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Thread: Free Motion Quilting - - -

  1. #1
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    Free Motion Quilting - - -

    I think people either have knack for it or they don't.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Junior Member Grannies G's Avatar
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    My personal journey started with my walking foot and straight lines till I got really bored and started looking at other quilts then decided to challenge myself. Next came stippling. I knew the basic principle I had hand stipples a piece once. Never again by hand. So finally I figured if it can be done by hand or long arm I can do it too. So my response is if a person wants to they can it just takes practice practice practice. Granted most of my work is wall hanging size a few cuddle quilts but nothing really big due to my machine limitations. Also if you can follow a line you should be able to do at least some fmq. So much for my hmo.

  3. #3
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    Practice, practice, practice. I've often told so many people that I just can't believe the learning curve on this technique. I took a class and it seemed we were learning to doodle. So I started meandering and I meandered everything because I felt I could almost get that done. Once I got tired of that stitch, I started looking at you-tube videos, bought a couple of books and I just keep trying. It was a real struggle on a domestic machine even though it had an 11" throat space. I bought a sit down longarm and felt I did better on that machine. I'm still learning and its been over 5 years! There is a definite difference between my first table topper which I still use and my last quilt that I gave away and was pretty proud of how that turned out. I'm so determined to make my quilts - my quilts that I'm sticking with it. Also, I found making lap quilts great practice. It seemed small pieces just didn't let me get in enough practice. People that don't quilt or sew don't even know my FMQ isn't up to par and they are happy to get their quilts.

  4. #4
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    No I think practice makes a difference. I you were to see my work 7 years ago vs. today it's a huge difference. The journey requires a lot of patience. Results take awhile and some want instant gratification. Took me many years for my stitches to look okay and I am still not the best at it but can be if I had more time to practice
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  5. #5
    Senior Member lyric girl's Avatar
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    You need to practice. I found it so frustrating that I bought a long arm (not an option for everybody). Even with a Bernina Stitch Regulator, I found it very hard to do, but I didn't work at it a lot.

  6. #6
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    I think it comes easier to some people but practice does bring improvement. I got better when I realized that my FMQ stitch length will never be as perfect as when I sew with a set stitch length.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JanieW's Avatar
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    I believe that as with all activities we get better with practice. However you have to know what you are practising. Itís not as simple as lowering the feed dogs, pulling up the bobbin thread and starting to sew. Thereís more to it than that.


    I wonder for those who donít seem to have the knack if itís not from lack of practice; rather they havenít been taught what to practice.

  8. #8
    Super Member ekuw's Avatar
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    Yes, maybe that's true, you have a knack or you don't, but more than that I think it's a mental obstacle. If you can overcome your fear of FMQ you can succeed. Success being defined by you, not someone else. Practice will get you there :-)

  9. #9
    Super Member Ariannaquilts's Avatar
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    There's a woman on YouTube that apparently took to FMQ like a fish to water, I've never seen anything like it before! I have to say I was pretty annoyed that the majority of us have to practice constantly and then to find out some people just got it! (Intentional bad grammar). So for those of us who don't have it we just need to keep practicing.
    Maria
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  10. #10
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    Oh I think they do. I've seen wonders done on a simple domestic machine that I could never duplicate. as it is, I've lost my confidence in doing FMQing. it's been awhile.

  11. #11
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I think a lot of it is desire and practice, practice and more practice. I can do it on a small mechanical dinky machine. It takes a little maneuvering to get the entire quilt through, but, I only work on the part under the needle anyway. I have a bigger machine now, Brother PQ 1500 and it is easier to maneuver, but still need practice. I'm satisfied with my progress so far. I've branched out from meandering. I don't enjoy stitching in the ditch, at all. Plus I am not good at it. I think if some people gave it a chance and were willing to put some effort into it, they could probably find at least one thing that works for them, whether meandering, swirls, or something else. People at my quilting group say they are "afraid" to try it. I say "what are you afraid of". They don't know. I offer to show them but they are too afraid.
    Alyce

  12. #12
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    I think with years of practice anyone would be able to do it well, but my attempts several years ago were so bad, I realized that I don't have enough years left! Besides that, I have sooo much stash that needs to be quilts, I have to be in a real hurry! Remember that I'm a very little, very old lady.

  13. #13
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SillySusan View Post
    I think with years of practice anyone would be able to do it well, but my attempts several years ago were so bad, I realized that I don't have enough years left! Besides that, I have sooo much stash that needs to be quilts, I have to be in a real hurry! Remember that I'm a very little, very old lady.
    I am too! I mean very old lady!! It doesn't take years of practice unless one is trying to do some fancy stuff. But, that doesn't mean everyone has to do it!! My first tries were quite sad.
    Alyce

  14. #14
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    I think some people really do have a knack for it. Some people can conceptualize what things are going to look like before they happen and they can plan how or what they are going to stitch next and just keep on going. I can't do that and have to stop constantly and figure out where I'm going next and which way I need to swing my needle etc.
    Practice is important and can produce a great product, but some people are just natural artists and it seems effortless. The rest of us just plug away.

    Watson

  15. #15
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    Bear, I agree with you. I think some people have more natural talent for it. I'm plugging away but I doubt I'll ever be really good at it.
    I'm a hand quilter at heart. That's really my favorite and I'm pretty good at it.

  16. #16
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    I agree that with lessons/training and practice that many people can become "fairly competent" at it.

    But there are some that have that "artist's eye" -

    I can do an excellent "stitch in the ditch" - but that is a bit boring - and hardly ever gets "ooohs and ahhhhs"

  17. #17
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    I do think that practice does help tremendously, BUT I do think that some people are just born with the "knack". I know a local gal that can't sew or cut a straight line but she can FMQ little tiny vases with flowers, etc., on a large quilt and do it all on a el cheapo brother sewing machine with a walking foot.

  18. #18
    Super Member meyert's Avatar
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    just like drawing, some people can do it better than others.... but I also have to say that you need to have the right sewing machine and alot of patience...... not sure when I will get better but I keep plugging away

  19. #19
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    I think you are right. Some just have a natural talent with FMQ. I am not good at all. Even with practice I can meander some days and then other days it just is a waste of time and threads

  20. #20
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    The real thing about FMQ is to figure out what speed of the machine works best for the speed you move your hands. I do better moving my hands fairly fast and having the machine go fast too. Learning to relax helps a lot, if you tense up it show in your quilting..
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  21. #21
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Bearisgray...that there are some who just have the knack of FMQ while the rest (including myself) have to practice, practice. I enjoy FMQ and the journey I’m on to get better at it. I don’t have to be an award winning quilter but I do want to do my own quilts so I’ll just keep practicing. : )
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  22. #22
    Super Member Battle Axe's Avatar
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    I used to have a booth at a 4-H fair where you could pound nails for $1.00 and sink it in three hits and maybe win a candy bar. Most men will bite on that just to show off. It's a wonder that we didn't put out someone's eye. They tried to clobber it and it went flying. Along comes a tiny little woman from somewhere in Asia. She had what I can "hand/eye/coordination". She could sink the nail in three hits almost every time. Grown men not so much.

    Moral of the story, some people are coordinated and some are not.

  23. #23
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    Yes, I believe it’s a gift some have and some don’t. Yes, practice certainly helps but some can practice for a year and still it looks pretty bad and others are doing feathers in a month. My DIL did not know how to sew on a button but was very interested in some embroidery she saw. So one Christmas DS bought her a cheap plastic Singer sewing machine and her dad bought her a cheapo embroidery machine. Within months she bought a much better embroidery machine and in 6 months she had a business going part time. Most people don’t do that well, she had the ‘knack’. So it is with FMQ. I don’t think I have it, but I can get by.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Sailorwoman's Avatar
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    Janie W, I found your comment very interesting: [rather they haven’t been taught what to practice.] Could you elaborate on that comment, please because I really don't know what to practice or perhaps you could provide a useful link. I practice drawing the design on paper and then practice on practice sandwiches but now I wonder what else I am missing. I am one of those to whom fmq does not come easily.

  25. #25
    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    I think part of the issue is fear. Just as young people took to computers when they came in because they werenít afraid of them, I think some people can get hung up on being afraid of FMQ. So they tighten up and have issues. Also, people think FMQ has to be perfect. It is never going to be perfect. We have to get over that inner editor. Yes, some people are more artistic than others. Yes, some people are more coordinated than others. And these play a part, but fear is another big factor.

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