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Thread: There are good machine quilters and there are bad machine quilters...

  1. #1
    Super Member aorlflood's Avatar
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    and I definitely fall into the latter category. :(

    I am fairly good at piecing...I'm really good at hand quilting...

    but at machine quilting...it's official...I suck!

  2. #2
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Practice! Practice! Practice! I am sure it isn't as bad as you think. Everyone has to learn.

  3. #3
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    Do what I did -- go to the thrift stores and buy old sheets. Get some somewhat cheap batting....sandwich then, etc. Then DRAW with felt pen, the design you want your quilt top to be (triangles, blocks, etc)...add borders if you're going to do borders. Then practice on that. If you're doing meandering, then just meander....but it's a LOT cheaper than practicing on something you've paid big $$ for fabric and put a lotta heart into.

  4. #4
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    As I hate to waste any fabric, I'd suggest buying two single bed sheets and sandwich them with a lightweight batting and quilt that. Get a plain and an easy to follow pattern (ie large floral). Machine quilt it on the floral side and then you can easily check your stitches on the plain side. By following the outline of the sheet design, you don't even have to mark it. When you're done practicing, you'll still have a lightweight quilt that is useable if not beautiful!

  5. #5
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    I learned by quilting on uphoolstery fabrcs wiht no batting it is thick enough with out the batting. ask at any of your upholstery shops they may be happy and let you have major boxes of scraps. I got 12 moving boxes full of that stuff. I even made a couple of quilts out of it.

  6. #6
    Cyn
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    Super Member Cyn's Avatar
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    These are great ideas- thanks.

  7. #7
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Practice is what it takes :D:D:D

  8. #8
    Super Member quilttiludrop's Avatar
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    Do whatever you like to do! Hand quilting really is an art! I'm hearing a lot of quilters say they like being able to take it slow and easy!

    We all progress at our own speed! If you really want to do machine quilting, there are some great tutorial videos for FMQ on www.youtube.com.

    In any case, don't pressure yourself especially if you find it distasteful!

  9. #9
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I also love to hand quilt but really want to get good at MQ so I can finish more things before I croak!! lol

  10. #10
    Super Member Lucky Patsy's's Avatar
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    You can't decide you suck until you have put in 100 hours, that is what the FMQ teacher of my class told us!

  11. #11
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    Loretta... do you WANT to be a machine quilter? :wink:
    Maybe hand quilting is more your way....I also tried machine quilting (many years ago! :lol: ) and found out that this is not what I want to do.
    Do what you like most! You can learn everything when you really want it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member fayza's Avatar
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    I have not yet tried either! I usually piece my tops together and take them to a lady in my neighborhood who owns a long arm quilting machine, and offers quilting services. Its expensive but it makes the quilts very pretty. I would like to learn maybe later on to quilt by hand but for now this is the way I go.

  13. #13
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    I think we tend to be too critical of ourselves. Do up a sample and throw it in the washer/dryer. Check it again after it crinkles up and you probably won't notice as many problem areas as you did when you first quilted it. When I do something I think needs to be fixed, I mark that area with a large safety pin. If I can pick out the mistake easily, I might rip it out. If I have trouble finding it again, I leave it. Until you are more satisfied with your work, blend the thread color rather than contrasting it. If you are quilting straight lines rather than FMQ, use a walking foot. A supreme slider helps move it along when doing FMQ. Gloves help with either. I've tried various gloves and found that I like the Machingers the best.

    Practice before you start on the quilt and if you take long breaks, it doesn't hurt to practice some more. You'll get there!

  14. #14
    Super Member raptureready's Avatar
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    I bought some quilting gloves (or actually cheap gardening gloves with rubber grips) and they seem to help a lot but I'm still not proficient. I think I'm going to use some large print and try some 'thread painting' to help me with control and boost my confidence.

  15. #15
    Super Member aorlflood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Borntohandquilt
    Loretta... do you WANT to be a machine quilter? :wink:
    Maybe hand quilting is more your way....I also tried machine quilting (many years ago! :lol: ) and found out that this is not what I want to do.
    Do what you like most! You can learn everything when you really want it.
    I want to be able to do both...

    Some quilts are made to be handquilted...and some need to be machine quilted.

    The one I'm doing now is for my grandson's first real bed...so I don't think hand quilting is appropriate since I'm sure it will get a lot of rough use.

    I usually do about one machine quilted quilt per year so I never get really "good" at it. Usually the quilts I machine quilt are scrap or string quilts so I don't fret over how good the machine quilting is.

    However, this quilt, I think, is probably one of my favorite quilts so far and I probably should have just bit the bullet and sent it out to be LA quilted.

    But...I'm trying to do my quilts myself and not rely on others to do them for me. I want my quilts to be "all me". (No offense to the LA quilters on the board.)

    If I hadn't spent the time on Sunday to pin baste the quilt and already have one row of blocks quilted...knowing what I know now, I'd take this quilt to a LA'er. But if I try to take out this stitching now, I know I'll put a hole in the quilt.

    On top of it all...after I had done one row of blocks and was starting on the second row last night, my machine started skipping stitches. I changed my needle (even though I had put a fresh needle in at the beginning) and rethreaded the top thread but it didn't help. I rethreaded the top again and it still skipped. The only thing I didn't do was rethread the bobbin.

    At that point I turned everything off and walked away last night and came and posted on here.

    Before I start on the quilt again, I will rethread the bobbin.

    Thanks to everyone for their comments. I read and appreciated each one.

    It is difficult to become a good machine quilter when you only machine quilt one quilt/year.

    Luckily, I know the Fix-it Fairy! :) LOL

  16. #16
    Super Member Flying_V_Goddess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky Patsy's "Mom"
    You can't decide you suck until you have put in 100 hours, that is what the FMQ teacher of my class told us!
    I like that rule!

  17. #17
    Quilt Mama's Avatar
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    Hang in there. I fought for years with free motion quilting. This past summer something finally clicked in my mind and I now can't do enough of it. Mastering machine quilting had been my biggest challenge in the quilting journey. Sometimes whether we realize it or not we have to be mentally ready for a new challenge.

    Another marking suggestion that I make use of when I want a specific design is to lay a piece of Glad Press and Seal on the design, trace with a child's markable washer and then press onto the quilt. I have never had a great problem removing the Press and Seal when the design is quilted. Sure beats any type of paper I have ever tried.

    I also find that when encountering problems it is best to walk away and then try again. All my work goes more smoothly since I started to seriously stick to the 50 minutes on, 10 minutes off rule. The ten minutes off is for drinking water, bathroom break, either doing stretches or taking a brisk five minute walk, even on the spot. It just clears my head and everything looks better.

  18. #18
    Member kaykid815's Avatar
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    I like the statement that says 100 hours of practice! - it emphasizes the need for a LOT of practice. I personally get discouraged with my uneven stitches on the machine (free motion quilting), which leads to disgust. Maybe I'm not patient enough to LEARN to do machine quilting. For me, it might be worth the money to hire it done on a long-arm machine. I love to see what all you talented ladies are doing....

  19. #19
    Super Member wildyard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelbie
    As I hate to waste any fabric, I'd suggest buying two single bed sheets and sandwich them with a lightweight batting and quilt that. Get a plain and an easy to follow pattern (ie large floral). Machine quilt it on the floral side and then you can easily check your stitches on the plain side. By following the outline of the sheet design, you don't even have to mark it. When you're done practicing, you'll still have a lightweight quilt that is useable if not beautiful!
    LOL Shelbie, the look on your avatar's face says, "And just why won't it be beautiful?!".

  20. #20
    Senior Member Dingle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aorlflood
    and I definitely fall into the latter category. :(

    I am fairly good at piecing...I'm really good at hand quilting...

    but at machine quilting...it's official...I suck!
    Thats me! :thumbup:

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