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Thread: Free Motion Quilting Questions

  1. #1
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    Free Motion Quilting Questions

    I'm wanting to try free motion quilting. I signed up for the online course with craftsy.com "Beyond Basic Machine Quilting". I have reviewed parts of this. However, my first question is what tools are a must have for FMQ. Which sewing foot do you use and do you like it? What tips or advise can you offer?

    Thanks Everyone
    Diane

  2. #2
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    Check out leah day. She tells u everything abt fmq. You need gloves and glider for sure. A glass of wine is a big help too...lol.
    Linda

  3. #3
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    The only must have tool: a sewing machine with a FMQ foot. There are many different kinds of feet you can use, but all of them will work. You just have to find your preference I did find a better sewing machine = better quilting. Sad but true. A very very skilled quilter could probably do well on a cheap machine, but when I upgraded my Kenmore 16221 to a Bernina 430, I was suddenly a better quilter.

    The tools I prefer:
    -A closed toe (metal) foot if I am doing large scale quilting (because my threads get caught on the open toe foot...) an open toe foot (metal) if I am doing small scale quilting (because I need the visibility). I've had a plastic foot before, but didn't love it, others do. My feet do not hop. I like that.
    -Machingers gloves if the quilt is larger than a lap size. Smaller I don't use them because they make my hands sweat, but I need them for traction on larger quilts.
    -Gidget table to recess my machine.
    -Folding table for "outfeed" behind the machine and ironing board on the left side of me, to help support the quilt's weight.

    Another tool I have, but haven't really noticed a difference when I forget to use it
    -Supreme Slider (I've even FMQed without it, with the feed dogs up, with a normal stitch length, and everything still turned out okay.)


    I do usually put my feed dogs down.



    I really love Connecting Threads Essential thread for meandering quilting, as it is thick enough to show. When I do designs that trace over themselves, I use Isacord embroidery thread. It is strong enough to not break, and thin enough to not get ugly when there are many layers of it.


    And yes, Leah Day is a genius.

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    I used Leah day's tutorial to modify a plastic foot and like the results of that. My favorite machine is my 1951 singer 15-91. It does a really nice stitch and is easy for me to speed up and slow down. The machine is in a recessed cabinet so it helps. Otherwise You just need to practice practice practice. It takes time but it's worth it. I am on a limited budget so do not have gloves, bobbin washers or a supreme slider.

  5. #5
    Super Member DonnaC's Avatar
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    Gloves are helpful, but I do not like the Machingers - they make my hands too sweaty, and I have problems picking things up or doing anything else with them on. I prefer the Fons & Porter gloves, which are more like a cloth garden glove and less heavyweight than the Machingers. Actually, you can probably pick up a pair of garden gloves at the Dollar Tree and try those first (smile).

    I have the smaller Supreme Slider but don't always use that either. Does your machine have an extension table? I have an acrylic extension table and just buff it with Turtle Wax. That makes the quilt move easier. Learned that trick in a FMQ class at a local quilt shop.

    You really just need a decent machine with good tension and a free motion quilting foot, either metal or plastic. Everything else is "gravy"!
    Last edited by DonnaC; 06-12-2012 at 07:59 AM. Reason: Typos!

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    Quote Originally Posted by lfstamper View Post
    Check out leah day. She tells u everything abt fmq. You need gloves and glider for sure. A glass of wine is a big help too...lol.
    I agree. If you don't have money for expensive gloves the gardening gloves with rubber grips on the fingers also work well. The gloves aren't too expensive at JoAnns or Hancocks espeically if you use a coupon. Good luck but Leah's website is the way to go.
    Judy

  7. #7
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    All wonderful suggestions and practice, practice, and more practice!! Good luck with it. I think it is fun- by no means any kind of expert.

  8. #8
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    I have never fmq with the feed dogs up. I use the gloves and the slider, I also bought a oven liner at Walmart that is teflon and it cost about $5 I do use table behind the sewing machine and I have a cabinet I use on the side it all helps and lots of practice. Just don't wait as long as I did to jump in. Do some small items first like table runners baby quilts by the time you get done with a few projects you will have the nerve to do a quilt.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DawnFurlong's Avatar
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    I wouldn't want to FMQ without my gloves (machingers) and my home-made glider. There are quite a few links on the board regarding the supreme glider. Like newbee3, I purchased a non-stick oven liner for my oven from Walmart. I then taped some of that foam cupboard liner to the bottom (I might not have even needed to do that, but it keeps the liner from sliding around on my table). I cut out a hole for my needle. Voila! Bigger than the Supreme Glider (and ALOT cheaper).

    Other than that I have my FMQ foot (mine happens to be plastic and closed I believe). And practice sandwich quilts. I always start off practicing a little before I begin my project.
    Dawn

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    Now I seen one picture with some styrafoam built up around the machine. I guess if you do not have a table that the machine can sit down into then it is best to do that?

    I have already looked at Leah's video. I also like her site I just didn't think starting out I would need all of the tools recommended. She has the cadillac version but I'm operating on a bicycle budget. LOL

    I had planned on trying scrap fabric first but I would like to then try place mats before moving to bigger things. I'm new to quilting and have chosen to hand quilt for the most part. However, I'd like to try this and see what happens. No reason I can't have one I'm hand quilting and have one that I'm working on that's FMQ. Best of both worlds I hope.

    Oh and I cant forget the bottle/glass of wine (Thanks if stamper)

  11. #11
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I find that the Machingers are very lightweight and don't make my hands sweat at all. They also aren't very expensive - 7.99 at JoAnn's full price, and you can use a coupon. To me they are completely worth the cost. I've never felt that I needed the glider. You do need some method of supporting the quilt's weight so it doesn't pull on the needle.

  12. #12
    Senior Member rrhaigh's Avatar
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    I found Leah Day's tutorials to be very helpful.
    Robin
    robinsquiltingroom.blogspot.com
    Southern California

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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    it's usually called a darning foot. the shank will have a spring on it. i have two, one is open toe and i use that one. I took a class and we did FMQ with the feed dogs left up. worked fine but sometimes it doesn't. I usually lower mine but have had trouble with some fabrics, or battings giving me fits in moving the quilt. have fun!!!

  14. #14
    Super Member decky's Avatar
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    All I use is a darning foot.

    Pat in MN

  15. #15
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    The must haves - a machine and a darning/quilting foot., universal needles
    The nice to haves - feed dogs that drop, gloves, extension table, extra lighting, good wine.
    The cadillac version - supreme slider, quilting needles, topstitch needles, larger machine, full table extension with drop in for machine, design wall, huge stash, unlimited fabric budget,expensive wine,...... oops, now I'm getting into the platinum version....
    I used to be "hot", now it's just "hot flashes!"

  16. #16
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    For me:
    darning foot
    machingers
    sew slip
    basting spray

  17. #17
    Super Member LynnVT's Avatar
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    I got $3 garden gloves at a discount store and like them because they come in small size - some gloves are too big for me. Have a darning foot, and when I indicate quilting on my machine, the feed dogs go down. Never used that slidy thing and don't see how it would make a difference. I'm happy with what I can do without all the fancyschmancy stuff. Mostly just practice, practice, and more practice. I love small stippling best.
    "The business of life is making memories. In the end, it is all we have." Butler Charlie Carson, Downton Abbey, season 4, episode 3, PBS.

  18. #18
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    I have machingers but they get in my way. I like to tie off the first threads as soon as I can so they are out of my way. That means taking the gloves off and and on. I just grab onto the fabric as if they were ears!

    I FMQ with the feed dogs up and find the back looks better. I bought a bunch of different types of threads and doodled on scrap sandwiches. Then I wrote the details - type of thread, needle used, tension setting, etc. - so I can refer back to them in the future.

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    Yeah...please check out Leah Day's tutorials on Y tube......free and great information!

  20. #20
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    Lots of good advice here! Good luck.

  21. #21
    Suz
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    Leah Day is on YouTube and starts with a basic lesson #1, then move onto the #2, #3, etc. And, aside from the gloves, remember to bring your completed stitching toward yourself. This way you can see where you have been and where you need to go. Good Luck!!! And PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

  22. #22
    Super Member RugosaB's Avatar
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    Last time I FMQ, my darning foot broke. I have an old Viking 630, and the darning foot was $20-$30. It was like the metal part that makes it hop broke in half.
    Does anyone here just use a regular foot?
    I have the ability, and do use, the ability to lower the feed dogs, I'm thinking about just using an open toe foot. Anybody have luck using that?
    You know that feeling when you've finished all your quilting projects and your studio is perfectly clean???? Me neither.

    It's not how fast you sew, it's how well you sew fast! Wait, I think that's supposed to be MOW!

  23. #23
    Super Member Delta's Avatar
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    I love to fmq. just get the stipple foot and off you go. remember to lower your feeddogs. try quilting on a placemat size with top and bottom material and batting as it would be for a quilt. you will learn to even write your name and do designs. good luck.
    SMILE- it will make everyone wonder what you are up to.
    Stay strong and keep looking up.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by turner0106 View Post
    I'm wanting to try free motion quilting. I signed up for the online course with craftsy.com "Beyond Basic Machine Quilting". I have reviewed parts of this. However, my first question is what tools are a must have for FMQ. Which sewing foot do you use and do you like it? What tips or advise can you offer?

    Thanks Everyone
    Diane
    I just took a FMQ class and the first thing we did was make a sandwich anywhere from 18"-22" square and divided that up into squares-- down the middle top to bottom and side to side and then again on sides and across--straight stitched down those lines to make the squares--started out doing the 5 shapes found in any design--arc, s-curve, straight line, loop and hook (which looks like a cursive c). Instructor advised setting machine at slow speed and pressing fast on the pedal--I found medium speed and fast pedal worked best on my machine. I had also watched the Craftsy "Beyond Basic Machine Quilting" class and Leah Day's videos and had done meandering and arcs on a quilt. I used Machinger's gloves but didn't feel the slider helped much. I bought a table with insert that helped. The next quilt I do I will use the quadrant method so that there isn't all the quilt between needle and arm of the machine. I think the most important thing to remember is always keep the needle in needle down position so the quilt doesn't shift when you stop and start again. I used an open toed darning/quilting foot.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by RugosaB View Post
    Does anyone here just use a regular foot?
    I have the ability, and do use, the ability to lower the feed dogs, I'm thinking about just using an open toe foot. Anybody have luck using that?
    Well, there is no reason you couldn't try. You probably will need to lower the pressure of the foot though- the darning feet kind of float above the quilt, not press down on it.


    I've heard of people who don't use a foot at all, but I'd just sew right through my finger...

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