Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Free Motion Chicken No More

I know I've been neglecting my blog lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been sewing. I'm on a bit of a deadline with some custom orders that I can't show right now, so my AMH dress is halfway finished, as is a quilt I intended to enter into a couple quilt shows. I missed the entry deadline for one and am a couple days out on the deadline for the second, so I don't know if I'll finish in time. But before I got swamped I am happy to admit that I jumped a major hurdle in my quilting: I started to try free motion! DISCLAIMER: This post contains many pictures of my many mistakes. Nobody's perfect and we're always learning, right?

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The first quilt I've EVER free motion quilted.

Yes, you heard me correctly. After taking Elizabeth's class at QuiltCon, I took the plunge at home and started trying to free motion a few quilts. They are FAR from perfect, but I think it's important to share the imperfections. I've been catching up on some charity quilts and decided these were the best projects to start honing my free motion skills. 

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Not only am I finding free motion quilting to be fun, it's also fast. I can quilt an entire sandwich in much less time than straight lining it. That said, there is a definite learning curve and it's frustrating at times. But it's helping me get over my perfectionist attitude and I keep reminding myself that all my mistakes will come out in the wash. Quite literally. That's the great thing about quilting. So many of those little imperfections disappear when the quilt comes out of it's first wash all crinkly and cuddly. 

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The second quilt I free motion quilted. See, it's slowly getting better.
So don't judge. And don't be afraid. You can see all of my many, many, many mistakes right here. I'm not embarrassed to show you. Free motion is a lesson in learning to let go. And with each quilt, I am getting in the to rhythm of free motion a little bit more. And I'm making mistakes a little bit less. I'm still backing myself into corners, and fumbling with uneven stitch length, but I'm learning and growing. I'm not going to give up on straight lining, oh no. That's still my favorite aesthetic, but I'm going to continue to hone my free motion skills. Expect to see a lot more around here in the near future.

19 comments:

  1. Your doing great! Can't wait to see more.

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  2. Yay you for trying !!
    It is definitely getting better :) And it is faster. I can quilt a lap size in two hours when I FMQ, love it !

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  3. Thank you. It's hard to not be intimidated by the finished product when you are just learning!

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  4. Wow! You ARE getting better! Good for you to keep on and persevere. I have tried it a few times and my efforts look like your tops ones .... but my tension was worse. Plus no matter what I end up with way too many spots that look like **ahem** male genitalia. I've always thought I gave up too soon so maybe I'll give it another go soon.

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  5. Yes!!!!! practice makes perfect. I know just how you feel too. I am a hand quilter for many years...now learning to FMQ. I tried on my domestic machine...and can do small items...but I don't have enough room for it...too cramped. So; I bought the Baby Lock Tiara...longarm machine with a table instead of the large frames. It is fantastic to work with. I am going to get FMQ if it kills me....lol Keep up the good work.

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  6. I think you did a fantastic job... you are definitely not a beginner! Awesome.

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  7. I'm so glad you shared your fmq! I can hardly stand to look at my first attempt...it was a nearly king sized quilt and I practically ruined it lol! But I'm much better now and I'd love to share my tips and tricks with you. Call me anytime and we can talk about it!

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  8. I missed the deadline, too, and I'm really glad I did. I wasn't glad at first, but I feel SO liberated now! I get to actually ENJOY quilting MY quilt! Mine. No one gets to judge it. Mine. I quilt it how I want to. Mine. Imperfections are allowed. Mine. There's no gray in it anywhere. Mine!!!
    Thanks for showing your progress. FMQing is humbling! I can't stipple to save my life! You're doing great, though, and you'll only get better. :)

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  9. I just tried FMQing this week, too! *high five* It's awesome seeing your progress, it gives me hope for my next one... And I felt the same way, that it's SO much faster than straight line quilting! Maybe someday I can move onto swirls..

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  10. Thank you so much for posting this! I also find it daunting. You have given me the courage try!!

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  11. Thank you so much for posting this! I too find FMQ daunting. You have given me the courage to try it again. :-)

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  12. Congratulations on having the guts to try on actual quilts! I haven't moved past the mini practice quilt sandwich stage...

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  13. I'm finally getting into FMQ this year too. I've found that my washer & dryer are my best friends because they make all my mistakes "disappear." Thanks for sharing.

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  14. I need to get back to practicing my FMQ too. I can really see the improvement from the top to the bottom. Thanks for sharing and keep going :)

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  15. Yup, you've definitely cracked it there!

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  16. Way to go, girl!!! You're doing great, and charity quilts are the best way to get in lots of practice!! By the way, Christina over at A Few Scraps has a great series of FMQ tutorials and some info about how to set up your machine if you're having any problems.....

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  17. I took the same class at Quiltcon and am just getting started too. I am still working on smaller projects.

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  18. Thank you, THANK you, THANK YOU!!!

    I tried my hand at FMQ for the first time a couple of weeks ago. To say I was disappointed in my abilities, or lack thereof, was an understatement. But since I was NOT about to waste fabric and batting I turned my endeavor into a mug rug for my sewing table. I love this little mug rug...both the materials...and the EFFORT I put into it. I had shied away from trying again, but intend to climb right back on that horse thanks to your post. Just because something doesn't come easy at first, doesn't mean it will NEVER come easy. So, in the next few days I will be giving it the ole college try once again. I think my desk could use a mug rug...

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  19. Way to go!! You're so right about the power of the washing machine in hiding away numerous mistakes and blemishes! You'll get more and more confident and things will smooth out for you as you go. I still remember the moment when my entire body suddenly said, "I get it now!" and totally relaxed into it. Fun times. :)

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