Learning Free Motion Quilting
Having successfully machine quilted a quilt for Edith, I told myself that it’s time to move on and attempt FMQ. These three words struck a fear into me as it meant that I had to leave my comfort zone of using a walking foot, drop my feed dogs and switch to an intimidating darning foot! Not forgetting the insecurities of having to deal with the freedom that the darning foot brings!
I had attended a machine quilting class more than 2 years ago, which taught me the basics of using a walking foot and FMQ. Since then, I was so overcome with fear I didn’t even wanna recognise the existence of the darning foot and hid it in a sewing box so I would not see it! LOL. Even though I did bring it out once or twice to practice, but my stitches were so horrible I quickly hid it in the box again.
Since the completion of Edith’s quilt, I told myself I ought to get out of my hibernation and get some FMQ done! Hence, I’ve been working hard at it since May and practicing on small practice quilts. It was frustrating and discouraging at first, as I simply can’t get rid of eyelashes on the back, loopy threads on the front and getting even stitches. Took me almost one month to trial and error, to troubleshoot my tension problems by playing with the top tension settings, needles, threads, machine speed etc.
Anyway, my perseverance and patience finally paid off after I raised my feed dogs. This was after I wrote to Leah Day for advice on my tension problems. Leah is just so awesome and talented. As young as she is, she created the Free Motion Quilting Project to help fellow quilters who have problems with FMQ. I’ve been religiously following through her online tutorials since May and have learnt so much!
I’m still not very good in FMQ yet, but with practice, I could see my stitches getting more even and my confidence level increasing. It’s just PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND MORE PRACTICE! I’ve even started some FMQ on a table runner I’m working on right now. I hope that with more practice, I could be as good as many quilters out there.