Let’s Talk Free Motion

Free motion quilting (FMQ)is one of those topics that always gets a reaction. Some people love it, others not so much. Some find it intimidating.
There are many quilters out there who are much better at it than me, and you can see their sites or channels for how-to instructions. I’m making an effort this year to practice more and thought I’d share some tips on what I’ve found helpful.
Tip #1 – Audition
Before I start quilting I place clear vinyl over the quilt top and audition quilting designs with a Sharpie. The product reminds me of the colored stuff we put around Easter baskets back in the day. I got my roll at Joann’s for around $5. You can clean the Sharpie off with hand sanitizer or cut away where you’ve drawn and throw it away. It’s a good way to determine how a quilting design will look before you start stitching.
quilt design audition
Tip #2 – Take breaks
I get up and move every 30 to 45 minutes. I tend to tense up when I quilt, especially through the shoulders. Moving keeps it from turning into a problem.
Tip #3 – Clean your machine
Every time I wind a new bobbin I clean out the bobbin area. I pop off the throat plate, remove all the pieces and clean it with a small paintbrush. Some threads throw a lot of lint. If I start having tension problems, I know it isn’t because my machine is dirty.
Tip #4 – Control humidity
The first few years I had my wide bed machine we did not get along. I had tension problems beyond belief and thought I’d bought a lemon. Two years ago we installed central air in our home, and I haven’t had a problem since. Our sewing machines are high tech these days, and they don’t like it humid.
Tip #5 – Know when to stop
When I get tired or start making a lot of mistakes, I stop quilting. I’ll make the binding or work on something else. Trying to power through never works out well. It’s better to leave it alone until you’re more rested or less distracted.
I hope you find at least one of the tips helpful. Have one of your own tips not mentioned above? Leave a comment and share it with the rest of us. The best tips are the ones we learn from each other.

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Posted in freemotion, quilting | Tagged | 1 Comment

Sunday Stash August 18, 2019

I had a finish this week for some fabric out. Good to see the numbers going in the right direction.

I wanted to finish quilting the acorn runner last night, but fatigue won out and I made the binding instead. It was hard to leave it so close to done, but I find free motion quilting works best when I’m mentally alert. I’ll finish it today and report it next week.

acorn quilting

Thanks to everyone who links up or stops by to check out the links. I know a lot of the regulars are traveling this month or have other priorities and aren’t able to participate. I’ll keep the linkup going and evaluate later this year. As bad as my numbers are, they’d be worse if I wasn’t tracking my purchases.

If you are thinking of tracking your stash, you can join in anytime. You don’t have to go back and figure everything for the year. You can start now and track going forward. The point is to be conscious of purchases in relation to usage rather than use up all the stash and never buy anything new.

Fabric Added: 50.25

Fabric Used: 8.75 yards

Net Fabric In: 41.5 yards

How did you do this week?

1 Julie in GA
2 Chrisknits
3 Meloney
4 Patricia
5 Angie in SoCal
6 Becca // Pretty Piney Quilts
7 Mary-Kay
8 Melva Loves Scraps
9 Quilting Gail

Posted in freemotion, stashbusting, The Short List, ufos | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Off The List

I finally finished the 30s quilt.
finished 30s quiltThe pattern is Bundled Up In Batiks by Holly Daniels. You can access the PDF here. I scaled it back to throw size from twin size. I used bamboo batting and Coats & Clarks quilting thread in off-white. I free motion quilted in on my Pfaff wide bed machine.
I expect I’ll make this pattern again. Depending on the fabric choices, it can suit any recipient. As written, it’s the perfect size for a charity quilt.
It went together quickly and was fun to sew. It’s a winner all around.

Posted in scrapquilts, The Short List | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Sunday Stash August 11, 2019

No fabric in or out this week.
The 30s quilt is quilted. Here’s a picture of it trimmed down.
quilted 30s topI’ve attached the binding and started pinning it to sew by machine. I expect to finish it today, but I’ll count it out next week. I haven’t figured out how much fabric I used yet.
Fabric Added: 50.25
Fabric Used: 4.25 yards
Net Fabric In: 46 yards
How did you do this week?

1 Meloney
2 Julie in GA
3 Quilting Gail

Posted in scrapquilts, stashbusting | 5 Comments

August 2019 Short List

This is the latest I’ve ever posted The Short List. I’m so late, in fact, the One Monthly Goal link up has closed. A work trip last week really put me off my game. I’ve struggled to get back in the flow ever since.
I finished one project in July, the Gemma tank.
The Short List includes something old (UFO), something new, a handwork project, and creative play/design. I started using this system in November 2014 to keep myself focused. I add and delete categories as my interests change.
Something Old – The 9 patch leader and ender quilt. Enough said.
9patch1borderSomething New – I’m close to finishing the quilting on the 30s top, and the binding is already made. This quilt is my first priority.
30s topHandwork – The cross stitch penguins. The last penguin has a face now.
Creative Play – I”m stretching the definition again this month and putting the acorn runner in this category. I really want to finish it before I tackle the dreaded 9 patch quilt.
acorn runnerI’ve been teasing myself with Christmas patterns for the past week because I’m so ready for a new project. Counter productive, I know. With only one short trip this month, progress has a chance.

Posted in cross stitch, scrapquilts, The Short List, ufos | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Sunday Stash August 4, 2019

A work trip had me states away from my sewing room this week. I only had the opportunity to stitch on Monday and Saturday. The quilting on the 30s quilt progresses but no finish.
30s quiltingThe plan until I travel again is to sew sew sew.
Fabric Added: 50.25
Fabric Used: 4.25 yards
Net Fabric In: 46 yards
How did you do this week?

1 Julie in GA
2 Chrisknits
3 Jennifer in Indy
4 DesertSky Quilting
5 Meloney

Posted in stashbusting | Tagged | 7 Comments

Sunday Stash July 28, 2019

No change in the numbers this week.
I’m half way through quilting the 30s quilt, maybe a little more. The stems are sewn down on the acorn runner. I pulled the back, batting and binding fabric together for it.
Last night I cleaned up and stacked everything on the bed in order with the runner on top.
project lineupLeft to right, possible choices for the 30s binding, the acorn runner with backing, batting and binding, the 9 patch top with backing and binding, and the project box for the next UFO. Looks like a sewing plan for the next few months.
The line-up contains a lot of finishes, which will greatly improve the numbers.
Fabric Added: 50.25
Fabric Used: 4.25 yards
Net Fabric In: 46 yards
How did you do this week?

1 Julie in GA
2 Chrisknits
3 Meloney
4 Quilting Gail
5 Angie in SoCal
6 Melva Loves Scraps

Posted in charityquilts, scrapquilts, The Short List, ufos | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments