Monday, September 26, 2011

Fearless Free Motion Quilting

I could give you all kinds of tips and directions for free motion quilting. But I'm guessing you probably know them all or could easily find tutorials (such as this one) and Youtube videos using a simple search. So I'd just like to take a bit of the fear out of it today!
First I'd like to share this wonderful picture that my almost 4 year-old granddaughter recently created for me. Can you read the name? Six months ago her Es had way more than 3 horizontal lines and you really couldn't even recognize the Y. I'll admit the S needs a bit of work, but do you know how well she's going to do in another 6 months?
Do you think we would ever tell this sweet child that she's a failure and will never be able to write her name?
Why do we feel like failures when we first try something new like free motion quilting? The number one thing to remember is that it is going to take some practice! No one is very good when they first start! So be patient with yourself and practice!

Now that I've talked you into practicing, you're probably wondering when you'll find the time. When we have a little sewing time, would we rather cut into that brand new gorgeous fabric or practice free motion quilting? I know the answer!

Here's how I've done it. First grab some fat quarters and scraps of batting. Take 20 minutes one day to pin baste 6 or 7 little quilt sandwiches. Now you're ready. If you practice for about 20 minutes every time you sit down to sew, you'll be amazed at how quickly you improve. In fact, practicing frequently in shorter spurts is more effective than hours and hours of practice. Once your 20 minutes is up, you can move on to whatever you planned on sewing that day.
My suggestion is to work on a simple design over and over until you're really good at it (and sick of it!). Simple loops are very effective.
Once you have one design down pat, choose another and become very proficient at it.
Keep adding to your repertoire and soon you'll have lots of designs that you're good at.
It gets easier and easier!!
Hope you've enjoyed my month of Quilt School. Let me know if there are any other topics you'd like me to cover in the future.

And be sure to come back this week. I have a super give away coming up next!!


  1. great tips! only 20min intervals...i think i can do that. ;)

  2. Sound advice, Cindy. I'll do my best to follow through. By the way, that grand baby sure is adorable!

  3. Great advice! Will have to post this in the sewing room and get started making samples tomorrow!

  4. Just you do all of your quilting on a long-arm or on your home machine...your quilting is always so beautiful!

  5. Thanks for the encouragement - just got into FM applique recently have still to try FM quilting but I must give it a go and practice as you say!

  6. Great advice! My first quilting teacher always "practiced' on her hand quilting for 20 minutes before she picked up the needle to work on the "real quilt" she was quilting!

  7. Hi! Greetings from Finland! Thank you very much for the idea!!!


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