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Thread: meandering FMQ pattern

  1. #1
    Junior Member Rymer's Avatar
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    Hi All
    I'm a beginner at quilting, however would like to quilt my own quilts. I sent my son's quilt to be quilted and it cost me 40.00 (baby sized quilt) and it was a basic quilt made of squares! I figure I can do something on my own that would work. I got a stippling foot for my machine but was wondering how in the world do I make that meandering pattern? do I just wing it? is there a process to it? anyone have any pointers? do you even know what I'm talking about?? LOL.....any help is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    There are some nice tutorials on the web. I just spent a few hours there last night. Practice - practice - practice. I'm in the same spot you are and so far my attempts have all looked like crap. A big jerky mess. I've been looking for a class but none of the LQSes around here are offering machine quilting as a stand-alone class. Maybe I'll talk to the store and see if I can get a personal lesson just to get me going coz on my own - I SUCK!

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Rymer's Avatar
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    ha ha ha...thanks!! I figure even if mine look like a big jerky mess, that will be fine! I will be happy that I can do it on my own and not have to spend that much money on a toddler quilt. I most likely would not attempt a bigger quilt since I just have a basic sewing machine, but baby/toddler quilts I should be able to do something with. I'll check out some stuff on line. thanks! Good luck to you as well.

  4. #4
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rymer
    ha ha ha...thanks!! I figure even if mine look like a big jerky mess, that will be fine! I will be happy that I can do it on my own and not have to spend that much money on a toddler quilt. I most likely would not attempt a bigger quilt since I just have a basic sewing machine, but baby/toddler quilts I should be able to do something with. I'll check out some stuff on line. thanks! Good luck to you as well.
    Thanks.

    I've actually have gotten pretty good at SID (stitch in the ditch) and usually do a grid pattern along all the straight seams. If my blocks are too large and there is no applique in the center, I sometimes combine it with a tie in the center. All of my SID quilts have been washed a gazillion times, and they hold up really well. Just a thought to keep you going while you practice the other.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    I got started by lots and lots of doodles with pencil and paper. It was a lot cheaper than making sandwiches of fabric and batting to practice on. I doodled large meanders, then medium ones and finally small ones. I doodled on newspapers, old envelopes, the backs of letters etc. until my hand/eye coordination was really comfortable with where to go and how not to get 'caught' in odd shapes. When I was really happy on paper, that was when I did the sandwich thing and praticed with fabric. At that point, I knew all about where to go with the pattern, so I only had to get the speed/stitch length sorted. Hope that helps.

  6. #6
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have done the FMQ on lots of quilts, not perfect by any means, I love doing it and don't mind if I get some points or cross over other stitches. Unless someone exams it very close up, it really doesn't matter. You must have gloves with little rubber nubs on them, makes it easier to move the fabric, relax and work on your moving with the speed of the machine. You have to work together. Youtube probably has a tutorial on it or you can find one on here. Just keep practicing until you are pleased with it. No matter what it looks like, I figure if I have someone quilt my quilts, I can't honestly say I made it myself.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sewgray's Avatar
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    This was my first and so far only FMQ. I actually liked doing the quilting part. Find a beginning machine quilting class or buy a good book or dvd. Then practice, practice, practice.
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  8. #8
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacelady
    I got started by lots and lots of doodles with pencil and paper. It was a lot cheaper than making sandwiches of fabric and batting to practice on. I doodled large meanders, then medium ones and finally small ones. I doodled on newspapers, old envelopes, the backs of letters etc. until my hand/eye coordination was really comfortable with where to go and how not to get 'caught' in odd shapes. When I was really happy on paper, that was when I did the sandwich thing and praticed with fabric. At that point, I knew all about where to go with the pattern, so I only had to get the speed/stitch length sorted. Hope that helps.

    good thinking ;-)

  9. #9
    Junior Member Rymer's Avatar
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    thanks ladies!! I got my quilting foot tonight and I made an attempt....do you have any idea why this is happening? here is a picture of the front and back. any clue? I have a Brother XR52, so I don't lower the feed dogs, I have a plate that covers them.
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  10. #10
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I started with meandering and practiced a lot. Most of them are on beds in my house. The quilting gloves are great and help you control the quilt better. Just let yourself relax and you will do fine. I love free motion quilting.

  11. #11
    Super Member LindaM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rymer
    thanks ladies!! I got my quilting foot tonight and I made an attempt....do you have any idea why this is happening? here is a picture of the front and back. any clue? I have a Brother XR52, so I don't lower the feed dogs, I have a plate that covers them.
    This looks like the bobbin isn't threaded quite right. When I get this sort of nastiness, I take all the thread out and rethread everything again.

  12. #12
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Hi Rymer - I have a brother XR-52 also. I do lots of FMQ on it. I'm not an expert but have had the issue you show on the back. I would rewind a new bobbin, change the needle, rethread, make sure the bobbin case is clean (I recently cleaned mine out using the manual as a guide and it was not hard). I also set the stitch length at 0 and don't use that little plate. I found it caused some drag on the quilt. I use one of those silicone slider things with a hole for the needle that covers the feed dogs but you could use a thick piece of vinyl too. Another thing I learned is to try and find the "sweet spot" where your hands and machine are going at just the right rhythm. I don't always get it, but I know it when I do. I have found this machine not to be fussy on what kind of thread I use. Good luck! Will look forward to more pictures.

  13. #13
    Junior Member Rymer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitchnripper
    Hi Rymer - I have a brother XR-52 also. I do lots of FMQ on it. I'm not an expert but have had the issue you show on the back. I would rewind a new bobbin, change the needle, rethread, make sure the bobbin case is clean (I recently cleaned mine out using the manual as a guide and it was not hard). I also set the stitch length at 0 and don't use that little plate. I found it caused some drag on the quilt. I use one of those silicone slider things with a hole for the needle that covers the feed dogs but you could use a thick piece of vinyl too. Another thing I learned is to try and find the "sweet spot" where your hands and machine are going at just the right rhythm. I don't always get it, but I know it when I do. I have found this machine not to be fussy on what kind of thread I use. Good luck! Will look forward to more pictures.
    oh what is this silicone slider thing you speak of? where can I get it? I don't like the plate we have to use. I"m so excited to see someone else do this w/ my machine!! with the help of the ladies in chat I figured out that I didn't put my lever down (doh!! rookie mistake) so it got a lot better, but the thread on the back was still kind of loose. so I need to rethread and try again. I just had my machine cleaned by a shop so it should be pristine! LOL! thank you so much for responding!

  14. #14
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    Having taken a class in FMQ (and failed miserably, I might add), I found out the hard way it is important to use quality thread. I was using my old stand-by---Coats and Clark. The thread continued to break constantly and the underside of my quilting attempts looked like yours much of the time Our teacher said better quality thread would not break because the fibers were longer. Coats and Clark uses short fibers so they can give us better prices.

    And, my machine balked when I took her home and refused to sew. I found out my whole bobbin area was plugged up with short pieces of red thread that I had used in class.

    Good Luck
    I for one am becoming good friends with my long arm quilter for the time being

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  15. #15
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    I don't have that same Brother but did sew on a Brother CS6000 for some time. It would do that same birdsnest nastiness from time to time. I have no idea what would cause it but cleaning and rethreading usually solved the issue.

    A few things that really helped me get started with FMQ'ing was;

    1) Set my machine at a max speed I was comfortable with. I didn't have to worry about keeping it at a constant speed with the pedal only partially pushed down. With my Brother there were only three speed options so I had to learn to like the middle speed but my Bernina has a very wide range of speeds so it's much easier to work with.

    2) Practice on fabric sandwiches. Yes paper and pencil is cheaper but it isn't the same movement you use with quilting. With quilting the fabric is your paper and the needle your pencil. I guess if you had a way of having your pencil stay stationary and you moved the paper that would better mimick quilting but the best practice is going to be actual quilting.

    3) The gloves do help. I didn't use them at first because I thought I would be aggravated by not being able to "feel" the fabric but that wasn't as big of an issue as I thought it would be. It does take a little getting used to but you'll get used to it quickly and like I said, they really do help.

    4) Map out your path of quilting before you start. For example, I just finished a pinwheel quilt. I started in the center and did one square at a time. I did the 4 center squares and then from there started going around them, moving out a row each time I finished a row. (Does that make sense? I hope so.) That way no areas got left or forgotten.

    5) I know not everyone does but I start in the center. I'm not the best at basting yet and can't guarentee that my backing is pulled as much as it should be. By starting in the center and working out I push out any wrinkles or folds I might have in the backing.

    Okay, lots of rambling, I hope something I said will help! :) Good luck!

  16. #16
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    When practicing, try different shapes. I don't worry about crossing the lines.
    Try rows of a small e, you know a series of loops. Write out your name. And music and a glass of wine helps. Ha Ha

  17. #17
    Junior Member Rymer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rachelcb80
    I don't have that same Brother but did sew on a Brother CS6000 for some time. It would do that same birdsnest nastiness from time to time. I have no idea what would cause it but cleaning and rethreading usually solved the issue.

    A few things that really helped me get started with FMQ'ing was;

    1) Set my machine at a max speed I was comfortable with. I didn't have to worry about keeping it at a constant speed with the pedal only partially pushed down. With my Brother there were only three speed options so I had to learn to like the middle speed but my Bernina has a very wide range of speeds so it's much easier to work with.

    2) Practice on fabric sandwiches. Yes paper and pencil is cheaper but it isn't the same movement you use with quilting. With quilting the fabric is your paper and the needle your pencil. I guess if you had a way of having your pencil stay stationary and you moved the paper that would better mimick quilting but the best practice is going to be actual quilting.

    3) The gloves do help. I didn't use them at first because I thought I would be aggravated by not being able to "feel" the fabric but that wasn't as big of an issue as I thought it would be. It does take a little getting used to but you'll get used to it quickly and like I said, they really do help.

    4) Map out your path of quilting before you start. For example, I just finished a pinwheel quilt. I started in the center and did one square at a time. I did the 4 center squares and then from there started going around them, moving out a row each time I finished a row. (Does that make sense? I hope so.) That way no areas got left or forgotten.

    5) I know not everyone does but I start in the center. I'm not the best at basting yet and can't guarentee that my backing is pulled as much as it should be. By starting in the center and working out I push out any wrinkles or folds I might have in the backing.

    Okay, lots of rambling, I hope something I said will help! :) Good luck!
    wow thank you so much!! I figured out the birds nest issues (forgot to put down my lever...DOH!) so that's solved. I think I got the tension pretty good today. I've got lots of scraps so I've been working on sandwiches. my daughter is home sick today so today's been a productive day. my "meandering" is getting better but still kind of jerky, but that's OK. I'm really really happy with what I'm doing and can't wait to do her quilt. It won't be perfect, but that's OK, her mommy made it! I've also practiced letters so I can write her name and year on it. I'm loving this. I appreciate all of the help you ladies give to me!! off I go to the store to buy warm & natural so I can finish her quilt!! :)

  18. #18
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    LOL I was just about to say did you put the lever down.

  19. #19
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Hi Rymer - if you put silicone slider into the search bar you will get lots of topics on the mats. Maybe it is something you would find useful, but, if you put the stitch length to zero and leave the little cover off the feed dogs you might find that is just fine too. Maybe we should start the XR-52 club!

  20. #20
    Super Member Rachelcb80's Avatar
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    I did mean to mention in my earlier post that on my Brother machine, I didn't cover OR lower the feed dogs. I read in many places where it wasn't a big deal to leave the feed dogs up and sometimes it actually helped the machine keep it's tension settings better. So I left them up and couldn't tell any difference.

  21. #21
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rymer
    thanks ladies!! I got my quilting foot tonight and I made an attempt....do you have any idea why this is happening? here is a picture of the front and back. any clue? I have a Brother XR52, so I don't lower the feed dogs, I have a plate that covers them.
    You have to lower the foot. The loops are caused because there is no tension on the top thread.

    Edit...OK, so I see you already figured that out!! :lol: :thumbup:

  22. #22
    Junior Member Rymer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jljack
    Quote Originally Posted by Rymer
    thanks ladies!! I got my quilting foot tonight and I made an attempt....do you have any idea why this is happening? here is a picture of the front and back. any clue? I have a Brother XR52, so I don't lower the feed dogs, I have a plate that covers them.
    You have to lower the foot. The loops are caused because there is no tension on the top thread.
    LOL yeah I figured that out after a while! thanks so much!

  23. #23
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jingleberry
    .... You must have gloves with little rubber nubs on them, makes it easier to move the fabric, relax and work on your moving with the speed of the machine. You have to work together.
    DEFINITELY get the gloves. My first quilt I didnt have them, wow was that hard. I bought them for my second quilt and realized how much harder I worked on the first one. they really are worth the money. I think mine were $8 may 6

  24. #24
    Super Member Oklahoma Suzie's Avatar
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    You need to practice that's it. Just practice all you can.

  25. #25
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rymer
    Quote Originally Posted by Stitchnripper
    Hi Rymer - I have a brother XR-52 also. I do lots of FMQ on it. I'm not an expert but have had the issue you show on the back. I would rewind a new bobbin, change the needle, rethread, make sure the bobbin case is clean (I recently cleaned mine out using the manual as a guide and it was not hard). I also set the stitch length at 0 and don't use that little plate. I found it caused some drag on the quilt. I use one of those silicone slider things with a hole for the needle that covers the feed dogs but you could use a thick piece of vinyl too. Another thing I learned is to try and find the "sweet spot" where your hands and machine are going at just the right rhythm. I don't always get it, but I know it when I do. I have found this machine not to be fussy on what kind of thread I use. Good luck! Will look forward to more pictures.
    oh what is this silicone slider thing you speak of? where can I get it? I don't like the plate we have to use. I"m so excited to see someone else do this w/ my machine!! with the help of the ladies in chat I figured out that I didn't put my lever down (doh!! rookie mistake) so it got a lot better, but the thread on the back was still kind of loose. so I need to rethread and try again. I just had my machine cleaned by a shop so it should be pristine! LOL! thank you so much for responding!
    Supreme Slider. Here's a link http://www.freemotionslider.com/ I have one and think it's worth the money.

    The advice everyone gave is good. It takes a lot of practice. I took a class and that was helpful. I practice as often as I can. I keep track of what threads my machine likes (some machines are picky).

    Until you feel comfortable doing it, I suggest matching your thread to the fabric. Using cotton batting helps too. Once it's washed, you don't notice the mistakes! That inspires confidence to keep working at it! :)

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