Jenny Lyon’s book: Free Motion Quilting

(update – comment #12 is our lucky book winner! Enjoy some serious quilting time Sue!)
Welcome blog hoppers – skipping along through various blogs and reading all about
The Quilt Skipper’s (aka the fabulous Jenny Lyon)
new book

I know Jenny’s work, and her teaching too. We’ll both be teaching at Craft NAPA next month – can’t wait to see her again! She has a beautifully spare design esthetic that really speaks to me. Some of her designs are so simple, so stark, that not only do they have a great visual impact from far away, but they leave room for some spectacular quilting to be the star of the show. By that I don’t mean that you fill in a million motifs through every square millimeter of the surface. I mean that the quilting stitches become an integral part of the design – like the piece wouldn’t be the same without them.

Jenny Lyon, Stip Gigantea, detail front and back

You might find it useful to hear why Jenny wrote this book. There are a million books out there for Free Motion Quilters after all. “My book was written for the experienced beginner and I think that is an underserved portion of the market. There are a lot of “experienced beginners” who have completed a few projects and can do a few motifs fairly well, but they are afraid to quilt their “real” quilts and they’re not having fun. It is my hope that my book will inspire and encourage them to push forward, “plactice” and enjoy quilting their own work.”

Can you see why I might be attracted to her style? PLAY = PRACTICE!!! 

I have to admit that free-motion quilting is NOT my favorite part of my process. It’s difficult for me to work out designs that complement the work and I don’t actually enjoy the doing of it….. until I’m in the flow. Then time kind of stops and it becomes very meditative. So – I always have something to learn. One fabulous idea that I think I’ll take into my own practice is to write a “mission statement”  for each quilt. That’s really a fancy way of saying – “I’m going to write down what I think this quilt is trying to accomplish so I don’t forget my end goal and veer of track design-wise.” I think it’s brilliant.

Another thing I love about Jenny’s book, besides her gorgeous quilting, is that right there at the beginning she talks about basic design elements and principles – consciously including ideas like scale and unity to create the best design possible for your quilting stitches. Hooray! She’s singing my favorite song!

Jenny sets out a structured program of 21 days of “PLACTICE” (play + practice) to help you up your free motion quilting game. I love that she includes step-by-step preparation with all the basics covered. (You DO use a new needle for every project, right!?) But she also delves into methods for coming up with your own designs and various ways to practice. If you can’t stand just making throw-away practice sandwiches (my favorite) she suggests using a panel, or making charity quilts or placemats as the perfect practice pieces. I have to admit that when I saw this quilting motif I immediately grabbed a pencil and set to work figuring it out on the nearest piece of paper.

So – you ready? I recommend you add Free Motion Quilting to your book list! Me? I’m going to dig out a quilt top I finished years and years and years ago and just play around with it… for 20 minutes a day. Because I know the only way to improve is to actually DO the thing. Jenny’s got me inspired to get off my rear and DO the thing.

If you’d like to win a copy of Jenny’s book leave a comment here answering these questions:
What is the hardest thing about free-motion quilting for you?
How can you make it easier?

I’ll pick a winner on December 11th. Make sure to leave me a way to contact you.
You can also leave comments on each of these blogs for more chances to win.

Dec 1     Jenny K. Lyon
Dec 2     Lisa Chin 
Dec 3     Catherine Redford
Dec 4     Lyric Kinard
Dec 5     Heidi Proffetty
Dec 6     Debby Ritenbaugh Brown
Dec 7     Libby Williamson
Dec 8     Barbara Black
Dec 9     Cindy Grisdela
Dec 10   Teri Lucas


A few notes about the hop:
– You can enter each day but can only win once.
– Each blogger will leave the comments open for 8 days and then will choose a winner using a random method.
– I will send winners a signed copy of my book.
– If you find a blog along the way that you find interesting, sign up to receive notices of each future posting. This is a talented group!
– International winners will receive a digital copy.

The more the merrier-feel free to pass my post on to others so that we can all play along.

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