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Thread: Is there some magic spell or fairy dust that'll help with free motion quilting?

  1. #26
    Super Member candi's Avatar
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    Ok, take my advice with a grain of salt , please, as I have yet to master FMQ, but I Have been improving. The greatest advice I got, is to start with practicing FMQ your name, yes all connected in small letters...you know they say if you can't draw it, you can't quilt it, pick the designs that are easiest for you to draw, and just keep drawing it until your hands know their way...stippling is not necessarily the easiest, I personally find loops much easier to do. Once you are comfortable with your name, move on to other letters, words and then move on from there, but always practice it on paper first, and it does take practice, practice, practcie :mrgreen:

    Good luck, it will get more fun!

  2. #27
    Super Member lalaland's Avatar
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    I have a few suggestons.

    For easy practice, look in the remnant bins for prequilted fabric and use that to practice on.

    Be sure you are pulling your bobbin thread up to the top of the fabric before starting, and dropping your feed dogs.

    You need to be moving your quilt as fast as you are stitching it. If you don't have a matching rhythm between your moving the quilt and the needle going up and down in the quilt, you will have loops on the bottom of your quilt. So find the speed that you work at the best.

    Put your needle in the down position so when you stop, the needle will be in the fabric.

    Turn your machine around to face you. When you look at FMQ set ups like the Flynn or the HQ Sweet Sixteen or the Easy Quilter Track System, the machines are all facing you.

    If you have a bed attachment on your machine, invest in one of those silicon slider sheets that help the fabric move smoothly back and forth. I think it's called a Silicon Slider but you can also get a silicon oven liner at Bed Bath and Beyond that works great and is cheaper.

    Then practice. You can do it, just start with easy meandering lines first and work your way up.

    And add wine, lots and lots of wine.

  3. #28
    Senior Member FQ Stash Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdiane318
    It's called Xanax and a margarita.
    In other words, take a Xanax to calm you down so your motions aren't jerky, just relaxed and s l o w. Then take the margarita so that when you're done, you don't care anyway!

  4. #29
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    Drawing a simple design on paper without lifting the pencil is most helpful. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. After you have drawn the simple design and feel you can do it (it does not have to be perfect--you are looking for smoothness), now take your well basted practice piece to the machine. Without engaging the needle or motor, move the fabric under your darning foot, just like you would if your foot were on the pedal. Repeat until the motion feels natural. When ready, engage. Remember to breathe.

  5. #30
    Super Member Pat P's Avatar
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    If I can FMQ anyone can believe me. It is like climbing a very steep hill-- sticking with it is the tough part. Once you are over the hump it does get easier. Trying to challenge myself to do different designs. But my firsts 4 or 5 were stippled/ that is the easiest one to start with. I initially swirled the quilt around when quilting. The four kings I just quilted I placed masking tape across the middle and quilted half of the quilt at a time going left to right, back to the middle and over to the right and back. Then rotated to the unfinshed half and repeated the procedure. Clear as mud, right?

  6. #31
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewyscrewy
    Take it slow and move with musical type movements hum a song in your head. then it will take just what you already know. ppp and more Practice. That is the only way to get good at it. You can also try moving your whole body a weee bit instead of just moving your arms.
    yes!!! and some more practice!!!

  7. #32
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    It doesn't have to look utterly perfect, remember. Just finish and wash the quilt, and let the magic happen. You don't need it to look like it was done following a program by a longarm. FMQ by hand, on a regular machine, has it's own charm.

  8. #33
    Super Member luv-e's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mommamac
    I feel your pain!!
    Have you seen these video? I've only watched the first 2 but she is easy to listen to and demonstrates well

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39I5A...layer_embedded
    Thank you for this tut!!!!! This was VERY informative

  9. #34
    RST
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    Senior Member RST's Avatar
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    Your machine can make quite a difference too. I was a marginally ok free motion quilter on my Viking. It was stressful and a chore and I ripped out a lot, but I could do it, with gritted teeth.

    When I got a Bernina w/ BSR, it was so much easier and more pleasant, and my results were dramatically better, which meant that I did it much more, (aka practice) -- so it's a cycle of improvement.

    While Pfaffs are great machines, particularly for precise piecing, they probably are not the most free motion friendly. This is entirely my own biased opinion, and doubtless many world famous free motion quilters will now disagree with me. But if you find free motion work very frustrating, consider trying a different machine-- swap with a friend, try out a demo or rent a store model.

    RST

  10. #35
    Senior Member kheliwud's Avatar
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    3Ps: Prepare your space and machine, Practice every day, Persevere. Actually I teach FMQ and here are my favorite hints: go slowly to get the hang of moving your fabric. Getting your motion, needle speed and stitch length together is like learning to drive a stright drive transmission: you are looking for your sweet spot. As for your thread tension, if your bobbin thread is peaking up, your top thread tension is too tight. I always start with the tension loose and tighten up incrementally while I warm up. You will need to tweak your tension every time you sit down to sew as temperature and humidity changes can affect your thread. But don't fret too much about the tension, when you wet and block you quilt, the amount it draws up will hide a lot of tension problems! Don't give up!

  11. #36
    Senior Member kheliwud's Avatar
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    3Ps: Prepare your space and machine, Practice every day, Persevere. Actually I teach FMQ and here are my favorite hints: go slowly to get the hang of moving your fabric. Getting your motion, needle speed and stitch length together is like learning to drive a stright drive transmission: you are looking for your sweet spot. As for your thread tension, if your bobbin thread is peaking up, your top thread tension is too tight. I always start with the tension loose and tighten up incrementally while I warm up. You will need to tweak your tension every time you sit down to sew as temperature and humidity changes can affect your thread. But don't fret too much about the tension, when you wet and block you quilt, the amount it draws up will hide a lot of tension problems! Don't give up!

  12. #37
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    WINE machinger gloves WINE sharp needle WINE and don't forget to breath. Oh and sometimes WINE. lol Works for me everytime.

  13. #38
    Super Member luv-e's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knlsmith
    WINE machinger gloves WINE sharp needle WINE and don't forget to breath. Oh and sometimes WINE. lol Works for me everytime.
    You all crack me up lol lol lol but I like the concept....

  14. #39
    Super Member bailey's Avatar
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    I use a 1471 as well and have just started doing FMQ. I practiced on the French Roses bed runner and by the end of doing that I think I have almost got the hang of it. If I can help with your machine just PM me. Took me a little while to figure it out too. I am not all that good at it but am comfortable doing it now.

  15. #40
    Senior Member Maggie_1963's Avatar
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    lol!!! now that sounds like a plan, I want to see your FMQ!
    Quote Originally Posted by jdiane318
    It's called Xanax and a margarita.

  16. #41
    Senior Member baskets4moo's Avatar
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    I have the 1475 and have been practicing FMQ for a few months now. My big breakthrough came when I read somewhere to leave your feed dogs engaged. If you have the darning foot at the presser foot half-way down it doesn't matter if they're not down. That way the machine has a pseudo stitch regulator of sorts. That's when I really saw an improvement, still not perfect but better. I also cut open the darning foot so I could see better. Just get that glass of wine, margarita, or martini, hook up your tunes and find you mojo. If I can do it, anybody can!

  17. #42
    Super Member Yooper32's Avatar
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    Well, I don't feel so bad now. I thought surely that I was the most inept FMQer on planet earth.My first attempt about 7 yrs. ago is most likely the best job I did and it was the borders on the first full sized quilt I made. I used invisible thread because I was going to try meandering and I just knew I would cross a line and the quilt police would come get me. It came out pretty good, what I could see of it, LOL. Since then, my efforts are definitly not professional, believe me, but I keep plugging away. Have all the oddments you should have, slider, gloves, you name it, but results are sure not quilt show worthy. I also learned to slow the machine down to the turtle picture, that helps some. I will continue to try. I always start with great expectations, if nothing else.

  18. #43
    Senior Member Quilting Angel's Avatar
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    I feel you on this one. Wonder if there is something easy to begin with.

  19. #44
    Junior Member east side quilter's Avatar
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    When i stop i put the needle down.

  20. #45
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsdelvis
    I'm using a Pfaff Creative 1471. I finally figured out the presser foot setting to use - it's surely not clear in the manual! :? I've scoured the internet sites and youtube for help with FMQ.

    Basically they all pretty much say to practice every day for 2 years and you might eventually get the hang of it. I think you must also have to hold your tongue right, turn your fingers into rubber, and mindmeld with the machine.

    My hardest things to conquer are regulating speed, stitch length, and a wonky bobbin thread that wants to peek thru the top.

    Any hints or words of wisdom?
    Only 2 years???? It will take me more like 5. I will have enough test scraps to pot holder the whole world and I will still be TERRIBLE. I am thinking I just may have to resort to my own computerized LAQ machine. :roll: :roll: :roll: Good luck :!:

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by knlsmith
    WINE machinger gloves WINE sharp needle WINE and don't forget to breath. Oh and sometimes WINE. lol Works for me everytime.
    oh yes...but make sure you put your wine in a sippy cup so you don't spill on your quilt when you get to giggling at some "mistake" you just made :thumbup: :lol:

  22. #47
    Member lesmize's Avatar
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    Yes, Gal288, it is like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time. I just need to do nothing else but practice, practice and practice.

  23. #48
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    LOL Lots of good helpful hints. Practice isn't a word i like very much but will just have to get over it. Thanks for the help..

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by bailey
    I use a 1471 as well and have just started doing FMQ. I practiced on the French Roses bed runner and by the end of doing that I think I have almost got the hang of it. If I can help with your machine just PM me. Took me a little while to figure it out too. I am not all that good at it but am comfortable doing it now.
    Bailey, are you leaving your feed dogs engaged, as someone else on this thread with a Pfaff mentioned? Loosening your top tension? Tell me exactly what you do!!

    There have been such great comments here - and funny ones. I'm going to try all the suggestions... also need to finagle some xanax and buy some wine and get some mellow music!

  25. #50
    Senior Member chaskaquilter's Avatar
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    I have to remember to breath! Now wouldn't ya just think that would be automatic? My FMQ isn't very good. But everyone I've given a quilt to loves it and thinks I am an artist. I never tell them anything different.

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