Threadwork Unraveled , by Sarah Ann Smith (her blog) is an absolutely fabulous resource for working with different threads and machine quilting, not just free motion quilting. And such beautiful pictures! There's even some great projects that will give you your own reference guides for threads and tensions on your own machine! I usually don't do book projects since I like to do my own thing and I'm a bit weak at following directions, but I did most of these.
Dancing with Thread . This is another feast for the eyes and takes you through the basics right up to advanced techniques. There's also great info for how to stabilize your quilt with various types of quilting for different kinds of quilts, more talk on threads, blocking and finishing.
Both of these books are great resources and I have had mine for a couple of years now and they are worth every penny.
There are two books by Diane Gaudynski (Guide To Machine Quilting and Quilt Savvy: Gaudynski's Machine Quilting Guidebook }that are just chock full of great info for free-motion-quilting and I have borrowed them from a friend from time to time. I keep hoping she'll decide to part with them one day as she pares down her stash. Diane's work is more traditional than the above books and her quilts are just beautiful. (Diane's blog)
These quilting pros will tell you to practice your FMQ by drawing and so will I. Below is my newly repainted door, complete with chalkboard and doodled feather. One day I am going to take a black paint marker to an awkward corner in my bedroom/studio and doodle a feathered tree. Doodling the designs really does improve your quilting and I find it very relaxing. I am a very visual person, so I love to put inspirational quotes where I can see them. Just behind this door, you can see a little peek, is a huge white board that I can work out a design on, or use as a brain-dump of sorts. I jot down ideas and keep them where I can see them or they are gone! But it is fabulous for doodling designs and doodling the designs really improves your quilting skill.
I offer up a long quote from my now abandoned blog, Sonshine Cottage:
October 6th, 2010I plan on pulling out a few more books and sharing them with you soon, but right now I'm still spring cleaning the studio. Well, maybe it's more like avoiding the cleaning. With three kids at home all day, you can bet I have plenty to keep me busy!
For some creative fun, try free-motion machine quilting. I think I'm addicted and I'm just learning how to do it. I used to love hand quilting, but I just can't take the time to do it now. Machine quilting is fast, and the free motion aspect frees me up from a bunch of tedious marking and measuring and feels more like drawing.
Using a dry erase board to practice the free motion designs was something I had skipped, but I worked on it last night and it was fun and helped me figure out what hand movements worked best for me. The pros recommend this sort of practice. Silly me for skipping it.