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Thread: I can make the quilt tops but what about the quilting?

  1. #1
    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    What do you do when you can make all the beautiful quilt tops in the world, but don't know yet how to do any quilting except stitch in the ditch & straight machine quilting?

    I have some beautiful patterns selected for two different wedding quilts I will be making between now & April. I have no qualms about trying these new patterns. In fact, with each quilt I make I am trying to do something different so I learn more as I go. However, it seems like such a disappointment that I can't do anything more than straight stitch machine quilting. Beautiful patterns with boring straight stitching? Blah.

    I've tried FMQ with no success yet, so I am going to take a class in late March. Money to pay for LAQ is not feasible at this time, besides, I want these gifts to be 100% done by me & from me.

    So...what would you do? Can straight stitching be done in a way that looks fancy & more than just corner to corner? And if yes, any samples you could show me?

  2. #2
    np3
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    I know just how you feel. I forced myself to learn FMQ for that very reason. Now it is the most fun part of making the quilt! It takes some practice, but well worth the time.

  3. #3
    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by np3
    I know just how you feel. I forced myself to learn FMQ for that very reason. Now it is the most fun part of making the quilt! It takes some practice, but well worth the time.
    Maybe you could drive a couple hours north & spend a day helping me? :D Just kidding (kinda lol)

    I will continue to pursue learning FMQ. I know it will be worth the time to learn FMQ - it is just that I don't have time to learn it before I need to get these 2 quilts done.

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    Super Member Vanuatu Jill's Avatar
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    I am in the same boat-I love hand-quilting and for years that is all I did, but it takes so long to finish one quilt! I love piecing tops and got ahead of myself this past year and made 3 queen tops (2 are with applique) and I have just finished basting one to hand-quilt, but the other two I don't want to do now-and I cannot affort to send it out so I guess they will continue to sleep in their zip-lock bags until I can! I am just attempting small stuff with fmq-but I am in no way going to attempt on a large quilt with my machine!

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    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I took a 8-week quilting class that my dealer offered. We started with basic SID (and believe me, I learned a lot of tricks there even if I have been doing it for years) to FMQ, to Bobbin-work and thread-play, to full-on FMQ and ended with Quilt-as-you-go. OMG I still need more practice, but I am no longer afraid.

    What I like about this class in particular is that we worked on basic pieces of light muslin NOT on a top. By not having to produce a quilt, we could focus on the TECHNIQUE!

    We used the book "Machine Quilting Made Easy" by Maureen Noble. There are lots of activities (exercises) to do and they may seem odd but boy, are they helpful.

  6. #6
    Super Member starshine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnCowgirl
    Quote Originally Posted by np3
    I know just how you feel. I forced myself to learn FMQ for that very reason. Now it is the most fun part of making the quilt! It takes some practice, but well worth the time.
    Maybe you could drive a couple hours north & spend a day helping me? :D Just kidding (kinda lol)

    I will continue to pursue learning FMQ. I know it will be worth the time to learn FMQ - it is just that I don't have time to learn it before I need to get these 2 quilts done.
    A question and a suggestion.
    1- is FMQ free motion quilting on a standard sewing machine or a long arm machine?

    2- why don't you get a pretty but plain fabric-like polished cotton, in a size for a lap quilt or baby quilt, sandwich it with batting and a back, and practice some stitches. The plain fabric will let you see your stitches. When you are done if you don't care to keep it you can donate it.

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    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starshine
    A question and a suggestion.
    1- is FMQ free motion quilting on a standard sewing machine or a long arm machine?

    2- why don't you get a pretty but plain fabric-like polished cotton, in a size for a lap quilt or baby quilt, sandwich it with batting and a back, and practice some stitches. The plain fabric will let you see your stitches. When you are done if you don't care to keep it you can donate it.
    Re #1 - FMQ is on a standard sewing machine, with the feed dogs lowered & a quilting or darning foot, so you have "free" motion.

    Re #2 - I've tried it using scraps, but am having problems catching the bobbin thread, so obviously have to troubleshoot that problem before I can practice stitching.

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    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    My dilemma is that I am going to make these 2 quilts, and want to make them as pretty as can be, but don't see myself mastering FMQ between now & when the quilts have to be finished (one wedding is in Feb & one in April).

    I was hoping for suggestions/examples of what other quilters have accomplished with just straight machine stitching.

  9. #9
    np3
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    Quote Originally Posted by starshine
    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnCowgirl
    Quote Originally Posted by np3
    I know just how you feel. I forced myself to learn FMQ for that very reason. Now it is the most fun part of making the quilt! It takes some practice, but well worth the time.
    Maybe you could drive a couple hours north & spend a day helping me? :D Just kidding (kinda lol)

    I will continue to pursue learning FMQ. I know it will be worth the time to learn FMQ - it is just that I don't have time to learn it before I need to get these 2 quilts done.
    A question and a suggestion.
    1- is FMQ free motion quilting on a standard sewing machine or a long arm machine?

    2- why don't you get a pretty but plain fabric-like polished cotton, in a size for a lap quilt or baby quilt, sandwich it with batting and a back, and practice some stitches. The plain fabric will let you see your stitches. When you are done if you don't care to keep it you can donate it.
    FMQ can be done either way. I started on small projects, like candle mats and hot pads. Then I went to table tops. I practiced the motion with a pencil and paper. Did the meandering around never crossing the line. Then I went to the sewing machine and used the same motion. I discovered that I could do it better when I start with the fabric at the back of the machine and pull it towards me as I quilted. I was less comfortable when I was starting with the fabric in front of the machine (the way you normally sew). It is all trial and error, with lots of practice. You can do this!

    So where do you live?

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    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by np3
    FMQ can be done either way. I started on small projects, like candle mats and hot pads. Then I went to table tops. I practiced the motion with a pencil and paper. Did the meandering around never crossing the line. Then I went to the sewing machine and used the same motion. I discovered that I could do it better when I start with the fabric at the back of the machine and pull it towards me as I quilted. I was less comfortable when I was starting with the fabric in front of the machine (the way you normally sew). It is all trial and error, with lots of practice. You can do this!

    So where do you live?
    Thanks for the tips about FMQ. If I can figure out my bobbin thread issue, I can probably try some actual FMQ. Maybe this weekend I'll give it another shot.

    I'm in Fresno :)

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    np3
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    Just read about your bobbin challenge. Is this when you first start the quilting? I take two or three stitches in the start point before I begin moving. It has the same effect as backstitching but doesn't show. Then I clip the threads after I stop.

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    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnCowgirl
    What do you do when you can make all the beautiful quilt tops in the world, but don't know yet how to do any quilting except stitch in the ditch & straight machine quilting?
    what you do is ...

    -practice freemotion on scrap sandwiches until you feel brave enough to try it on a real quilt.

    - in the meantime, you'd be surprised how many ways there are to use straight lines and broad, sweeping curves (which can be done with a walking foot) to produce beautiful quilts. look around online for ideas and inspiration. :-)

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    Super Member AgapeStitches's Avatar
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    Do you have any "fancy" stitches on your machine? I have done SID using some of them on my machine....have to go very slow, but it looks better to me than just straight stitches.

    This is what I did for my Sister's Bathroom Curtain (a mini quilt)
    Name:  Attachment-160015.jpe
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    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatriceJ
    - in the meantime, you'd be surprised how many ways there are to use straight lines and broad, sweeping curves (which can be done with a walking foot) to produce beautiful quilts. look around online for ideas and inspiration. :-)
    Thanks! This is what I needed to hear! Hadn't thought about broad, sweeping curves using the walking foot. Although...my walking foot broke last time I used it. Guess I had better hunt down a new one for my old Singer 403a :) Need it for straight stitching too!

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    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AgapeStitches
    Do you have any "fancy" stitches on your machine? I have done SID using some of them on my machine....have to go very slow, but it looks better to me than just straight stitches.
    Thanks for the suggestion & the picture (worth a 1,000 words). My old Singer 403a does have the stitch cams - not as fancy as the newer machines, but some do look fairly good. Will have to think on this & see what I can come up with. Both couples are pretty contemporary & not into too much pretty, pretty stuff (do I make any sense?). Don't want to get too carried away with embellished stitching.

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    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by np3
    Just read about your bobbin challenge. Is this when you first start the quilting? I take two or three stitches in the start point before I begin moving. It has the same effect as backstitching but doesn't show. Then I clip the threads after I stop.
    Yes - when I first start. I tried staying still & do nothing but try to get a stitch to catch...wouldn't do it. I'm using my Singer 403a that I inherited from my Mom. Thought I would get out my Featherweight, cover the feed dogs, and try it. If that fails, I'll get out my yucky Kenmore & try it. If all of them do it...then well...guess it must be me! :D

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    That is really pretty. Nice idea also

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    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    A combination of sweeping curves and more open decorative stitches can be beautiful :D:D:D

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    Super Member AgapeStitches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnCowgirl
    Quote Originally Posted by AgapeStitches
    Do you have any "fancy" stitches on your machine? I have done SID using some of them on my machine....have to go very slow, but it looks better to me than just straight stitches.
    Thanks for the suggestion & the picture (worth a 1,000 words). My old Singer 403a does have the stitch cams - not as fancy as the newer machines, but some do look fairly good. Will have to think on this & see what I can come up with. Both couples are pretty contemporary & not into too much pretty, pretty stuff (do I make any sense?). Don't want to get too carried away with embellished stitching.
    Made perfect sense...my sister preferred the simpler "curve" stitch over the "vine and leaf".

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    Super Member Jennifer22206's Avatar
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    I've made miniature quilts with decorative stitching.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  21. #21
    Super Member QuiltnCowgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer22206
    I've made miniature quilts with decorative stitching.
    That is very pretty. Thanks for the picture. From the looks of the stitching you have a newer machine than mine. No loopty loop stitches from mine. Some nice scallops, diamonds, blanket stitches, etc. though. Will be playing around with it some more.

  22. #22
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    I cannot FMQ. I can't and no amount of practice has helped me--I feel really stupid. I draw whatever shapes or designs I want to quilt on my quilt top then use just straight stitching and follow the lines. I've done hearts, circles, holly & berries, you name it--it can be done. Whenever a book comes out called FMQ for Dummies my picture will be on the cover!! Try drawing and stitching on your lines. Hopefully you'll do better with FMQ than I ever have. Good luck!!

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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    can you take a machine quilting class before late March? that may give you some help and ideas.

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    Super Member Jennifer22206's Avatar
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    The machine I did that on was a 2002(?) Singer.

    The machine I did this on is an older White. I just did wavy lines with it. I have no idea how to FMQ on the White.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  25. #25
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    This is such a great thread. Thanks so much!!!! :D
    I'm bookmarking it as I'm really wanting to learn to FMQ. Like Jill, I've always quilted by hand and I need to learn the other so I can get more things finished!!! :D:D

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