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Thread: Where did you first learn to machine quilt?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
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    I have never, ever been shown how to machine quilt on a sewing machine. I know I have to buy a darning foot for my machine (that much I *do* know). But, did you take a class at a quilt shop? Did you learn from a friend or relative? Did you learn on your own?

    I would like to learn, but I don't know where to begin. What special supplies do I have to buy, other than the batting, backing, safety pins, marking tools and masking tape?

  2. #2
    a regular here cutebuns's Avatar
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    I learned by reading, there were several articles and in one of the patterns for a calendar there were directions on how to do it. There are all sorts of videos etc as well, a lot of then can probably be found on you tube. I sandwiched up some practice pieces and away I went. It takes practice. so I am including one of my practice pieces.

    one of the first practice pieces
    Name:  Attachment-36358.jpe
Views: 232
Size:  46.0 KB

  3. #3
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
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    Your practice piece looks neat!!! I hope my practice piece look as nice as yours.

  4. #4
    a regular here cutebuns's Avatar
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    I am sure it will Ethel, keep it small to start, this measures about 14 inches I think, small enough to be able to move it easily. I have a hard time doing it for nothing so I started on wall hangings, place mats and table runners are also a good place. That way if it works out you can use it. and even if it doesn't, you can still use it, turn it into a pet mat or something.

  5. #5
    k3n
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    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
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    PRACTICE PIECE!!!!! That's beautiful!

    I've done free motion once and I did it on a 'busy' kaleidoscope top, so the variable stitch lengths don't show THAT much! LOL
    I did some practice pieces first (nothing I would show here though!) and then went 'live' on a full bed quilt: that had it's own challenges just because of the sheer size of it! If you like a tipple, they say a glass of wine to relax you helps!

  6. #6
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    i've taught myself to do everything related to sewing and quilting.

    the best thing i've done to help with my free motion quilting is building this cheap quilting table.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAS25v3ZTk0


    then just practice - its really not as hard as you'd think.

    if you don't have a way to control the speed of your sewing machine you might want to consider building a brace to go around your pedal.

    i had to do this - its hard enough getting the movement down with your hands and by setting the speed to a consistent pace its one less thing to worry about.


  7. #7
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    I don't know how yet, on my list of tihngs to learn!

    good luck!

  8. #8
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    I cracked meandering, first on a large scale on totes, then gradually smaller. I was then able to buy a Bernina with BSR, which made it easier to keep an even stitch length. I bought a book by Karen McTavish that came with a video and watching that was very helpful for some of the different patterns of quilting.
    What I did before I tried any stitching at all, was to draw the design I was intending to do. I doodled it all over everything for a couple of evenings, practicing how to get the design into various shapes, i.e. square, half square triangle etc., and how to get from one shape to another without having to backtrack very much. All the doodling seemd to help with hand/eye co-ordination, and made it easier once the quilt was on the machine. If I want to try another filling pattern, especially feathers, I still doodle it first, to get into my head.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacelady
    I cracked meandering, first on a large scale on totes, then gradually smaller. I was then able to buy a Bernina with BSR, which made it easier to keep an even stitch length. I bought a book by Karen McTavish that came with a video and watching that was very helpful for some of the different patterns of quilting.
    What I did before I tried any stitching at all, was to draw the design I was intending to do. I doodled it all over everything for a couple of evenings, practicing how to get the design into various shapes, i.e. square, half square triangle etc., and how to get from one shape to another without having to backtrack very much. All the doodling seemd to help with hand/eye co-ordination, and made it easier once the quilt was on the machine. If I want to try another filling pattern, especially feathers, I still doodle it first, to get into my head.
    I have never tried FMQ, it's on my list, too...but there is some great advice here, on this thread. LaceLady, like the idea of practicing movement with a pen, on ppr for a bit...to get it in my head. Kind of a psychological menta-imagery thing!
    How clever is that?
    K, like your idea of a tipple, but I'll have to settle for some chocolate milk...get the same effect most times :mrgreen:

  10. #10
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    So far I am limited to stitch-in-the-ditch with my SID foot. I did take a class but without practice that was a waste of money. I have checked out various tutorials (videos) on line and then it's up to the practice time.

    Don't know that you need anything else, really.

    There are quilting gloves that are supposed to help transport the quilt. There is also a plastic sheet that is anti-static (I think it lives under the quilt during quilting) and I heard good things about it.

    One key is to plan your pin-basting so the pins won't get in the way.

    I also heard repeatedly that you should do all the straight quilting first (to secure the quilt) and then do the free motion.

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