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Thread: Straight line or free motion?

  1. #1
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    Straight line or free motion?

    I have been learning to free motion for several years and really want to do it But, I have never really gotten much better. Free motion is not relaxing to me. I'm forever trying to get the tension right, or skipping stitches, thread breaking, uneven stitches and the list goes on.The last quilt I finished, I used my walking foot and really enjoyed the stress free process. So why do I think I have to free motion in order to be a good quilt maker? I am just wondering how many of you wonderful quilters on this board straight line and how many free motion?
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 11-06-2018 at 01:02 PM. Reason: shouting/ all caps
    Molly O

  2. #2
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    I don't know why you think that. There are no rules in quilting, you just do what you like and it usually turns out well. The best part is whoever gets the quilt will love it simply because you made it, not because of the technical expertise you used when making it.

    Relax and enjoy. Do what you like to do, not what you think other people want you to do.
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  3. #3
    Super Member ekuw's Avatar
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    I do both. I consider myself an intermediate in FMQ. I can't stay that I find it relaxing and probably never will :-) You do not have to free motion in order to be a good quilt-maker. Straight line quilting is fine and looks terrific on quilts. I think it is the fact that a lot of quilters have their quilts finished by a long arm it has changed how we think finished quilts should look. I know I struggle with this mightily. Remember quilting is a fun creative outlet. Do what you are comfortable with. Most who see your quilts who are not quilters are going to be amazed at your skill and creativity.

  4. #4
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    I am not good at free motion. I do not like that some of the long arm quilts are so dense. I did have one done by a long arm but it was edge to edge and was not so dense. It was a big quilt and I would never have been able to manipulate it on my domestic machine.

  5. #5
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    We all have our limits. FMQ is one of mine, too. I also cannot sew curves, so I will never make a Drunkard's Path. I don't care and actually don't know anyone who does. My grandmother use to tell me, "What other people think is none of your business." You do you.
    I promise not to buy any more fabric until I see something I really like. Or it's on sale. Or I think it might match something.

  6. #6
    Junior Member TAMARATJO's Avatar
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    I have tried to FMQ, and also find it stressful rather than fun. I might FMQ a wavy line along a sashing, or slim border, but otherwise, it is straight line quilting (rarely) Stitch in the Ditch to highlight block shapes, or my favorite, using my embroidery attachment on my sewing machine to quilt. I agree with everyone, do what you find enjoyable, and works for you.

  7. #7
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    This website might be useful.
    31 Days of Walking Foot Quilting

    http://blog.petitdesignco.com/2012/1...-quilting.html

  8. #8
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I too never got any good at FMQ and also found it not fun and very stressful. If I wanted fancy quilting I did it by hand and everything else was done with a walking foot on my domestic. I did several quilts where I did both hand and machine. Then I discovered LA quilting and haven't looked back. I love rack quilting. My brain is just not wired to "move the paper". I have no issues when I can move the pen, even when my "pen" is a rack mounted sewing machine.

  9. #9
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltsRfun View Post
    This website might be useful.
    31 Days of Walking Foot Quilting

    http://blog.petitdesignco.com/2012/1...-quilting.html
    thanks for this link... lots of quilting inspiration there
    Nancy in western NY
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  10. #10
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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    You don't have to do FMQ to be a good quilter. I don't find FMQ that relaxing, but I find it easier than straight line quilting and really enjoyable. If your machine isn't good to FMQ and you are having problems, it can be very stressful. You might consider taking an FMQ class and letting the teacher help you. You also might consider doing some trouble shooting on your machine to find out why you are having so many problems with it when doing FMQ.

    I just finished doing FMQ (loop de loops) on a 65 x 96 quilt. While I wouldn't call it relaxing, it wasn't stressful once I got the bugs worked about between my machine and the thread I was using. It just took a bit of cleaning and oiling, replacing the needle and some tension adjustment. Then everything was fine and I was on my way to finishing it.
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  11. #11
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    I am an intermediate FMQer. I have improved and enjoy it more since I invested in my #72 ruler foot for my Bernina. This foot allows me to dial the height of the foot down to just above the quilt and I don’t have to touch the tension from regular sewing. I like using my rulers with it too.
    There is nothing wrong with walking foot quilting and there are some neat designs to quilt that way.

  12. #12
    Super Member Tiggersmom's Avatar
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    I owned a Gammill for 14 years, but due to back issues, I had to sell. Now I plan on doing my own with my walking foot on my smaller projects. My friend that bought my machine will do my larger quilts for me.

    Don't beat yourself up! I rather see straight line quilting done really well, than fmq that has not been perfected.
    Practice your fmq on dog beds or pot holders. Put on some relaxing music and go for it. Enjoy your process, whatever it may be.
    Jennifer: Organized in my dreams.
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    Buddybear's Mom ...Yorkie Fur Baby

  13. #13
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    I do both, but I think you should do what you enjoy! It's a hobby! Do the fun part and forget about the part you don't like.
    Nobody ever went wrong with kindness.

  14. #14
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have been doing FMQ about 16 years. I love doing it and the looks of it. I should be much better at it than I am But so what? As long as I am doing it it is okay. I do find it relaxing. I FMQ on a 9" throat machine. I just finished an almost queen size quilt, turned out pretty good. I do straight line quilting once in a while.

    Different quilting for different people.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  15. #15
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I was exclusively a hand quilter until a couple of years ago. I realized that I made more tops than I had time to quilt by hand
    I do better with FMQ than straight line. No idea why.
    I noticed an improvement when I bought a machine with a larger throat. I just made a King for our bed and sent that to a LA'er. No way would I wrestle something that big.
    Whatever works for you is the best way!

  16. #16
    DJ
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    I have done both. I'm learning that I really like the look as well as the ease of straight line quilting. Sometimes I feel like I should do more, especially since I've invested time and money into ruler work, but often I'm finding that straight line is winning the day for me. Go for it with no worries!

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    When I come upon something that looks easy but isn't, I tend to try to master it just to prove something to myself.

    Now I'm not saying I have mastered FMQ, but I can do a few things. It is kind of nerve wracking, and if the machine is skipping stitches or you aren't able to control the speed just right, it can be close to [email protected]!!.

    If you are determined to do it to satisfy your own …(in my case, ego)...pride, then work to see what is happening that makes the boo boos. It's probably mechanical, not human error.
    If your pride is not driving your discontent, then you can do straight line quilting and have fewer meltdowns. And beautiful quilts.

  18. #18
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    Are you quilting for show or just for fun? I'm not all that great with FMQ either, so I generally stick to walking foot quilting. I found Leah Day's book with that title and really feel better about myself!! I can do broad curves with my walking foot and enjoy the freedom and lack of stress. If I want curves and swirls, I occasionally have bigger quilts longarmed. Otherwise, I do them myself, sometimes in sections and sometimes squishing them through my domestic machine. Do what you enjoy.

  19. #19
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    I do both also...I can FMQ lap and crib sizes comfortably but rent a LA for larger projects. It all depends on the pattern of the quilt. I used wavy lines on my last crib quilt with my walking foot and often do cross hatching on kids’ quilts that will get a lot of washing. Name:  B84A41B4-CA95-4602-BE39-57C788C79422.jpeg
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    I still consider myself a beginner FMQer but I enjoy the process.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  20. #20
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    I enjoy both and do whichever seems best for the project I am doing at the time. I like to look at groups of pictures of quilts and see how others have done things. I seem to be fairly good at replicating ideas others have done successfully; however, I lack the wonderful whimsical ideas that some have. I just enjoy the process and am happy with what I do.

  21. #21
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    do whatever you enjoy! it's supposed to be fun! i'm still learning FMQ and I have some Craftsy classes with it, I also have two classes with Jacquie Gering that are all walking foot quilting and I've watched those twice.

  22. #22
    Member quiltbabe's Avatar
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    "....I think it is the fact that a lot of quilters have their quilts finished by a long arm it has changed how we think finished quilts should look. I know I struggle with this mightily. Remember quilting is a fun creative outlet. Do what you are comfortable with. Most who see your quilts who are not quilters are going to be amazed at your skill and creativity." Exactly, Ekuw. The computer driven quilting is amazing and so perfect that anything that doesn't look like that is deemed not as good. My husband calls them soulless quilts. I appreciate the skills that are needed for this type of quilting. And as I get older, I may need to utilize pay-by-check quilting. For now, I like all the wobbles and imperfections as long as I know I have done my best. When I've given a quilt to someone, even in my early days of quilting, they were just happy to be given a quilt.

  23. #23
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    Quilting is supposed to be fun. If you find that FMQ is stressful to you, and you enjoy doing straight line quilting, go for it. I do it both ways, and although I don't think I'll be talented enough in FM to do feathers, wreaths, etc., my meandering is fairly good, at least it's a lot better than it was when I first tried doing it. LOL

  24. #24
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    I really admire the free motion work that I see at quilt shows, but am not compelled to do it. I think it is fun on a small project like a placemat, but not so much on an entire quilt. I am happy to say that on most of my quilts, I prefer straight or wavy lines so that is what I do. Occasional meander or loops, but that is about it for me.

  25. #25
    Super Member Jeanne S's Avatar
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    I only Quilt with my walking foot. Never got the hang of FMQ. I do straight line quilting, gentle wavy lines, and some straight line design patterns like chevrons, etc. google quilting with a walking foot and you can see lots of ideas for variations from classic straight lines.
    I just want to spend the rest of my life laughing.

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