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Thread: FMQ help please

  1. #1
    Super Member SuziC's Avatar
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    I decided this morning to get over my fear and FMQ my Grandson's I Spy Quilt. I am getting the hang of it but after just a short time i noticed my right arm is starting to ache. I am doing it slowly but cannot figure out what i'm doing wrong. Any advise from my expert friends????
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  2. #2
    Super Member MellieKQuilter's Avatar
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    If felt like my whole body ached after my first time FMQ! :) I think relaxing comes with time and practice..

    Looks good!!

  3. #3
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Me too - I used to hurt all over. You're moving a lot of fabric and you're trying to coordinate a lot of activity at once, so you get tense and forget to breathe.

    Keep the quilt supported so that it's not falling off the table and dragging against your efforts. I have a table behind my machine and another to my left that hold the quilt "puddled" in big folds. I keep about a square foot nearest the needle flat and smooth, but I let the rest of the quilt sit where it wants to.

    Make the quilting area around the needle as slippery as you can to cut down on drag, too. Use some rubber/nitrile gloves with the thumb and pointer finger cut out so that you can get some real traction on the quilt.

    All of those things cut the effort required to move the quilt. Stop and shake out your elbows and wrists and stretch your neck and shoulders every now and then. :)

  4. #4
    Super Member Quilter7x's Avatar
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    You're probably very tense about it. The biggest thing my friends tell me they see when I'm FMQ'ing is that I don't breathe! :lol: So make sure you're breathing - I don't even realize I'm holding my breath trying to make it all come out "perfect"! :lol:

  5. #5
    Super Member SewExtremeSeams's Avatar
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    Breathing now and then: shrug your shoulders to relax your muscles and taking it slowly to begin with. You said you were going slowly but I mean, get up, go do something else for a few minutes and come back to it. It can take a while to learn to relax from the top of your head all the way down to your toes.

    Is your sewing machine bed a little lower than the bend of your elbow? That can make quite a difference.

    I recently took a class from Barbara Shapel. I also purchased her video for my home reference. She taught us to hold the quilt more like we were carrying a bowl and move the quilt around. It takes the strain off the shoulders, especially.

    Here is a quick video clip. At the 4:40 minute point, you can see how she holds the quilt sandwich. In the video she actually explains it. This has helped me greatly to relax more. Hope this helps you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCLTPQm2o4U :-D

  6. #6
    Senior Member sammygirlqt's Avatar
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    Shoulder aches just come with FMQ, sorry. I get it in my left shoulder and neck. It helps if you can sit a little higher so your shoulders are shrugged up. Like everyone says take lots of breaks. Maybe you just have been working at it too steadily so you might want to take a day off. Good luck, it will come around.

  7. #7
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    you may be trying to quilt too much at a time and not stopping to shift. When you stop - stop with the needle down and then shift the quilt or hands and then start but let the needle go up and down a couple times until you get your grip firm then start out. Quilt in short sections.

  8. #8
    Super Member SuziC's Avatar
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    Thank you guys for all the great advise!!!!! I am so happy to have the fear gone, maybe not i can have some fun with it. I was really stressed when i started out but as i got more comfortable, it doesn't seem so foreign now. I will take more breaks and stretch!

  9. #9
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    quilting is labor intensive-
    you need to take breaks- try a different chair- or a different position-
    it always takes its toll on arms, shoulders, back- good ergonomics are a must- breaks are a must.

  10. #10
    Super Member SueSew's Avatar
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    Suzy your loops are lovely! Diane Gaudinski in her book says relax and stay loose because stress can wreck your muscles esp. back and arms. I say ditto and keep up the good work! :) :) :) :) WOW!

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