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Thread: Where did you first learn to machine quilt?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
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    I have never, ever been shown how to machine quilt on a sewing machine. I know I have to buy a darning foot for my machine (that much I *do* know). But, did you take a class at a quilt shop? Did you learn from a friend or relative? Did you learn on your own?

    I would like to learn, but I don't know where to begin. What special supplies do I have to buy, other than the batting, backing, safety pins, marking tools and masking tape?

  2. #2
    Power Poster cutebuns's Avatar
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    I learned by reading, there were several articles and in one of the patterns for a calendar there were directions on how to do it. There are all sorts of videos etc as well, a lot of then can probably be found on you tube. I sandwiched up some practice pieces and away I went. It takes practice. so I am including one of my practice pieces.

    one of the first practice pieces
    Name:  Attachment-36358.jpe
Views: 262
Size:  46.0 KB

  3. #3
    Junior Member Ethel A's Avatar
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    Your practice piece looks neat!!! I hope my practice piece look as nice as yours.

  4. #4
    Power Poster cutebuns's Avatar
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    I am sure it will Ethel, keep it small to start, this measures about 14 inches I think, small enough to be able to move it easily. I have a hard time doing it for nothing so I started on wall hangings, place mats and table runners are also a good place. That way if it works out you can use it. and even if it doesn't, you can still use it, turn it into a pet mat or something.

  5. #5
    k3n
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    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
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    PRACTICE PIECE!!!!! That's beautiful!

    I've done free motion once and I did it on a 'busy' kaleidoscope top, so the variable stitch lengths don't show THAT much! LOL
    I did some practice pieces first (nothing I would show here though!) and then went 'live' on a full bed quilt: that had it's own challenges just because of the sheer size of it! If you like a tipple, they say a glass of wine to relax you helps!

  6. #6
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    i've taught myself to do everything related to sewing and quilting.

    the best thing i've done to help with my free motion quilting is building this cheap quilting table.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAS25v3ZTk0


    then just practice - its really not as hard as you'd think.

    if you don't have a way to control the speed of your sewing machine you might want to consider building a brace to go around your pedal.

    i had to do this - its hard enough getting the movement down with your hands and by setting the speed to a consistent pace its one less thing to worry about.


  7. #7
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    I don't know how yet, on my list of tihngs to learn!

    good luck!

  8. #8
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    I cracked meandering, first on a large scale on totes, then gradually smaller. I was then able to buy a Bernina with BSR, which made it easier to keep an even stitch length. I bought a book by Karen McTavish that came with a video and watching that was very helpful for some of the different patterns of quilting.
    What I did before I tried any stitching at all, was to draw the design I was intending to do. I doodled it all over everything for a couple of evenings, practicing how to get the design into various shapes, i.e. square, half square triangle etc., and how to get from one shape to another without having to backtrack very much. All the doodling seemd to help with hand/eye co-ordination, and made it easier once the quilt was on the machine. If I want to try another filling pattern, especially feathers, I still doodle it first, to get into my head.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lacelady
    I cracked meandering, first on a large scale on totes, then gradually smaller. I was then able to buy a Bernina with BSR, which made it easier to keep an even stitch length. I bought a book by Karen McTavish that came with a video and watching that was very helpful for some of the different patterns of quilting.
    What I did before I tried any stitching at all, was to draw the design I was intending to do. I doodled it all over everything for a couple of evenings, practicing how to get the design into various shapes, i.e. square, half square triangle etc., and how to get from one shape to another without having to backtrack very much. All the doodling seemd to help with hand/eye co-ordination, and made it easier once the quilt was on the machine. If I want to try another filling pattern, especially feathers, I still doodle it first, to get into my head.
    I have never tried FMQ, it's on my list, too...but there is some great advice here, on this thread. LaceLady, like the idea of practicing movement with a pen, on ppr for a bit...to get it in my head. Kind of a psychological menta-imagery thing!
    How clever is that?
    K, like your idea of a tipple, but I'll have to settle for some chocolate milk...get the same effect most times :mrgreen:

  10. #10
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    So far I am limited to stitch-in-the-ditch with my SID foot. I did take a class but without practice that was a waste of money. I have checked out various tutorials (videos) on line and then it's up to the practice time.

    Don't know that you need anything else, really.

    There are quilting gloves that are supposed to help transport the quilt. There is also a plastic sheet that is anti-static (I think it lives under the quilt during quilting) and I heard good things about it.

    One key is to plan your pin-basting so the pins won't get in the way.

    I also heard repeatedly that you should do all the straight quilting first (to secure the quilt) and then do the free motion.

  11. #11
    Junior Member Adriane's Avatar
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    You know, I am taking a freemotion class at Joann right now. I'm the only one in the class...in fact...I've been the only one in all of my quilting classes so far...anyhow...my teacher had me practice with no thread and putting 8 1/2x11 paper through my machine (feed dogs down of course)...just to practice moving the paper around.

    Then, I worked on following the lines in a bandana as practice. :) It's all been very helpful.

    She kept all of the 8 1/2x11 sheets I practiced on to show how much better I have gotten through PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. :D

  12. #12
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I am self taught. I bought a Juki because of the larger throat and just started practicing. I'm still learning.

  13. #13
    Super Member Susy's Avatar
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    still a beginner, definitely but mostly books or internet. I think that practice is a big thing, on a scrap piece, each time before you start on the real thing. Also, yes, a glass of wine for stippling/meandering, seems to help a lot to relax.

  14. #14
    Power Poster Diane007's Avatar
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    just love the hearts

  15. #15
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    you will need a slider or anything that will help the quilt slide easier you will need to put a hole in for the needle if you aren't using a slider, it comes with the hole already. I use gloves and it does help. Another thing is if your backing is busy it helps it won't show the boo bo bos I like to use silk 100wt silk thread it is just amazing how good your quilting will look.

  16. #16
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    I was a hand-quilter who had been out of practice for oh.. 10 years.. and searched the internet for tips. Prior to that, I thought you had to have a long-arm (but I didn't know what it was called or anything) to machine quilt. I found Leah Day's You Tube site and was tickled to find that you could quilt on a sewing machine! I didn't even HAVE a sewing machine, but I knew I could get one!

    I practiced on a very tiny Singer that was actually very good at FMQ, so it gave me a lot of confidence. I took a class on Craftsy for $20 and it was worth every penny. I have moved up in sewing machines, but some are better at FMQ than others. I don't use any other special equipment. I put a drop of glycerin on my hands instead of wearing gloves.

    Just have fun with it. It won't look great right out of the gate. I have "mastered" a few fillers and use them the most. My quilts are for family, not for show, but I love making them!!
    You can have any design you want. As long as it's loops!

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