Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Practice, practice, practice

Thanks for all of the comments so far on the giveaway! I've really been enjoying seeing the answers!

Yesterday, I got motivated to give free motion quilting another try. I first attempted it at Sewing Summit last year and have done a little pebbling as well.

Practicing

I made a few swatches yesterday to give it another go. I read this again to refresh my memory. I went to the library to check out Angela Walters' book, but it's not available yet. I may buy it as a reference, but for now, I'll just do what I can! I'm taking a class on FMQ at QuiltCon in February, too!

FMQ practice

My swatch on the right is a little funky, but I'm getting better!

I've decided to take the plunge and free motion my Swoon quilt!

Delayed progress

Once Olias moves, I'll keep going, but I've got a couple of lines done so far!

I'm really excited about this, and I hope I can do a good job. Jeni has assured me that FMQ is never perfect, and that my mistakes will be concealed by the crinkle. I hope so! And I'm using a gift from Nicke (from months ago!). She sent me a pair of Machingers gloves, and they are definitely helping me grip the quilt as I move it about.

Does anyone have tips to share for free motion success?
I can offer one tip, based on a mistake I made last night. Definitely make sure you lower your presser foot! I forgot to do that, and I had lots of lovely extra thread on the back. I spent some time picking out all of that thread with my trusty tweezers.

Swoon will definitely be my focus for the next few days. I'm so PUMPED to finish this one!

24 comments:

  1. good for you! i love the loopies, and, of course, olias!

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  2. That looks great. I'm still too nervous to give FMQ a go. I'm certainly not going ruin my very first quilt with it. Maybe the next one, which is for me will have my first attempts on it!

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  3. i find that allover designs hide mistakes more than orderly ones. also, stop when you get tired or disaster is just around the corner. i need to stop frequently anyway to give my wrists a break and to cool down my machine.

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  4. The best tip I've heard, which really helps me, is to set your speed at what's comfortable, then just keep your foot to the floor all the time. That way you don't have to be thinking of speed or your foot, just your project and your hands. This has helped me get much better!!

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    1. Thank you for this Debbie! That makes so much sense. Duh :)

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  5. I agree with knottygnome, the allover free motion quilting can definitely help "smooth" things out in a quilt! I'm a big fan of FMQ, as I think it generally can go faster than straight line quilting, and I love the overall look. I also have left my presser foot up a few times, and I know the tangles mess you speak of :) This may be obvious, but one thing I always do now is bring the bobbin thread up to the top of the quilt before I start quilting. Keeps things looking clean and smooth!

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  6. i have to admit that i have never fmq'd a big quilt. i will once i get a machine that i don't want to throw out of the window when i do it. i need more throat space. i just need to practice with mug rugs and such.

    i will say that by the end of quilting that maaaaaaasive quilt you are going to be a master at fmq. so glad you are enjoying the machingers! they are the best! xoxoxo

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  7. The quilting looks really good :) I am yet to attempt FMQ.

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  8. The quilting is looking really good. I just free motion quilted my first full sized quilt about a week ago. Be careful not to get your hands to close to the needle. That's pretty obvious, but I got going on a roll and managed to sew the tip of my glove thumb to my quilt. Thank goodness it just got the glove! Also, at one point, I couldn't figure out what happened to my machine speed. It was stuck going really slow. I finally realized I had bumped the reverse button. I never noticed before that my machine won't go as fast in reverse.

    Have fun working on your Swoon quilt! Don't worry about any imperfections, they will definitely be hidden after you wash it.

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  9. This is inspiring! I started some swatches a while ago to test out different quilting techniques, but haven't found the time to sit down and brave the FMQ looking good though!

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  10. you are my hero! i am so scared of fmq, though more inclined to give it a go now that i have a fancy new sewing machine. and yay for quiltcon... looking forward to seeing you there! did you sign up for any classes?

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  11. I got a tip from Eileen from our guild she said make your hands dance! That was huge for me! Before my hands were 'shoving' :) also she told me to spread my fingers and not to go past the middle of machine if that makes sense! We should start a FMQ bee ;) xoxo

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  12. I love the look of free motion quilting, it reminds me of the doodling i used to do when I was young. And I think any imperfections will probably only be seen by you :)

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  13. I'm loving this already!! Keep going, it's going to be so good!!

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  14. That fabric in the top photo is amazing! I love your free motion swatches, it looks like a very cool approach.

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  15. you go girl! I like those loopdy-loops. :)

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  16. I only fmqed two placemats. It's far from perfect, but I enjoyed the process. I'm curious about your experiences of fmqing the Swoon. It's so big. I'd like to quilt mine (once I finished the top), too, so please tell us about your experiences! I'd love to hear.

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  17. Jacey, Here is what helped me. First, you never stop learning with fmq. There is always a new horizon. Second, practice, practice, practice. You are building muscle memory. One of the many books, videos, tutorials I used (Alex Anderson, Sue Nichols, Diane Gaudynski, or Leah Day) gave this simple assignment: 1)Make twelve, 12-18 inch square sandwiches in fabric that you like. I used one fabric for all but you could use fat quarters of favorites. I think it recommended solids. 2) Starch your fabric, pin your sandwiches together. 3) Every day for the next twelve days, set aside just one hour to fmq one sandwich. Start with simple designs. I think I made a list for myself. Work up to harder patterns. 4) Pour yourself a glass of wine, if that is your preference, put on some classical or spa music and go at it for that hour. 5) Do it! You will be amazed what this will do for you.
    I put off doing this for months and then just made myself do it. It worked. Those sandwiches are not a simple quilted throw in my sewing room. They are a pleasant reminder that practice does make perfect and small steady step are the secret.
    Also, I have watched and rewatched every tutorial I can get my hands and time on.
    BTW, your samples look great.

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  18. Yay for you-it looks great! It's interesting reading the comments, because I used to FMQ all my quilts because straight line quilting always took me foooorevvver. FMQ just seemed easier to me. I still struggle with straight line quilting, because it seems to take such preplanning(at least for me). When I'm ready to quilt, I just want to get on with it! My best tips are to set your machine as fast s it will go and just keep going. It really is the practice of balance the speed of your hands, the pressure on the foot, and the speed of the machine. Also, slow down around corners. I have to consciously think about this every time!

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  19. One tip I received, that was very helpful was if your bobbin thread is breaking it is most likely that the bobbin didn't wind correctly with consistent tension on the thread. Just simply rewind it. Your fmq samples look like you are ready to go!!

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  20. don't you just love cats, my cat loves to sit on the news paper when I'm trying to read it or my fabric when I'm trying to sort through it to make a block.

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  21. I use OhFransson! as a reference with FMQ, but one thing is to definitely pace yourself and not be surprised if you are sore afterwards--I was sore for a couple days after my first bed size FMQ project lol

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  22. Have you seen the Free Motion Quilting Project by Leah Day? http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com/2012/01/quilting-without-fear.html
    She is my FMQ idol. She has a lot of tips from using the correct thread and needle to the gloves, a slick mat you can put down, how to set up tables to make life easier. The first quilt I ever did, I did FMQ. It's intimidating starting out, but it's really not bad and yes, by the time you're finished with a quilt, you'll feel a whole lot more confident about it. I have been doing more straight line stuff since I was working on my old machine that was having issues with tension and whatnot, but now I have a machine with the stitch regulator so I have to FMQ more. (Although....I think it's easier without the stitch regulator. The regulator likes to tell me that I'm going to fast.)

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  23. Go Jacey!!!! How exciting to be working on quilting your Swoon! do you think you'll do something with your practice swatches? They're cute.

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