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Thread: FMQ - What am I doing "wrong"?

  1. #26
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    I started FMQ at a charity group sew-in. Nobody told me it was hard so I just started in and had no problems quilting baby quilts on a Janome Gem. Then several years later I took a machine quilting class. So many rules. It took all the fun out of it and robbed me of my confidence. So I'd say if you're happy with your quilting, just keep practicing and enjoying. Before I start quilting on a project I always do a few minutes on a practice piece to get my rhythm going and I also make sure there's plenty of room around my machine to support my quilt project but other than that, no rules.

  2. #27
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wintersewer View Post
    Archa,
    I had the same experience. The technical aspects of FMQ came easily. I am still working on learning a pleasing design. For me that is the hard part. I need to doodle on paper more often.
    I also find some days better than others. I used to doodle a lot, maybe that's why this was "easier" than I expected.

    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    Tammi, I think you started with a decent working machine. Then I think you researched a lot before you started. Some of us just dive in and learn by trial and error. You have used the experience of others to learn. Why not success? I think you are right about sponges taking up too much space - my fingers don't want to be hit by the needle bar screw.
    Ok,.. then I should stop waiting for the other shoe to drop then and just enjoy? Thanks

    I did have the needle bar clamp sort of graze me with the sponges. I let out this weird "nnnnaaauughhh!" noise that made DH laugh out loud. I guess in retrospect it was funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by salederer View Post
    I've been doing free motion quilting for just a little over ten years, since I first learned to quilt. I've found that it takes practice, practice, practice! the best thing to practice on is a sandwiched piece, simular to the quilt you will be working on. Don't go too fast. A nice steady speed, keeping your speed and movement of fabric together. Also if practicing on a large piece have it supported on tables or something to keep the piece level with your machine. Good luck.
    I must say that I an really enjoying that table I modified to fit the machines in at bed level. I think it's made a huge difference. I use the machines on top of a desk at our sewing circle, and I fought a lot more with my quilt last night when I was there than I do at home.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sarah in Brooklyn View Post
    I think you're just a natural - and lucky!
    Thanks Sarah! And I love your avatar!

    Quote Originally Posted by sulyle View Post
    I started FMQ at a charity group sew-in. Nobody told me it was hard so I just started in and had no problems quilting baby quilts on a Janome Gem. Then several years later I took a machine quilting class. So many rules. It took all the fun out of it and robbed me of my confidence. So I'd say if you're happy with your quilting, just keep practicing and enjoying. Before I start quilting on a project I always do a few minutes on a practice piece to get my rhythm going and I also make sure there's plenty of room around my machine to support my quilt project but other than that, no rules.
    FMQ with rules? That sounds so counter intuitive! after all the F does stand for "free"... which is not the first word I used when I tried free motion embroidery on a slant with a horizontal bobbin way back when. I'm glad to hear that I don't necessarily need to change anything at this point (other than a smaller sized needle and more practice time)


    So, one thing about practice is that it uses a lot of fabric and batting. What are some of the ways to "Save" fabric or batting? I have some cheapie fabric i picked up but that's not going to last long, what about batting? I could swear I saw someone throwing another layer of fabric on top after they'd practiced all over one sandwich, but I'd think that may cause problems... the threads are harder to pierce or move out of the way, aren't they?

    For now, I'm just making draft dodgers and such out of them, but I'm going to run out of doors soon.

  3. #28
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have FMQd about 85 or more quilts. The first one I ever did is on our bed now. I can really see my improvement. I'm still not real good at it but it pleases me and that is all I care about. I only give quilts to people I think need a quilt. I don't do any fancy designs, just like to move to suit myself. the hardest part is learning to move the hands according to the speed of the machine. For me going fast and moving fast works best for me.
    I'm with your grampa, don't borrow trouble. I set my top tension at 2, I use whichever thread I choose. Lowering the feed dogs makes it easier for me. Stitch length doesn't matter if the feed dogs are lowered. My bobbins are metal as are all the machine parts. Practice is important.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  4. #29
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    Let your work speak for you. Show it at a guild or in a show. Then you can compare to other quilting and see the difference if any.
    I may see if I can find a show around here just to go and look at what's out there. I don't know if Edmonton has a show? I'm a ways away from wanting people to see my FMQ, and definitely miles away from wanting anyone to see my piecing. LOL!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
    I have FMQd about 85 or more quilts. The first one I ever did is on our bed now. I can really see my improvement. I'm still not real good at it but it pleases me and that is all I care about. I only give quilts to people I think need a quilt. I don't do any fancy designs, just like to move to suit myself. the hardest part is learning to move the hands according to the speed of the machine. For me going fast and moving fast works best for me.
    I'm with your grampa, don't borrow trouble. I set my top tension at 2, I use whichever thread I choose. Lowering the feed dogs makes it easier for me. Stitch length doesn't matter if the feed dogs are lowered. My bobbins are metal as are all the machine parts. Practice is important.
    See, that's a just unfathomable number of quilts for me. This one I'm binding has been a UFO since about November, and it's my first. You'd think I'd have been all over it.

    I seem to do better with fast as well. After watching Leah Day's video about the FMQ foot she recommends, (where she talks about slowing it down for newbies) I tried and was able to go slower on the 15 for some reason, and I did enjoy that too. I didn't even mind the warm toes, I am in Central AB in winter after all.

    I will bind this quilt tonight and make some more sammies to practice on.

  5. #30
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    Sounds like you were born to be a FMQ and have a natural abilitly to do this. Maybe you have another area that you have to work harder at be perfect. Enjoy your talent and keep going. Wish it was that easy for me.

  6. #31
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jannie View Post
    Sounds like you were born to be a FMQ and have a natural abilitly to do this. Maybe you have another area that you have to work harder at be perfect. Enjoy your talent and keep going. Wish it was that easy for me.
    Binding. That's the one for sure that kicks me in the rear end. I've tried it possibly a half dozen times, and each time thought, "it shouldn't be this hard to follow the line a second time and get it straight, but it is...."

    Just finished binding my first quilt tonight, and I'm not sure I made it better with my,...holy cow, what, more than 5 hours of effort? It wasn't that big. Apparently I'm also a very slow binder.

    I will set aside some time to practice FMQ the rest of this week and see what progress I can make. For now, my forearms are sore from wrestling a quilt from a cat the whole evening.

    I really can't believe I just said that. The quilt inspector was on-site for all of the finishing work. We tried to make her wait but she just wouldn't, so I worked around her.

  7. #32
    Senior Member Pepita's Avatar
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    For me I have found thread tension a problem with all machines. Especially if you use non matching thread. Such as Bottom Line with a different top thread. These problems don't just start at the beginning, they develop! So keep checking your tension, on the bottom of the quilt, and the front. Oil your machine every time you put new thread in your bobbin. ESPECIALLY if you are using Bottom line, embroidery bobbin thread or a thin thread. I keep a cue tip by my machine and dab some sewing machine oil on the cue tip. Then when the bobbin is out I swipe it around the pin that goes through the middle of the bobbin case. I also swipe the back of the area that holds the bobbin case.

    If you are sewing for a long time, make sure you check under the throat plate, mine accumulates lint, clean it out, and oil again, moving parts. You don't need lots of oil, just make sure that the cue tip is oiled and it oils the part you want. Keep it away from computer boards. I had a singer that was made in 1971 and used it for many years. However, it was very loud, and the timing would go out while I was quilting.

    When you start making mistakes, and you will. Stop get up, take a break. You are tired. You can't expect the machine to work non stop and not make mistakes--and in this case the machine I am talking about is you. If you start having problems with needle breakage take a look at your throat plate. Do you see some little nicks? That comes from pushing your fabric or pulling it too fast for the machine. Ask me how I know? Pam Holland doesn't drop her feed dogs when she free motion quilts. I have tried it, it works, just try what you like, and work from there. Good luck.
    Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. Mark Twain

  8. #33
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips! I'm a little fanatical about keeping my machines clean, so hopefully I'll avoid that pitfall.

    I had wondered if some of the "bobbin threads" would be an issue. I got my hands on a sample of filtec bobbins a while back and really disliked them. The thread kept breaking with regular sewing. I didn't buy any more, and I have 3.5 of them here I will probably never use.

    I have no computer boards in any of my machines. Apparently I'm "old school"

    Thanks for the reminder about breaks. I'm terrible about remembering this. When I FMQ at our sewing circle, I get told to get up and walk and stretch. It doesn't occur to me til I hurt the next day.

  9. #34
    QM
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    If your top and bottom threads are a reasonable match, the crossover between them is less visible. I suspect you are being too hard on yourself and are much more critical than others would be. Since I switched to using Thermore batting, however, the density of that batting tends to reduce the problem. Bed sheets tend to accentuate the problem, in my experience. Good thread and good quality quilting needles do help. After I tried titanium needles, I don't think I will ever go back.

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