chairs, perusing art magazines and This Old House (one of my guilty yet practical pleasures). Inevitably wandering over to the stacks that house Dewey Decimal Classification number 646, I walked out with my arms full of quilting books. My nightstand stacked high, here are books that alternately lulled me to sleep and kept me up during the last month.

Already on my nightstand was Gwen Marston‘s Minimal Quiltmaking. Every one of Gwen’s books has her fantastic energy and this one is no different. The photography is excellent and she pulls in many wonderful interpretations of minimal quilting. While there are specific projects that you can complete, Minimal Quiltmaking offers opportunities for you to explore the ideas yourself. As I balance my interest in figurative and abstract expressions in my quilts, I could see a small series of studies based on the chapters of her book.

Almost everyone who comes to Laurena’s Longarm Quilting coos about Angela Walters. If you are just walking into free motion quilting, you may want to subscribe to her rss feed… or buy the book, so you keep all of that info in one tidy place. Her approachable manner and enthusiasm are contagious. While Cheryl Malkowski’s Doodle Quilting would be another example of this fun approach to free motion quilting. Karen McTavish’s second edition of Mastering the Art of MacTavishing should be on your nightstand if the Angela Walters book gets your free motion mojo moving!

Quilting Line and ColorAlanna Nelson longarm quilting books review had such an alluring cover, I thought this would be the most enticing find of my detour. The photography is marvelous and I love her aesthetic. If you want interesting quilting projects, take this book and prepare for a fun beginner quilter journey. If you’re a quilter who doesn’t bother with patterns and projects, don’t worry if you miss this.

It was Rachel May‘s Quilting with a Modern Slant that sparked the most contemplative moments. With a long list of contributors, I was amused to see artists like Kaffe Fassett and Jane Sassaman on her list of “Modern Quilters.”Ok, I just wrote a litany about the definition of modern quilting and my rather accepting, scornful, pleased, eye rolling understanding of the “movement.” The litany was deleted then pasted into another post. Stay tuned Definitely buy or check this book out of the library. Can we talk about it together soon?

It was a lovely full nightstand. Don’t you just love the library? What quilting books inspire you these days? I’d love to build up the nightstand stack again.

Loving the Longarm

My grandfather believed that you should never begin a letter with an apology for not writing.

“Why waste the paper? If you get a letter from someone, you want news, not excuses.”

Blogging is the same sort of thing, I imagine.


If you’ve been following the Master Knitter Level 3 journey and other posts marking the voyage, you may be relieved/surprised that I finally sent the portfolio in about a month ago. I’ve had all kinds of fun during my free time, glorious long days and warm nights that beckon me to spend every possible minute outdoors.

Work wise, I’ve started spending a chunk of my week at Laurena’s Longarm Quilting.

Boston Longarm Quilting at Laurena's Longarm

Laurena’s ready for the next wave of growth and has realized that she can’t do everything (although she certainly tries!). I’ll help her with marketing, social media and assisting renters at her studio in Burlington. I’ve known Laurena for (gasp) seven years now, as a small group of Rising Star Quilters headed up to the Vermont Quilt Festival for a fantastic fiber escape as part of my Tactile Travel tour business.

At the time, Laurena had one longarm quilting machine, providing custom quilting for Boston area patchwork lovers. When she added another machine and started teaching others how to use the machine in 2008, I was quick to sign up. I love hand quilting, but I have machine quilted several queen and king size quilts on my Bernina . One of my art quilts made of 5 layers of wool just wasn’t gliding easily with my home machine.  So I started the path and eventually felt confident enough to quilt Plantano II in 2010 (somewhere I know I have photos…).

I still love hand quilting, but when it comes to bed quilts, I’m all about the longarm. For those quilters who still firmly believe that hand quilting is the only way, I respect your belief. But it’s not the true and only path. If I’m feeling flippant, I could remark that only sail boats are an acceptable form of cross Atlantic transportation as well (But I’m not, so I won’t!). We all love different things. I, of course, love many things.

Have you tried a longarm quilting machine? Once you’re loaded, it’s quite fun… anyone who loves to doodle will adore it.  Anyone who doesn’t like doodling can definitely get their zen moment by following a pantograph.  Laurena offers Learn about Longarm classes twice a month, so definitely contact her if the idea interests you.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of the projects that tempt and try my hands and mind lately. So, expect more frequent blogging this summer. For all things about longarm quilting, I’ll post content on Laurena’s blog. I enjoy posting Tactile Travel discoveries and living projects vicariously through some of my favorite blogs. If you really want to hear the daily scoops, definitely let’s connect on Twitter or Instagram.

Then if there is a delay in posting, we can at least keep in touch.

Best Wishes!