Book review: “Walk, Jog, Run: A Free-Motion Quilting Workout” by Dara Tomasson = 5*

In this fabulous new book by Dara Tomasson, the fear of free-motion quilting is sent flying as Dara talks you through a range of exercises, projects and tips for building skills, techniques and quilting workouts!

The book is split into two sections.

Section 1 has four chapters and chapters 1-3 look specifically at the foundations of free motion quilting including sewing machine, needles, tension, maintenance, threads, battings, keeping a quilter’s log, and the physical space for quilting (taking particular note of lighting, body posture and fatigue).

I really like how much detail Dara goes into here because it feels informative, but not overwhelming, and provides a really solid foundation and understanding before practically starting with free-motion quilting.

Chapter 4 then begins to get us ready for the real-life use of free-motion quilting by guiding us through the process of making a quilt sandwich and basting the quilt.

Dara is clear from the start that imperfections are part of the learning process with free-motion quilting and I really like that Dara emphasises this before we even start free-motion quilting…it takes some of the pressure off!

So…we’ve got our space set up and ready to go, we’ve made the quilt sandwich and the quilt is basted…what next? Well, section 2 is next!

Section 2 is split into 10 chapters with each chapter exploring a different free-motion quilting (straight lines, e’s and i’s, loops, daisies, paisleys, stippling, circuit boards, wishbones and fancy l’s, ribbon candy curves, and clamshells). To say these sections are phenomenal is an understatement! The level of detail, inspiration, instruction and activities is incredible.

Each chapter tells you what you need for practising that quilting technique, the skills you’ll learn, the key elements of that quilting design, examples of variations of that quilting design, a record/time sheet with practice ‘workouts’ (mini activities) for practising that quilting technique and an individual, stand-alone project to practise the quilting technique (with full instructions on making the project from start to finish).

There is also an on-going pattern throughout the book to make a Sawtooth Star Quilt and, when Dara covers each quilting technique, she also demonstrates how to use that quilting technique within one of your Sawtooth Star blocks.

I LOVE this as it enables you to not only learn new techniques and to practice what you’ve been reading, but it also enables you to have a full quilt at the end as a tangible sample of the different quilting techniques. What better way to remember them?

This is a really fabulous, inspiring, creative and, most importantly, accessible book which turns something that is typically quite daunting (free-motion quilting) into something which is fun and exciting! I really loved it and I cannot wait to start free-motion quilting!

Dara Tomasson’s website:

USA stockists and publisher:

UK stockists: