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Thread: Learning to FMQ

  1. #1
    Member MostlyMaja's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Yalobusha River

    Learning to FMQ

    How long does it take to get really great at FMQ? And what do you practice on while you are learning? Just scraps? It all seems scarry to learn to do that.
    C'est si bon! La joie de vivre!!
    It's so good! The joy of life!!

    Diana Vance

  2. #2
    Super Member Mad Mimm's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I started out practicing on plain muslin sandwiches, but then started making placemats. I think they are great because the tension and seams are more realistic. Plus when you are done, you have something useful. I find that when I have practiced a little every day, the learning curve is much quicker than if you practice sporadically. I was doing great for a while, then didn't sew for over 6 months. When I sat down to FMQ again, it was like I was starting all over again.

    I don't remember where I read it, but I did read somewhere that practicing one hour a day will really help you build your skills. In addition, have you seen the pre-printed "skillbuilder" tops that some vendors at quilt shows sell? They are pre-printed with lines that you can follow, all you do is make a sandwich and start stitching. I think Keepsake Quilting also sells them. I am very slow as I have to trace a design to follow, as I am trying to build muscle memory and I am not ready to jump into the "freehand" deep end.

    Have fun and good luck!!!
    Sheila N.

    When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, "I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2000 step process."

  3. #3
    Super Member jeanneb52's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    long island ny
    It takes however long it takes. Some days are golden and some are badddd. But hang in there. Once it clicks you will love it. I find that I do better on my midarm on the frame than with the regular domestic machine. More freedom of motion . I practice on decent size scraps with batting of course. Good luck

  4. #4
    Super Member feffertim's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Murrieta, California
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    There is an excellent series of lessons on FMQ on the 'Craftsy' site. It is several video lessons that you can view at your own pace and once you purchase it, it is there for ever so you can watch it over and over. I really learned a lot from it and the teacher is so good, it made a huge difference in my FMQ skills. Before I got the lessons I was about ready to give up on the whole thing, now I am doing pretty well. I even FMQ'd a table runner. Try it, it's definitely worth it

  5. #5
    Super Member
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    Jan 2008
    Houston (Clear Lake), TX
    I keep trying and trying - I finally decided to just make lap quilts and do my best; some are certainly better than others, but I keep trying, and trying. I see the places that are 'not so good' but don't point them out to everyone.

  6. #6
    Senior Member CarrieC's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    I started with scraps and muslin swatches, then I graduated to placemats and I also made "pieces" of quilted fabric sandwiches to use in making totes. Once I was able to pretty much turn them out with regularity, I just recently graduated to my first lap quilt. I try to practice at least 2 hours a week. The optimum word is try. If I could do it one hour a day I'm sure I'd progress much faster, but my real life doesn't allow me that.

    My other words are of encouragement. It is worth it, at least that is my mantra. I look at other members on the board's photos of stunning quilts they've FMQ and I try to be inspired (as opposed to envious). The good news is, as good as they are, they all started out where you and I are starting - with the first scraps and the learning curve to be mastered.

    Good luck!
    Carrie, Queen of the Seam Rippers!

  7. #7
    Super Member Nanaquilts44's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Houston TX
    I think you also have to get your movements in sink with stitch speed which involves some experimentation. I know that it takes time.

  8. #8
    Super Member grammy Dwynn's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanaquilts44 View Post
    I think you also have to get your movements in sink with stitch speed which involves some experimentation. I know that it takes time.

    Yes, as someone once told me ~ "you need need to find your SWEET SPOT".

    Each person and each machine is different as to how long it takes.

    Good luck
    "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." -Confucius


  9. #9
    Super Member SandyinZ4's Avatar
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    May 2010
    Southeast Idaho
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    I am still learning myself but started off with table runners that weren't too fancy, just outlining some of the designs on fabric. Then a did a large quilt with just plain straight across stitching. Next I tried just a meandering ramble on a small crib size quilt. I really did it close together and used about 2 spools of thread and when it was done, I found I did not care for it as it was TOO stiff. Now I do not quilt as densely. I have made many string scrappy blocks (on muslin foundation). Plan to quilt them with FMQ and then put them together with QAYG method.(I will post some progress pics when I get started.) Even though each block will have a differeent FMQ pattern on it, it is something that will still be warm and cozy. Hope that gives you some ideas.
    She who dies with the most fabric, didn't sew fast enough!

  10. #10
    k3n is offline
    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Somerset, England
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    I would say it took me about a year to get to the stage where I can FMQ any shape and size I like. I've heard it equated to learning to write. I would recommend practice sandwiches of around FQ size, you want to be able to get hold of them and have room to manoeuver. Like Sandy, I made up some table runners as soon as I thought I was getting a little better. I've never marked as I think it's harder (for me) to follow a drawn line than go freehand. I'd say the two key ingredients to success are self-belief and practice! Oh, and a glass of wine before you start helps to relax those shoulders!
    k3n x

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