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Thread: FMQ- Any tips?

  1. #1
    Junior Member narnianquilter's Avatar
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    FMQ- Any tips?

    I just started my FMQ attempts yesterday. It started out pretty rough:Name:  2013-08-20_11.17.20.jpg
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Size:  548.0 KB And here is today's attempt:Name:  2013-08-20_11.17.11.jpg
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Size:  556.5 KB Name:  2013-08-20_11.17.02.jpg
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Size:  553.1 KB As I move forward, any suggestions or things I can do better?

  2. #2
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    By day 5 you will be perfect. It takes time. I was once told you need to do ten minutes each day . Like learning to drive a car
    Finished is better than a UFO

  3. #3
    Super Member topper1's Avatar
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    just test drive like you are doing, gotta re teach myself......................
    Be kind today......

  4. #4
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    It's looking better and better! I find that it gets better the longer you do it at one time as well. I try to FMQ a whole quilt in one day, because by the time I get to the end the stitches look a lot better than when I started!

  5. #5
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    It appears you are stopping too often. Visualize the entire loop and do it in one sweep of the hand. You might also be trying to keep the fabric moving. When you feel you are loosing control of the fabric because you need to move the hands. That is the time to stop and reposition. Also when you start up again let the needle move in place for a stitch or two until you have firm grip and then move out. It has been my experience that FMQ ers try to keep the fabric moving. Which causes irregular lines.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOTTYMO View Post
    By day 5 you will be perfect. It takes time. I was once told you need to do ten minutes each day . Like learning to drive a car
    When I first started I practiced about 20 minutes a day. Practice, practice, practice!!

  7. #7
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    Can you set the motor speed on your machine? Set it so you can go pedal to the metal - that way you don't have to think about the sewing machine speed. Keep your shoulders down. Check out the dot-to-dot method (there are books out on that too) so you learn to control the pattern AND you learn stopping and starting without jerkies. That is my current approach. Most importantly, have fun.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Suzette316's Avatar
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    Nothing like practice, practice, practice to get better at FMQ'ing! But three things come to mind that will help anyone doing FMQ. First, breathe. I know it sounds silly and simple, but we tend to hold our breath (without even realizing it) when concentrating. So remember to breathe and it will help relax you and allow your work to be smoother and flow better. And second, don't practice for too long in any one session. Several short (10-15 minutes) sessions a day are better than one long drawn out session.

    And third, don't forget to have fun! Quilting should be fun, but we often turn it into a chore when we are learning or concentrating too hard.

  9. #9
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    As already said ... practice-practice-practice.

    I'll toss in another suggestion .... make your practice pieces larger.
    From your pics, they do not look too wide.
    As I practiced, I found I did better on larger pieces .... with narrow/small pieces, I was working too hard to stay within the fabric edges, and lose your FMQ rhythm. I worked with a bunch of 12" squares, though I think 16" or larger would allow a better feel.
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  10. #10
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    There are panels available that have quilting lines of many different patterns for you to follow and practice. I found one at a LQS. Something else to think about when doing some fmq....when you need to stop to reposition your hands, try to find a point that isn't in the middle of a loop or curve....straight lines are easier points to start up again without losing the "line" or angle of stitching. Also try a bigger pattern, bigger loops....easier than smaller. One last thing you can try is getting a coloring book with very simple pictures....tear out a sheet and then "sew" the lines without thread.

  11. #11
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    I cannot move my sandwich the way I want without my Machingers gloves on. Curves are one of the hardest to start with to keep them smooth. I started with designs that had spots where I could rest, with my needle in the down position, reposition my hands and sandwich and then move on. I then moved onto designs like tear drops that came to a point to rest before moving again. Try doing a daisy where you can rest when the petal loop comes back to the point you started. After doing 5 loops(teardrops) do a line over a bit and do another daisy.

  12. #12
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    There is a product available that is printed by Benartex. I believe it is Meandering Feather. It is printed on 108 inch fabric. It is printed In a wash out ink. It is available by the yard. It is a continuous line design. I find it useful in practicing.

  13. #13
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    You are progressing well - read all the advice here - it will help a lot - and like everyone says practice a lot. Good luck!

  14. #14
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    I have not done a lot of FMQ, but the first couple of times, I took a vanishing ink pen and drew my line on my sandwich. It turned out that I didn't follow that line too much but just having it there, gave me courage. I also found that I am better starting at the lower left and working away from myself(bringing the fabric towards my lap). Otherwise I was concentrating too much on what was now behind the machine and mostly out of sight.
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  15. #15
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    Gloves make a huge difference, You can move the fabric so much easier and easier to keep it moving. Practice, practice. It gets easier.

  16. #16
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    Just jump in with two feet now! You have the idea make a baby quilt and get quilting by the time you finish quilting the baby quilt you will have mastered the design... then do it again and again! Your doing awesome, FMQ isn't perfect don't expect perfection.

  17. #17
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    In addition to practicing, consider taking a class or two in FMQ. You'll get great tips and techniques. I used to have a hard time doing feathers. Once I took a class in FMQ from this teacher who was just wonderful. She helped me overcome the fear of making feathers, and it is a joy now making feathers without having to mark them.

  18. #18
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    I think your getting it, it came out nice.

  19. #19
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    I think it looks good for your first attempt! Don't be too hard on yourself....I understand its a learned practice. I'm a visual learner so I'm going to steal your idea (LOL) of dating my attempts. Then perhaps I can see my progress. I have yet to try because it scares me a little but one day soon, I'll jump in! Keep on working at it. I believe you'll be a pro in no time!

  20. #20
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    My best tips.
    Practice on felt, also use the stop button on the machine if you have one. This take care of the speed of the machine and all you have to concentrate on is your movement of your hands. Use a size 16 needle. Practice and breathe, think of think of some beautiful song that you love and hum it to yourself. then practice again. YOu will get it!

  21. #21
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    What a difference a day made. You made a lot of improvement.
    There's a lot of good suggestions here. These were some of my favorites.
    Be kind to yourself. Encourage yourself. Take breaks. Loosen up you body-dance. Breath. Play instramentals. Good posture/ergonomics. Take a class. Machiners gloves. Repositioning hands. Practice, practice, practice.

    Here's my additional suggestions. Use a product under the fabric on the bed of the machine that allows the fabric to move easier, such as Supreme Glider or Sew Slip.

    When I'm learning a new pattern this is my process: get a photo copy of the pattern on paper. With a round point draw the pattern on the paper (no marking, just follow the line). Do it again until you feel comfortable, or even past comfortable to sloppy bored. Now you should be drawing like you write, without thinking, it's become part of you muscle memory. Get a fresh piece of paper. Draw it with ink until you feel comfortable. Now get a practice quilt sandwich about 18" sq. Go to the machine and stitch it over and over until you feel comfortable. You'll find the groove.

    Take breaks. Set a timer if you need to.

    Go as fast or slow as you want. Single stitch quilting is hard to make a smooth line, it's a little too slow. You need control so don't let the machine run away on it's own, that's too fast. Somewhere inbetween.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Sewflower's Avatar
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    Practice and more practice. Its not how fast or slow you go but how steady you can maintain. It helps to be above your machine. Like driving you need to look ahead and not behind or right at you foot. Marking also helps like when we learned penmanship. Good luck!
    Sewflower

  23. #23
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    All of the above and...try to take a deep breath and relax. When I stop worrying about what my hands are doing and let my eyes do the work, it looks so much better. This is kind of like driving, your eyes will tell the hands what to do. Did that make any sense?

  24. #24
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    One of the most important things is to have your NEEDLE DOWN when you stop to reposition. Try to stop at a spot that won't show if your start-up doesn't exactly match the flow of last stitches. I have "walked" my fingers to the next spot, but it's too easy to make a mistake doing that.

    You need STICKY FINGERS. You can buy the gloves or use the vinyl food service gloves. Holes in the gloves don't matter, as long as there is enough of the glove left to make most of the fingers sticky.

    Make baby quilts and lap quilts for charity for practice. Even large potholders or placemats work. Someone could use them. I know I would be ripping out the practice stitches to save all that fabric and batting. LOL
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  25. #25
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    Are you using gloves to help grip the fabric? I use glycerine instead and it helps control the fabric.

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