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Thread: Any Tips for a beginner FMQ-er?

  1. #26
    Senior Member mshollysd's Avatar
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    magic washers are little teflon washer you put in your bobbin case. Leah Day (daydesigns.com) turned me on to them and they work. I suggest always cleaning out the fuzz that accumulates under your bobbin.

  2. #27

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    Not sure where this idea came from, but my sister learned to FMQ by using 2 layers of extra wide muslin with batting in her quilt sandwich. When she finished with her masterpiece, she had learned a lot and uses it now for a mattress pad. This also gave her some experience in controlling all of that fabric while she quilted.

  3. #28
    Super Member Baloonatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deema

    Relax your shoulders and sit up straight or you'll be hurting.

    Listen to some music, it will help you to keep a steady pace with your hands.
    Ha! Have you ever listened to some good foot-stompin music whilst driving? I find myself going 80 before I know it! LOL

  4. #29
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    I find that counting my stitches helps. Kind of like counting sheep, it sets a rhythm. Maybe because I conducted my high school and church chiors many moons ago. It's kind of like a metronome in your head.

  5. #30
    Super Member OmaForFour's Avatar
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    Its daystyledesigns.com.

    Quote Originally Posted by suern3
    Leah Day has a wealth of information about FMQ, including how to set a your machine and table just to mention a couple. Go to her website, daystyle.com and then the links from there. Excellant information.

  6. #31
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    I like to use a white board to practice new designs. Don't put your wrist down as you are teaching your arm the design. Low odor markers are a MUST...unless you want to asphyxiate yourself! (ask me how I know this! HA!) I also look at pantograph sites. Often I find designs I like that I think I can freehand. I don't print them as that is copywrite infringement. Rather I try to do my own version. Happy practicing! (I use my practice pieces to make dog beds!)

  7. #32
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    I am far from a FMQ-er ... just a wannabe!

    Two suggestions I have been taught, and make sense to me ...
    * practice with pencil and paper, to get the idea of where to go and how to do it! ... productive doodling, is what I call it and can do it anywhere, anytime!

    * never move your hands on the quilt, with the machine running! Stop the machine, reposition quilt and hands before starting to stitch again!

    I do better doing something, than just practice sandwiches ... so I see a lot of mug rugs, placemats and pot holders in the future!!!

  8. #33
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    On a scale of 1 to 10 I think I am now a 2. I have to control my speed sometimes it is fast and other times I think to slow. I just finished a wall hanging and my circles need help but I will keep trying, next time with music, that should help. AND everytime I think what the cost of sending it away is, I will keep practicing. I like writing someplace on the quilt who it is for and from whom._-J

  9. #34
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    When I was starting out someone said to practice for one hundred hours. So I made some charity quilts and offered to quilt charity quilts my friends made - let them know I'd be practicing - and kept at it. I'm sure I hit the hundred hour mark somewhere in there. I'm very comfortable now. Other tips: use a topstitch needle and high quality thread. I love So Fine! from Superior Threads. It's a little finer, so won't show up as much as a thicker thread. Use quilting gloves. Put a Supreme Slider on the throat of your machine, it really makes a difference when your quilt slides freely. It is also very helpful to have a cabinet for your machine so that the throat is level with the top of the cabinet. I also put a table behind my cabinet to hold the weight of the quilt. If it's sliding off the cabinet you'll have jerky stitches. Relax and good luck!

  10. #35
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    I can't say enough good things about Leah Day's FMQing Project. I set up my laptop next to my sewing machine, watch her design tutorials, and then try to do what she does. I doubt I would ever have attempted it without her.

  11. #36
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    A Bernina is a wonderful machine to use for FMQ'g. Far less tension problems to deal with and a better stitch than other machines, IMO. As far as gloves, I've alway found that inexpensive garden gloves that fit and have the little knobbies on the fingers worked best for me. There is also a weighted red quilting "halo" that you can lay over your fabric and use it to move the fabric around -- check Sharon Schaumbers daughter's site, "purple daisies". I've also seen in sold on other sites. Other than that, use a sharp or quilting needle, I've never felt a need to use a Bobbin Genie with a Bernina, but that may be just me. Don't be afraid to draw designs by hand or with a stencil to follow. It will get you used to the different movement, doing curves, etc. Stitch in the ditch is a cinch with you walking foot and feed dogs UP. With a little practice you'll soon get a feel for placing that needle right in the ditch. After you've practiced for a while, don't be afraid to take your machine off slow speed and go for it. You will learn to control your speed on your own for even stitches. And you'll find there are time you can go very fast as long as you get in and out of points quickly, If you don't the needle goes up and down too many times in the same spot and can break the thread. Don't be afraid, just go for it. You have one of the best machines available for FMQ on a domestic. Good Luck!

  12. #37
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    VCINWA makes a lot of good points. If you can, get your machine top level with the top of your table. If you don't have a cabinet that allows you to sink the machine down, there are a few alternative. Many people have cut a hole in a regular table or desk, made something below to hold the machine at the correct level so sewing bed of machine is level with table, and then used there own extended table (which most Bernina's come with) or a purchased acrylic table that fits right up to your machine and extends out to cover the hole. There are also many cabinets and portable tables that can be found on the internet. Laura Day offers a couple on her site. So does Hancocks and Joann's. The lower height of the machine and level surface "REALLY" makes FMQ'g a lot more comfortable and gives you a lot more control.

  13. #38
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    Spraying your sewing machine base before hand with Armour All helps it glide along much easier. And don't forget to breathe,I have been a proud owner of a longarm and was told by my dealer and teacher to BREATHE and it will flow. And if the gloves are too hot then the rubber tips from the office supply store also work well.

  14. #39
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    Dont mash down hard with your hands!!!! Use a very light touch. I try to just use my figer tips.
    For stitch length, with a regular foot and feed dogs UP. rest your hands lightly on the fabric and stitch out a line, slowly, feeling the movement of the fabric as it makes the stitches. This will give you a feel for how to move you fabric when you go to FMQ.

  15. #40
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    I am working on the third one now and I am finding it easier this time. It will take a while for any fancy designs but I have stippling down fairly well.
    I agree with the gloves because I found since I found this hint on this board that it is sooooo much easier to control your quilt.

  16. #41
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suern3
    Leah Day has a wealth of information about FMQ, including how to set a your machine and table just to mention a couple. Go to her website, daystyle.com and then the links from there.
    That is where I would send you too.

    I recently took a class from the book "Machine Quilting Made Easy" by Maureen Noble. We did ALL the exercises in the book. What a difference!

  17. #42
    Super Member donnalynett's Avatar
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    I ordered " Stiples Made Easy" from Keepsake Quilting when I wanted to learn. It is a pattern with adhesive strips on the back. You just roll it out, stick it down and stitch over the pattern. Is a pain in the tush to pick all the paper out of the stitches when done, but I felt it was well worth it.

  18. #43
    Super Member Doreen's Avatar
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    Practice, practice, practice. I tend to grind m teeth and not breathe! Learn to breathe, take a deep breath!

  19. #44
    Junior Member ruthrec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elisabethann
    I would like to become a good FMQ. Not sure why it is important to me, but it is. i don't need to be great - but good would be nice :-)

    Any tips? I read somewhere that you need to practice 20 minutes a day - for a bizzillion days (or something like that!). I have no problem with the practice part - just the bazzillion day part :P

    Any tips for a newbie? Any patterns that would be good to start with to get the feel for things?

    TIA
    I bought a book, then another, then it was youtube, then I just started sewing. Made a bunch of square sandwiches and took off. It's getting better as I go along. If it's really going into a quilt, I'll mark with chalk or just meander or stipple or something simple. But, nothing get done till you put your foot on the pedal and start sewing. It's really fun.

  20. #45
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    You ladies are so amazing so many helpful hints. I feel so lucky to have found this board. Thank you and God Bless all of you.

  21. #46
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    This has been soooo helpful! My first attempt (last week) at FMQ was a disaster! Although it was just a practice sandwich, I was almost ready to give up. Now I know what I need to do - keep practicing and breathing. Many thanks.

  22. #47
    cjinvt's Avatar
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    And from one who is just doing this, took a class last week I have to say my shoulders and arms are killing me!! I practice every day, still looks like, well it's not good. thanks for asking the question, I got a lot out of it as well. Good luck and watch your shoulders!! :)

  23. #48
    Super Member jillnjo's Avatar
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    There are so many good hints and suggestions given for FMQ-Thanks! One idea that has improved my abilities is spending lots of time doodling on paper.I learned that even feathers are not really hard by penciling them over and over until my mind remembers the pattern and you've got it! And practice only improves it!! Don't be afraid of FMQ.Try it, it's not just for the young,and it's fun.

  24. #49
    Member Lee Monahan's Avatar
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    Woa, how did you put your Bernina at 1/2 speed? I'm always going to fast on mine (1968 I think) and got excited when I read your post about putting your machine at 1/2 speed. Help, information, appreciatd!
    Lee

  25. #50
    Super Member wraez's Avatar
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    Actually, the time frame to get comfortable with FMQ and do a nice job is about 20 hrs of practice, over time, doesn't matter, your brain, eyes and hands learn to coordinate. One day you will realize that 'hey, I got it'.

    My tip ... practice on a 6inch or 8 inch sandwich using one of Leah Day's designs and then you can even sew them together to create a place mat or wall hanging, whatever you like.

    Look at the first link from Leah Day's blog and you can see where her quilting started, and how much she advanced quickly as she worked on her day by day designs. She shows great videos on how she FMQs. Lots of info

    http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.c...1_archive.html

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/freemotionquilting/page12/

    Good luck!

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