What was your first time like?
Um, freemotion quilting, that is. (sorry, that was just too easy.)
So, yep, I did it last night! And it was fun. (ok, how do I get away from this now?)
Let's try a picture.
If you're not familiar with "freemotion quilting," it is when you drop the feed dogs that normally pull your fabric through the machine so that you can stitch freely in any direction. To freemotion, you also switch to a darning foot, which allows lots of visability. Freemotion quilting (FMQ) is a wee bit intimidating because you have to do three things at once: 1. move the quilt under the sewing needle in a way that forms a desired pattern 2. move the quilt at a steady speed in order to control the stitch length and 3. push the foot pedal at a steady speed in order to control the stitch length.
For me it's kinda like this - foot go fast, hands go slow. And I have to keep telling my hands "go slow!" and my feet "keep going fast!" It comes off really bossy.
Thanks for your advice to practice on a separate piece to "warm up" as it were right before I started the actual quilt. I think that really helped! My curly cues are not perfect, but hey I wasn't expecting perfection (remember this). The flaws show up most on the back. Good thing I used a fun print!
I do recommend this style of FMQ for your first time, if you're looking to give it a try. It's a forgiving style and didn't take too long. I believe I quilted the whole baby quilt in a little over an hour! It didn't seem that long though. Let's face it, straight line quilting is a tedius, though beautiful chore. The challenge of FMQ kept me engaged.
This is my very most favoritist part of all. Yay for freemotion quilting!