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Free Motion Quilting Questions

Free Motion Quilting Questions

Old 03-30-2018, 08:47 AM
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Default Free Motion Quilting Questions

So I've just started playing around with free motion quilting, and I'm struggling with finding direct answers on google, so I thought I'd try here-
1) I assume stitches can be too close together, is there a general rule of thumb for the ideal stitch length?
2) If I'm ok with having lines that are clearly mismatched, unequal, or generally wonky, is it likely that whoever is receiving the gift will immediately note those mistakes? Do you have a general rule of thumb for the number of mistakes you think make a gift 'quaintly homemade' vs 'too lazy to use a seamripper'?
3) Have you ever tried taping a mini marker to the shank your foot attaches to to practice shapes? Does this work, or is it better to spend the money and learn on true quilt sandwiches? (My thought was start by practicing shapes, and then go to sandwiches to practice speed, before graduating to quilts)
4) Any advice based on my latest practice sandwich?
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Old 03-30-2018, 08:51 AM
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I think you are off to a great start. If that was my quilting I would jump right in. My difficulty is taking the plunge on a quilt top that I don't want to ruin. For me practice pieces of fabric and batting is how I am approaching this process!
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Old 03-30-2018, 08:54 AM
Join Date: Mar 2018
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Personally I think practice makes almost perfect. I have yet to see a “mistake free” free motion quilt. With time you will get into your own groove. Go look at Leah Day’s website. She has tons of videos on free motion quilting.
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:25 AM
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How visible your mistakes are to others, partially depends on how much contrast there is between the thread and the fabric colors. You don't have to use the same color top and bobbin thread. If you choose a color that blends in with a small print or tone-on-tone backing, errors won't show up there.
And, of course, once the quilt is washed, the errors won't be as visible. You're doing well, so be brave and quilt on!
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:26 AM
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you are doing a great job so far
Nancy in western NY
before you speak T.H.I.N.K. T is it True? H is it Helpful? I is it Inspiring? N is it Necessary? K is it Kind?
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:50 AM
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Looks great! I practise with pencil/marker/paper by doodling the design that I want to stitch. You can use anything for paper. I use old newspapers or the back of junk mail. Doodling helps create muscle memory so when you sit down to stitch your brain and hands are familiar with how to move your quilt.
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Old 03-30-2018, 09:55 AM
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Well done! Don't obsess about stitch length. They next time you go to a show, take a look at professionally long armed quilts. Unless they are done by a computer, you will see different stitch lengths. I try to avoid stitching in one spot to avoid little hills but other then that, I just continue on quilting. I recommend Machinger gloves or similar to help move your quilt sandwich.
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:07 AM
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You’re off to a great start. The main difference between doing practice sandwiches and a “real” quilt is that you will need to learn how to manage the bulk of the quilt. So when you decide it’s time to work on a project that is larger than your practice sandwiches here are three things that I find helpful. 1.Have a table or ironing board to the left of your machine and also something to the back to help you support the quilt. This will help to reduce drag which is caused when parts of the quilt go off the side or back end of the table and will cause changes in stitch length and also lots of hard work for you shoulders, forearms and hands trying to fight against it. 2. Squish or accordian fold the quilt to help it fit through your machine rather than rolling it. Rolled quilts get stiff and it takes more time to rearrange them as you move through the quilt than it does to simply squish or accordian fold them. 3. You might want to nvest in a suspension system. I have a jury-rigged system that uses a speaker pole and the top hinge on the door to my room to suspend a bungee cord across my quilting area, I have a couple of clamps that dangle down from it on light weight bungies. The clamps help manage the quilt and really take all the weight off the surface- check out Leah Day's blog/website for hhow she did her suspension system. Or just do a google search for quilt suspension systems to get a sense of how others have cnstructed them.

Have fun with it,
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Old 03-30-2018, 02:50 PM
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Renae merril has free motion trainers if you want something to practice with. I like it
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Old 03-30-2018, 03:24 PM
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I think your stitches look great! I'm also rather new at this and am finding the more I practice the better it looks.
As for people noticing, I really don't think most people notice stitching, unless you're a fellow quilter and even then I don't think it's a big deal. By the looks of yours I don't think you have anything to worry about.
I keep reminding myself to relax as I tend to get tightened up when FMQ.
You're doing well
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