#BraveQuilter - FMQ

Ok...So, it turns out it is taking much more bravery to share this experience than it was to actually do it.  I don't want to say that my #BraveQuilter choice for June over at PinkDoxies was a complete failure, but it did make me realize that I have A LOT of practice ahead of me.  And probably some more pricey supplies too.

I chose to focus my free motion quilting work instead of just making wobbly, meandering lines and loops.  I have always quilted my own work and didn't think too much about it.  I little out of the ditch here, a knot there.  No big deal.  But, now that I know more, I want my skills to match what I know is good work.

I made a few little quilt sandwiches and stitched around the outside so I would have a good little frame to work with.  I decided to start with a simple feather.  I love the look of them and they are so versatile.  AND...turns out they are not as easy as they look.  This is downright embarrassing showing these photos, but I am hoping it will shame me into practicing much, much more.

I am not sure if it is a setting on my machine or if I am just that shaky when I sew.  My lines are SO wobbly.  It might be the foot I am using.  It is a foot with a circle, but no spring.  I think you can see it here:

It bounces so much that it makes me dizzy.  It is hard to stitch over lines with any accuracy as well. Maybe I just need to invest in the normal spring free motion foot.  Advice?

I felt that I did better starting at the bottom of the stem and doing the top of the curve each time.  And my right side was always better than my left.

Then I moved on.  Trying a few different things.  Still very shaky and wobbly.  Even when I was doing a simple curved line.  
Those pebbles are just horrible, how do they look so easy in the videos?

I think at this point I need to take a few steps backwards and make some stitches and label what tension, what speed, etc. that I use with each and then look at them to see what is working best.  

I think these practice sandwiches have taught me a lot.  I need to make about 100 of these and start practicing before I even think about picking up a full quilt.  

Today I'll be linking up with:
Let's Bee Social at SewFreshQuilts
Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation
and at the end of June...
#BraveQuilter at Pink Doxies


  1. Hi Jen,

    Please don't feel embarrassed with sharing. I love what you did. You are doing a good jod. We will learn together. I do use a grame, but if I am doing something small, I use my domestic machine. Either way my free motion foot does have the spring. I like it. I also like your idea of making labels and putting the information on there. I think what you are doing looks great.

  2. A spring foot might be a good investment. But most importantly keep practicing. No one is perfect! No matter how long anyone has been free motion quilting a wobble here or there happens. You are off to a great start!

  3. I get a little too "pushy" and sometimes push the fabric making for uneven stitches. I really like the feathers you posted. And you are doing great! I have yet to try feathers but love the look of them. A lot of free-motion I do are small shapes or patterns and I sew them on drawn out tissue paper to my quilts. Jen, your work is wonderful!

  4. I love that you are willing to post your learning experiences. I only stipple and haven't taken the time to learn the flowers and pebbles, but I have some upcoming projects requiring the pebbles and will have to learn!

  5. FMQ takes a *lot* of practice, even those things that look so easy. You are doing everything right! I did the same thing when I first started - made notes of what tension, speed, etc. I used to see what worked. I find it is easier for me to use an open toe foot rather than the closed toe; I can see where I am going better and it is easier to stitch over lines. Feathers are my nemesis...I don't know if I'll ever get them right, but we'll just keep practicing, right? :) Keep up the great work, and keep posting your progress!

  6. Don't beat yourself up, you are doing really well. At least you are practicing, and if you practice you get better, right? Whereas I am still procrastinating, (sigh). I agree with Beth, an open toe foot is much better as you can see where you are going. AND you definitely get the bravery award. It's easy to post when you have hit your target or learned a new skill, it takes guts to show the warts and all version, so you get my vote.

  7. FMQing takes tons of practice and I can see that you are on the right track. Want your quilting to look better instantly? Switch to a matching thread color as the fabric and your quilting becomes so much more forgiving.

  8. Great advice from Cheryl! Jen, for a beginner you are doing quilt well! You should be very proud! Your curves will get smoother with each practice! Keep it up!

  9. Jen, I have some of my original pieces when I started learning, and mine don't look much different. You tried feathers!! There are whole courses devoted to making feathers, you know. They are tough, and even my best ones still have wobbles. You may laugh, but I think stippling and pebbles are two of the toughest patterns to do, and have always wondered why they were considered beginner patterns. I am a longarmer, but if I have to do pebbles that 'count', I go back to my sit down machine where I seem to have better luck and control.

    I cannot advise on the spring foot, but I've got one on my Janome. It works just fine. I learned to FMQ on my little old Pfaff, which only had one like you show. It works equally as well. I wonder more about the rigidity of your table, and if that's adding to your vibration. A well anchored machine in a cabinet makes a big difference. I don't have that set up in my studio, but found it out using a friend's machine in a heavier cabinet.

    I applaud your bravery, and you should be proud of your work here. No shame or embarrassment should ever keep us from growing our skills, and getting better. Thank you for such an honest post, and for linking up with the June wrap up for #BraveQuilter. Cheers to you!


  10. I've found too that the hardest part of Brave Quilter is sharing the result which is often not as great and as perfect as I imagined it would be. But man, your quilting stitches are pretty even. You can work on the wobbly. Most of that may be in trying to decide where to go as everything is moving so fast. My Brave Quilter was quilting too, so I invite you to go look at it and feel instantly better. Let's just agree together to practice and to encourage each other. We'll get better over time.

  11. Looks pretty good to me. I just started to relearn FMQ and your practice pieces resemble mine (only yours are better). I modified my foot by putting a rubber band on the top of my spring so it won't jump. Leah Day shows how on her Free Motion Project blog. Keep up the good work!


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