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Advice on next steps in free motion quilting

Advice on next steps in free motion quilting

Old 02-27-2018, 04:44 AM
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Default Advice on next steps in free motion quilting

I recently got a free motion long arm machine. So far the only thing I can really do is stippling of quilts.

So my question to all the pros out there:

What is the best way to teach myself how to sew patterns on my machine? I assume that making a "trash quilt" that I can just practice control on will be the best. However, with being so new it is overwhelming to figure out where to start.
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:52 AM
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Go to YouTube for some videos on how to and or books are available also. Plus there are sources for rulers, templates, stencils, dvd, etc....just visit Google..... Oops! Forgot about Craftsy..I think they offer classes...there was a longarm university on line, don't know if still there.......
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Old 02-27-2018, 05:04 AM
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If you have an old sheet or a piece of muslin, make yourself a practice quilt sandwich loaded on your machine. You can use a ruler and marker to draw squares, rectangles or circles as if it were a pieced top. Then play with quilting stitches within these marked areas. Do you have a laser light or pointer on your machine? It so maybe you have some children's coloring books or can print coloring pages from a computer? Take these pages and mark a beginning and ending stitching line on them. Lay them down on your setup as you would a pantograph pattern and practice following the drawings. Without thread at first, then thread the machine and play with them on your practice piece. Relax and have fun!
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Old 02-27-2018, 05:05 AM
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Pencil draw on the "scrap" quilt and follow lines, it will help develop memory path. Can use stencils for practice. After filling up quilt donate it to animal rescue, they love them. It just takes practice, practice, practice and time!
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Old 02-27-2018, 05:31 AM
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Welcome to the board! Another thing to try is writing something like your name, a phrase poem etc. This will give you practice controlling the movement of the machine, and you already know the pattern. Look on youtube for different patterns. Most of the videos will talk you thru the motion. Try different designs. You will find some that are easier for you to do than others. Pick one of those easier ones to concentrate on. Make sure that you practice the design going L-r, R-L, bottom up and top down as you will usually need to fill in the space going in different directions.
As others mentioned, there's no quick result, you will just have to practice!
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Old 02-27-2018, 05:36 AM
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good suggestions so far. I would add if you want to get good at free motion get a notebook or whiteboard and sketch. that gives you muscle memory. Patsy Thompson has information on her website and though she focuses on DSM the designs of course work well for longarm also. https://www.youtube.com/user/CozyQuiltDesigns/videos. I also found the pajamaquilter dvd helpful when I first started http://www.pajamaquilter.com/

Look at quilts or look at pantagraphs and try and sketch the design. repeat. you will get comfortable with your interpretation - like handwriting. then take that design to fabric. many designs spring off an initial one and Patsy Thompson is good at explaining that.

Have fun.
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Old 02-27-2018, 06:26 AM
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Angela Walters has YouTube videos on both sewing machine and long arm machines. She also has several books that are helpful. Her website is www.quiltingismytherapy.com
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Old 02-27-2018, 02:32 PM
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I do mainly FMQ, no real designs. I just do large type stipples.
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Old 02-27-2018, 04:32 PM
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I often make little sandwhiches with scrap fabric and batting... usually about 10" x 10" and then I play around I have bought lots of stencils and I do really like using them. Then I can get a design I like. the down side is that it takes me longer to mark the quilt top then to actually FMQ. With that point being made more than most time I just do the loopy or stipples.. so I don't have to mark

I think Youtube is a good resource I often start there
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Old 02-27-2018, 06:22 PM
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great ideas already. Also, if you get a chance to take classes on a long arm (especially if it's hands on) at a show--do! Worth it. I also have several books that I use like reference books--Angela Walters 2 Shape-by-Shape books, Amanda Murphy's, Deloa Jones 3 books, and others. Dawn Cavanaugh is a teacher for APQS and even if your machine is not one of theirs, she has great videos on different stitches too--sign up for their newsletter.

Also--your machine brand probably has a Face Book page that will be helpful on some of the maintenance issues that arise with a long arm. These are really helpful when you have a tension problem at 10pm and want to tear your hair out!
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