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Tell me I知 not alone bc my quilting is awful.

Tell me I知 not alone bc my quilting is awful.

Old 07-21-2019, 03:22 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Alturas, CA
Posts: 9,393

I've been quilting for 15 years and my FMQ is fairly decent, but I just do meandering and loops. I just don't have the talent though to do wreaths, feathers, etc. Just keep practicing and you'll get better. Another thing is, don't be so hard on yourself.

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 07-21-2019 at 04:26 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:45 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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My FMQ is terrible, too! I usually SID because, like you, I feel that my FMQ is ruining my quilts, however I know I won't get better if I don't go through that painful learning curve. Let me give you the most sincere "good for you" that I can for your being willing to go through that pain (which leaves you one step ahead of me).

Get yourself some quilting gloves - they make a huge difference! The Machiners gloves are good. I have some nitrile gardening gloves that are also good, but some gardening gloves aren't so great, so you might want to spring for the Machiners if you can.

Gloves are #1, but #2 is sewing surface. If you have a large, flat surface it is easier to manipulate the quilt. I've been practicing on smaller items so that I can concentrate on the FMQ design rather than on moving the bulk of the quilt around.
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:11 AM
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i agree wholeheartedly with the responses you are getting. Over the years I have found that there are certain designs that my brain and hands just wont coordinate together with. If one doesn't seem comfortable try a different one. My go to is stippling and flower echoes. the other thing that helped me was slowing down the speed .
If your machine has a speed option use it. My foot always wanted to go to the floor and I would get uneven stitches and eyelashes on the curves.
I wish I could send the tops out to get longarmed but with as many tops I make it is way out of my budget
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Old 07-21-2019, 05:46 AM
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My biggest help to learn control was stitching the lines and areas of a child's panel. It forced me to slow down my speed to stay on the black outlines (like coloring books) and the open areas were a great place to try other designs. I never liked doing meander for some reason, and seldom do it anymore. I'd bind them and donate them when done, and I found them much more interesting and fun to do than muslin sandwiches.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:12 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Florida
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You are definitely not alone with the free motion quilting. I have told my husband several times, that this could win at the quilt show if I didn't quilt it. But, I'd rather have a not perfect project and do it myself than turn it over to a long armer. The best advice I have ever been given about free motion is to listen. Match your speed of your hands to the sound of the machine. It doesn't help with length of stitches but it helps with eye lashes on the back and things like that.
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Old 07-21-2019, 06:50 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Pikesville, MD
Posts: 720

There are so many different types of FMQ: meandering, echoing, using rulers. I find that some work much better for me than others, so I'm sticking with them. I love Lori Kennedy's inboxjaunt--these are the ones that work best for me.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:00 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Southern California
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I have plenty of experience with fm quilting, and have gotten good at just a few designs. I use thread colors that disappear into the background and that helps the quilting to be less prominent. Then my quilt design stands out, which is what I want anyway.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:20 AM
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Location: Central Virginia
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That PetitDesign page is excellent. Nothing very complicated--just an assortment of good suggestions.
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:25 AM
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Location: Greater Peoria, IL -- just moved!
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I've gotten pretty proficient with my skill at long arming, but I just don't think well in terms in quilting design. It isn't my strong suit at all. Can't tell you how many times my initial review of one of my projects is "another fine top ruined by bad quilting". I no longer have the access to my friend's long arm that I once have and now I'm back to my domestic rig. Good for me is about a year ago a friend gifted me with a modern Bernina that has a massive deep throat to work with. I don't want to do queen sized quilts with it (the size I usually make), but I could.

On my vintage domestic machine that I've been using for most of the last 30 years, I never could do a whole lot of fancy stuff, for one it required a darning plate to disengage the feed dogs which I didn't have. The throat space was small. Still, I managed to simply grid a king sized log cabin and feed it through the thing.

I could do simple grids and curves in the body of the quilt, so like an Orange Peel design or a Clamshell was about as fancy as I could get. So I did fancier stuff on the borders.

With 10 quilts down, you should be able to figure out some of your problems. Like wonky stitch lengths or whatever -- when you go back and look at the quilts 6 months later are you still noticing the stitches? Mostly for me it's when the work is fresh and I've been staring at it from 8 inches away, but somehow a year down the road and I'm a lot more tolerant.

Machine quilting isn't necessarily fast -- but the thing is it is faster than hand quilting for most of us. Sometimes we do have to adjust our expectations on how long it will take to do something and keep repeating to ourselves "this would take me a year by hand" when we are trying to get it done by Friday
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Old 07-21-2019, 07:32 AM
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I started out as a hand quilter. I never could FMQ well on a sit down machine. My brain is just not wired to "move the paper" (the quilt sandwich) as opposed to moving the "pen" (the sewing machine needle). I did practice, I drew to learn thread paths and I never got better but more importantly I did not enjoy the process at all. I hated making the quilt sandwich with a white hot passion. Manipulating even a small quilt under the machine was nothing like practicing on small manageable sandwichs and even with small pieces my quilting looked awful. All the same things you state, uneven stitches (that was the least of my problems), no smooth flowing lines (aka wonky), squarcles instead of circles, ad nauseum. I was tense the entire time and even short sessions resulted in neck and shoulder pain and I have a machine that is recessed in a table with a large smooth surface. I did ok with straight line walking foot quilting. So I did mostly that and anything fancy I hand quilted.

Then I discovered rack machine quilting with a stitch regulator. My quilting universe had a super nova! No more making the sandwich, no more stiff neck and shoulders, no more dreading the quilting part and gorgeous quilting right out of the gate. Now not everyone takes to it as quickly as I did but it made all the difference for me. Not everyone has the room for a rack set up even though there are setups for a domestic machine or stretch machine that can be mounted on a rack, it isn't all just longarms. But I opted for making the investment of a longarm and I haven't looked back. Here are links to my domestic machine quilting and my first quilt off the longarm and what I am doing now:




I feel if I had not gotten my own LA I would probably be sending my tops out for quilting. There is nothing wrong with quilting by check. Before I got my LA I did send a top out and was extremely pleased with it. You can get a lot of quilts quilted for the price of a LA setup.
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