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Thread: Control freak vs. FMQ

  1. #1
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    Being a control freak, I'm having trouble with FMQ. I've tried: Fabric Mover for my Viking (back in box, stuffed under bed); music (from ACDC to Yanni); fatigue; mouth guard (so I don't clench my teeth). Drop the feed-dogs? You might as well tell me to drop my pants!! Without feeddogs how do you control speed and stitch length? How do you know where the damn machine is going? Can I quilt with the feed dogs raised? Help!! You all do such beautiful work--please share your secrets. Thanks so much, Jan

  2. #2
    Super Member Barbm's Avatar
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    how about prozac? j/k

    relax, practice on scrap "sandwiches". that's what I did- I like everything structured, always did stitch in the ditch. first efforts of FMQ were structured- like I was trying to copy what is in the books. Once I unclenched my fists and wiped the tears of frustration and loosened the tension in my shoulders, I sat down, said the heck with this, it's supposed to be fun, off I went.

    Now I twirl and swirl and zip along. It's fun and fast. Give it another try. Smile as you are doing it.

    (I remember my nephew saying how he looks for shapes in it, he thought he saw a dinosaur in one baby quilt).

  3. #3
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    ok, here's a few secrets:...oh, wait...you mean about FMQ...sowwy, can't help there :wink:

  4. #4
    Super Member sewsewquilter's Avatar
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    I'm not a control freak (I don't think). :lol: But I did find it hard to let go. I took a class from a school teacher who has won awards with her art quilts. I did a lot of practice squares in class. She was a GREAT help. I am still not good but I'm having fun FM now. :D One she she had me do over and over was writing my name. After a few trys you could reading what I was writing. :lol: :lol: :lol:

  5. #5
    Esqmommy's Avatar
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    I took a two-full day class in FMQ and still can't figure it out. I did sit down with a Bernina that has a Stitch Regular and I'm pretty sure that the feature will change my life with FMQ. now, does anyone have a spare $5000 they can lend me to get the Bernina I want? It's not much, really, when you think about it. RIGHT LADIES? Back me up here...I have a pitch I need to make, and need some great reasoning... :mrgreen:

  6. #6
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    I think the practice sandwiches are the best idea - done with the intention that it's okay for it to go into the scrap bag -

    got an idea for what that can be used for! make it into every-day potholders!

    then no need to feel guilty about the fabric being used.

  7. #7
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    It's just practice, practice, practice!
    I have to keep the feed dogs up on my machine when I FMQ. They can't drop them unless I am appliqueing.

  8. #8
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    The fabric mover that is under the bed has a stitch regulator.
    I have been thinking about getting the new one with the larger hole.
    What is the problem you had with it?
    How does it handle a large quilt?
    I saw it demonstrated at a quilt show but of course only on a small piece of quilt. I want to see how it handles a large quilt.

  9. #9
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    Practice, practice, practice. I cut a square 8-9 inches in size with batting and a back on it. Then I started by writing my name/ I did lower the feed dogs, had the darning foot on my machine and started . I did not adust any tensions or other things related to the machine. I have a Janome. I describe it like playing the piano. YOu have to get a rythum going. My sister for the life of her cannot do it. So guess it is natural for some people to be OK with it and others not. so don't give up just yet. Marge

  10. #10
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    Practice and breathe! And practice some more while breathing.

  11. #11
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    Actually, we control freaks prefer FMQ. After all, that is when we are in control instead of the sewing machine being in control. In FMQ, you do the creative work and are totally in charge!! :mrgreen:

  12. #12
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    Don't let the machine tell you where to go. When you are a control freak you want to tell everything and everyone what the next move will be. With the feed dogs down, that is exactly what you are doing. Keep thet machine under control!!

    Maria

  13. #13
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    JanRN, as and OCD, excessive compulsive control freak critical care nurse all I can say is 'RIGHT ON SISTAH!". However, I did take a FMQ class and it really helped. Learning to FMQ is kinda like learning to write PRETTY with your non-dominant hand. It takes practice, practice, practice!

    Are you old enough to have taken short-hand classes in high school? (I'm not, but I heard about it--riiiiiiiiight :wink: ) Anyhow, you practiced pages and pages of just one character until you could do it in your sleep perfectly. FMQ is the same for me. I just had to put in hours of practice before I was even half-way happy with the results.

    Here's another example. I do genealogy. When I'm trying to read some faded document from the 1600's that was written in old german with very bad handwriting, I've found that it usually takes about 16 hours of reading before I am comfortable just picking out certain words. It gets easier the more you do.

    If I can do it you can too. Have a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey (just one) before you start. And good luck.

    P.S. Yes, you drop the feed dogs. YOU control where the fabric goes with your hands, and you control the stitches by how fast you move the fabric. Take a class, it will become more apparent.

  14. #14
    Super Member Ducky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltncrazy
    ok, here's a few secrets:...oh, wait...you mean about FMQ...sowwy, can't help there :wink:
    LOL, Crazy. I just choked on my coffee!

    As far as free motion, I have always stitched in the ditch, and am now practicing with little sandwiched pieces. The practice pieces look terrible and the bottoms look like I may have done it with my eyes closed. But I am told it will get better.... :roll:

  15. #15
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Most do FM with the feed dogs down, however I have read that some people do FM with them up, also using a zig zag stitch, so I practice trying all sorts of things...one day it will click and all come together, I just know it...in the mean time I have some wicked looking squares that will eventually be sew together for a big dog quilt for my brother's "horse" 8) 8) 8)

  16. #16
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    Being a control freak like yourself, FMQ is just something else to "control"!! Deep breath, make up a small quilt sandwich (15"sq gives you a bit to hang onto) drop the feed dogs, speed medium, foot on the pedal slowly and as you increas the speed of the machine, move the sandwich slowly. Take your time!! If the needle/thread breaks, replace it! Do not give up! Keep trying, no-one is over your shoulder telling you what you are doing is wrong. Do what works for you. And, it is really true what everyone who does FMQ says - PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

    It won't happen overnight, but, it will happen!! Be a true control freak, and take control LOL! Good luck, you will be up and FMQ'ing in no time. Dianne.

  17. #17

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    I am just learning myself and made good progress after a sewing class where it was demonstrated (but not the main purpose of the day). Feed dogs down, darning foot or free motion foot and no walking foot seem to be the basic requirements. As others have suggested - making up sandwiches to practice - I use calico with cotton batting (not too squishy but easy to control). I read good tips in "Machine Quilting Made Easy" by Maurine Noble who takes you step by step through lessons to practice. I quote from her book "Running your machine too slowly will cause uneven, jerky-looking stitches. If you move the fabric very fast while running the machine slowly, you will have long stitches. If you move the fabric very slowly while running the machine at a fast speed, you will have tiny stitches......When you're first learning, push yourself to run your machine faster than is comfortable and you will develop control sooner." She also says "Don't forget to breathe, let yourself go, and have fun!" Just keep practising I think is the answer and what I am finding is helping me improve. Good luck! :-)

  18. #18
    k3n
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    I have that same book lizwhizcat! The only thing I'd add is imagine that the needle is a pencil and the quilt a piece of paper - you're drawing squiggly lines but your moving the paper instead of the pencil - if that makes sense! I also endorse the glass of wine idea! I did my first (and only so far!) FMQ on a One Block Wonder kaleidoscope - it's so busy you don't notice the (slightly!) different stitch lengths here and there! And I'd agree on the go faster thank you feel comfortable with - the BEST results were where I was rushing because DH called to say he'd be home in half an hour, and I wanted to finish before he got there!

  19. #19
    Senior Member borntoquilt's Avatar
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    Practice is the key here! BUT set aside a certain time (10 minutes ) a day and practice EVERYDAY.... Pretty soon you'll be a whizz.... Also a beer or glass of wine helps! (that is what is my instructor said. Honest!! ) also humming a song like the JEOPARY helped a friend of mine....Get that stitch regulator out and practice. the regulator sure makes it easier.... one less thing to worry abt....

  20. #20
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    One of the practices is with paper and paper ... open up that tablet and relax and start doodling.
    Since I too have control issues, I practice while I work, and my first quilt was SOOOO stiff, too small stippling is NOT a good thing ...
    It wasn't until I was wanting a new pattern for quilting, since one pattern over and over is boring, that I considered the paper and pencil. Use a pencil because it will create a drag, and gives you more control ... feels more like what you are going to be doing with your machine.
    I hate practicing for no good reason, so I would encourage you to declare your practice pieces for charity.
    Our LQS teaches long arm classes. Using their fabric, batting, machine and backing, we learn/practice. When they have enough quilting on a piece, they bind the whole thing and give it to an animal/pet shelter ...
    the fifteen inch squares recommended are grand ... you can practice joining them together to make a nice little blanket for some lonely animal ... or ... make them twelve inches, bind and use as potholders.
    There is no rule that says your practice pieces cannot be turned into perfectly practical items ...
    and practicing your name or words of encouragement or the year ... the idea is to get familiar with what you do that makes the machine do something ...
    I put feed dogs down, since they don't do anything under free motion quilting, anyway, and all they are doing (in my humble opinion) is scratching up the fabric used as backing ...
    Finally ... after you have put your feed dogs down
    put on the darning/free motion/embroidery foot
    threaded your needle
    loaded in your quilt
    PUT THE FOOT DOWN ...
    something I have learned from this site ... if the back/front has long stitches, you are moving the fabric too fast ... even a stitch regulator can be over ridden if you go fast enough ... after all, it is only a machine, not a mind reader ....

  21. #21
    Senior Member KittyGram's Avatar
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    Is this why I freak out every time I try to FMQ???? LOL!!!! Yeah, I'm a control freak, too, but never put the two together in the same sentence before! LOL!!!

    I checked out a book from the library almost 5 weeks ago on FMQ, and had to renew it last week when it was due back (untouched at that point). I finally picked it up last night, and OMG in that 30-ish minutes of reading, I learned a lot! Haven't had the chance to practice yet, but it makes a lot more sense now.

    The book is called "Guide to Machine Quilting", by Diane Gaudynski. It's a quick read - about 140 pages total, with big print. I think I read about 60 pages in that short time. I just might invest in this book!

  22. #22
    Susie T's Avatar
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    I too have been too intimidated, even after taking a class.
    I am in control...I am in control... I like that way of thinking, unconventional! Thanks for that confidence builder. I think
    I'll try FMQ myself.

  23. #23
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    I am a human being.
    I have been given superiority over all inanimate objects.
    Therefore ... the inanimate objects HAVE to do as I command.
    feels sooo powerful, eh?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by omak
    I am a human being.
    I have been given superiority over all inanimate objects.
    Therefore ... the inanimate objects HAVE to do as I command.
    feels sooo powerful, eh?
    And how is that working out for you, omak? I know, when my car dies, I don't have the ability to command it to act.

  25. #25
    Super Member omak's Avatar
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    At my command is to find someone who knows how to make it do what it is supposed to do.
    but, I know what you are saying ...
    If it is man-made, man can control it ...

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