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Thread: Any Tips for a beginner FMQ-er?

  1. #1

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    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

  2. #2
    Super Member Quilter7x's Avatar
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    I took a class last year on my new/used Bernina. The instructor said to put the motor speed on half speed and put the pedal to the metal. Let me tell you, that makes a huge difference! You would think that going faster would be good, but in fact it's the opposite when you're first starting out.

    I recommend creating a sandwich to practice on first. You can even write notes on the sandwich for future reference.

    My friend Beth says that I don't breathe when I quilt, so don't forget to breathe! :thumbup: :lol:

  3. #3
    Power Poster ann clare's Avatar
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    If you go to Search on top and type in FMQ there are lots of posts.

  4. #4
    deema's Avatar
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    I'm pretty new to FMQ myself. It definitely takes practice. I think I'm doing...OK with it.:)

    I agree with Quilter 7x. When you first start, set your speed on medium (if you can set the speed control...if you can't, it might be a bit more difficult to maintain a steady speed with your machine, and that makes it more difficult), pedal to the metal, and move the quilt slowly.

    A BIG pointer that I read here...slow your HANDS down when you're making a tight curve or loop in your stitches. I found myself going too fast (moving the quilt, not the sewing machine speed) for those tighter loops and would have those loopies in my thread on the back...if you take it nice and slow around, it prevents that.

    Before *every* quilt, do a test sandwich with the same fabric and thread that you will be quilting to get your tension sorted out before you start the real thing.

    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.

    Good luck!!!

  5. #5
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    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. #6
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    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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Little RoO's Avatar
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    I have just started to FMQ too......I might not be much good but I am really enjoying it....it feels like going out on a drive on your own after endless lessons....such freedom and such fun.....I agree with the advice about tension, and foot control speed...and also check your needle...smaller for lighter weight cotton, larger (16) for heavy weight, really makes a different, and don't forget to put the feed dogs down !

  8. #8
    Super Member TonnieLoree's Avatar
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    I remember reading a post from a gal that practiced her FMQ by making pot holders. Didn't matter what they looked like in the end, but she gained a lot of control without regulating her machine speed. To me, FMQ is having hand control, not just speed control.

  9. #9
    Super Member grammy Dwynn's Avatar
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    IMHO quilting gloves really help! I use Top Stitch needles when quilting. A term that I have heard and like - 'FINDING YOUR SWEET SPOT' - each person and machine are different, so what works for your neighbor or me, might not work for you. Machine speed, hand movements, etc, etc. With the practice you will FIND YOUR SWEET SPOT!

  10. #10
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    the more you practice the better you will become- just like practicing your piano lessons- practice is the important part. take regular breaks, practice good body mechanics and you will enjoy the process more- if you over do it- it will become a chore.
    :thumbup:

  11. #11
    craftoholic's Avatar
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    quilting gloves make it MUCH easier.. and practice... I bought old sheets and made less than FQ sz AND PRACTICED , PRACTICED, PRACTICED.....

  12. #12
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilter7x
    My friend Beth says that I don't breathe when I quilt, so don't forget to breathe! :thumbup: :lol:
    I was told the same thing "remember to breath". Sounds like "DUH!" but ... it's true.

    Also, relax your shoulders.

  13. #13
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ann clare
    If you go to Search on top and type in FMQ there are lots of posts.
    I second this. I put my tips in some previous postings, but the most important is to have fun with it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    watching this post for tips and tricks!!

  15. #15
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    1. Use a quilting needle, a must!
    2. quilting gloves, I like the fons & porter gloves, or white machingers, found at LQS for $8-10, or something simlar. Dollar tree has gardening gloves for $1.oo that work as well.
    3. Always use a new needle!
    5. Magic Washers for the bobbin is super helpful.
    6. If you have a start button on yr machine, use that instead of the foot pedal. More consistent!
    7. Practice using felt! Fm on baby panels, then give to a local nursery school, at least that is what I do. I really like using the felt though. Making small sandwiches are great too.
    8. Plenty of light! Some music is good.
    9. An open embrodiery foot is best to see where you are stitching.
    10. Get uniterrupted time & Practice, pratice and practice! Ask me how I know? Just starting to get very good with FM, now to become even better!! Best to you!

  16. #16
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    check out this lady, i really like her.
    http://www.patsythompsondesigns.com/free-video/

    I agree with the class too, I am taking one in a month so I can get more comfortable with my machine, and of course practice practice practice

  17. #17
    Super Member LivelyLady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilter7x
    I took a class last year on my new/used Bernina. The instructor said to put the motor speed on half speed and put the pedal to the metal. Let me tell you, that makes a huge difference! You would think that going faster would be good, but in fact it's the opposite when you're first starting out.

    I recommend creating a sandwich to practice on first. You can even write notes on the sandwich for future reference.

    My friend Beth says that I don't breathe when I quilt, so don't forget to breathe! :thumbup: :lol:
    Your advice is good. Until the FMQ class I took, I always thought faster was the proper way to FM too, but found out different.

  18. #18
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the tips! I really need them :)

  19. #19
    Senior Member CarolLady's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link .. That was real informative!!

  20. #20
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    And practice, practice & practice! I like the one "breathe"

  21. #21
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    What are Magic Washers for the bobbin? Never heard of these. T.U.

  22. #22
    Senior Member 19angel52's Avatar
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    I made a few (ha - understatement) test runs....then on to mug rugs...and then baby quilts. Will never be perfect, so I can't say practice makes perfect - but it sure does help!

  23. #23
    Senior Member mshollysd's Avatar
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    I found that meandering my first few quilts really helped me practice. Also, I recommmend getting a piece of cheater quilt fabric and work on that. It is cheap and once done, can be given to someone. I made my MIL a small cheater quilt for her couch that was a double wedding ring. It allowed me to design what I wanted to and allowed me the practice that I really needed. Don't worry about keeping your stitches exactly even, because it won't happen right away, just have fun with it.

  24. #24
    Senior Member janeknapp's Avatar
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    I, too, say to get a panel with a picture and practice stitching on the lines. This will help you with control.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Candy Apple Quilts's Avatar
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    Put on your favorite music, and see if that helps you find your "rhythm"!

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