Saturday, May 7, 2011

10 things I "learned" about Free Motion Quilting today!







Today, I started quilting my Walk in the Woods quilt. It's the first time I've done free motiong quilting (FMQ) on a bed sized quilt. I learned a few things!

1. You need to get a flow going to get the meandering motion you want. This is not aided by small children's constant demands for juice, milk, water, chocolate, croissants, pins, needles, bread rolls, "arts and craps" sets, painting, scisssors, crayons, measuring tapes to use as skipping ropes, assistance with jigsaw making, help with toileting, more painting, more juice, crackers, biscuits (the European types!), lunch (at 10am), new toys....hmm, I think I've covered at least half of it there.

2. When you finally do get a flow going, your thread breaks. You get it going again and the bobbin runs out. This repeats itself for a while.

3. When you get it going again after point 2, your almost-5-year old demands help setting up a Wii game. You then get distracted playing silly skiing games on the balance board. Your flow is now shot to pieces.

4. You read all the instructions & tutorials about how to do FMQ but you really hate those bicycle clips for keeping the quilt rolled up and abandon them, leaving you to wrestle your quilt around the machine and the kitchen table.

5. You detach your quilting extension table after approximately 15 minutes because its driving you insane. It's so useful for straight line quilting, you can't believe how much it interfers with FMQ.

6. It takes a long time to get used to moving the quilt around when you are used to letting the machine pull it through for straight line quilting.


7. You discover you are incapable of working in rows and end up just going with the flow, meaning when you finish you reckon there's about 1/3 done but its so haphazard its hard to tell.

8. Your stitch length is all over the place. Now, you know the 8 year old recipient of the quilt will not notice but you do!!

9. When you finally, eventually start to make real progress you look at the clock and realise its 2pm, everyone is still in their pyjamas and no one has had lunch yet.

10. But, when you pack away your stuff, you realise how fast the FMQ was and how nice it is looking despite lots of mistakes. You are happy!!!





27 comments:

Sheila said...

Huge admiration for you tackling a proper quilt with fmq. Thanks for giving me such a good laugh after a busy day at work! I hate my extension table too, never use it. If you haven't tried gloves, really recommend "Machingers" available from Creative Grids.I have started using them for ordinary quilting too.

felicia said...

I love fmq it takes a lot to get use to especiallywith three kids age 5 & under but love the way it turns out

Felicia

Jennadesigns said...

Great post! :) I give you props... can't imagine trying to do it with one kiddo, let alone multiple ones! I can't even think straight when my 8 year old is chattering away non-stop in my studio... I end up just giving up. And for what it's worth... the most I've ever FMQ was a potholder (and ripped out my stitches twice!). I usually quit after the thread breaks twice and the bobbin runs out! :)

susan said...

Well done you. It took me ages to get the courage to try FMQ and I still haven't had the courage to make a full size quilt, let alone FMQ it. I've just got small quilt mentality! Give your kids a couple more years and you can say things to them like I do to mine - 'Get it yourself', 'Can you make lunch please, mummy is busy', and best of all, 'Go away! I am trying to concentrate. Just go outside and play like children are supposed to!' Ah, the joys of politically correct parenting.

H2Ogirl said...

Go you! This inspires me to actually try FMQ. I'm still shying away from it.

Dana said...

what a great post! your a woman after my own heart and this sounds like a day in the life of me!

~Carla~ said...

Lol!! Do you live at my house?! I have 4 kids & this all sounds painfully familiar! ;)

Manda said...

lol sounds like an interesting morning, don't think I could have managed with that many distractions!! Looks fab though, as you said only you will notice any mistakes. I too have machingers gloves, they work well for me :)

Becky said...

haha! first off, I loved 'arts and craps'. Adorable. Glad you did some FMQ, I will remember your tips when I try it myself!

Flying Blind... said...

It looks brilliant from here! Bravo!

As much as I love the sunny weather, it was nice today to say 'oh you do want to watch a DVD don't you?' as a rhetorical question... couple of hours of sewing time for me!!

Elizabeth D. said...

Good for you, Sarah! It looks great :) And this sounds infinitely like the first several times I FMQ'd...and the interruptions definitely still happen to this day...glad to hear I'm not the only one spending my Saturday sewing! :)

SewHappyGeek said...

I agree with Sheila above - Machingers have been the best. thing. ever! for my quilting, and I use them anytime there are more than 2 layers going through the machine.
Also, once you do a whole quilt (fmq), you find your 'flow' much quicker next time you do it as your body and brain have had time to memorise the movements. And you'll start being able to 'plan' your movements, I promise!!
I looked at it closely and yours looks better than my first attempt ever was, and I'm actually kinda half decent now, so you are on a very good learning curve! Yay!
Well done! You rock, dude!

Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts said...

Love this post. Your sewing time sounds like mine with a 3 year old and a 6 month old- constantly interrupted. I am dying to learn to FMQ and am jumping in ASAP. Yours looks great!

Mary Jo said...

It looks so good Sarah! I can't imagine how you do it with the little ones!! Sounds like it gets a little crazy! I just bought the darning foot for my sewing machine so I can try the FMQ....I'll probably get a good laugh out of it too!

Pam said...

I laughed my self silly at your FMQ post! In spite of all your stops & starts, your quilt looks fantastic! Bravo!

Pieces to Love said...

What...you are supposed to work in rows??? LOL I do my own thing when free motioning, and I don't think I have ever gone in rows... :)

Leanne said...

I think it looks great! Just keep going, it gets easier as you go.

Eleni said...

It looks AMAZING Sarah!!!Just GORGEOUS!!! You are so talented!!!! By the way it sounds so funny living at your home:)
Happy Mother's Day:)
xo
Eleni

WandaFish said...

Your FMQ looks lovely! What a great post and I really laughed at number 9 :)

Cindy said...

So beautiful! It is absolutely fantastic - what a great way to spend a weekend day :)

patchworkdelights said...

haha excellent Sarah, I am contemplating putting a lock on my door so I can lock it when I am working!

Kirsten N said...

This looks really lovely Sarah!!

Jill said...

How funny!! Can't believe you got through all that to finish in the end! Great work!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a great week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success
http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

Gretchen T said...

The quilt is beautiful and wow, I tried FMQ once and well, it didn't go well for me, all of the above happened and it was really hard, my arms also felt like I had lifted weights for days!! Although I don't know what bicycle clips are...maybe that would have helped!
Maybe I will try again.....well see....
love the happy birdy fabric, that's my favortie...

Kirsty said...

LOL!! I thought it was just me that felt that way about FMQ. You are so right, FLOW is everything. I love your results. They look terrific. My first project is still a work in progress. A lot of the time I feel like I am just hanging on for dear life, and the rest of the time I am trying to be waaaay too intricate. (Ooh, scary parallels with my broader 'life' there.) Anyhow, I am getting the hang of it, and I'm loving it...much reverse quilting (unpicking) later. I like how it teaches you to look at your quilt in a whole different way. How it gives it another dimension, both physically and as part of the whole design/create process. Its very cool.

Quilt Link said...

i free motion too. i even work my quilts in 30 x 30 sections to make it easier. then i add the backing and hand quilt it in the center of the block to tack it on, like a star or heart or something. and yes it's all with babies everywhere.

ritainalaska said...

i have enjoyed this posting immensely! i am about to do free motion, so i have copied your 10 points to help me focus. thanx!