Book Review – Machine Quilting With Style by Christa Watson

Christa Watson, is a celebrated, award-winning quilter, designer, instructor, blogger and online pre-cut store owner, who has written a new book; Machine Quilting; From Walking-Foot Wonders to Free-Motion Favorites; 12 Projects, Start to Finish.

I know many quilters who feel that machine quilting is their weakest suit, including me. Others, not so much. 

However, I am excited to write such a positive review about Christa’s new book.
I love the way the book is organized. And the text is written in such a user-friendly way. What makes this book different than others, is that Christa takes the quilter, step-by-step, from yardage calculations, and fabric cutting through the piecing process. She continues into the basting process, then to the quilting, ending with binding techniques and other finishing touches.

After a very encouraging and upbeat introduction from the author, she writes about batting choices, thread options, pressing, work surfaces, ergonomics, hand positioning, the three machine quilting feet used most often, various types of stitches, their configuration possibilities, such as lines, ripples and swirls, in common sense, easy language. Readers of all levels will benefit from this section, and no doubt will pick up some new tips and tricks. These were a few of my favorites; 1. Choose a focal point in the block, and quilt around it. 2. Practice doodling quilting designs, which helps with muscle memory, for when you are actually quilting the quilt.

There are additional tips strategically placed throughout this book to support and extend the lessons. For example, in one tip box about thread, on pp.16, it says; “Close Matters – The more closely the thread matches the fabric, the less any wobbles or imperfections will show. Use highly contrasting threads sparingly. In ‘Rain’ (page 28), I used contrasting threads as an added design element.” 

This speaks to beginning quilters, as well as more experienced quilters in a clean, precise way. It was daunting for me as a beginner to make quilting thread choices. This tip was not offered to me many years ago, because my very first teachers, (not Lisa or Deb), liked the contrast of using a different colored quilt thread. They were very experienced quilters and could sew a straight line during an earthquake. 

Another example of a helpful tip box on pp. 21, is about quilting better spirals. “Use a coin to change the diameter of the center circle.” And there is a good illustration of that accompanying the text.

What comprises the majority of the book are 12 patterns, with instructions, illustrations and photos. The first seven patterns, Ripples, Rain, Color Crystals, Little Man’s Fancy, Static, Square in a Square and Focal Point, were quilted with a walking foot. Some are pictured below.


Color Crystals

Little Man’s Fancy


Square in a Square 

Focal Point

The last five quilts; Lightning, Candy Pop, Broken V, Facets and Pearl Gray, are machine quilted using a free-motion foot. Some are pictured below. This book is a skill building book. The emphasis is on taking it slow and enjoying the process. As Christa points out, practicing on quilt sandwiches is critical, and not treating the quilting as, a fast food quilting process. (I will admit that I have been guilty of that). 

I asked Christa what makes this book different from other machine quilting books out there? “I really wanted this book to be a complete book about quilting. Most quilting books just offer piecing patterns, while others are just a book of quilting designs. I wanted my readers to be able to successfully complete their quilts from start to finish. By including both walking foot-wonders and free-motion favorites, I wanted to let people know they can quilt on any type of machine they prefer!”

Another great inclusion in this book, shows how to piece the backing using leftover fabric from the front. And of course basting is covered, showing two different ways to accomplish this process.  Decorative quilting stitches are explored too, which is really a wonderful bonus the book offers.

Candy Pop

Broken V
Facets – Up Close
Facets – The Quilt
Pearl Gray

Christa provides some other lessons which are so helpful, and those of us who like a quick finish, may appreciate the process more, and now slow down a bit, and have better results. 

For example, on pp. 90 there is a wonderful lesson on how to use rulers. On pp. 43 a fabulous tip on sewing half square triangles, in a way where the point won’t be pushed into the hole of the plate. 

I highly recommend this book. The stitches in the photos are clear, and impressive. This book successfully fills a void that other quilting books don’t. The reader can really accomplish a project from start to finish.

On another note, Christa has generously offered to give-a-way an e-copy before the formal blog hop on this blog. 

To enter, please leave a comment telling us what your favorite machine quilting stitch is. If you are a no-reply blogger, please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so Christa can send you a copy of her book. The winner will be announced on Thursday, September 3.

After that, my husband and I will be travelling throughout Spain. I am planning on posting photos on Instagram and this blog, as long as technology cooperates. So stay tuned!!

Happy Quilting, Happy Labor Day, and Happy Back to School!!

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I love reading your comments, and will respond directly by e-mail.


  • Reply ChristaQuilts August 28, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Aww thanks so much – you make me blush!! I'm so glad you liked it 🙂

  • Reply Afton Warrick August 28, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I love making shells. Christa is such a great person, and I'm excited to see her releasing her first book.

  • Reply scottylover August 29, 2015 at 12:01 am

    I don't know how to do much machine quilting, so I would have to say my favorite is straight line quilting. 🙂

    Sandy A
    scotty4me93 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  • Reply ozone3 August 29, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Still learning, so don't really have a favorite yet.

    Thanks for the chance to win!!

  • Reply Melissa August 31, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    I just recently tried machine quilting a spiral for the first time, and that's my new favorite. I can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Reply Joye with an e August 31, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Since I am not very comfortable with free-motion I'd have to say anything with my walking foot. Thanks for the chance to win the book. Sounds great.

  • Reply Linda G August 31, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I'm in the learning phase and have done mostly straight-line walking-foot quilting so far. Really looking forward to practicing more and branching out!

  • Reply Veline August 31, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I think my favorite is quilting spirals, or using the spiral as a flower center and quilting petals around it!

  • Reply QuiltSue August 31, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    This sounds like a must-have book.

  • Reply Marsha L August 31, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    My favorite quilting is anything I can do with my walking foot. It really is a versatile method of machine quilting — you can even do circles and curves. I've pre-ordered the book and am looking forward to reading it!

  • Reply Jill August 31, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    I love free-motion quilting even though I've only been doing it for a very short time. I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite stitch, though. I went through a feather phase (and still love them!) and seem to be in a spiral or "anything rounded" phase now! I'm willing to try just about anything!

  • Reply Martha August 31, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    I am just learning to free motion quilt, and right now I love stippling. A copy of her book would be a big help!

  • Reply Molly Paolozza September 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Been a Christa follower for a while, feathers are my favorite

  • Reply quiltonia September 1, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    I basically use my walking foot for machine quilting but have been successful with vines with leaves on nature-themed fabrics. This book sounds very practical as so many aspects of machine quilting are covered.

  • Reply Anne Beier September 3, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Hi Martha,
    Congratulations!! You are the lucky winner of "Modern Quilting with Style," by Christa Watson. Please e-mail me at acbeier71@gmail.com with your e-mail address, so we can send you a digital copy of this book.

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