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Thread: FMQ - What am I doing "wrong"?

  1. #21
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Let your work speak for you. Show it at a guild or in a show. Then you can compare to other quilting and see the difference if any.
    Got fabric?

  2. #22
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    Archa,
    I had the same experience. The technical aspects of FMQ came easily. I am still working on learning a pleasing design. For me that is the hard part. I need to doodle on paper more often.

  3. #23
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Tammi, I think you started with a decent working machine. Then I think you researched a lot before you started. Some of us just dive in and learn by trial and error. You have used the experience of others to learn. Why not success? I think you are right about sponges taking up too much space - my fingers don't want to be hit by the needle bar screw.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  4. #24
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    Suzyquilter

    Quote Originally Posted by ArchaicArcane View Post
    I did a lot of reading before I started experimenting with FMQ. I can sort of meander, I can sort of do loops ... I was playing with hearts and feathers last night,.... my control and stitch length is getting better.

    I've been quilting on bed sheets, using universal needles, and -really- old thread that I didn't even wind (came with vintage machines I've bought), my fabric hops up and down with the foot.

    By all accounts, I've set myself up for failure, right? Here's what I don't get:


    • I'm not breaking needles (I broke one the first night, about 2 hours in, and I think that was a mistake from getting tired)
    • I'm not shredding thread
    • I'm not skipping stitches
    • I'm not getting puckers
    • I haven't been able to find a machine that I "hated" for FMQ (all have been class 15 or 221 bobbin style machines though.), nor have I been able to pick a favorite, they all seem to be "good" to my limited experience.
    • All embroidery feet seem equally good (the singer one is a little noisy, and I need to keep oiling it to quiet it down, but otherwise good)



    You're probably thinking: What? What's she asking?

    When I read about people like Leah Day having trouble when she started, and needing to use those bobbin washers, etc, or talking about how this foot is better when adjusted by bending this, shimming this, and cutting that, etc, I wonder what I'm "missing".

    The only thing I can think of is that my tension may be a little loose? I can see the top thread on the bottom a smidge, especially if I turn too fast. Maybe that's allowing the machines and thread to "forgive" my inexperience?

    Maybe my stitching really looks -that- bad and I just don't know any better? :P
    I've been doing free motion quilting for just a little over ten years, since I first learned to quilt. I've found that it takes practice, practice, practice! the best thing to practice on is a sandwiched piece, simular to the quilt you will be working on. Don't go too fast. A nice steady speed, keeping your speed and movement of fabric together. Also if practicing on a large piece have it supported on tables or something to keep the piece level with your machine. Good luck.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Sarah in Brooklyn's Avatar
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    I think you're just a natural - and lucky!

  6. #26
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    I started FMQ at a charity group sew-in. Nobody told me it was hard so I just started in and had no problems quilting baby quilts on a Janome Gem. Then several years later I took a machine quilting class. So many rules. It took all the fun out of it and robbed me of my confidence. So I'd say if you're happy with your quilting, just keep practicing and enjoying. Before I start quilting on a project I always do a few minutes on a practice piece to get my rhythm going and I also make sure there's plenty of room around my machine to support my quilt project but other than that, no rules.

  7. #27
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wintersewer View Post
    Archa,
    I had the same experience. The technical aspects of FMQ came easily. I am still working on learning a pleasing design. For me that is the hard part. I need to doodle on paper more often.
    I also find some days better than others. I used to doodle a lot, maybe that's why this was "easier" than I expected.

    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    Tammi, I think you started with a decent working machine. Then I think you researched a lot before you started. Some of us just dive in and learn by trial and error. You have used the experience of others to learn. Why not success? I think you are right about sponges taking up too much space - my fingers don't want to be hit by the needle bar screw.
    Ok,.. then I should stop waiting for the other shoe to drop then and just enjoy? Thanks

    I did have the needle bar clamp sort of graze me with the sponges. I let out this weird "nnnnaaauughhh!" noise that made DH laugh out loud. I guess in retrospect it was funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by salederer View Post
    I've been doing free motion quilting for just a little over ten years, since I first learned to quilt. I've found that it takes practice, practice, practice! the best thing to practice on is a sandwiched piece, simular to the quilt you will be working on. Don't go too fast. A nice steady speed, keeping your speed and movement of fabric together. Also if practicing on a large piece have it supported on tables or something to keep the piece level with your machine. Good luck.
    I must say that I an really enjoying that table I modified to fit the machines in at bed level. I think it's made a huge difference. I use the machines on top of a desk at our sewing circle, and I fought a lot more with my quilt last night when I was there than I do at home.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah in Brooklyn View Post
    I think you're just a natural - and lucky!
    Thanks Sarah! And I love your avatar!

    Quote Originally Posted by sulyle View Post
    I started FMQ at a charity group sew-in. Nobody told me it was hard so I just started in and had no problems quilting baby quilts on a Janome Gem. Then several years later I took a machine quilting class. So many rules. It took all the fun out of it and robbed me of my confidence. So I'd say if you're happy with your quilting, just keep practicing and enjoying. Before I start quilting on a project I always do a few minutes on a practice piece to get my rhythm going and I also make sure there's plenty of room around my machine to support my quilt project but other than that, no rules.
    FMQ with rules? That sounds so counter intuitive! after all the F does stand for "free"... which is not the first word I used when I tried free motion embroidery on a slant with a horizontal bobbin way back when. I'm glad to hear that I don't necessarily need to change anything at this point (other than a smaller sized needle and more practice time)


    So, one thing about practice is that it uses a lot of fabric and batting. What are some of the ways to "Save" fabric or batting? I have some cheapie fabric i picked up but that's not going to last long, what about batting? I could swear I saw someone throwing another layer of fabric on top after they'd practiced all over one sandwich, but I'd think that may cause problems... the threads are harder to pierce or move out of the way, aren't they?

    For now, I'm just making draft dodgers and such out of them, but I'm going to run out of doors soon.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  8. #28
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have FMQd about 85 or more quilts. The first one I ever did is on our bed now. I can really see my improvement. I'm still not real good at it but it pleases me and that is all I care about. I only give quilts to people I think need a quilt. I don't do any fancy designs, just like to move to suit myself. the hardest part is learning to move the hands according to the speed of the machine. For me going fast and moving fast works best for me.
    I'm with your grampa, don't borrow trouble. I set my top tension at 2, I use whichever thread I choose. Lowering the feed dogs makes it easier for me. Stitch length doesn't matter if the feed dogs are lowered. My bobbins are metal as are all the machine parts. Practice is important.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  9. #29
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    Let your work speak for you. Show it at a guild or in a show. Then you can compare to other quilting and see the difference if any.
    I may see if I can find a show around here just to go and look at what's out there. I don't know if Edmonton has a show? I'm a ways away from wanting people to see my FMQ, and definitely miles away from wanting anyone to see my piecing. LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
    I have FMQd about 85 or more quilts. The first one I ever did is on our bed now. I can really see my improvement. I'm still not real good at it but it pleases me and that is all I care about. I only give quilts to people I think need a quilt. I don't do any fancy designs, just like to move to suit myself. the hardest part is learning to move the hands according to the speed of the machine. For me going fast and moving fast works best for me.
    I'm with your grampa, don't borrow trouble. I set my top tension at 2, I use whichever thread I choose. Lowering the feed dogs makes it easier for me. Stitch length doesn't matter if the feed dogs are lowered. My bobbins are metal as are all the machine parts. Practice is important.
    See, that's a just unfathomable number of quilts for me. This one I'm binding has been a UFO since about November, and it's my first. You'd think I'd have been all over it.

    I seem to do better with fast as well. After watching Leah Day's video about the FMQ foot she recommends, (where she talks about slowing it down for newbies) I tried and was able to go slower on the 15 for some reason, and I did enjoy that too. I didn't even mind the warm toes, I am in Central AB in winter after all.

    I will bind this quilt tonight and make some more sammies to practice on.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  10. #30
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    Sounds like you were born to be a FMQ and have a natural abilitly to do this. Maybe you have another area that you have to work harder at be perfect. Enjoy your talent and keep going. Wish it was that easy for me.

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