Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway!

I am thrilled and honored to be today's stop on the blog tour for Christina Cameli's new book, First Steps to Free Motion Quilting! Even if Christina wasn't a dear friend, member of Portland Modern Quilt Guild, kick-butt quilter, and all-around amazing person I would have reviewed this book for you because it is That Good.


I have always admired people who can do free motion quilting and do it well. It always seemed like such an unattainable skill to me. Then Christina taught at PMQG about fmq on your home machine and I was hooked. Still nervous about screwing up a big project but I loved the personality and individuality free motion designs could give to quilts.


This book not only teaches the basics for learning how to free motion quilt but also has a bunch of great smaller projects to get you practicing. Even this amazing quilt is done just one square at a time - and is a new-to-me take on quilt as you go - so you don't need to worry about practicing on a super-beloved project right at the start.


Christina shares her wealth of knowledge about free motion quilting as well as lots of tips and tricks to help you feel comfortable as you work on this skill. And the projects are all simple to construct so that the focus can be getting in that fmq practice time.


I've always been a huge fan of leaves and branches so I really loved the placemat project featuring botanical designs.


I followed Christina's advice about practicing and doodling first, just to get a feel for how the design worked.


Then I got to stitching on simple placemats pieced from scraps from my last table runner project.


I even tried some of the pebble designs because, you know, why not!


And this is the back of the first practice piece/placemat! Seriously! I totally did that!!! High five!


I moved on to an all-over branching design on the next piece and L. O. V. E. it. This is how far I got before my bobbin ran out and made me stop and take a break.


I truly thought this was a skill beyond my grasp, but Christina's book is so encouraging and inspiring that I know I will be adding much more free motion quilting to my work from now on. In addition to all of the fundamentals and the practice projects, there's a GREAT section in the back on troubleshooting.

Does all this make you want to get your hands on a copy? Because Stash Books has generously offered one for me to give away! Just comment on this post and tell me what your biggest fear is about free motion quilting and I'll randomly choose a winner next Wednesday, October 9. If the winner is in the US they may choose a paper or e-book. An international winner will receive an e-book.

Check out what others are saying about Christina's book here:

9/25: Allison Rosen at Stash Books Blog 
9/26: Jessica Alexandrakis at Life Under Quilts 
9/27: Monica Solorio-Snow at Happy Zombie 
9/28: Susan Beal at West Coast Crafty 
9/29: Kathy Mack at Pink Chalk Studio 
9/30: Angela Walters at Quilting is my Therapy 
10/1: Amanda Jean Nyberg at Crazy Mom Quilts 
10/2: Megan Dye at Megs Monkey Beans
10/3: Victoria Findlay Wolfe at Victoria Findlay Wolfe Quilts 
10/4: Katie Pedersen at Sew Katie Did 
10/5: Christina Cameli at A Few Scraps


151 comments:

  1. This looks such a great book - I'd love to do FMQ instead of the straight line quilting I usually do!!

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  2. Your branches look great! I can't figure out how much of my lousy FMQing is a result of my machine's inability to go slow, my total lack of guidance in the process (except for a few of Christina's videos), or an experience/skill problem. Hopi g this book will help me sort that out!

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  3. i have done a lot of stippling and even some swirls/loops, but i've not been brave enough to try much more with fmq. i love the idea of combining designs like the pebbles/circles with lines alongside them. looks like a great book with lots of designs to try! thanks for a chance!!

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  4. My one fear of FMQ is that my quilting at the beginning of a design does not look the same at the end. If I would just practice more maybe I can be more consistent! Thanks for a chance to win a book that should definitely help me.

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  5. Grossly uneven stitch size: toenail-catchers followed by twenty to the inch stitches quilted into drunken curves. Lack of coordination, I guess.

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  6. I allways fear that my free motion quilting won't look perfect enough. This book looks like it would help me as it teaches that it doesn't have to be perfect.

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  7. love the done is better than perfect project - I think that's what scares me the most - that I think it has to be perfect. Love your placemat quilting - its fabulous and looks great from the back - definite high five - thanks for the encouragement !

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  8. Yes it does! Your quilting came out so nice, did you practice a lot and only show us only the perfect stuff? ;-> I wish my practice pieces were a at least passable. I just have no rhythm or smoothness to my attempts. I would love this book, I need ALL the help I can get

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  9. I sew need this book. I am practicing fmq and am scouring the internet for all the tips I can get. Love your projects.

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  10. I have been following this blog hop and I really would like to win this book....My greatest fear with FMQ is that my FMQ will have supposed-to-be-smooth curves coming out looking like triangle sides instead....

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  11. I have free motioned smaller projects but my biggest fear is LARGE quilt. I am afraid that I will mess up the stitching near the beginning and will have to go back and rip out.I guess getting more confident as I go along will help.I really like the projects in this book and would love to try them out.

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  12. I would love to win this book. I am afraid of FMQ period! I doubt that I am coordinated enough to make anything look good so I haven't tried. I need some basic tips to get me started that's for sure. Lisa.
    Imperfectseams@gmail.com

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  13. I just don't think my FMQ is very acceptable and would love to improve on it. Encouragement would help..thanks

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  14. My biggest fear of FMQ is irregular stitches- either way too long or short little peck-like stitches. And the thought of doing FMQ over a whole quilt- even lap size seems overwhelming. I think this is the book for me- smaller projects to practice on and lots of good tips and clear instructions. I like the wall hanging-"Done is better than perfect". It's perfect for me!!

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  15. I have done FMQ before but just simple meandering. I guess I am afraid to try anything else. This looks like the book to give me the push.

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  16. I'm dying to get my hands on this book! My biggest fear when it comes to FMQ is that I'll mess up the quilting on a quilt that I put so much effort into. I'm loving the idea of little projects to start out. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  17. Thanks for this opportunity to win. This book looks like exactly what I need to make some progress in learning FMQ.

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  18. My greatest fear is that the tension on the back side of the quilt doesn't match the front and that I'll have to rip out all the quilting.

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  19. I love this book and my biggest challenge is choosing the right thread colour.

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  20. I really need to learn how to FMQ- and get over being worried that I'll mess up! Thanks for the chance!

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  21. I'm loving the look of this book. Would love to be in with a chance of winning an e-copy :)

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  22. My biggest fear is spoiling something it has taken time and effort to make beautiful with the wrong design or poor stitching.

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  23. I worry that my quilting won't look anything like I want it to.

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  24. My biggest fear is that all the smooth curves of anything will end up with jerky stops and starts. Thanks for the review.

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  25. My biggest fear is that attempting to do anything other than stippling will look like crap! LOL thriftstorecrafter at yahoo dot com

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  26. This book looks so fabulous. Christina is so inspirational, she makes me believe that I can do more than a simple meander or straight line.

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  27. My fear is messing the project, i've put so much love and effort onto.

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  28. Thanks, for the opportunity to win this book. My biggest challenge is getting the machine set up so I don't have nests of thread on the bottom.I like all the illustrations and the projects.

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  29. Great review. My biggest fear is what if I have to rip out and the stitches are too tiny. Silly i know.

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  30. Your quilting looks great! My biggest fear is that the shapes I might try to make will come out dorky looking. I think I just need lots and lots of practice.

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  31. After all the time and work I put into making the quilt top, what if I ruin it with bad quilting? And how will the quilting design ever turn out correctly? This book would be a great help. Thank you for the opportunity to win the book and get me started machine quilting.

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  32. I am not afraid to FMQ but am always nervous about what to try and will it look like I want in my head when I do it on the quilt. That part is the part I struggle with. This book looks great!!

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  33. My biggest fear is will I really be able to FMQ on my simple little sewing machine. Thanks for chance to win!

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  34. I am afraid of messing up and ruining a quilt.

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  35. I have a hard time deciding on the pattern. Maybe the book will help. Thanks.

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  36. My biggest fear....well, I've never tried it before and my fear is that my machine will not be able to handle it and I'll end up with a rat's nest of threads on the back.

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  37. I am really not fearful, but time is a problem. When I have to put a project down, by the time I get back to it, my quilting is a little different than it was before. All in all it's okay. I am still giving it my best shot, right? Thank you for the giveaway! I would love this book!

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  38. My biggest fear is that someone will notice it's not perfect! But really, who cares!?

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  39. My biggest fear is those horrible teeth in the back. I can't seem to get that right. Mabye this book can fix that for me. Last time I tried to FMQ I was breaking thread left and right. Only after new needles and nice thread did it seem to get a little better. But I'm determined to learn!

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    1. My biggest fear is starting. I just am afraid that I will ruin all my beautiful piecing work. This book looks great. I can also never think of what to quilt and this books looks like it is full of ideas. Thanks for the chance to win.
      Shawn

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  40. It's a wonderful book....you are doing wonderful with your free motion quilting.

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  41. My fears are that I do not have the steadiest hand and won't do a pattern right.

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  42. i'm not sure i have a fear of FMQ, though I hate to have to rip out stitches when I don't like the design.

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  43. I actually am not afraid of it, just need practice...lots more practice. Smaller pieces are easier too.

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  44. I'd love to learn how to FMQ but my biggest fear is that I'm going to be awful and ruin a nice quilt top that I've spent a long time constructing.

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  45. my biggest FMQ fear is having to turn over the quilt and look at the back after I'm done, lol. I usually have troubles with the tension on the back.

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  46. la mia più grande paura del free motion è non riuscire a fare i punti regolari,non riesco ad avere la sincronizzazione tra il piede e il movimento delle mani . ciao lory

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  47. My fear is branching out and try different quilting designs. I mostly do walking foot and straight lines. Would love to try this book.

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  48. My biggest FMQ fear is getting puckers on the top or the back. The book looks like fun!

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  49. Love what you have done with your FMQ. It looks so nice. This is just the book I need to get me started. I have practiced some but never FMQ a quilt yet. Thanks for doing this.

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  50. This looks like the perfect beginners FMQ book! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  51. My biggest fear about FMQ is starting. I keep thinking about it and have a quilt pinned ready to start but it has beeen waiting for over year now. Any help would be appreciated.

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  52. I really love the concept of usable projects - not just ugly sandwiches in high contrast thread - as we practiced at my LQS - bleh. My biggest fear is ruining a pretty nice quilt top with my quilting - so I usually straightline quilt.

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  53. I become overwhelmed at the thought that I won't finish it and then pack it up and send it off to the very talented long arm quilter at my LQS.

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  54. I fear all the ripping out and starting over. It is inevitable when I use the machine.

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  55. This looks like a great book, I like the idea of having practice pieces.

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  56. I don't like the ugly thread nests at the back.

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  57. My biggest fear is that there is a steep learning curve. I hate messing up a beautiful quilt.

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  58. I want to free motion quilt with my sewing machine, but it is very intimidating! I'm so afraid of ruining something that I've worked on with an intended purpose. This looks like a great book!

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  59. I would dearly love to win this book!!

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  60. I am way to concerned about all the stitches being even! I can't seem to get my speed and movement the right pace. I just want it to look as perfect as yours!

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  61. My problem is part Type A personality, feel like I need perfection, and I would be horrified if I ruined one of my precious quilts! This book looks like just what I need to get started.

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  62. My biggest fear is really messing up and not being able to fix it.

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  63. when i tried my stitches on the under side were too loose so i neet this book to find out how to fix that. thanks

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  64. What a wonderful book to win. FMQ has been/is my biggest cant go there might mess up fear. And I end up using my walking foot to quilt instead every time. I would love to learn how to let go and quilt fabulous patterns.

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  65. My fear is that the FMQ won't be smooth enough. Why ruin a perfectly good quilt top with imperfections? But I do want to take the time to learn. Your quilting looks great!

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  66. Thanks so much for the giveaway. My biggest fear is uneven stitiching. Any help would be appreciated!

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  67. My biggest FMQ fear is that it won't be consistent throughout and I'll mess up all the piecing. I'm sure I just need a lot more practice. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  68. My biggest fear is fear itself. I just have to do it and get over the fear inside me.

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  69. The stitches not being the right size. Getting too carried away and skipping stitches and the back looking horrible

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  70. My biggest fear is that my little Janome Jem isn't cut out for the job. Oops, wait...maybe it's me that's not cut out for it.

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  71. Making a mess and ruining some beautiful fabric is my fear. Also, I'm not very artistic and feel my FMQ will look ugly.

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  72. My biggest fear is the thread knotting or looping on the back because of my sewing machine set up. ll_gee(at)hotmail dot com

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  73. I almost always have "the teeth" on the bottom side. And lacking the imagination to do anything other than an all over stipple. This book would be a lifesaver. Thanks for the chance to win.

    Ursula
    uschbear at gmail dot com

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  74. My biggest fear of FMQ is not getting it right the first time. Perfectionist I suppose. Would love to see this book.

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  75. I have lots of fears! I don't want uneven stitches. I hate wrestling with big quilts. My back and shoulders get sore. I don't know how to fill the space on a quilt.I need help!

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  76. I don't want to mess up a great quilt top! Thanks for a great giveaway!

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  77. My biggest fear with FMQ is I'd ruin a quilt it took me hours & hours to make. Thanks for sharing your FMQ samples & thanks for the chance to win.

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  78. What a great looking book, thanks for the chance to win!

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  79. MY biggest fear is that my quilt top will be ruined... I guess Practice is what I need to do!

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  80. The FMQ in your book First Steps to free motion quilting looks helpful for those wanting to move on from stippling. My stippling looks good, but I need a helpful book with new ideas and suggestions. I'd like to win your new book so I could have fun practicing the designs suggested. Looks fun!

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  81. Even stitch length is my biggest fear in FMQ. But practice makes perfect (hopefully!).

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  82. This book looks great! My biggest fear in fmq is that I will ruin my whole quilt by trying anything to complex.

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  83. My biggest fear is messing up and having to take out the stitches.

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  84. Following along on the projects from your book makes me want to try again. I have taken a few classes in FMQ and just did not "get it" and the results were, well, pitiful. I want to make my projects POP with good and interesting quilting and just thought it was not possible. Maybe, just maybe, this might be possible. Thanks for writing this book!!!

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  85. My biggest fear is wondering if I will ever get the tension on the back correct.

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  86. Biggest fear? that it will look awful.
    Thanks for the giveaway! if I win I'm giving the book to a friend who wants to give FMQ a try! She's a new quilter and just finished her first quilt ever!

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  87. I'm scared to try, but your instructions look like I could really do it. !!!!

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  88. Love the opportunity to win this book. I only do free motion quilting and love new resources for add to my inspiration.

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  89. Sounds like we are coming from the same spot - fear of free motion quilting. Would like to win this book.

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  90. My biggest fears are that I will be going along smoothly and make some Herky Jerky move or not pay attention and get 'cornered.' Thanks for the encouragement to get serious about it and practice on small pieces. Would love the book!

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  91. The whole process of free motion quilting is scary! But, I'd love to learn, and this book looks fabulous!

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  92. I am an avid FMQ, love the customized look it gives to my quilts. My biggest fear still is that I'll screw up somehow. So I take a big breath and JUST DO IT!

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  93. What kind of thread is used for fm quilting? What is the best foot to use? Where do you start stitching on a quilt?

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  94. I would love to win this. It looks like I might overcome my fear of FMQ.

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  95. No fears here! I conquered that and love fmqing. Looking for more ideas and this book has them
    contentncm at yahoo dot com

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  96. My biggest fear is getting started

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  97. thanks for the giveawy.
    my biggest fear: having to rip too small tight sticthes!

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  98. My fear is of just getting started! And you expressed my thoughts exactly with this quote:
    "I truly thought this was a skill beyond my grasp, but Christina's book is so encouraging and inspiring that I know I will be adding much more free motion quilting to my work from now on."
    I would love to win a copy of this book so the above quote can even better describe me!

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  99. My fear is picking a pattern, or getting it done and then not liking what I picked... I like the looks of this book though, I think it could help conquer my fears.

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  100. My greatest fear is starting to FMQ the design I have chosen. I can practice it over and over, but there is something about when the real quilt is in front of me.

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  101. Wow! You have talent! I can't wait to practice so that I can learn and do it too!!!

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  102. I have no fears when it comes to FMQ. I just need to spend more time so I can learn to conquer feathers!

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  103. I hear/read people say they look at their quilt and it tells them what design to do, I on the other hand stare and stare and still don't know where or what to start. Maybe this book will help me develop a group of designs to choose from.

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  104. My fear would be getting the design right for the project. I want to make sure the quilting really showcases the patchwork best. I would love to get my hands on a copy of this book! Thanks!

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  105. One of my fears is being able to manipulate a large amount of fabric to get the free-motion quilting just right. I'm afraid to just jump in and try it.
    wlinda_ca@yahoo.com

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  106. Not figuring out a workable design is my concern about free motion and moving a larger quilt.

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  107. Your FMQ is wonderful. My biggest fear is that everyone will notice all the little imperfections, but when it's done and I look at the complete project is looks great, the imperfections disappear.

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  108. My biggest fear is that I'll screw up a nice project with some crappy quilting.

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  109. This book looks great and easy to follow!

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  110. I mostly quilt with my walking foot. My biggest fear is not being consistent with FMQ. This book looks like it would be a great source of inspiration. Thanks!

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  111. I have an older machine, and I am afraid I can't free motion quilt on it like those lucky people who have a newer machine with all the fancy stitches and all.

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  112. My biggest fear is that I will have bunching again like I have had in the past and will have to spend hours and hours unpicking. I also had a mini meltdown last time I tried on my machine when I would resmooth the quilt sandwich over and over and it would still bunch...sprayed AND pinned. There should be no crying in quilting. I need to get back on up that horse and give it a go again. Maybe not with a Christmas gift with a deadline again.

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  113. My biggest fear in free motion quilting is trying it. I've been reading about it forever, but have yet to take the leap. Maybe this book would help me overcome the fear. sixmom6@aol.com

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  114. I would love to learn FMQ. This book would be very helpful. Thanks for the
    chance to win!

    wigglypup2(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  115. I really want to win a copy of this book to practice with. I am so frightened of messing up a quilt that I have put a lot of money and time into. These practices I think will be just what I need! Oh please pick me!

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  116. Yes please! An e-book would be fine with me, this just looks like a really refreshing way to learn fmq!

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  117. My biggest fear is that it will look odd or wrong. My barrier to FMQ at the moment is equipment (I don't think I have the right foot (??) for my machine and skill level in that I've made two doll's quilts and that is the extent of my quilting experience.

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  118. Love the simple concept of this book. Don't start on the big expensive project, learn your craft on many small projects. Perfect.

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  119. VERY uneven stitches is my fear of FMQ

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  120. I'm somewhat of a perfectionist, so my biggest fear is others will notice my mistakes too. I always try to use a backing where the fabric blends really well & doesn't show. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.

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  121. Hi, always afraid the FM stitching won't look good after I'm finished!
    Still practicing+hoping this neat book will help! Thanks for sharing!

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  122. I'm afraid that I will have spent a lot of time and energy and I won't be happy with the results. I don't like to waste time (even if that time is learning sometimes.) I am practicing though right now. They are very far from perfect outcomes, but it is part of the process and I might just finish quilting all my tops so I can finally piece another top with no guilt! Thanks for the giveway.

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  123. I fear a too steep learning curve that requires much time spent on ripping things out. (full time school doesn't leave you much time for sewing as it is)

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  124. My parents always stressed doing a good job in everything - homework, house cleaning, jobs. Sloppy work was a no-no. Usually, I send my tops to long arm quilters so the finished quilt is perfect. Recently, I've been trying to overcome my upbringing, and have been attempting FMQ. This book would come in handy right now.

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  125. My biggest fear about machine quilting is of course using the "wrong" design that makes the quilt stink instead of sing...it's hard for me to get started because I'm afraid of making mistakes, and we all know what a pita reverse sewing is!!

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  126. My biggest fear is uneven stitches. My first FMQ tries looked so bad. Then I decided to try FMQ on my older sewing machine and it seems to be easier to get even stitches. Go figure. Of course, I still need a lot more practice. -- soparkaveataoldotcom

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  127. My biggest fear is stitch size - tiny stitches to long stitches to a perfect length stitches. I haven't fmq'd much, but the few times I did it was on potholders for my kitchen because it didn't matter if they weren't perfect!

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  128. My biggest fear is the one you mentioned - that I will mess up a quilt top that I put a lot of time into. The small project approach sounds great!

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  129. My biggest fear is stitching myself into a corner and having to cross over where I'm not supposed to.

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  130. I'm worried about the 'quilt police' thinking my work isn't good enough! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  131. I haven't tried free motion quilting yet. I'd love to get my hands on this! I can be contacted through my blog. Thank you!

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  132. I need this book! I have a new free motion quilting foot for my machine and have only tried it once…..help! Thanks for the give away!

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  133. My biggest fear in FMQing is not being perfect and I know how silly that sounds!

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  134. would love to win that book, thanks

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  135. I now am aware that FMQ takes lots of practice. My brain doesn't like repeating tasks over and over(it's called practice) so that is the big hurdle I need to overcome. This books claims to make learning fun so I am all for that. Thanks.

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  136. My biggest fear is that my lousy fmq will completely undermine all the hard work I put into the quilt top.

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  137. I have trouble managing the bulky quilt in my sewing machine while trying to free motion quilt. awolk at rogers dot com

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  138. My biggest fear of FMQ is that the pattern(s) I choose may look a bit silly with the quilt design. svonfumetti(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  139. My biggest fear is that my technique won't be uniform over the whole quilt and it will look uneven. Thanks for the giveaway!

    onehotstove AT gmail DOT com

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  140. My biggest fear is that I get so stressed out I won't finish. I hate UFOs. If I went to all the trouble to design and sew a quilt, I don't want it to sit in the closet waiting to be loved.

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  141. My biggest fear is that I will ruin a beautiful quilt with my FMQ, so untill now I haven't tried. Maybe this book will help me overcome this.

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  142. Two fears - one - all my mistakes will be highly visible and two - I'll never finish!

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  143. The book looks like a great learning tool!

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  144. I don't look on it as a fear but rather my biggest challenge is trying to keep the stitches as even as possible. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  145. My biggest fear about FAQ? That's easy ruining a project I've put a lot of time in. Hope to win the book to eliminate that worry. Thanks.

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  146. My biggest fear is that it won't look good. This book looks great, thanks for the chance to win a copy.

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  147. I looked through that book the other day at a friends house, it is a wonderful guide to machine quilting on a regular machine. I plan on getting one!

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  148. My biggest fear of FMQ is that I will mess up the quilt... am such a chicken, huh? Have a large throw just waiting for me to get goin..... Arrrrgh!!!

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  149. I've been terrified to FMQ. It looks so impossible! Now I'm determined to learn! This book would be perfect for me!!!

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I love reading your comments and answering any questions. Thanks so much for stopping by and spending some time here!