Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My first time.

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.

my first time.

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.

Curly Cues & chicks

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.

Quilt Back with Freemotion Quilting, yay!

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.

Curly Cues & Puppy


This is my very most favoritist part of all.  Yay for freemotion quilting!

27 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh Rachel! You are cracking me up! "Came off kinda bossy" I love you;)

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  2. Congrats! I haven't done too much of it but was reminded that unless you point out your own mistakes, no one else notices... especially once its washed and crinkly. That has helped me.

    Love the loops!

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  3. Ditto, Amy. It looks great! I wish I could see it in person!

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  4. You're so brave!! Everytime I look at one of my newly finished quilt tops all shiny and perfect all I imagine is totally screwing it up and have to pick out a million free motion stitches.

    Your quilting is so fun and fancy I'm definitely trying it yet AGAIN on my next baby-sized quilt. I gotta get it one of these day ... right?!

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  5. BaileyGirl - I've picked out free motion stitches - it's the pits. So, I told myself I wasn't going to pick anything out. Just do my best and let live. Totally try this curly design. I really think it's an easy one!

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  6. I can feel myself mustering up the energy to try this...while simultaniously not wanting to fail...must...press...on.....

    He he. =)

    Good first effort! It's cute!

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  7. I think I'm probably the only person out there who did a year of free motion quilting before ever trying straight lines. Mostly I only do straight line quilting when I'm too lazy to pin my quilt on the rack. I hate it. I mean really HATE it. It's just so boooring. And tedious. Did I say boring?? Yep.

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  8. Oh and DUH I forgot to say--Good job! It turned out cute!

    I think I'm a self-centered commenter. Bad me.

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  9. Well done!!! It took me MONTHS of practice on mini quilt sandwiches to get the hang of FMQing - now I feel comfortable enough to do it on larger quilts too! I mostly stick to stippling... everyone says 'thats hard' but its the easiest for me. haven't done loopDloops yet! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  10. Jenn's not the only one - this has been my first year of quilting, and I just finally tried straight line quilting last month. I'm kind of awful at straight lines, the FMQ is a lot easier for me.

    I love how yours turned out! It looks fantastic, and you're right, using a bold print is a great thing to use as a backing until you feel like you get the hang of it. I think FMQ is way more fun than straight lines, although I love the look of straight lines, too. :)

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  11. Way to go, Rachel! It IS fun, isn't it??

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  12. I am so anxious to try FMQ. It is my big goal for 2011. Cute, cute embroidery, BTW!!!

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  13. Congratulations!!! You did a great job!

    I actually find loop de loop patterns MORE difficult to FMQ - once I figured out stippling, my FMQ life got a lot happier.

    Congrats again - glad the pre-practice helped.

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  14. what a sweet quilt! And what a cute free-motion! It suits it well!

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  15. It looks great! I have been too scared to try free motion quilting. Your first effort looks really good though, so maybe I need to suck it up and give it a shot. (Still scared though!) Can't wait to see what you do next!

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  16. I like the pattern you chose- it looks less intimidating than stippling to me. I've been planning to try FMQ, and I think I'll try this curlyque design. It looks great!

    What's been stopping me so far is a question I haven't found an answer to yet. Maybe you can help? So, when you FMQ, even with the darning foot, doesn't pulling the fabric around pull the needle off center and cause it to hit the plate? I just can't understand how this doesn't happen...

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  17. Jenn and Elizabeth ... ditto! Straight line is new to me. Check out Leah Days blog of 365 fmq patterns! Increedible!

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  18. Wow, I'm so impressed! Very brave of you, Rachel! FMQ terrifies me. But you're motivating me to give it another shot. When I do, I'll definitely try this loopy pattern. Love it.

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  19. ok, you've convinced me to give it a go *shudder*

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  20. Cate,

    I wonder if that would be a problem if you're using a plate that only has a tiny hole opening (for straight line stitching only). My plate has a larger opening so that it can accommodate the zigzag stitch, etc. I had no broken needles and just used a regular "quilting" needle. It really didn't feel rough on my machine, but that could be because it was done on a small quilt.

    Good luck!

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  21. Rachel, I think you did so great! My first time was earlier this year and it was terrible. If you keep practicing, your hands and feet will sync up and you won't have to be "bossy" anymore because they'll just know what to do! I FMQ all the time because I don't have a walking foot but I really need to get one so I can straight line quilt!

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  22. In my experience, you can't judge free motion quilting until you've done it 3 times. For some reason, it just clicks on the third time, for me and for others I've talked to. Hang in there all. Rachel, it looks great!

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  23. Your quilting looks great!! It's scary the first time! I've free motioned several quilts now, and actually just broke down and got a walking foot to straight line quilt for the first time on my color brick quilt! lol. I like to do things backwards! :) I must say I like both ways!

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  24. I love the quilting curly-q's and your quilt!

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