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Machine quilting advice

Old 09-27-2010, 08:52 PM
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Location: Michigan - St. Clair County
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I'm moving on to my next level!! I'm ready to take on free motion quilting using my Singer 301. I have 4 baby quilts ready & all will be donated to Quilts for Kids. I've free motioned totes and a few other smaller projects, so am aquainted with the process, but quilting a larger piece has me NERVOUS.
There is so much I don't know: Should I start in the middle? Should I pin? Should I hand baste? on & on.....

Any advice you are willing to share will be "sew" appreciated.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:56 PM
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All of the above! I pin first, then hand baste. It is the way I learned and I can't change. I don't use the basting spray, but a lot of quilters do use it with great success.

Starting in the center is the best way to go, also the way I learned. Good luck!
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Old 09-27-2010, 09:47 PM
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I pin baste then start in middle,
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Old 09-28-2010, 02:12 AM
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I was told to start in the middle and divide the quilt into 4ths and do a 4th at a time.
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:33 AM
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I use the basting spray, and love it! Start in the middle and work out; I work outward in a spiral. Good luck!
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Old 09-28-2010, 03:58 AM
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Sandwich some scraps first and practice to get your speed right. Quilters gloves help you grip the fabric and have a bit more control. Don't let your quilt hang over the sides of the table, make it all sit on your table so it doesn't weigh the quilt down. (Not so important on a baby quilt but it could get caught on your table edge. Most important, have fun!!!!
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Old 09-28-2010, 04:55 AM
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Chewing gum. It helps you concentrate and get the rhythm.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:58 AM
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After getting Harriett Hargraves and Diane Gaudinski's machine quilting books I learned this great tip... Both recommend, after pin basting, SID to help stablize the quilt for FMQ. I tried it and it made a world of difference. You can take out the pins once you have SID a grid which makes the quilt much lighter and easier to move for FMQ. Say you have 12" finished pieced blocks. You only need to SID around the blocks not on each element within the block.

Oh and when SID, they both recommend doing all your horizontal lines before doing any vertical (or vice-versa, do all vertical then all horizontal)

Start in the middle and work your way out. As you work to the ends it gets easier becasue you don't have all that bulk in the throat of the machine.

They also stress a good work area where you can sit comfortably and pay attention to how you hold your arms so you don't fall into the bad habit of raising those elbows up like bird wings which lead to stiff neck and fatigue.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:31 AM
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WOW . love the advice.... i think I will print for future reference. thank you
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Old 09-28-2010, 10:41 AM
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I turn my machine sideways with the foot and needle towards me and the right side of the machine to the back. I don't have to worry so much about throat space. It took a little time to get used to it. I fumbled with the new location of the pressure foot lifter and the wheel at the back but once I got used to it, FMQ was so much easier.
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