Thursday, May 2, 2013

{Tutorial} Chrysanthemum Quilting & FMQ Tools Review

Chrysanthemum quilting is not that hard!  Once you've gotten used to pacing your movement for free motion quilting, so that you feel some control and are able to make relatively even stitches, you can totally rock this.  Don't be afraid!

Chrysanthemum Quilting tutorial

This simple video is the easiest way to show how it works.  Take a look and then practice drawing chrysanthemums on paper, especially noticing how to work with the size and shape of your petals to nest flowers close together and near the edges.  As a reference point, my large chrysanthemums on the quilt are about 7" across.



After some practice on paper, give it a go with your sewing machine on a small, practice quilt sandwich.  Remember to drop your feed dogs, set stitch length to zero and attach a free motion quilting foot.  I used one of the hopping feet that came with my Juki sewing machine.  The hopping motion is subtle, but useful as it helps the foot travel over any bulky seems.  Here's how to pull up your thread tails or "bobbin thread."

tools from Purple Daisies

On this project, I also used some free motion quilting tools from Purple Daisies.  Purple Daisies is a free motion quilting (FMQ) specialty shop, offering tools and instructional DVD's for learning to FMQ.  I met the owner, Cristy, at QuiltCon, where I had the chance to try out my Juki for the first time as well as a Quilt Halo and Supreme Slider.  On my request, Cristy gifted these tools so I could test them out at home and share the review with you.

The Quilt Halo is that red ring.  It's a heavy metal ring covered in a red plastic that's tacky so that it grips the quilt slightly.  You simply set the ring on the quilt top and then move the ring to move your quilt.  The idea is that the Halo keeps the quilt flat and easier to maneuver, especially on the edges where it can be hard to hold the quilt.  A QuiltCon Cristy had two Halo's stacked on each other.  This doubles the weight and makes them even easier to grasp. 

hands flat on quilt

Although I loved using the Halo at QuiltCon, it didn't work out so well at home.  At QuiltCon I was working with the sewing machine set down in an inset table and only quilting on a small practice sandwich.  At home without that ergonomic advantage and with a baby-sized quilt, the Halo did not seem to control well enough.  As I tested different scenarios, it became clear that I prefer to grasp my quilt with both hands actually holding onto a chunk of fabric. The Quilt Halo requires that you use the "hands flat on the quilt" approach to control the quilt.  Above I'm demonstrating the flat hands approach (other hand is taking the picture, but it would be on the other side of the Halo!). I find this works OK when I am making small movements like the center of the chrysanthemum, but doesn't work when my petals and movements get larger.  Unfortunately, once the Halo is on you cannot take it off until you cut threads.

hands grasping the quilt

This is how I like to hold a quilt (other hand is taking picture!).   Free motion quilting can be a head game as much as anything else.  When I grab the quilt, I feel in control which helps me stay calm.

I tried using the Halo just near the edges where I often struggle to grab enough quilt to control well.  Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work well with this baby-sized quilt.  I did have two Halo's so I tried the double-stacked method as well.  Also, the chrysanthemum pattern travels around in a big circle, bigger than the Halo.  It was frustrating to keep moving the Halo so that it remained clear of the needle.

Supreme Slider installation

I also tried the Supreme Slider from Purple Daisies.  This is a slick plastic sheet that clings to your sewing machine bed much like a vinyl decal.  It peels on and off, leaving no tacky residues.  There is a small rectangle cut out at center for the needle hole.  I cannot overstress how easy this is to put on and take off.  There's nothing to it!

Supreme Slider review

If you do use a Quilt Halo, you need a slider.  The Quilt Halo creates extra vertical pressure on the quilt which the slider counters by creating a slick surface.  Also, if you don't use a Halo but like to use the "flat hand" approach to control your work, the Supreme Slider will totally help!  Again, I tested different set ups with and without the slider, with and without the Halo, etc.  My favorite set up is to grasp the quilt with two hands and use the slider.  The slick surface of the Supreme Slider does help the quilt slide more smoothly, even with my hand-grabbing method, making for a calmer, more pleasant FMQing experience.

I hope I've answered all of your questions about Chrysanthemum Quilting and these tools.  Let me know where I can clarify!  And, thanks to Purple Daisies for making this review possible!


30 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing a video tute on your Chrysanthemum FMQ. Yours was absolutely gorgeous on that baby quilt. I SO want to learn how to FMQ, but its so intimidating. Like you said, it's such a head game. I know it'll take practice, practice, practice, but just trying to figure out how to do standard stippling stumps me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My first FMQ was small loops instead of stippling. I found those easiest =) Like I said, stippling still makes me really uptight.

      Delete
    2. Although stippling is thought to be a beginner FMQ stitch, it is actually one of the trickiest to master. That's because there is no easy or logical point of stopping and starting, which makes it difficult to keep under control as you move your quilt under the needle. So it's to be expected that it makes one "uptight", as you say, Rachel. LOVE the chrysanthemum design, very similar to doodles I've been making since way before I knew of this hobby called "quilting". Thanks for the tutorial! ~Diana from Toronto

      Delete
    3. Although stippling is thought to be a beginner FMQ stitch, it is actually one of the trickiest to master. That's because there is no easy or logical point of stopping and starting, which makes it difficult to keep under control as you move your quilt under the needle. So it's to be expected that it makes one "uptight", as you say, Rachel. LOVE the chrysanthemum design, very similar to doodles I've been making since way before I knew of this hobby called "quilting". Thanks for the tutorial! ~Diana from Toronto

      Delete
  2. Thanks for these thoughts and the video.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the vidio,I will definately try this.It looks lovely,Have to move away from wobbly lines and stabbed fingers.I find the stippling hard going,gives me a very stiff neck and sore shoulders.xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. What an awesome motif! My next project is an Asian-inspired mini quilt/runner and that would be the PERFECT quilting motif!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What an awesome, artsy video! I love it! You are such a great teacher! <3

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh thank you for the tutorial, you're the best!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the tutorial! I really like the idea of that slider paper thing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm so glad you reviewed these products! I've thought about getting the slider - maybe one of these days! :) I'm also really glad that it seems like you're really getting along with your juki! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to help, Eme! Yes, we are definitely getting along =)

      Delete
  9. thanks so much for sharing, I've been wondering about that supreme slider for quite some time now.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I might have to try the slider.

    The next thing you have to try are those gripper gloves. I didn't use them for years when I FMQ but now that I do I would Never go back. They help me move the quilt without having to "grab" so much - although you still could. :)

    Thanks for your honest review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I always forget about those gloves! I do have some and have felt that they help prevent my hands from tiring. I forgot to try them with the Halo. That would have been another scenario to try.

      Delete
  11. I use the slider and bobbin washers. Works well!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Cristy Fincher has a video showing that she uses 2 of the quilt halos stacked together. I had the same problem with the quilt halo that you describe, so after watching the video, I purchased another one and have much better results. The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjKrCRcif0c

    Thanks for the chrysanthemum tutorial.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have the slider and I usually use the flat hand technique with Machingers gloves. Thanks for the honest review on the Halo. It doesn't sound like something I want to try.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great overview. I know it takes time to write a thoughtful review, thanks Rachel!

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a great video, I can't wait to try that technique! I quilt exactly like you do and "hold" the quilt instead of pushing down on it. I had recently been researching both of these products, ironically and had come to the same conclusion about the halo, I don't need anymore downward pressure for sure and I really don't like the concept of not being able to take it off without clipping the thread. I do think it would probably work great if doing something really intricate and small though, like feathers. As far as the slider, I recently cleaned up my vintage Singer 15-91 that I inherited from my husband's grandmother, did the research and found out it is great for FMQ. It has around an 8" harp and only does straight stitch, much like your machine, but the problem I found after using it a bit was the old finish and set in a wood cabinet created a LOT of drag, so I started looking at the slider as a helper, so after your review, I think I will get one, but I'm aiming for the extra large version to cover even more of the wood cabinet and get that fabric sliding really well! Thanks Rachel!

    ReplyDelete
  16. After seeing the video I'm thinking about using the chrysanthemum quilting for the inside & out quilt for my daughter. As it's a busy pattern itself straight line quilting would make for a lot of quilt moving while quilting, I think. Maybe the chrysanthemum quilting would not distract from the pattern... What do you think? Other suggestions?
    Thanks for the tutorial.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a gorgeous quilt! Wow!!! Yes, I think chrysanthemum quilting would be lovely. Probably quilted in white it would be very subtle.

      Delete
  17. Thank you so much for the great tutorial! I was wondering - after securing your stitch why not use the auto thread cutter? Doesn't it pull the top thread under and cut?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, sorry! So, if you cut the threads just after pulling up the bobbin tail and locking threads to get started, then you will cut off the threads and not be able to keep quilting. I do use the thread cutter after finishing a shape, so on the outside of the flower, but not in the center when I want to be able to keep sewing. Hope that makes sense!

      Delete
  18. Rachel
    Thanks for the inspiration on the chrysanthamum pattern. I used it to create some cute oven mitts. See my picture...http://p8ntingmom.blogspot.com/2013/05/i-made-cutest-oven-mitts-and-more.html

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for the review and the great tutorial! I have the quilt halo too- I purchased it from Sharon Schamber after seeing her demo it at a quilt show- I thought it would really help as I use the flat hand method with no gloves (I hate wearing the gloves). I found once I got it home that it didn't really work very well for me either. I use a similar Juki- and mine is in a set in table- so neither of those things would be a factor. I didn't have a supreme slider though, and that might have made a difference in all fairness. Ultimately I think this tool has potential- but I found I had much better results just using my hands flat to quilt with no "help". I am glad to know I am not the only one who had trouble with it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. When I tried the halo without a slider it was terrible! I think the slider is really necessary for the halo.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks so much for demystifying that process, Rachel. It was great to HEAR your voice too.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great to read your process, I haven't looked at the video yet, but I will! Never seen one of those halo things before. I swear by gloves, breathable on the back and rubberised on the palm and fingers. So I find it really easy to just keep my hands flat on the quilt and there is enough grip to move it and much easier to move around. But I always try to stop whenever I have to move my hands, otherwise my stitch lenght goes haywire!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm taking some Craftsy classes and Leah Day uses the same thingy on top of the machine. She doesn't lower the feed dogs and she uses quilting gloves, which allows for the fingers to stay straight in no weird position. I've never quilted, but thought it sounded like a combo I want to try. Thanks so much for a very clear tutorial, the video in particular is something that works for me (visual learner), and the flower looks lovely!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails