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Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Have you ever noticed how many Acronyms are used in everyday life? Even before texting! These two refer to Free Motion Quilting and Quilt As You Go. Yesterday I said I would share the things I learned by FMQ my Pineapple Blossom. These are lessons that many of you already know. As I said, I'm keeping a personal journal on my progress. Too bad I didn't start the journal when I first started doing FMQ on the small projects.

I've decided to be brave and share this photo. It's only because recently I had seen another blog where the quilter was brave enough to do this. Here is Kristyne's blog  Thank you so much for going public!

The point is we all have to start somewhere. Plan on the beginning FMQ to be done on quilts for loving family members or for yourself. If your first FMQ serves the pupose of keeping the quilt layers together, you have been successful. In the beginning your FMQ will not be as pretty has you had hoped, but with practice you will get there.

Things I learned:
Small motion practice is good for speed control and stitch length but the movements (small vs large) do not translate well. Practice both. 

Take breaks…don’t just push on through to get it done

 Do not trust that the bobbin can make it through one more width/length. If you have to guess, it probably won’t, change it.

Curved/swirled travel lines are much more forgiving than straight lines. And also more versatile if you find you want to move up or down to fill in an area that look “forgotten” in your design. Besides, they are just prettier! (I will do that next time!)

 Look at many examples of FMQ before you finalize your design. I first thought I would work edge to edge with random bubbles between two rows each time of a basically log cabin block and then do something special in the middle of each block and in all the white spaces.  This created lots of stops and starts to save those white spaces. In the end I went back and did the same circle/loop in those areas too. Also, as I was doing a QAYG technique I didn’t orignally plan for the fact that I wanted to make certain that there was enough quilting of the “join” to secure the batting sections.

All pretty basic stuff but if you don't know what you don't know, then you don't know. How's that for a theory?

As for the QAYG method I used. I found this suggestion on the Internet but I don't know who to credit for the initial idea. I had used some of the original QAYG methods but this was the best for far! There are clever people out there coming up with new ideas all the time. The method I used allows you to build the quilt top and quilt back the way you normally would. What changes is that you only quilt one section at a time. In my case, I did three sections.  I laid out the normal quilt sandwich, and then cut the batting from the left side and the right side. Only leaving batting in the center. I spray basted that center section, regular pinning or basting would work too, of course. I quilted that center section. I then put the partially quilted quilt back on the table, inserted another section of batting (doesn't matter if you do right or left now) aligned the edges of the batting, pulled everything flat and tight (I use binder clips and sometimes additional tape)baste this second section and then machine quilted this portion. I was then left with one section and I repeated the process.  Plan your quilting so that the least amount of quilt with batting is between the needle and the body of the sewing machine.

I hope. if you have taken the time to read all of this, that you found something that will help you.


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