I enjoyed my first attempts at free hand machine embroidery so much that last week I purchased Simply Stitched Gifts by Cynthia Shaffer from my local Barnes and Noble. The book retails for $17.95. It contains 21 projects to make and a chapter on free-motion basics that covers needles, presser feet, fabric, stiffeners and adhesives, thread and also provides a practice free motion stitching guide sheet. Also in the basics chapter Cynthia explains the differences of free-motion stitching, embroidery and quilting. Free motion stitching is stitching freely with the feed dogs lowered, free motion machine embroidery means you are creating solid areas of stitching and in free motion quilting there is batting under the top fabric. The main difference between my first attempts at free hand machine embroidery and Cynthia's way of working is that were I used an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric, Cynthia uses quilting gloves to grip the fabric.
From the 21 projects in the book I chose to make the modern mug rug. I followed the 37 steps without a problem and am pleased with my finished rug (pictured above).
If like me you are new to free hand machine embroidery this is a good guide book with many contemporary projects to try.