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Thread: Please Practice before doing FMQ

  1. #1
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    I read a lot of posts that indicate problems with FMQ and saying something like "this is my first try at FMQ".
    It takes practice and more practice to do it easily. You note I didn't say best or correct or right.
    There is a motion skill that must be learned by each qulter. So many sad stories that imply that only thing needed is a quilt and a machine that the feed dogs drop.
    Please do practice pieces, read about it, watch the videos and if at all possible take a class. I don't believe it is something one an do just by pushing the quilt around under the needle. And then please when a question is ask, give all the details. A statement like "I have my quilt sandwiched and rady to FMQ, my thread is tangling" is not enough info to give an informed answer.
    Just had to write this today because I read so much frustration and pain in some of the posts about FMQ.

  2. #2
    Super Member dakotamaid's Avatar
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    Good thoughts, Holice. I think some of us just think we can go ahead and do anything without practice.:) I've learned the hard way to just put in some fabric sandwich and just play.

  3. #3
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    Sounds like good advice.

    I'm still a SITD person.

  4. #4
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Well said, Holice.

  5. #5
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    thanks for the reminder :)

  6. #6
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    also---start small- and work your way up to that large quilt- don't think you can make a couple 12" pot holders look pretty good so you are ready to now do your queen size quilt.
    practice on that 12" square- when that is looking pretty good- and you are feeling confident- move up to maybe a 24-30" piece---then a bit bigger and a bit bigger- each larger size will have it's own set of (issues) new feeling-new things to deal with (like handling that bulk in the throat of the machine- and the weight on the outside---it all takes practice and more practice- not many are fortunate enough to just (get it) and be able to sit down to their machine and quilt a large quilt without having spent many many hours of practicing to get to that size successfully

  7. #7
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    sorry- hit that dog=gone button twice ;-)

  8. #8
    Google Goddess craftybear's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this, great information

    practice, practice, practice

    Quote Originally Posted by Holice
    I read a lot of posts that indicate problems with FMQ and saying something like "this is my first try at FMQ".
    It takes practice and more practice to do it easily. You note I didn't say best or correct or right.
    There is a motion skill that must be learned by each qulter. So many sad stories that imply that only thing needed is a quilt and a machine that the feed dogs drop.
    Please do practice pieces, read about it, watch the videos and if at all possible take a class. I don't believe it is something one an do just by pushing the quilt around under the needle. And then please when a question is ask, give all the details. A statement like "I have my quilt sandwiched and rady to FMQ, my thread is tangling" is not enough info to give an informed answer.
    Just had to write this today because I read so much frustration and pain in some of the posts about FMQ.

  9. #9
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Great points! I was overly confident working on 12" practice pieces, then jumping up to a 24" square really challenged me again LOL :D:D:D

  10. #10
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    I was told that it takes at least 12 hours of practice to catch on to FMQ

  11. #11
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    That is great advice. I don't think you can determine the particular time needed to learn. Some people pick it up quick and some others need hours and hours of practice. One size don't fit all here.

    One detail I am always tempted to say but have bit my tongue is the detail of the machine. We tend to buy a cheap machine to learn with the intention of getting a better one once we know what we are doing. I did it and regreted it. When I took my first and only FMQ class I had to walk out in tears because my machine was not working well. I could sew a straight line, but no FMQ for me. When I was able to get a better machine (not necessarily more expensive) I was able to do it with no problem. I went back to my old one and no way I could. That only proved that the problem was the machine and not me.

    It all started working when I got an older Bernina (An 807 for $100.00 refurbished). That machine still works very well, even though I don't use it much.

    What I am trying to say is that sometimes no matter how much you practice, how much you adjust tension, stitch length and your speed, the problem may be external. If you are having problems and have a chance to go to a shop and try another machine, do it. It doesn't cost anything. You may be surprised.

  12. #12
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    yes, practice is a must. i dont know how many 12" squares i did trying to get it. the backs were horrible. too forever to get the tension set correctly. once i got the machine set, the fmq looked pretty good.. i wrote the settings and the needle i used in sharpie on the top of the machine so i could get to it again. works great now.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Mickey1's Avatar
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    I spent all evening practicing after watching Leah Day's dvd. She's a great teacher.

  14. #14
    Super Member kiffie2413's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great advice..and confidence booster...as it makes me remember that everyone was a beginner once...

  15. #15
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    Yikes now I'm even more nervous !!!

  16. #16
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    Yikes now I'm even more nervous !!!

  17. #17
    Power Poster ann clare's Avatar
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    Great post. I am learning the hard way.

  18. #18
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    I have been afraid to try this on my own - thanks for the tips and letting us know that its not as easy as it sounds lol That makes me feel a whole lot better when I mess up :thumbup: :D

  19. #19
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilt1950
    I was told that it takes at least 12 hours of practice to catch on to FMQ
    More like 12 MONTHS for me! :lol: My early attempts were pretty sad, and it was a few months into practicing before I was doing well enough to keep or gift any of my FMQ work. The first piece I gifted was only large enough to make a wallet. Now, about 3 years later, I'm doing everything up to queen size quilts on my Juki domestic (not LA) set up. I takes tons of practice and hard work, but it is sooooooo worth all the effort for me!

    The point I'd like to make here is that YOU CAN do FMQ if you are persistent enough. Practice, practice, practice, and use all the books, videos and other web resources you can find. Try lots of different methods. Try lots of different 'teachers', one person's way of doing things will work for some, others will do better with a different method.

    Don't be afraid to try new things out and see how they feel to you. Just don't try out new things on a piece of work that is important to you. I always try out new (to me) designs on practice pieces before trying them on something "real". Use tons of practice sandwiches and just go for it. When something turns out well, hang it on your wall or put it in a notebook so you can refer to it later!

    The learning curve on FMQ is more difficult than anything new I've tried in YEARS! KEEP AT IT if you want to improve; one day you'll surprise yourself!!!

  20. #20
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    I think trying to FMQ without practicing results in F FMQ

    Frustrating Free Motion Quilting

  21. #21
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    It's like any other learned skill....practice, practice, practice.

  22. #22
    Senior Member yayaquilts's Avatar
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    FMQ does take practice. A good way to practice is to FMQ on placemats. They are small and easy to maneuver and then you can use them later! I took a class and learned a few great tips that help though. Work in a small square area, working in a clockwise motion. Use quilting gloves; set your machine with a slow speed, and keep pressure on foot consistent. Most important, remember it might not be perfect at first and that's ok. Practice will help with consistency of stitch length. Hope this helps!

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