Saturday, March 5, 2011

Quilting again : )

It was a great day! I completely ignored all the housework, and homework that I should be doing and spent the day quilting. I started free motion quilting the Yellow Brick Road quilt.....guess I need to think of a better name for it. Oz?? Dorothy?? Wandering??  How about "The Minstrel" ??  I think I like that one.

Anyway, the quilting went really well, for the most part. I started by studying my "primer" and decided to stay with a meandering pattern.

Next I practiced a bit with a pencil and paper, just to get the idea in my head....and hands I guess....
I have not tried this pattern before, even though I know it is supposed to be one of the easiest.....and it is! Wow, so much easier than what I tried before. You just meander around, and if you get yourself into a corner, or an area that already been just meander yourself right out again!

I just wanted to mention a few things I learned....mostly by doing them wrong the first time. This will be old news for most people, but those of us just learning some of these simple things make a big difference.

  • !t really helps to have a extension table, or at least a bigger sewing table to hold the weight of the quilt.

  • adjust your speed if you can. I set my machine to a moderate speed (actually increased a bit as I got more comfortable) and then you can put the peddle down and not have to worry about it racing away on you. 
  • You don't have to move the quilt quickly. Just because it seems like the machine is going fast you can quite leisurely meander around. The goal is to keep the stitch length uniform..well sort of uniform :)
  • Although the goal is to keep one continuous path, you need to stop and start frequently to adjust the quilt or to remove pins. Be sure to stop in the "needle down" position. Often there is some tension or pull on the needle as you start again, and as you start to sew the quilt moves slightly, causing a little jog.  I found that checking the quilt position first, and starting very slowly helped to prevent this. 
  • The books suggest that you roll the quilt up, as you are only working on a small part at one time. Well, I started with a roll, but quickly ended up with a pile!  I found the best method was what I came to think of as a "scrunch and munch" method...scrunch up most of the quilt and just worry about the piece you are working on (or munching away at !!) 
  • Be sure the weight of the quilt is not pulling on the area you are working. When it is going smoothly it almost feels like it is floating through. If it feels like you are working then stop and readjust the quilt. Sometimes if you don't, it will suddenly let go a bit and then jump ahead, producing a great big stitch!
  • When starting, (like after you have changed a bobbin) it helps to pull the bobbin thread up to the top...then you don't get that little "nest" of thread underneath. To do this start with the pressure foot down, and hold the top thread...

complete one full stitch - needle down, needle up. and pull the top thread to bring the bobbin thread to the top....

pull both threads under the foot, and sew a little ways. 

Then you can stop and clip both threads. 

 This seemed to really help, and only takes a moment once your try it a couple of times. 
I also start and stop with very small stitches or a little back stitch each time to secure the thread.
Of course I made lots of other mistakes  discoveries, but I will save those for another day LOL.

Next is quilting the borders...then the binding...then it is finished !!


  1. Your quilting looks great. There is always new tricks that you will learn as you quilt. Do what makes you comfortable. But boy it is fun to see the finished project. Hope you have a great weekend.

  2. Thank you for your free motion quilting tips! MOST HELPFUL! I've done fm on 3 small quilts and a few small projects. It's fun, but I think the extension plate would be most helpful. Where can I find one for my Singer machine?

  3. Wow - you have become so comfortable with FMQ so quickly. I am impressed. Great tips and demonstration - I think it is so encouraging to new quilters to hear it from someone as they experience it. Love the term "scrunch and munch" - I don't like the rolling method either as my machine's throat is rather small, so I 'puddle'. Can't wait to see this one finished, love the colors.


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