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Thread: 1ST Time FMQ ...feel like crying

  1. #1
    Senior Member CAJAMK's Avatar
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    I did some practicing on small quilted scraps to get the feel of free motion quilting. Now I am working on my first charity doing FMQ and it looks like a disaster! I could really use some help and tips. I just want to do swirls all over the little quilt and mine look like jagged circles. I lowered the tension to 3 and I dropped the feed dogs...Oh I don't know...I am just upset but I really want to do a nice job! Please help...tips anything...thanks

  2. #2
    Super Member featherweight's Avatar
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    Not much help. But practice, practice, and practice some more. You are using a darning foot or quilting foot aren't you??

  3. #3
    Senior Member CAJAMK's Avatar
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    yes, i am using a darning foot...I feel so stupid I know it is a learning curve...but a big one it is...

  4. #4
    Junior Member Auntie M's Avatar
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    It gets better the more you do it! Best tip I got was to hum a song to keep your rhythm helping to keep fabric moving at the same speed. I also turned my machine somewhat vertically to me giving me more room to move around. I'm no expert at it but am having lots of fun trying, besides it's the love that goes into a charity quilt, not the perfection!

  5. #5
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    It is a BIG learning curve at first. You may be rushing the learning process by trying to FMQ an actual quilt already. I didn't try FMQ anything "real" for a couple of months. The cat got some nice quilted practice sandwiches to sleep on though.

    Make up a whole stack of 12 or 15 inch square sandwiches to practice on. Spend a little time at it every chance you get, and your skill will improve dramatically over time. Save your practice pieces and you can see your progress.

    I practice my quilting on a small sandwich first EVERY time I sit down to work on a real quilt. I'm not great at it yet, but things are looking much better!

    If the FMQ isn't working out for this charity quilt, you may want to try doing some wavy lines or a wavy grid with a walking foot instead if that's an option for you.

    Good luck, and keep practicing on small pieces until you're happy with your work, then try a small quilt again.

  6. #6
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    To most people, the actual pattern of the fabric is most important, unless you've left a lot of white fabrics where the quilting is quite visible.

    So don't sweat it. Just finish it up and call it good. :) Charity quilts would be ideal places to practice FMQ. Guess I should try it. But I think when I use thick batting that quilting by machine becomes very, very difficult.

  7. #7
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    I feel your pain. I went through the same thing. One of the things that worked for me was to make the machine go really fast and my hands went fairly slowly.

    I bought some really cheap muslin and made a gazillion pot holders, place mats, etc. to practise.

    I also found that the batting made a difference. I find it easier to FMQ with a cotton batting rather than the polyester. The thinner the better.

    I also visualize what I want to do before I actually do it.

    Don't give up. Just keep practising on something that doesn't matter and you will get better. Don't worry so much about the design, get the feel for moving your fabric and the design quality will come later.

  8. #8
    MrsMoe4487's Avatar
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    Go at a slooow speed....my circles turn out like that too so I have to slow down :) it gets easier the more you do it!

  9. #9
    Super Member cherylynne's Avatar
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    FMQ is a little like handwriting. Practice using a marker and whiteboard. Hold the marker loosely in your fist, not like a pencil. And the key is to just practice. I also got a pair of those gripper gloves and they do seem to help.

  10. #10
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    As I sit here picking out the tiny stitches from my own first FMQ attempt, I thought you could use the reassurance that you aren't alone today.

    We'll get there with patience and practice!

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