Thank you for this wonderful information. I am a beginner quilter and will be undertaking my first FMQ quilt. Our instructor said many of the same things that have been mentioned but it is really nice to have others make the same recommendations. Her comment was to make another block using the leftovers from our quilt, and use it as a test - that way we could be practicing with our quilt fabrics but not the real quilt.
I have been FMQ for all of 2 days now. For me, tracing an exact line was really hard to keep a smooth line of stitching but following a general direction worked easier.
My tip would be to start off working in short increments. After even 10 minutes I get tired/frustrated and need to go do something else for a while and come back to the FMQ.
Here is a pic of my daisies, which seem to get happier as I went along. Maybe I will be ready to use them on the tabletopper I want to give my MIL by August!
LOVE your daisies! Remember that you are looking at every single stitch in every single flower. No one else will do that! A more primitive flower here and there will be completely okay and will add to the charm of your heart-made piece.
I've tried so many times to meander or stipple and just cannot do it. BUT - that idea about thinking about a cactus shape might just work - I'm so excited to try again. You guys are great!!
The BIGGEST helps to me right now are:
dividing the project into smaller sections by "utility" quilting some straight rows both horizontally and vertically. The quilt is stabilized and you can think in smaller units.
thinking a snake trail through the section I am quilting.
Have to admit I haven't read every post so not sure if this has been mentioned. A trick one of my quilt teachers taught me when I'm struggling to get a rhythm established is to hum the "Skater's Waltz". It has such a smooth rhythm, has 1-2-3 count and also has a calming effect. It really does work!