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Thread: FMQ ...stuck!

  1. #1
    Super Member jillmc's Avatar
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    FMQ ...stuck!

    I have been practicing FMQ and most of it looks barely fair. When you started, did you take a class? I am a visual "learner"...are there any good online videos? I have watched several on YouTube, but they make it look so easy! This book sounds good...Beginner's Guide to Free-Motion Quilting by Natalia Bonner....help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Trisher's Avatar
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    Try Leah Day's class(es) on Craftsy. She is so gentle and patient. I would try (using muslin and inexpensive batting) her 'Free Motion Fillers I' first. The trick is simply practice, practice and more practice! Make yourself lots of muslin quilt sandwiches!

  3. #3
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    no lessons here they told me how to set it up and practice practice and that is all i did. it would be nice
    to take lessons but we live in a really small town and no one around to teach fmq.

  4. #4
    tj
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    Leah day's is the best for learning FMQ http://www.daystyledesigns.com/365fillerdesignmain.htm

  5. #5
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    All above great suggestions. It really takes LOTS of practice, and then some. You will find your own method of what is comfortable, regarding, rolling, bunching, etc. Like Trisher said, practice, practice, and more practice.
    Alyce

  6. #6
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    What kind of FMQ do you like? I love Leah Day but don't like my quilts so densely quilted. If I use her designs I increase the size. Take a look at her website to get an idea of her style. If you want more open designs to put in each block, there are paper patterns to stitch through by machine. There are lots of stencils you can buy that have designs you can transfer to your quilt top with a pounce or water erasable markers. I tend to FMQ using the block design seams myself.

  7. #7
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    Yes a class will help. However, it depends on the teacher and the style.

  8. #8
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    FMQ is like riding a bike. It's very hard to explain exactly how to do it. You have to listen to all the advice and just keep trying. Just like riding a bike, one day it will click and you will be able to do it. You may never be fancy stunt rider, but you'll get around town just fine.

  9. #9
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    There are many methods of marking your quilt which are a great help. Class would certainly be good, and practice, practice, practice.

  10. #10
    Super Member jillmc's Avatar
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    thank you for the encouragement! i have been watching Leah and practicing for hours! And ya know what? Once I followed her advice to RELAX and unclench my jaw, my quilting looks MUCH better! I have an overachiever complex, and i think I should be able to FMQ after a short time, and should be able to do feathers, etc. Huh. Reality check. My meandering and loopy loops look much better, and considering I am using bright green thread on muslin, its not too bad for a beginner!

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    I haven't tried FMQ yet but I can so identify with the jaw-clenching activity! LOL

  12. #12
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I just traced out what I wanted to do on scrap and followed them until I got the feel of it and took it from there.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lovequilting22 View Post
    I can so identify with the jaw-clenching activity! LOL
    Yeah, I do the same (jaw-clenching), but also tend to hold onto the handles of my long-arm with a death grip

  14. #14
    Senior Member skowron5's Avatar
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    As others have said practice practice practice. There is another class on Craftsy Ann Peterson. I can't remember the name, but she starts you right from the beginning and you finish a wall hanging when you are done. Here is my first piece with her. I had not done much fmq before. The only other I had done was Leah Day.

    Quote Originally Posted by jillmc View Post
    thank you for the encouragement! i have been watching Leah and practicing for hours! And ya know what? Once I followed her advice to RELAX and unclench my jaw, my quilting looks MUCH better! I have an overachiever complex, and i think I should be able to FMQ after a short time, and should be able to do feathers, etc. Huh. Reality check. My meandering and loopy loops look much better, and considering I am using bright green thread on muslin, its not too bad for a beginner!

  15. #15
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    One day, you will get it. Just keep practicing. Some people learn quicker than others. But don't give up. Keep practicing on small things. You can also doodle the pattern you are trying to quilt on paper or a dry erase board. You will build a mental memory for it and it makes it alot easier to quilt. I bought a big dry erase board just for it. My mom bought a dvd to watch and it was by the pajama quilter. She is kinda fun to watch. I just spent time watching youtube videos.
    enjoy your life...it's the only one you have!!!
    Heather

  16. #16
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    I am trying FMQ for the first time also. The first try was really doomed from the go. As I keep working with it I can see I still need tons of practice. But my thrifty mind can't get around using all that fabric and thread just to dispose of so,,,, I made some into small bags and other projects using quilted fabric. I am practicing on wallets for My 3 DGDs living in Malawi, Central Africa... If the quilting isn't perfect they will still like the wallets!!

  17. #17
    Super Member patchsamkim's Avatar
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    I am a self-taught quilter, and did OK with my machine quilting, but it wasn't until I took a class from Diane Gaudynski that I really learned what I should be doing, and I got so much more comfortable with FMQ after the class. Whether you take a class from a teacher in person, or on-line, I would encourage you to take a class somewhere. It does take a lot of practice though to get proficient at it.

  18. #18
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    Patti Thompson's youtube videos are good and there are some wonderful classes on craftsy. The nice thing about them is that you can go back and re-watch them. The rest is practice, practice, practice.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by skowron5 View Post
    As others have said practice practice practice. There is another class on Craftsy Ann Peterson. I can't remember the name, but she starts you right from the beginning and you finish a wall hanging when you are done. Here is my first piece with her. I had not done much fmq before. The only other I had done was Leah Day.
    The class is called Beyond Basic Machine Quilting by Ann Peterson for Craftsy at craftsy.com. I have been fmq for years, but I am learning a lot from Ann! (I'm taking the class now.) I recommend it.

  20. #20
    Super Member Helen S's Avatar
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    I agree with everyone else here...practice, practice, and practice some more!
    If I had anything to add it would be to make sure you "press down firmly" with your hands while FMQ'ing as this gives you more control.

    FYI, GLAD brand Press n Seal is amazing stuff! I would recommend that you use a marker that is similar in color to your chosen thread for the following idea, since I used a red permanent marker and could see a VERY faint...I repeat, VERY faint pink tint in a few places, so maybe use Crayola washable markers or something similar?

    I printed out a motif I wanted to use, laid a clear cutting board from the dollar store over it, taped it down over the printed motif, then smoothed a piece of Glad Press n Seal over it and used a marker to trace the motif. Pull it off the cutting board and smooth it onto your block and stitch over it, then tear it off! I don't use this all the time, in fact I just recently used it for the first time on a quilt that was making me nuts. It works, AND it produces fantastic results! lol It also doesn't move until you pull it off, and you can do more than one block at a time and it's still in place no matter how much you move the quilt around.
    Being skinny isn't easy, so I gave up and opted for being sexy instead. (aunty acid)

  21. #21
    Super Member koko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa_wanna_b_quilter View Post
    FMQ is like riding a bike. It's very hard to explain exactly how to do it. You have to listen to all the advice and just keep trying. Just like riding a bike, one day it will click and you will be able to do it. You may never be fancy stunt rider, but you'll get around town just fine.
    LOVE this description - so true.

  22. #22
    Junior Member hybearn8er's Avatar
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    I like Kimmy Bruners class on craftsy, she goes through each step by showing you examples on paper then does it on a quilt. The other thing with the craftsy classes is you can watch them over and over till you get it. It makes it easier to practice when you can see someone doing it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member alisonquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jillmc View Post
    ...Once I followed her advice to RELAX and unclench my jaw, my quilting looks MUCH better! I have an overachiever complex, and i think I should be able to FMQ after a short time, and should be able to do feathers....My meandering and loopy loops look much better, and considering I am using bright green thread on muslin, its not too bad for a beginner!
    For me it worked to start with patterns that came naturally - meandering and stippling were easy for me right from the beginning, whereas feathers and cables and whatnot still make my head ache! My girlfriend hates stippling but loves to do little interlocking triangles (lots of short straight lines) as that is what comes naturally to her. If there is some pattern that you have found yourself repeatedly doodling over the years while on the phone, or on your notebooks in highschool, try doing that for your FMQ. There is a huge amount of muscle memory at work here, and if your brain already has a pattern learned it will make mastering the speed/hand motion coordination much easier. Not to mention that a pattern you have been doodling for years probably already appeals to you at some level, and will therefore look nice even if quilted imperfectly!

    I am glad that unclenching your jaw has helped! (I have to work at dropping my shoulders...)

    Alison

  24. #24
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    I watched a TON of Leah Day's videos and I did my practicing on potholders and place mats! I'm not great at FMQ but it doesn't terrify me anymore either. I still need a LOT of practice before I would do it on an "important" quilt, but quilts that are just for me are perfect for practicing on. I even managed to FMQ a king size quilt! (And I don't have a longarm machine....yet)

    A tip that helped me a lot - make sure you have good support for your quilt as you're working. If too much of your quilt is hanging off the table it can pull itself along faster than you want it to and it's harder to control. Grippy quilting gloves helped me quite a bit, too.

  25. #25
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I love free motion when I get started. It always takes me a time to start. I think practise is one thing you need but like hand quilting somebody who encourages and does not critise. If you make a mistake repeat it a few times to make it part of the pattern. I also refuse to undo unless it is absolutely terrible.
    Finished is better than a UFO

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