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Thread: I may be a lost cause

  1. #26
    Super Member deedum's Avatar
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    FM is something you got to work at. Then one day it just clicks, you improve more and more. Not something you can learn in an hour. I have people ask me quite often to teach them FM, I tell them it is something you got to have lot's of patience and practice to make it work. You can do it, if you want, just persistence.

  2. #27
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    Don't feel alone, common subject on the board. What struck me with the listing was 25 replies to 1000+ views. You hit the nail on the head for a large group of people.

  3. #28
    Super Member katesnanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jan in VA View Post
    Perhaps if you start by looking at straight line quilting with a different eye it will help. There is much more than just stitch in the ditch. I posted this graphic just recently, but I suppose it's worth doing so again.

    Jan in VA
    Thank you, Jan. As always great info.

  4. #29
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    I love fmq, and I hate sitd. I have a Pfaff Quilt Expression 2.0 which sews like an absolute dream and I love the IDT, but I cannot get my stitches to stay in the ditch. With fmq I don't have to worry about that. No, my stitches are not all the same length, but I have decided that they should not be. With shorter stitches I can turn tighter curves and do finer detail, but I don't like really short stitches on wider turns and longer runs of stitches. I still find that I am very satisfied with the overall look.

    My fmq is not totally free hand work. I quite often cut templates from free applique or coloring book shapes that I get online. I meander loops or leaves or hearts or whatever and stitch around the template periodically. I gave up trying to stipple as I always worked myself into a corner and had to do a loop or double back to get out of it. A meander with interspersed shapes works well. I put arrowheads, bears, and kokopeli on a western theme quilt and butterflies, daisies, and bees on a garden theme (flowers) quilt.

    Don't try to copy others work. Just keep trying and keep practicing until you find what you are comfortable with. Oh, you've also got to be relaxed. Just let your fingers guide the quilt where it "feels" right. Also, don't try to fight the quilt or force it to go somewhere. If a stitch or two take off in the wrong direction just go with it and make a loop or something to bring it back where you wanted it.
    Shirley in Arizona

  5. #30
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    Thank you!

  6. #31
    Member happy grandma's Avatar
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    I am doing fmq for the first time. It is far from perfect but I have decided I am just going to have fun. The one thing I have found is I do a lot better when I breathe. Yes I was finding myself holding my breath and tensing up. Relax, breath and enjoy. I have been promised that it will get better.
    And Jan thanks for the straight line ideas. One of them will look perfect in one of my blocks.

  7. #32
    Senior Member Onetomatoplant's Avatar
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    I'm still very much a beginner FMQer, but make lots of practice sammiches and practice just meandering to work on getting your tension right and just getting a feel for speed, stitch length, etc. Then choose a pattern to sew, and just know that initially, it's going to look bad. If you get frustrated get up and walk around or try another FMQ pattern. I bounce around to different patterns when practicing - it cuts down on the frustration and eventually you realize that each one is improving. Yeah, practice, practice, practice.

    It can be fun, I promise!

  8. #33
    Super Member gramquilter2's Avatar
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    Leah Day has some good online help, I think she tells you not to drop the feed dogs. Gloves and practice, practice, practice, ask me how I know! No one is a lost cause.

  9. #34
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    I don't use gloves because I can't find any to fit my small hands. I'd sew the loose fingertips into the quilt! I use Quicksort, a lanolin based gel, like tellers use to count money. It works great, keeps my fingers soft, and I don't have to take it off when I take a break.
    Shirley in Arizona

  10. #35
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    The more you do, the better you get. It also takes a cooperative sewing machine... Ones with the bobbin case set vertically work better than those with bobbin cases that are flat (horizontal).
    http://www.craftsy.com/user/333534/pattern-store?
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    Boom 19 Album of Blocks I Made for Others https://www.quiltingboard.com/member...bums19825.html
    "The reward of a thing well done is having done it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

  11. #36
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    Don't give up yet. I am pretty bad at it too, but I am better than I was. I believe it takes a great deal of practice and time, which I don't have much of right now. But I do believe the day will come when I won't be embarrassed by my work. Keep working on it, you will do fine in time.

  12. #37
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Just practice a lot, a whole lot. Make up some quilt sandwiches and just do it over and over again.
    I wear gloves with rubber nubs. Fabric dries out my hands so much, I can't move the sandwich. Just keep doing it and one day you will see you are pretty good.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  13. #38
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    I also have followed Leah Day's advice found at daystylequilts.com and on you-tube. Her ideas are the most helpful, I think. Before that started out trying stencils but found them much harder than the actual fmq. I feel it is just a matter of practice and not being too hard on yourself. I find that by the time I finish each quilt, I can see progress. Just hang in there!

  14. #39
    IQ2
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    I'm currently taking the Leah Day Craftsy class FMQ Sampler. The best thing I've learned so far is that you should come to a slow stop (with needle down) when you need to readjust your hands or the quilt, and then slowly start up again once you're comfortable...like driving a car...ease up on the gas before you stop and gradually give it gas again when you start. I always thought that once you started free motion you needed to keep moving, and that's how I got myself into the most trouble...pointy curves, giant ("toe-catcher") stitches, etc. (love that class, by the way)

  15. #40
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    I'm a novice. I started 9 months ago. Initially I practiced 1/2hour a day - treating it like piano practice from childhood. Some days I practiced folowing a line and other on consistent stitch length. Next I used a meander stencil to make several sets of placemats. Then I moved to doing charity quilts. I've done 31 of them so far. Each one is better than the last but far from perfect. I still don't do anything freehand. I mostly use pantographs -- trace them onto Golden Threads, needlepunch the paper, and pounce with iron off chalk onto the quilt. It's addictive.

  16. #41
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    That's great advice on straight line stitching. Thanks for sharing.

  17. #42
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    I pretend that my stitches are a bug running around and it makes pretty good looking fmq.lol It gets easier as you go.
    Sewbeadit
    W. Washington

  18. #43
    Super Member Gannyrosie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meldmac View Post
    So I've given fmq a try and I can't seem to get it right at all. I even tried using a stencil and following the lines with my fmq foot and it went horribly. Just can't seem to get the hang of it. Only tried it for a short time , but I think I may stick to straight line quilting. Is it something that gets easier? Or is it one of those skills that you either have it or you don't?
    I have to agree. My love is handquilting, but with all the nieces having children, grandchildren, friends childrens, I can't Handquilt that fast nor want to. So I bought the FMQ feet to fit my too machines for the kids quilts. I have tried and tried to just get the da gone tensions right. I give up. So I only use the foot which has feed dogs to move the top along with the feed dogs on the bottom. Maybe one day when I have no more kids to quilt for I will try again. Until then it will be only the straight foot, but I can still do curves with it and make it look semi fmq. lol

  19. #44
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    Do NOT - I repeat: DO NOT GIVE UP!!

    I didn't start to try FMQ until I was 69 years old. Get this book: Machine Quilting - A Primer of Techniques by Sue Nickels ISBN 1 5742 830 1 Soft cover, very reasonably priced. Available lots of places but I got mine at Amazon.com. Read and follow her instructions and actually make a sampler. A picture of my very first FMQ project is attached. I fell in love with FMQ'ing and wouldn't even think of getting a mid or long arm machine. I do 120 x 120 king size quilts on my small machines. There is a learning curve but isn't at all that bad if you will take the time to go through the book and follow her step by step instructions. I shared this information with the gals in my quilt guild and they do awesome work. Good Luck and don't give up!! It is SO FUN it should be illegal!!!!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #45
    Senior Member sewplease's Avatar
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    Oh Brenwalt, that quilt is beautiful and so inspiring!! I will look for that book. :-)
    Laura

  21. #46
    Senior Member dlf0122quilting's Avatar
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    I started FMQ about a year ago. Being on a fixed retirement budget I could not afford to quilt by checkbook. I find that most of the time it is relaxing for me. I did discover that I had to learn how to set my top and bottom tension according to the thread and it became much easier and more fun. I watch Leah Day every chance I get and have gotten some nice ideas to practice on by watching tutorials on e subject. I admit, it has taken me almost the full year to build my self confidence but I find I am now getting compliments on my work. Don't force it, listen to some music while practicing. I have a friend who listens to audio books while fmq'ing. Good luck, I hope you learn to enjoy it.

  22. #47
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    To ShirlinAZ....you might try some children's size gardening gloves. I bought some once for my GD and they were quite nice. I think they might work for you.

  23. #48
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    I love your posts and I always learn something. Thank you for today's hints and illustrations! I too am practicing and always learning.

  24. #49
    Senior Member Sandrea's Avatar
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    I am still at the practice, practice, practice level...but my biggest problem in FMQ was that I would not take a breath. I almost turned blue in the face before I would stop and breathe. I was so concentrated on where the FM was going, I couldn't take a breath. So now I am learning to breathe while I do it. Has anyone else had the "take a breath problem?"

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