I remember being rather impressed by an online video that I watched in which Barbara Persing was explaining the way she looks at her quilts and decides how to quilt them.  She has written  a book called “LISTEN TO YOUR QUILT” and I thought I would share this with you as the book seems to have popped up onto my “radar” at least 3 or 4 times in the last while.  I think the book was published in 2012 by C&T Publishing.  Here’s the book description:

Discover a new path

Eliminate the guessing games and take your cues directly from your quilt for planning the most complementary quilting design. This unique 4-step approach covers four major quilt groups: Traditional, Contemporary, Art, and Children’s. A beautiful abundance of quilt imagery illustrates techniques that any quilter can use by hand or machine.

• Now you’ll always have the answer to the question, “How should I quilt this?”
• Master your design skills with a variety of free-motion and continuous-line ideas
• Try basic all-over patterns or create a custom heirloom style-no marking required.

I will freely admit that I have not read this book from cover to cover though I have flipped eagerly through it + watched the video in which Barbara covered the main contents of the book.  I thought sharing a few other people’s book reviews would be helpful so that you don’t just have to take my word for it that I think Barbara is onto something valuable for all who quilt their own quilts!

Review By: Judy Bowers,   Creative Troupe – May 19, 2012
‘Listen to Your Quilt’ by Barbara Persing is a book that helps you decide how to quilt your pieced quilt top as the finishing touch to your quilt project.  Included in the back of the book are several pages of allover quilting designs, and the steps in producing these designs. Barbara Persing did a wonderful job of critiquing many quilts and how they should be quilted.  She  says there are 4 steps to  brainstorm what you need.  These are:

1. Decide on the category of your quilt such as child/youth; traditional; contemporary; or art quilt.

2. Determine the use of your quilt- show piece, bed, wall, etc.

3. Brainstorm what would enhance your quilt.

4. Select your thread color.‘ Listen to Your Quilt’ shows good examples and answers questions about how to quilt your quilt.

Persing’s book is a great learning tool, but I wish a few of the quilts showed bigger or more detailed pictures of the quilting she did, but overall, it is a great book!

Review By: Kay Guillot,    – June 13, 2012
This book spoke to me, and I listened! Even though I’ve been quilting almost 20 years, I can still feel terror when faced with the phrase, “Quilt as Desired.”  So Barbara Persing’s “Listen to Your Quilt” is a welcome addition to my quilting library.  The author provides four simple questions that you can apply to every quilt to help decide not only what type of quilting to do, but also how closely to quilt and what type of thread to use.

The book is generously illustrated with quilts that clearly demonstrate the different types of quilting, from utility quilting for a child’s quilt to intricate and design-enhancing art quilting.  At the back of the book is a useful collection of quilting designs for open spaces, squares, triangles, and borders.  This book is valuable reference work that I will consult regularly when asked to “Quilt as desired.”

Review By: Michelle Marr,   Creative Troupe – June 26, 2012
This is a book for quilters who already know how to free motion quilt and want to make better quilting choices. There are no projects, but the author has listed the pattern sources for many of the quilts pictured. What I like most about Barbara Persing’s four step plan is that it’s not a list of rules telling you what you should do with your project. Instead, it explains how to make your choices based on the type of quilt, the intended use of the quilt, and the fabrics used.

The photos of quilts and close ups of the quilting are as inspiring as a trip to a quilt show. There’s a wide selection of children’s quilts, traditional quilts, contemporary quilts, and art quilts.

This is a picture I found while researching this post: Interesting to note that Barbara won  an Award for Best Machine Workmanship at Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza 2009. Acknowledgment: which is a blog I stumbled across. Thanks for sharing this pic, Sarah!

This is a picture I found while researching this post: Interesting to note that Barbara won an Award for Best Machine Workmanship at Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza 2009. Acknowledgment: which is a blog I stumbled across. Thanks for sharing this pic, Sarah!


About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
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  1. Laura says:

    Thanks Liz….I always stumble around at this point of the process….never know what I want to do and then get sidetracked part way through the quilt because I have no pattern in mind. Maybe this book will help me along the way.



    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Laura,
      Thanks for your comment. I figured others might be like me: I too have to put the quilt up on my wall & “debate” with myself for some time until I know what I am going to do. I found her method very helpful as it gave some form & direction to my deliberations. For me, there is always a little element of “hit & miss” as you do not always know 100% for sure that what you decide to do will work, but most times it does and then the feelings of creative satisfaction follow – a good feeling. I also find a lot has to do with confidence. The more I do something, the easier these creative decisions become.
      Enjoy your creative journey!
      Janome Canada


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