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Thread: FMQ For Absolute Beginners

  1. #1
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    Question FMQ For Absolute Beginners

    I recently inherited a quilting set-up after the previous owner lost interest (Grace "Gracie" Queen Frame & Juki TL2000Q). I am very much interested in learning free motion quilting. There are SO MANY options and teachers out there. For those of you who FMQ, what is your favorite book, blogger, or teacher you would recommend for a newbie such as myself? 😅

  2. #2
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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    Can't help you with the Grace frame as I quilt on my old Kenmore, but totally envy you!!
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

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    I am a vintage collector and user myself! ❤️

  4. #4
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    I would recommend you google Leah Day. She has some intro videos on her site that will get you started.
    Lisa

  5. #5
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    You are SO LUCKY!!! (Green with envy).

    There are lots of good online instructors and books available. Angela Walters is great at teaching FMQ. However, most of the books and teachers end up doing a LOT of stitching... like you would see on show quilts. For me, it's overkill. I just want to get my quilts quilted, not smashed to smithereens by so much quilting. So I take their ideas and come up with hybrids of my own, that involve much less quilting.

    The basic 'stipple' and 'loops' are the designs I use most. I have the JukiTL2010Q, but no frame. I just quilt on it like a regular machine. It takes practice to get nice fmq on your quilts. And to get used to how fast to move so your stitch length is good.

    One thing I can tell you about the machine is that it's really great until lint builds up in the feed dogs, and then you will have lots of tension problems. To clean the feed dogs you have to remove the foot and unscrew the throat plate, which is a pain. Try and use thread with as little lint as possible so you wont have to do that cleaning as often. Mine goes haywire about every 2 bobbins of thread... but I was using a cotton thread that made a lot of lint. I'm experimenting with other threads right now to see if I can get less lint in the machine.
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  6. #6
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    I agree with sewbizgirl. Just set up a quilt sandwich out of fabric you are not fond of and practice away. A simple meander to me is so much prettier than quilted stiff with close stitching. I have 3 machines and each machine does fmq different. The important part is to dive right in and learn your machine. Congrats on your new set up.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Homespun's Avatar
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    I agree. I have a Husqvarna Viking Mega Quilter on a Grace frame. I just practiced and practiced. usually meander and do loops and have learned a few other things. I don't like the close quilting. I want to be able to cuddle under my quilts.
    Retired teacher, loving it.
    Love quilting also.

  8. #8
    Senior Member minibarn's Avatar
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    I am a newbie to FMQ too but I have enjoyed some of Leah Days youtubes that are very basic. I would suggest going to youtube and just searching for beginner FMQ that will help you get some basic ideas and then you just have to put it to practice to develop your style.

    COngratulations on the new machine and frame.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homespun View Post
    I agree. I have a Husqvarna Viking Mega Quilter on a Grace frame. I just practiced and practiced. usually meander and do loops and have learned a few other things. I don't like the close quilting. I want to be able to cuddle under my quilts.
    That's my issue with some of the FMQ tutorials I've watched. I am not so much interested in an "art project." Not that I dislike art quilts or modern quilts, but I am really just interested in making usable quilts right now. I consider myself an advanced beginner to quilting and piecing. When I was offered this set-up from a family member, I excitedly said, "HECK YES I'LL TAKE IT!" As we began the moving process, I immediately thought, "WHAT THE HECK HAVE I DONE?!" LOL

    Thanks to all your responses! Do any of you have any books you would recommend? Or should I just stick with YouTube and jump in?? ��

  10. #10
    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    First advice would be to check out both the Grace and Julie websites to see what information they have. They may have many useful videos and tips. Then check out some of the following people on YouTube :

    Leah Day
    Angela Waters
    Amy Johnson
    Lori Kennedy
    Patsy Thompson
    Linda Taylor
    Cindy Needham
    Christina Cameli
    Anne Peterson


    Then try some on your own
    When you are ready look into the Craftsy classes and the iquilt classes on machine quilting. I've found most very helpful.
    Last edited by bjchad; 03-13-2017 at 08:37 AM. Reason: Not finished when posted

  11. #11
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    Another quilter who has some good advice is Jamie Wallen. I have used some of his suggestions for my home sewing machine, and I am definitely a beginner level at FMQ

  12. #12
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    Congrats on your new toy! Just relax, and have fun. After all, it is just a machine!
    I saw this video and got inspired. It really fires you up and shows that you CAN do it. http://karensquiltscrowscardinals.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    I practiced on fat quarters. Then I turned those fat quarters into zipper pouches and gave them to friends and family. They didn't seem to mind that my quilting was less than perfect. I also keep muslin on hand to sandwich with batting scraps for warm up and practicing new designs.

    Check out APQS tutorials on YouTube. There are lots of other videos there too if you do a search.
    Last edited by quiltsRfun; 03-13-2017 at 10:20 AM.

  14. #14
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Oops, I called her 'Angela Walters' and it's Waters, not Walters...

    One thing that will help you more than anything with your movements is to get a doodle pad and draw the kinds of shapes and movements you like. Meander on a few sheets of doodle pad with a marker. In fact, before I try any new design I always doodle it out first to gain my confidence. There isn't a lot of time to think about where you are going next while FMQing, so practice by doodling to get your design set in your head and hands first.
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  15. #15
    Junior Member mario1360's Avatar
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    All you need is Love
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    Wow, this is soooo helpful. Off to check out the teachers!

  17. #17
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    Totally agree with doodling! I also like to take a picture of my flimsy and then draw directly on it to practice patterns and to test them (I hate frogging -- rippit! rippit!)

  18. #18
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    Tons of great advice and helpful hints here, I would add:

    -Handiquilter has some great videos/tutorials and

    - You can put a strip of newsprint or thick packing paper as if it was your quilt by taping it to the end arms of your frame. Then you can tape a marker to the area beside your needle and "practise" free motion quilting.
    There is a device you can buy that is meant for similar practise but this is cheaper!

    Here is the link to the device so you can get the general idea:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TD6AErE386g

    Good luck, and enjoy!
    A husband is the perfect confidant to tell your secrets to - he can't reveal them to anyone else because he wasn't really listening when you told him!

  19. #19
    Junior Member Sheep Farmer's Avatar
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    LOTS of good advice here!
    I've found what works best for me was to watch as many of the videos as I could and then just practice, practice, practice. I had a lot of old shirts that I cut up and used those for my quilt sandwich to practice. I mostly do squiggles and I try to relax and I just don't care about being perfect cuz in the end no one is going to examine every stitch.

    The main thing is to relax and take your time. I don't like to stitch too close so the quilting usually goes pretty fast.

    Enjoy!
    Sheep Farmer by day ~ Learning to Quilt by night

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjchad View Post
    First advice would be to check out both the Grace and Julie websites to see what information they have. They may have many useful videos and tips. Then check out some of the following people on YouTube :

    Leah Day
    Angela Waters
    Amy Johnson
    Lori Kennedy
    Patsy Thompson
    Linda Taylor
    Cindy Needham
    Christina Cameli
    Anne Peterson


    Then try some on your own
    When you are ready look into the Craftsy classes and the iquilt classes on machine quilting. I've found most very helpful.
    These are some of my favorites as well. The class that made me attempt feathers is the Cindy Needham class. I did a small wall hanging and surprised myself. I keep trying :-)

  21. #21
    Junior Member mlt150's Avatar
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    Man sewing has great videos for beginners.

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...2oJxELoKmCMzX8
    Dianne

  22. #22
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    I just signed up for Mary Smallegan's free motion quilting class on Craftsy. Don't know when I'll use it but will eventually . Being a members of the American Quilter's Society also gives you a bit of a discount too and top of sales. Mary's class is designed for your domestic sewing machine - maybe this post will help others.

  23. #23
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    Only a fool would turn down an opportunity like the one you have. I am very happy for you! I know you'll love this setup as soon as you get over your initial jitters.
    "The great doing of little things makes the great life." Eugena Price

  24. #24
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    A great way to practice is to use preprinted panels or cheater panels...this gives you more design to follow and doesn't require extra piecing to have a quilt top for practice....and you are not afraid to make any mistakes...as it is just practice...they are usually smaller panels also

  25. #25
    Super Member Lilrain's Avatar
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    Let us know how you progress.

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