Welcome to the Quilting Board!
Well - I'm one of the 'lucky' ones. I took to FMQ like a duck to water and by the end of the session at my LQS I could stipple, write my name etc. The other day I was practising freehand dragonflies.
I now think I know why this is.
I'm new to quilting - and indeed sewing - a couple of years ago I had to learn how to thread a machine......... Therefore, I had no preconceived ideas or 'baggage' about what I could or couldn't do on sewing machine, how it was really supposed to look underneath etc, lol and just did it. I was so pleased I could do it at all, I just carried on. I believed that if I could draw it on paper I could do it on the machine (didn't quite work out like that, lol....)
The point of this is that 'ignorance is indeed bliss' - in other words try and relax. What's the worst that can happen? A few yards of thread and a little batting for the bin? Absolute worst case scenario - a broken needle?
Lang may yer lum reek. (I'm a knitter - hence - 'Knit-ette'. Confuses a lot of people!)
I sympathize. I'm struggling too. I am so scared to ruin the piecing I worked so hard on. I'm making lots of practice sandwiches. Mostly they are disastrously bad, but I guess the proportion of the work which is acceptable is probably rising. So that's progress!
Let us know how you get on.
Fortune favours the prepared mind
"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Albert Einstein
I want to master this skill - have been watching videos, taking Leah's class, haunting the web for designs to try. After a very clumsy start, I think I am getting the hang of it. Over the weekend, I FMQ'd a half dozen placemats, and found that my last one is certainly better than my first. I want to give it a try on a whole quilt soon, as I have a hard time using up perfectly good fabric for practice. Guess I would rather ruin something using fabric that has already become something
Have a glass of wine and relax - it will all happen for you with practice
When I first started machine quilting, I would always draw a pattern on the quilt. As I made more quilts, I got more comfortable with quilting without the pattern. My first FMQ quilts were just meanders, and I look at them now and see uneven stitching, bad tension, and just mistakes- but in order to get where you want to be as a quilter, you just have to keep at it. I'm still not where I want to be, but I'm a lot better than I used to be, and I know I'll keep improving with every quilt I make.
If people quit making quilts because every quilt is not perfect, there would be a lot fewer quilts around.
And lastly, some people are just better at piecing, and some are better at quilting. If you just feel like you're not improving, maybe you can pay someone to quilt your quilts, or find someone who'll trade quilting for piecing with you. I've actually thought about it, because, while I enjoy piecing, I really love FMQ, and I'm a better quilter than I am a piecer.
I just tried fmq by using the start button on my Janome instead of the foot pedal. My quilting was much improved. Maybe because I had one less thing to worry about. I tend to speed up or slow too much when I get nervous or am not sure where to stitch next. You might try that too if your machine has a start button. Just unplug the pedal and give it a try. Also gloves are a must for me, too.
I find I have more trouble on practice pieces than quilts. I think it is because the practice piece is small and you can't grasp as well. If you have some fabric you can waste try making a larger piece and see if that helps. I was going to give up and then one day it just started looking good. I am on my second wall hanging on a wholecloth with just fmq and I love it. Give it more time before you give up.
I also learned from a Craftsy class with Ann Peterson that she uses cupboard lining that is like rubber and grippy. You just cut a couple squares and use instead of gloves. I find it is easier for me with that. The gloves just didn't work for me.
I have taken two workshops on FMQ. One was an all day affair. I have given up. The only thing I FMQ on are my charity quilts for babies since I figure they won't care anyway! I would love to get better at it but mostly SID or do lines around things to make them stand out. Some things are better left alone and for me FMQ is not worth the aggravation. I really love quilting but that can make me walk away from my machine. Good luck.