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Thread: Question about FMQ

  1. #1
    Super Member sewingsuz's Avatar
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    Question about FMQ

    Every time I try to FMQ I don't do very good. I always ask my self. "Do You have to be a little good at drawing and if you are not does that mean you can never do it? I think use of a stencil marked is harder than if it were just free motion. Am I right about this. When I watch a you tube for example , just stipelling it looks so easy and they are just moving so graceful.
    Suzanne
    Asking a seamstress to mend is like asking Picasso to paint your garage.

  2. #2
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I on't think FMQ is harder freehand than a stencil. I think its just practice. I can't draw but my FMQ does not look bad after lots of practice. I think stencils make it easier if you can't draw. I also do not find stippling or freehand easy
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  3. #3
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    It does help to draw your design on paper before you FMQ it
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  4. #4
    Super Member sewingsuz's Avatar
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    Thank you dolphyngyrl. I have drawn feathers and stippling on paper but it does not seam to go in my brain.
    Suzanne
    Asking a seamstress to mend is like asking Picasso to paint your garage.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Vitality's Avatar
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    I would break it down into smaller steps and when comfortable with each step of a design then put it together to make more complex designs. This Quilt Along from 2012 with Leah Day is really good for getting going with FMQ.
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...1F4B76430BB141

  6. #6
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I found that stippling was harder when starting out than it was to do loops, curls, stars, hearts. It gets better with practice.

  7. #7
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    I use white chalk for marking my feather spines but do the rest freehand. Trying to follow lines for quilting is more difficult for me. I use designs that I have practiced and can do without drawing. A way to start FMQ is to pick a shape you can do easily. One of my first was the stars that you learned to draw in grade school with loops between to move around the quilt.
    I really like the Tuesday tutorial done by Lori Kennedy and she quilts between lines or marked points. Her site is www.theinboxjaunt.com/

  8. #8
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    I agree loopy designs are easier for beginners (well...after straight or wavy lines of course). When I first started FMQ I actually bought a stippling stencil! It didn't really help me that much. What I eventually realized is that it gets better after hours of doing it. It's part training your hand/eye/brain coordination and part learning what works for machine speed/hand moving speed.
    Lori

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  9. #9
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    Are you using the darning foot to FMQ or the walking foot? If you're having that much trouble following lines I'd check to make sure my feed dogs were down too. The darning foot is great for following curvy, loopy lines & the walking foot is good for straight lines. I haven't had the troubles you seem to be having, but I've tried doing FMQ several different ways. If I find a design I like & want to try, but am not sure of myself, I make it fit the area, print a copy of it & sew over it as though I were doing paper piecing. No marks on the quilt, so no one knows if it's not perfect! It's also good for getting the muscle memory down for a certain design. I have used stencils to mark my quilts before & I do some meandering, stippling & the like.

  10. #10
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    When learning to FMQ on my domestic machine, practicing by drawing only went so far. My brain didn't connect a moving-the-pen motion of drawing with the moving-the-paper motion of FMQ. What it did do, however, was help me to figure out where to go next so you don't quilt yourself into a corner and if you do, you know how to get out.
    I cut a bunch of squares of batting & muslin and practiced. After a couple of initial sessions, I picked the design that was my easiest and best and concentrated only on that one until I got it down. After feeling comfortable with the first design, I slowly added more. Personally, I never could follow a stenciled pattern very well, and never was able to do loops. After you are sure you've got your tension sorted, you can just keep putting a new piece of fabric on top of a used sandwich & quilt again.
    I'm sure there are naturals who just sit down & do it, but for most folks, it just takes a LOT of practice.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  11. #11
    Senior Member PghPat's Avatar
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    I just can't believe this board!!!!! No matter what I need help on it seems it pops up at just the right time. This morning I posted the following:

    Dag nabbit....one of these days I am going to get the hang of this...LOL. I ALWAYS use my "start/stop" button on my Janome 6600. This might be a dumb question but can I/do any of you use the S/S button when you do Free Motion Quilting?

    I need all all the help I can get. Thank you! Pat

    Then when I came on to look for answers someone referred me to this active post. Thank you all so much for the input. I agree with those of you that like using the Start/Stop button. I have never used my foot pedal since I got my machine in '09. I have made several attempts to FMQ - always with the S/S button but thought maybe I should be using the pedal - UGH! I do lots of Stitch In The Ditch with no trouble but haven't gotten good enough with the FMQ to feel comfortable doing it on a quilt. I guess it is like they say - practice - practice - practice.

    I am off to do that right now (with my S/S button...LOL. I just love this board - everyone is so helpful and so willing to help everyone else.



    Last edited by PghPat; 12-20-2014 at 06:40 AM. Reason: error

  12. #12
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    I use what is probably equal to the stop/start button but on my Bernina I can choose whether I want to stop and go with my hands (go as my hands start moving & stop as they stop) or have the machine stay running. It's probably the same idea but I can keep my hands on the fabric where I need them. And I do always choose the stop/go option because I feel like I have more control.

    I also on occasion do something no one else here has mentioned. I apply and draw on Glad Press-n-Seal for positioning motifs between meanders or loops to get them right and exactly where I want them. I'm somewhat new to FMQ so I need all the help I can get. The plastic comes right off after quilting over it so it works good for me.

    It IS true though, it's a matter of practice, practice, practice. Keep at it!

  13. #13
    IQ2
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  14. #14
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Just as everything in life we do, practice makes perfect. You might want to try FMQ on a piece of paper (NO thread) and find out if some lines in a box will help. It does take a lot of practice just like in riding a bike or driving a car. Just remember: you NEVER want to stop to reposition your hands on a curve. It will show up every time you do.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  15. #15
    Super Member jlm5419's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggramma View Post
    I agree loopy designs are easier for beginners (well...after straight or wavy lines of course). When I first started FMQ I actually bought a stippling stencil! It didn't really help me that much. What I eventually realized is that it gets better after hours of doing it. It's part training your hand/eye/brain coordination and part learning what works for machine speed/hand moving speed.
    I picked up a stippling stencil at a yard sale because I just couldn't get the hang of it. I marked it on the quilt using the stencil and after using the stencil a couple of times, it enabled me to finish the rest of the quilt freehand because I recognized the rhythm.

    I also agree that loops are easiest for beginners. I will sometimes use a stencil for a certain object, such as a butterfly, adding loops between. It works.
    jlm5419-an Okie back in Oklahoma!
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  16. #16
    shy
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    Sewingsue..I can draw..and free motion is not the same ..the machine does not move like a pencil no matter how good u are..it is just practice..practice..practice..and getting into the flow of the machine and design..or what is in your head..

  17. #17
    Senior Member quiltmaker52's Avatar
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    I never use the start/stop button on my Janome 6600. I don't want to take my hands off the quilt until the machine has come to a stop. I love to use continuous line stencils like leaves or flowers (not meandering stipples). I trace the stencil pattern over and over again with my finger, the way that I will quilt it, to "memorize" the pattern. If I am marking the pattern on the quilt with a chalk pencil, then I make sure to follow it again the same way I will quilt it. And if I quilt off the lines a little bit, who cares! It is what makes a quilt special!

  18. #18
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    I'm in the same boat you are. Someone posted this link recently and it helped me tremendously.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HYF...em-subs_digest

  19. #19
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    From experience, I have found that it takes about 8 hours at least over a period of time for your muscles and your brain to "connect". Don't try to do this all at once; spread the practice over time.

  20. #20
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    I find meandering and stippling quite difficult because of the "no crossing lines" rule. Sometimes I sew myself into a corner and can't get out. One thing I think about a lot is that ANYTHING worth doing (and doing well) deserves and requires a lot of practice. There are only a few born artistic geniuses who don't need to practice. The rest of us need to drudge through and do the best we can. Eventually we get better, and at one point, the process becomes second nature. So have fun practicing. Just remember, nobody is going to sit and evaluate your work in great detail. Just enjoy the process. The rest will come.

  21. #21
    Super Member BettyGee's Avatar
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    I was a nervous wreck the first few times I did FMQ and then I read a post by a member that said she always ended up with her shoulders so tight she hurt. So I relaxed and what a difference. Practice in this instance is the best way to get what you what. The last one I did I traced the pattern I wanted and just stitched through the paper. It was easy and came out beautifully. I am in awe of those who can just picture what they want and sit down and do it. I am not one of those people. My first attempt at feathers looked like a bowl of spaghetti had been dumped on my quilt. Drawing them first made all the difference in the world. Also I finally bought the FMQ foot that is designed for my machine and that has made things so much better, saving money is one thing; but if I had just bought the correct foot in the first place I would have been way ahead of the game. Don't give up, practice, relax and try to keep in mind that quilting is suppose to be fun and there are no quilt police.
    BettyGee, quilter on a Rocky Mountain High

  22. #22
    Suz
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    One thing that has not been mentioned here are the GLOVES. You can use your kitchen gloves or just the tips once cut from the gloves or quilting gloves from the LQS. Any gloves w/little grippies on the palm/fingers. It is so important to be able to grip the fabric. Grabbing handfuls of fabric just doesn't work for me. Some have used damp (not wet) sponges.

    Also, when FMQ, make a nest of the area you want to quilt. And make sure the other area of the quilt are supported and not causing DRAG on the area are quilting. I have two cheap (Goodwill-$3) ironing boards to my front and left for support. Once you feel drag, stop and rearrange your quilt top. Keep your nest smooth. And try to tell yourself where to go next and then slowly FMQ to that area.

    I have a 20x20 layered piece that I practice on before starting on a project. I can get to feel the FMQ movement as well as being able to check my stitches before moving on. And like others have stressed: PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND PRACTICE. You will only get better.

    Hope this helps.

  23. #23
    Super Member madamekelly's Avatar
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    I plan to draw on tissue paper, then pin it to the sandwich, and follow the lines as close as I can when I do try FMQ. I'm not sure where I saw the idea, but it will keep me from making a mess I hope. I will try it on a sample first. I will use tissue paper so I can tear it away easily when I am done. I'll let you know how well it works.
    If you always do, what you have always done, The results never change. Change is the wings you give yourself.

  24. #24
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    It helps if you have a good sized chalkboard or dry-erase board and trace the pattern repeatedly, over and over and over. That helps you build up what they call "muscle memory" and also helps to train your brain for the pattern.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Kwiltr's Avatar
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    I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet on this thread, although I read thru them pretty quick so I apologize if this is a repeat, and perhaps it seems obvious, but to me, it made all the difference in the world with my FMQing and it just sort of happened for me, but it wasn't right away. But when it did, it was indeed and Ah Ha moment. Just like you drive a car, watch where you are going when you are quilting. Don't watch the needle. You can practice this when you draw too and you will find your drawing will improve as well and give you the practice of watching where you want to go. Just try quilting a straight line and look ahead to your target destination. Your line will be straighter. It will come, don't give up!

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