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Thread: Learning to FMQ

  1. #11
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    My practice is usually on a quilt. I made a giant king-size quilt for the purpose of practicing feather motifs in different shapes and sizes - there are probably a hundred or 150 feathers on that quilt. The top is so busy, you can hardly see the quilting - but if you look at the back, you can tell that this is the most over-quilted scrap top ever made in history.

    I also buy quilt tops - I don't like piecing very much and I can't get tops finished fast enough to get on with the next quilting session.

    Christine Maraccini's book on machine quilting is one of the best ones out there - for each quilt top, she has three examples quilted for different purposes - one is intended for heavy use and lots of laundering, (she calls that one a "dragger," because it will be dragged around by a child everywhere s/he goes) one is intended to be a keepsake/heirloom and one is intended to be a show-stopper. The quilting gets progressively fancier and more difficult going from "dragger" to "show-stopper." She has a lot of beautiful motifs and shows you step by step how to go from one to the next.

    One thing that is a big help is drawing the motifs with pencil and paper or on a Dry Erase board. Draw the motif over and over and over until you're sick of drawing it. Draw it until you no longer how to think about where you're going next - getting into and out of tight spots is automatic.

    For some reason, this complete confidence with the design translates itself to drawing with a sewing machine and thread. When you sit down to quilt it, it seems to come out of the needle almost by itself. The tension will be gone from your shoulders and you will breathe without having to remind yourself to do so. So draw, draw, draw.

    Then go to a practice sandwich and after doing some quilting on it, check the tensions by examining the stitches on both sides. Make any necessary adjustments and then go on to the quilt.

    You can do it - don't be afraid of it and don't get frustrated with yourself. It takes time and practice for most people. Have fun!
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    Last edited by thepolyparrot; 11-10-2011 at 08:21 AM.

  2. #12
    Super Member LivelyLady's Avatar
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    I practiced on sandwiched pieces and then made potholders. Leah Day designs videos on FMQ were a huge help and inspiration and the book Heirloom Machine Quilting by Harriet Hargrave is a keeper.
    When you sleep under a quilt, you sleep under a blanket of love.

  3. #13
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    I had about decided to give up on FMQ before reading this -- guess I just need to try harder and longer. Thanks for the encouragement.

  4. #14
    Senior Member cinnya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepolyparrot View Post
    My practice is usually on a quilt. I made a giant king-size quilt for the purpose of practicing feather motifs in different shapes and sizes - there are probably a hundred or 150 feathers on that quilt. The top is so busy, you can hardly see the quilting - but if you look at the back, you can tell that this is the most over-quilted scrap top ever made in history.


    I also buy quilt tops - I don't like piecing very much and I can't get tops finished fast enough to get on with the next quilting session.

    Christine Maraccini's book on machine quilting is one of the best ones out there - for each quilt top, she has three examples quilted for different purposes - one is intended for heavy use and lots of laundering, (she calls that one a "dragger," because it will be dragged around by a child everywhere s/he goes) one is intended to be a keepsake/heirloom and one is intended to be a show-stopper. The quilting gets progressively fancier and more difficult going from "dragger" to "show-stopper." She has a lot of beautiful motifs and shows you step by step how to go from one to the next.

    One thing that is a big help is drawing the motifs with pencil and paper or on a Dry Erase board. Draw the motif over and over and over until you're sick of drawing it. Draw it until you no longer how to think about where you're going next - getting into and out of tight spots is automatic.

    For some reason, this complete confidence with the design translates itself to drawing with a sewing machine and thread. When you sit down to quilt it, it seems to come out of the needle almost by itself. The tension will be gone from your shoulders and you will breathe without having to remind yourself to do so. So draw, draw, draw.

    Then go to a practice sandwich and after doing some quilting on it, check the tensions by examining the stitches on both sides. Make any necessary adjustments and then go on to the quilt.

    You can do it - don't be afraid of it and don't get frustrated with yourself. It takes time and practice for most people. Have fun!
    WOW WOW WOW....You did this on a regular machine????? This is amazing,I didn't even realize that was possible.I thought I was doing good with my little swirls lol.
    I will look for this book.Thank you so much for showing us
    Christina


  5. #15
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    I have done very little FMQ so far, as it also scares me. After the holidays, I plan to take a few weeks where I just do practice FMQ every day for 15-30 minutes (that is if I can get the time to sit and sew daily). I wasn't ready when a group that I follow on my blog did it earlier this year.

    I plan to use practice sandwiches that will probably end up being donated to the animal shelter as pet mats once completed - but some will also go into a binder of samples.

    I purchased the batting sampler pack from Harriet Hargrave to practice on so that I can figure out which battings I like and also how different battings handle.

    I did find when I was testing tension for a project I finished this summer that FMQ on a small piece is very different from manhandling the larger quilt, so I had to put together a larger practice sandwich.

    Cheers, K

  6. #16
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivelyLady View Post
    I practiced on sandwiched pieces and then made potholders. Leah Day designs videos on FMQ were a huge help and inspiration and the book Heirloom Machine Quilting by Harriet Hargrave is a keeper.
    Heirloom Machine Quilting is my go-to book at this point. I've read it several times and started practicing a few techniques.

    K

  7. #17
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    There is an excellent product for practicing FMQ made by Benertex. It is a preprinted design, printed in a wash out ink. It is in two colors - white and off whit and is 108" wide. The design is a meandering feather.
    The idea was to print for a backing and would quilt from the ack of the quilt. however, I use it in classes at the point students need to follow a line. It would work well for small pieces as well as the larger. Check www.benartex.com and it is under wholecloth section. Shops may carry it.

  8. #18
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    Thanks for the recommendation Holice! I also have a practice piece with a bunch of different patterns on it for when I'm ready, though I've forgotten the manufacturer.

    Cheers, K

  9. #19
    Super Member franc36's Avatar
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    I started FMQ with Renae Allen's preprinted design. I think I got it from Keepsake quilting. You should see it. My FMQ is horrible!!! I kept trying. I save the left over backing and batting from quilts, put some old fabric over it and practice. I'm getting much better. The FMQ course at Craftsy has really helped me. So have the videos from Leah Day http://www.daystyledesigns.com/index.htm I need much more practice; but I have done FMQ on my last 3 quilts and my FMQ is OK for me. I would never enter it in a show though.

  10. #20
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cinnya View Post
    WOW WOW WOW....You did this on a regular machine????? This is amazing,I didn't even realize that was possible.
    Thank you! I'm still not as good with it as I hope to be someday and some people are absolute magicians with a regular sewing machine. I have a long way to go, but the process is so much fun that I don't really mind that I'm not as skilled as I'd like to be.

    The Texas quilt was pieced and quilted on my 1947 Singer model 15-91. I quilted the "center" part of the quilt, then I put the borders on and quilted those. The needle thread was "Tapestry" and "Treasure Chest" by Superior and the bobbin thread was Bottom Line Red. (which is actually more of a burgundy color) It was pretty much a waste to use that expensive a thread on the top because the quilting is all but invisible on the top. It probably would have been better to use that red on the top and the variegateds on the back.

    The pattern is called "Wickedly Easy," and it lives up to its name - those tops go together so fast your head will spin. I've made three of them in these Texas prints - and I'm really DONE with them, but I'll probably use the pattern again. It's here: http://www.byannie.com/free-patterns/


    I thought I was doing good with my little swirls lol.
    And I can guarantee that you ARE doing good! Swirls or meandering or flowers or leaves - it's all good - and every bit of practice makes us better and enables us to finish our own quilts, right? Plus you're progressing and having fun with it at the same time.

    I will look for this book.Thank you so much for showing us
    You're welcome! I hope you find it - I think it's terrific for beginners and intermediate quilters.

    I love how she's provided three different ways to quilt each quilt - isn't that where a lot of us stumble? What design to put where? I have a terrible time with that.

    Good luck and have fun!

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