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Thread: Machine quilting 101

  1. #1
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I have not yet ventured out and tried this so I'm wanting to know how to "get my feet wet" so to speak.

    I've gathered that the step by step progression is 1) practice on a scrap sample with each technique 2) stitch in the ditch is the most common way to begin initially 3) echoing the design is a likely next step 4) meandering is the most common way to venture out into free motion quilting

    Now can any of this be done with just leaving the regular foot on the machine and not changing any of the settings? Or does everything require something special? If so what is best for each application?

    I have a couple of feet that look like they might be what I've seen described as being used for machine quilting but I don't know which one would be best to use when.

    One looks more like a donut than a foot.
    Another seems to have a spring in it somewhere.
    And one said on the package that it was for quilting, but it just looks like both sides are the same size and is meant for doing the 1/4" seam accurately rather than having any other special qualities.

    So I would appreciate the help of all you wonderful folk who know more about this than I do.

  2. #2
    Super Member quiltinghere's Avatar
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    I have no suggestions on the feet you described.

    I've quilted only with a walking foot. 'X's and SITD across 5" charms.

    Did you try any of the feet on a practice piece?

    Good luck

  3. #3
    mlaceruby's Avatar
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    the donut foot is used for free motion quilting
    they usually have a spring so the foot can bounce on your quilt.
    you will need to lower your feed dogs with these

    and adjust your stitch length to 0
    the stitch length in FMQ is created as you move the fabric

    tension will depend on your fabric and thread
    just play for awhile- change the settings and see how they make a difference.
    this will help you get the look you want on your quilt.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MZStitch's Avatar
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    To Echo, or meander you will need to drop your feed dogs, and use your darning foot. Your first two feet you described would likely be for what this.
    If you are just beginning, I would suggest you stitch in the ditch on your first quilt. To do this you can use your regular foot, but may need to change the tension, see if your stitches look good on your test piece.
    There are so many good hints for machine quilting books are written on it, and well worth the read. Visit your local library and check one out, or take a class at a local quilt shop.

  5. #5
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    None of what you are describing sounds like a walking foot. Do you have one of them? Those are used to feed all the layers of the quilt sandwich evenly when machine quilting in a straight line (not FMQ).

    Good luck, take your time and you will do fine. Lots of "how to" videos online, just google quilting videos.

  6. #6
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    there have been several sugestions to dial the stitch length to "0" this is not necessary as when the feed dogs are dropped the stitch length is nutralized. Stitch length is controled by speed of the machine and the movement of your hands. I suggest you find a book on free motion or machine quilting. They will usually have exercises. But generally in beginning free motion. it is good to practice, loops, meandering, a design like waves that has curves ending in a point and then long wavy lines.
    The important thing is to work until you feel a good balance between the speed of the machine and the movement of your hands. and don't ever let your hands leave the quilt while the machine is going. This causes jumps when you stop and begin.

  7. #7
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Mom-6 thanks for starting this thread. I have only done SID and want to learn free motion.
    Thanks to everybody for their input !!

  8. #8
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    The absolute best advice I can offer is to get your hands on Harriett Hargraves book Heirloom Machine Quilting.
    She covers everything in that book and I mean everything. I got it last year for Christmas and was amazed at how much I didn't know about machine quilting. Diane Gaudinski's book is great too.

  9. #9
    Super Member LoisN's Avatar
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    Another tip, wear gloves with the little rubber gripper bumps on the fingers to help hold the quilt as you FMQ. You can use gardening gloves (new) or they make quilting gloves specifically for this. I like the quilting gloves best because they come in small sizes that fit my hands better. They are only about $10 at your local quilt shop. Just play and enjoy.

  10. #10
    Super Member pollyjvan9's Avatar
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    I think low loft batting is much, much easier to work with in FMQ. Also concur, gloves are a must.

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