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Thread: What do you practice your Free Motion Quilting on?

  1. #1
    Junior Member scrappycats's Avatar
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    I understand that I am not the only person that needs to practice Free Motion quilting (is that what it is called?)before being good enough to do a quilt, but just what do you do with all your practice pieces?

    I just threw away a few muslin sandwiches (about 15 inches square) that I quilted the tar out of over and over again trying to get the technique down. But, sure hate throwing fabric and batting away. I did do a piece yesterday that I added a zipper to and made into a notions bag to carry to the LQS.

    But, I need more, much more practice and I was wondering what ya'll learned/practiced on.

  2. #2
    Super Member KatFish's Avatar
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    Pot holders and placemats are great for practicing your FMQ.

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    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    I have never done any machine quilting, so going to jump right in there, and ask if free motion quilting is done using the same foot that is normally found on a new sewing machine? is free motion work, just whereever, and whatever area you want to stitch a design? ( :oops: blushing cuz I really feel dumb in asking.. But I am not like Dumb, and Dumber ( think Jim Carey ), I am more " I love it when a plan comes together" because I am forever and a day, figuring out I can do whatever I set my mind on.. hope someone can answer the question, lol.

  4. #4
    Junior Member scrappycats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aneternalpoet
    I have never done any machine quilting, so going to jump right in there, and ask if free motion quilting is done using the same foot that is normally found on a new sewing machine? is free motion work, just whereever, and whatever area you want to stitch a design? ( :oops: blushing cuz I really feel dumb in asking.. But I am not like Dumb, and Dumber ( think Jim Carey ), I am more " I love it when a plan comes together" because I am forever and a day, figuring out I can do whatever I set my mind on.. hope someone can answer the question, lol.
    Free motion quilting is when you drop the feed dogs and use your hands to move the quilt. The faster you move the quilt the smaller the stitches are. Generally, you use an special foot for this. Mine has a ring shaped toe and a bar that goes above the needle holder to make the foot go up and down with the stitch.

  5. #5
    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    Ok, that explains it some for me.. Not sure how to drop the feed dogs, but will find out. But what you are saying about the special foot, that means to buy the quilting foot that is talked about? My adopted Quilting Mommy, lol, explained about that foot, so it sounds like I need to find out how to order one for my machine, since Walmart probably doesnt have them..
    thanks.

  6. #6
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I have made pot holders out of mine LOL I put another layer of fabric over the front and back and cover up my FMQ :wink:

  7. #7
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aneternalpoet
    Ok, that explains it some for me.. Not sure how to drop the feed dogs, but will find out. But what you are saying about the special foot, that means to buy the quilting foot that is talked about? My adopted Quilting Mommy, lol, explained about that foot, so it sounds like I need to find out how to order one for my machine, since Walmart probably doesnt have them..
    thanks.
    I think you may be talking about a walking foot. that is used to feed several layers of fabric through the machine evenly. The foot that is used for free motion quilting is often called a darning foot. What type of machine do you have? If you can check with your dealer and explain what you want to do with it.

  8. #8
    Member Donna - Batiks's Avatar
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    Some one told me to sew the binding on (both sides!) and donate them to the local animal shelter. The dogs don't mind the stitches are perfect! It just gives them a nice place to lay off the cold concrete floors.

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    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    i have a Brother , but dont have the model number in front of me. I saw it at walmart here in our small town, but I bought it at a thrift store ( but it was brand new , as the owner had died, and her family donated it without the instruction book, sigh ).. I will check into the foot thing tomorrow if I can.. I really want to learn ( practice, practice, practice !) to do that kind of quilting on my smaller projects..

  10. #10
    Super Member aneternalpoet's Avatar
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    What is the FMQ that you're talking about? I am new to all the terminology, lol.. and new to the site, too - just a babe in the woods of about a week now here .. loving it though!

  11. #11
    Kas
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    I piece scraps from the quilt I am about to fmq. Then I try out different threads while I get warmed up. That way I know which ones look the best. I save these pieces to help me remember past quilts. Silly, I know.

  12. #12
    Super Member C.Cal Quilt Girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aneternalpoet
    What is the FMQ that you're talking about? I am new to all the terminology, lol.. and new to the site, too - just a babe in the woods of about a week now here .. loving it though!
    Check the book to see if machine will do first, May only be able to straight, stitch in the ditch,(along the seam), or curved arches, sometimes freemotion looks more like scribbles, (that may be a bad description) has more flow to it. Good Luck and Welcome !! :D
    can go to topics on header and most of the names of things you hear will have topic postings

  13. #13
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    When you sew normally, as in piecing, you sew in a straight line, and you presserfoot and feed dogs move the fabric through the machine. In FMQ, you lower the feed dogs...so, if you don't move the fabric, it just kinda sits there..making knots in the thread, lol. So, you provide the motion. You place your hands on the fabric and you can make loops, hearts, etc. It takes some practice, but it is really neat. Google free motion quilting videos and you can watch it being done, which will help you understand a little bit better.

  14. #14
    Super Member trif's Avatar
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    When I practiced my FMQ I used material with batting and backing big enough for a lap quilt, when I was done playing I then would cut it into placemats n tape runner sizes put on binding and gave away as gifts. Family loved it

  15. #15
    Super Member M.I.Late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nursie76
    Quote Originally Posted by aneternalpoet
    Ok, that explains it some for me.. Not sure how to drop the feed dogs, but will find out. But what you are saying about the special foot, that means to buy the quilting foot that is talked about? My adopted Quilting Mommy, lol, explained about that foot, so it sounds like I need to find out how to order one for my machine, since Walmart probably doesnt have them..
    thanks.
    I think you may be talking about a walking foot. that is used to feed several layers of fabric through the machine evenly. The foot that is used for free motion quilting is often called a darning foot. What type of machine do you have? If you can check with your dealer and explain what you want to do with it.
    There's also one out there called the "Big Foot" used for free motion quilting. Walking foot is more for straight line sandwiches though.

  16. #16
    Super Member M.I.Late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.Cal Quilt Girl
    Quote Originally Posted by aneternalpoet
    What is the FMQ that you're talking about? I am new to all the terminology, lol.. and new to the site, too - just a babe in the woods of about a week now here .. loving it though!
    Check the book to see if machine will do first, May only be able to straight, stitch in the ditch,(along the seam), or curved arches, sometimes freemotion looks more like scribbles, (that may be a bad description) has more flow to it. Good Luck and Welcome !! :D
    can go to topics on header and most of the names of things you hear will have topic postings
    I would describe free motion quilting as puzzle quilting - it sort of looks like puzzle pieces but it's continuous.

  17. #17
    Super Member M.I.Late's Avatar
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    I practice FMQ on cut out pieces of fabric that can be used for pot holders, burp pads for babies or bibs. Try a floral and trace the flowers - good for practicing your control. It could also end up being something you want to splice into a towel or something.

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    The manual can be downloaded from the Brother website, I downloaded one for the machine I have ordered so I could get a head start. Also parts, but check other sites (Ebay, etc.) when you know which foot you want to order.

  19. #19
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    When I was practising, I did it on Project Linus quilts. I figured the youngsters wouldn't be critical over some of my stitching if I boo booed. Nothing wasted, and a good cause benefitted.

  20. #20
    Senior Member newestnana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aneternalpoet
    i have a Brother , but dont have the model number in front of me. I saw it at walmart here in our small town, but I bought it at a thrift store ( but it was brand new , as the owner had died, and her family donated it without the instruction book, sigh ).. I will check into the foot thing tomorrow if I can.. I really want to learn ( practice, practice, practice !) to do that kind of quilting on my smaller projects..
    I was using a Brother that I'd purchased at Costco before upgrading (at substantial cost) to my Janome. When I started quilting on my Brother, I ended up ordering several more feet for it online, including a walking foot and a darning foot. As pointed out in other posts, the walking foot helps the three-layered fabric sandwich feed evenly while sewing straight lines (stitch in the ditch, cross hatch, bindings). The darning foot is for free-motion sewing (so the fabric is not moved automatically in a straight line away from you), and you either "drop" the feed dogs (on my Brother there's a switch on the bottom back of the machine that does this) or cover them so the fabric is not gripped by them (you can make a homemade cover...I'm sure there are posts on this board telling you how to do it).

    These two feet look totally unlike any other feet. I was kinda frustrated at having gotten my Brother at such a good price but then having to pay so much for these extras...maybe you can find a bargain someplace. I've seen walking feet at Joanns (use a coupon???) but I'm not sure whether they fit the Brother...there may be only a couple of sizes (wouldn't it be nice if they were standardized and interchangeable for all machines?).

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    I am always afraid to free motion on a project that I am working on and ruining it. I am a bit of a perfectionist. My mom taught me to rip it out if it wasn't perfect. I have tried working on just muslin but I could end up with a king size quilt and have nothing to show for it. Last week I made myself a tote bag from a pattern on Moda Bake Shop. I wanted to quilt it free motion. I took out the stitches 2 times. I referenced a book put out my Sulky called Weekend quilting by Sulky. There is a wall hanging in book where they show a different style of quilting in each square. It was like a light bulb moment for me. I tended to look at the large quilt it self and not block by block. I went on to quilt my bag which I visually divided into 4 sections. My bag turned out realy nice and I didn't have long loopy stitched. The book says to sew at a slow to med speed. I put on some music and let it set the rythm. I am ready to start another project.

  22. #22
    Super Member ranger's Avatar
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    I practice on 'crumb' blocks. I do the blocks quilt- as- you- go and practice the FMQ on them. I plan to put the blocks together with narrow sashings to make a quilt.

  23. #23
    Junior Member acesgame's Avatar
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    I have FMQ'd with the feed dogs up and it worked just fine because the darning foot doesn't put much down pressure on the fabric.

    I would buy some panels or busy large print fabric and practice around the printed designs. They are always cute and a non-quilting person will never know your mistakes and will love the lap quilt, table runner, pot holder or wall hanging you made. By finishing them, It also gives you the feeling of accomplishment and the practice binding them that I know I need.

  24. #24
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aneternalpoet
    i have a Brother , but dont have the model number in front of me. I saw it at walmart here in our small town, but I bought it at a thrift store ( but it was brand new , as the owner had died, and her family donated it without the instruction book, sigh ).. I will check into the foot thing tomorrow if I can.. I really want to learn ( practice, practice, practice !) to do that kind of quilting on my smaller projects..
    I would check into ordering a new book for the machine. Be sure when you are purchasing a quilting foot that it is for machine quilting and not a 1/4" foot. A good way to practice FMQ is to practice on paper first. It helps the brain remember the motion you are trying to achieve.

  25. #25
    Super Member grammyp's Avatar
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    I practiced on a couple of pieces of poly/cotton I had lying around. Then I just put in a couple of tops made from crumbs and started quilting. They aren't perfectly quilted, but work great for picnics and camping.

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