Product Details

Mastering the Art of McTavishing 2nd Edition ~ Expanded & Revised by Karen McTavish

Mastering the Art of McTavishing Expanded & Revised
This expanded & revised edition is a compilation of masterpiece quilts and step-by-step instruction.

This book is out of print but a used copy may be ordered from

The book is softcover, full color, 128 pages, includes TWO DVDs, and retails for $27.95.

Expanding on the original edition of Mastering the Art of McTavishing, Karen showcases her signature stitch on Modern Quilts, Appliqué, Art Quilts, Apparel, Wholecloth and Pieced quilts. The book includes TWO detailed DVDs of Karen teaching the process, step-by-step, of adding and using McTavishing in your quilts. Contributing quilters are longarmers (stand up quilters), domestic machine quilters (sit down quilters) and hand quilters.

Karen states in the book intro,

I started to use this style of "free-flowing, meandering movement of long lines and shapes" in my customer quilts. I found that using this style of background filler looked really good in conjunction with contemporary appliqué. I was active on an email chat group for longarm quilters and some of them had seen my quilting style and began to talk about what it should be called. The term "McTavishing" was suggested by a group member. I was flattered but also pretty embarrassed. The name stuck and now I receive emails from all over the country asking how to do this "McTavishing."

The author's namesake stitch makes a quilt look and feel as if it has motion and texture. The inspiration for this style of quilting comes from Art Nouveau artist, Alfonse Mucha. Author, Karen McTavish, adapted Mucha's curvy, stylized art form into a free-hand background filler quilting design. The effect was electric on the quilting community and in judged competition.

Mastering the Art of McTavishing instructs the quilter on adding this technique to any quilt or garment, from traditional wholecloth to contemporary art quilts, for use by hand, domestic machine, or longarm quilters.

Lessons from the author combined with interviews of accomplished hand and domestic machine quilters on the DVDs* give the reader an unparalleled view of the quilting process. Every aspect of how to use McTavishing is compiled in the book and in the accompanying DVDs*.

Invite the author to teach in your space

If you are interested in inviting Karen McTavish to lecture or teach a workshop (and do a book signing) for your quilt expo, store, guild or other group, please contact her directly at karen (at) mctavishquilting (dot) com.

*Problems with your DVD?

First, try playing your DVD on another DVD player or on your computer. Also, if you are playing your DVD on your computer, make sure you have a DVD drive, not just a CD drive. DVDs and CDs look the same but they are not. If you are having trouble getting the whole DVD to play in sequence on your DVD player, go back to the "main menu" on your DVD and highlight each chapter that you want to view. Not all DVD players will play the DVD from start to finish. If none of this works, email us and we will work to resolve the problem. If your DVD is cracked or defective, we will replace it.

DVD's have been formatted to play on NTSC machines in North America. An NTSC formatted disc should also play in newer DVD players and TV's from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. If you are from a country which supports PAL formatting, and you can't get the DVD to play, or it plays in black and white, try playing the DVD in your computer or on a newer DVD player with an NTSC compatible TV. (NTSC compatibility is standard on newer TVs and DVD players in countries which formerly only supported PAL formatting.)


Karen, I bought your book and can't wait to get started! I love that you included the CD from the first edition. I am just learning how to machine quilt. Thanks for writing such a good book!
Jan Price

I bought the first book, as well as every other book Karen has written, and in spite of having read the first incarnation of this volume, this new edition was incredibly informative. New methods of filling, and using a domestic machine, made it much easier to feel as though I was doing the right thing. My quilting doesn't look like Karen's, and never has, and I don't think I understood that it was okay to be so wildly different. I find that my mind goes into a Zen-like state and my machine just drives and drives.
      The DVD was much more entertaining than many others in the genre, due to the loose and conversational way Karen addresses an invisible audience. It's like having a friend in the room, making the process easier and more fun.
      The photography is incredibly well done, and the detail is phenomenal. A very well produced set. Looking forward to whatever comes next.
Frank Palmer

I thoroughly enjoy Karen's books and study them intently. I appreciate the process she shares in the "piecing" section and the "modern" section which enables me to pick out parts of her designs to put on my projects.
Barb Nicholson "The quilted tablecloth lady" ~ Kindred, ND

I have the original book and hesitated to buy the second book, but I can tell you it was well worth the money.... no, it is worth so much more! As a quilter who has been quilting for at least 7-8 years I found it to be interesting, informative, and last but not least, inspiring! The pictures tell a lot of the story and the DVD was so valuable as many of us learn by seeing and not just reading; although I read it from cover to cover and I highly recommend this book to any longarm quilter. Every longarm quilter will gain valuable information from this book, without a doubt! I'm sure I'll refer back to it often, along with the DVD. What else can I say but GREAT BOOK! Thanks Karen and I so look forward to your next one!
Pat Hoffman ~ Feathered Friends Custom Longarm Quilting

One of the very first books I bought when I began my quilting journey was Mastering the Art of McTavishing. I remember how excited I became when I heard Karen McTavish, creator and namesake of this style of quilting, had written Mastering the Art of McTavishing, 2nd edition!.
      This new book is an expanded addition to her designs, chalked full of technique from the original McTavish design and tons of new information which includes 2 DVD's to follow along as you quilt.
       I loved how an ordinary quilter, me, could make extraordinary quilts with movement I had only dreamed of creating. The instructions and information is expressed in an honest down to earth fashion. Simply and effective, a little practice and you will creating pieces that are show worthy. I loved that you can use these techniques on Quilts as well as apparel.
      There are no limitations to quilt with Karen's namesake style. Applique, Wholecloth, Pieced Quilts, Art Quilts or if you have jumped into the modern genre of quilting, Karen has designs that definitely have the style you are looking for. Karen has dedicated an entire chapter to the modern quilts as well as art quilts and an apparel chapter. Once you begin to use these designs and explore Karen's style of quilting you will be amazed at how your creativity will expand.
      You will feel as though Karen is there, in your home with you. The DVD's are filled with instruction. I keep a television and DVD player in my long arm studio just so I can practice along with Karen. And no worries if you do not own a longarm machine, Karen covers the same techniques on a sit down domestic machine.
      Karen also spotlights many artists in Mastering the Art of McTavishing, 2nd edition. You will feel as though you have acquired a new coffee table book for your living area. The quilts and designs are exquisite. I especially love them because they gave me many ideas on how my quilt was asking to be quilted. Karen goes outside the box when it comes to quilting, always leaving the viewer of her masterpiece in awe.
      Mastering the Art of McTavishing, 2nd edition makes a great addition to any quilters library. Also a great gift idea for the holidays. 128 pages of pure joy, 2 DVDs filled with 2 ½ hours of instruction for the longarm quilter, sit down or hand quilter.
Kelly Pederson Hanson, Managing Editor, National Quilters Circle

I just finished reading through your 2nd edition "Mastering The Art of McTavishing" and wanted to thank you for such a comprehensive book covering all the finer points of your signature technique. Now, I need to sit down and watch the DVDs... maybe a few times through. You have covered all the aspects beautifully and, as if by magic, answered my questions even before they popped into my head! Well done!
      I reviewed your book on my blog and I did a "book report" for my own small quilting group which I am including here:

I chose to review this book for several reasons:
  1. I had attempted to use a style of this quilting as a background fill a few years ago and I wanted to revisit the method by reviewing the structure and mechanics of the stitch pattern.
  2. This new edition of Karen's original book has been released this year, including two DVDs, and I was eager to add this new edition to my library.
      I found this book to be highly informative and it has inspired me to try several new variations of McTavishing that have evolved over the past 10 years.
      The comprehensive book (and accompanying DVDs) covers all the basics from where the McTavishing technique would be a good choice to where it might not work, what supplies are necessary to have on hand and how to start learning the movements and training one's brain to replicate them once quilting begins. Equally important topics are what to avoid as far as thread choices and avoiding areas where starts and stops become necessary. The one recurring theme that the author stresses is the importance making this technique your own, imparting one's own "fingerprint" and, above all, having fun!
      The book covers machine quilting the technique using both a stand-up longarm and a sit-down domestic sewing machine; plus, she even touches on McTavishing as a fill design for hand quilters.
      The author pioneered this signature technique by necessity; she was not a quilter at all but found herself with a longarm machine and very little support in the area of written resources at the time. A single mother finding herself exasperated by an office job she detested, armed herself with as many quilting books as she could find (all written for hand quilters), she set to work determined to support herself and her child solely by quilting; definitely she lived by the "sink or swim" philosophy!
      The book is loaded with excellent photographs depicting not only step-by-step "how to's" but also a wide variety of quilt types all enhanced by this distinctive style of quilting.
Chapter Topics:
  1. McTavishing vs. Stippling
  2. McTavishing Mistakes
  3. Using McTavishing in Borders
  4. Using Crosshatching in Borders
  5. McTavishing Wholecloth Quilts
  6. McTavishing Pieced Quilts
  7. McTavishing Applique Quilts
  8. McTavishing Modern Quilts
  9. McTavishing Background Fillers (variations of McTavishing)
      The DVDs demonstrate the technique and its evolution over the past ten years, they reinforce the text of the book and bring to life the actual movements required to accomplish the best results possible. I will most definitely return to this book for advice when needed, it is a valuable quilting resource. The author is encouraging and down-to-earth in her method of instruction. I found the videos most helpful in the demonstrations of how to move easily from one area to another where I would have ordinarily felt that I had boxed myself into a corner. I am eager to put these quilting techniques to the test, I didn't feel in the least bit intimidated, but rather empowered by the straight-forward instructions as presented.
Sincerely, Debbie Voigt ~ Strawberry Patchwork Quilts

I want to thank you for writing such a wonderful book. I have bought so many books for ideas and this one is by far the best. I am just learning on my long arm machine, so I need ideas for quilting. I have mastered free motion on my Bernina, but the long arm is totally different.
Thanks again, Deborah Swanson

I recently had a birthday and I treated myself to a several present, The Second edition of ART OF MC TAVISHING by Karen McTavish. I loved the first edition and Karen really inspired me to try FREE MOTION QUILTING. I had a long armer do all my quilting prior to seeing Karen's DVD and reading her book. It looked like so much fun. I have spent the last two years learning and doing FMQ. I feel I have come a long way in my own attempts.
      At first glance I thought the second edition book was a repeat of the first edition. I then went through the books page by page and realized that Karen has updated and added a lot of new material as well as a lot of new pictures of quilts and examples of McTavishing. The addition of a second DVD with more demonstration and instruction by Karen is worth the cost of the book. I have already watched the DVD twice and have been practicing several new motifs I have not seen before and want to add to my arsenal of FMQ motifs.
      The only MINOR complaint I might have with the book would be that I wish they had re-shot the pictures for BACK GROUND FILLERS. The motifs are so much fun and new pictures could have really highlighted with better picture. But that is my preference, on the whole, the book and dvds are excellent and worth being added to my reference shelves.
      GOOD READS RATING: 5 out of 5 stars. I have used the first edition frequently and now I am looking forward to using the new motifs in my next quilting project.
HAPPY QUILTING, NONNIE ~ Nonnie's Quilting Dreams

First, I want to make it known I'm a domestic machine quilter (small Janome), but ALL of Karen's books/DVD's advance my domestic skill. Sometimes, it seems these publications are meant more for small domestic (non-George) machines than for long arm.
      After reading Mastering the Art of McTavishing 2nd Edition Expanded & Revised (aka 2nd Edition), I would like to share that it made me realize I was stuck in a loop formed by pages 10 and 11 of her 1st Edition (yes, even with the DVD and youtube demos :o) 2nd Edition knocked me out of that loop and I'm on my way today.
      I really do refer to all of Karen's books for inspiration before I start new projects. I get creative ideas and read something I missed before, every single time. I love that about her teaching/writing - EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
       That being said, 2nd Edition contained some old and new projects. For the record, I had been looking for sweet Celtic designs for months, and there they were on pages 30 and 31. I am so thankful for that!!!
       All the text is so well written and easy to follow. Repeated references to threads, fabrics, pencils and all supplies is a treasure behind the door of creativity. I loved it all!!! I hope those vendors appreciate all that Karen is doing for them.
       I've actually taught a class of McTavishing (Domestic Machine Quilting) at my Raymore Quilt Guild (here in Missouri). I'm being asked to teach another class. Teaching is hard and a lot of work!!! So, I appreciate Karen even more than some.
       Karen is a born teacher; and a generous human. How can we thank her for all she contributes to our art. She will never really know how valuable she is.
Renee Leon ~ Belton, Missouri