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Thread: The BEST way to learn FMQ on a DSM

  1. #1
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    The BEST way to learn FMQ on a DSM

    I have learned to piece, match seams, needle turn appliqué, and paper piece but I need to learn to FMQ. I have to learn to FMQ myself. I can send a few quilts out but not everything.

    What is the best way to learn. Book, craftsy class(which one), live class? What is going to help? I doodle designs all the time, I watch u-tube videos, bounced between cotton and poly threads, etc. I even tried to quilt from the side of the machine instead of the front. I modified my darning foot, bought a clear foot. I have a babylock quilters choice machine which was expensive so it is not the quality of the machine.

    i tried the supreme slider(did nothing for me), use gloves, got the bobbin genie, messed with tension and speed, tried stencils(even worse results).

    I got the Nancy Chong DVD on needle turn and it worked beautifully and I learned how to needle turn applique really well. I practiced a lot and watched the video at least 7 times but it worked. I need something for FMQ.

    if you are Great at FMQ on a DSM, how did you get there?

    This is my New Years resolution. I don't want/need shortcuts. I need to know what sources helped you learn and develop your skills. TIA

  2. #2
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I recommend to keep practicing. The biggest hurdle is getting the machine speed/hand coordination part down...and practice is the only way you will do that.

    I took one class a few years ago...then I just practiced. It was a while before I was willing to take the chance on a "real" quilt...but I finally did. The more I do, the better I get. I practice a little before EVERY quilt. Early on, I did not do well with stippling, but did ok with loops and swirls. So once I mastered those, I practiced stippling more. I am much better at that now, but I still don't care to do stippling. I like the look, but find it boring to do on large areas. Also, when I first started, I used thread that matched the back and blended in more on the front so my mistakes weren't so noticeable. Now I am not afraid of contrasting thread.

    Loops and swirls are more forgiving than straight lines or large designs that you might not be able to do smoothly without repositioning your hands. Is there a design that you think you do well? If so, try to master that one then try others. Another thing is to take a fabric with a large print and practice going around the designs.

    My favorite foot is a spring FMQ foot. I love the Machinger's gloves best...I never quilt without them. I also like the supreme slider, but an inexpensive substitute can work also. I didn't think the bobbin washers made a difference in my machine (my bobbins are contoured, so they don't make full contact with the washer). I prefer not to mark on a quilt, so mostly I either totally freehand it, or use golden threads paper or sulky solvy if I want a more consistent pattern. When I am following a drawn pattern, I am rarely right on the line...but once the lines are gone, who will know? Be sure the weight of your quilt is supported, the drag will affect your stitching too.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    Just start experimenting. Leah Day has been my savior. I love her blog. She has tons of free videos and a craftsy class. I adore craftsy. There are multiple classes about fmq. But really the main thing is practice.

  4. #4
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    Practice, practice, practice and then practice some more! All those tools will only help after you put in enough practice.
    Wendy

  5. #5
    Senior Member Weezy Rider's Avatar
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    I'm trying the same. One difference is I have a Pfaff 2170 and just got the Brother 1500s. The Pfaff and the Brother both have vertical bobbins. That means it's easier to adjust bobbin tension. The Pfaff had no way to control foot pressure which drove me nuts. See what your Babylock says about FMQ. Some of the BL embroidery machines had an extra washer type thing they added when you embroidered. Might have been to keep the bobbin from rattling around at high speed. I've seen posts about washers for quilting on this forum. I'm thinking this was for drop in bobbins.

    Make another post about Babylock and ask how they set up. Brother has the same machines, so either one might help.

    I had to find a book on FMQ that broke it down. I was a graphic designer so I have to look at it in terms of digitizing. Piece by piece. I also don't like videos. I'd rather have a book. Easier to mark a place in a book or printed material. Like you, I can sew, I have no trouble with color, I like to mess around with techniques so taking a class is hard for me. I took one on potholders just to learn how you bind the things. All the basics were boring but the binding helped. I was trying to put binding on lefthanded by using righthanded methods. The one printout I would find is troubleshooting the problems. Like why your bobbin thread is appearing on the top, eyelashes, etc, so you can refer to it while you are practicing instead of a trying to watch a video at the same time - or relying on memory.

    I also prefer to quilt as you go, so I am not dealing with huge chunks of fabric.

    I have other shortcomings I might never overcome (I like having my nose right in what I'm doing) so I'll simply have to live with what I can do. I might always have to mark to keep stuff even. Like they said, practice. But first check with your dealer or other BL owners about setting up the machine. Like my Pfaff not liking thick seams at times, your BL just might not like something else. You wind up beating your head against the wall for something that you have no control over. It's just the way the machine works. You will get there.

  6. #6
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice. I think I am going to make a ton of Christmas placemats or other placemats from scraps and work on those. I get so stressed with moving large quilts around. When I grab a small scrap with batting and backing to use to warm up and adjust the tension, I fly with great or at least good quilting. The minute the big quilt goes under, I tense up and can't gracefully move the quilt. I have the tables around to support and a sew ezi table so the machine is flush with the table. I guess I will have to start much smaller and move gradually to bigger quilts.

  7. #7
    Member s3wn's Avatar
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    What is it specifically that you don't like about your FMQ?

    I learned from the Leah Day videos online.

  8. #8
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    It is a struggle to move the quilt through. I am great at breaking threads too. I have trouble moving it smoothly through the machine

  9. #9
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    I was going to recommend the place mat idea - see that you just posted that. Placemats, table toppers, runners - small, but useful objects. I don' like to practice on practice fabric - just to practice I like a product when I'm done. You've been given great advice and you have made the perfect start. Specialize in one style until you have it down then move to another style. Build up your list of things you can do happily.

    Now just do it!
    So many quilts, so little time.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    Just start experimenting. Leah Day has been my savior. I love her blog. She has tons of free videos and a craftsy class. I adore craftsy. There are multiple classes about fmq. But really the main thing is practice.
    Same here! I've made four FMQ quilts now, two baby and two lap size. I practiced and practiced on several scrap pieces before I attempted a finished product. My first finished product was a table runner. The gloves are extremely important.

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