Free Motion Monday

I have been spending more time practicing my free motion quilting skills. I really want to be more competent with the FMQ part of the quilting process and the only way to get there is what? Practice, practice, practice. It is tough because the time I can spend quilting, like most people, is limited by regular life. When I spend time practicing my FMQ, I am not making!!  It doesn’t feel as productive as piecing, binding, FINISHING something. Possibly I am a bit too goal oriented at times, you think? At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to focus more on the process, rather than rushing to the finish. This is a great exercise in being more process focused.

Last week I was working from Christina Cameli’s book and practicing filler patterns. This week I decided to find a larger motif and then use filler around it. I grabbed some solid green fabric that I had thrifted a while back, some batting and plain muslin for the backing. Making a sandwich and pinning it together, I tried to think of what I wanted to quilt on it. I turned to Pinterest, the source of so many ideas. I came across a sunflower that looked pretty, and more importantly, like something I could accomplish. The inspiration came from Amy at Freemotion Quilting Adventures. This site is a wonderful collection of all sorts of helpful information for those learning to FMQ, as well as those that are just expanding their skills.

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I did the flower first and then started looking for a background filler. A great source for ideas is Lori Kennedy’s site, The Inbox Jaunt. She is an amazingly prolific quilter and is very generous in sharing tutorials and patterns for different fillers as well as motifs. I saw her tutorial on the grid pop motif and decided that would be a fun one to try. I drew diagonal lines and double stitched each line. To gain the pop effect, every other line of diamonds is filled in. The effect is great!

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For this project, I made a conscious decision not to worry about perfection. My tension was making me crazy and after doing the usual, re-threading, cleaning out the bobbin space, rewinding the bobbin, I let it go. This isn’t a gift, it isn’t for sale, it is practice. I want more time quilting and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It is more about gaining that muscle memory to make it that much easier the next time.

Looking at the back of the piece, you can see the tension issues.

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Overall, I love the end result. I even faced it so that I can use it. Currently I have it sitting on my hutch and the sunflower and popping grid make me smile. It is a good sense of accomplishment. I am already looking at ideas for this week’s practice session! Hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Linking to Monday Makers, Freemotion by the River and later this week, will link to Freemotion Mavericks.

22 thoughts on “Free Motion Monday

    1. Bernie Post author

      I really enjoy it on smaller projects. Not so much on larger quilts. It is hard with the tugging and manipulating the quilt when it is bigger.

      Reply
  1. Linda

    Bernie it’s gorgeous! I SO admire you for practicing. I did some FMQ on earlier projects but I’m still paralyzed by my fear of eye lashing on the back. 🙁 Someday. . .

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I totally get that which is why I am practicing on scraps and pieces that won’t matter if it doesn’t look good. It is really hard for me to find a rhythm that alleviates those ‘eyelashes’ and I do think it is the rhythm or the correlation between the speed of my machine and the force of my hands moving the fabric. I have been setting the speed on my machine to low so that it forces me to sew slowly and that helps a bit. But the back still doesn’t look great. Thank you Linda!

      Reply
  2. Deb

    Beautiful work Bernie! Would you believe that I just started a draft for a new post about fmq? I have decided it’s time to stop being scared and start trying it. (I am also too focused on finishing projects!)

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      The other component is forcing myself to draw the patterns on paper. That seems to be helping quite a bit. It is tough to give up my sewing time to these sorts of things but the end result is worth it. I won’t improve if I don’t spend more time working on it, right? This sunflower was actually quite fun though.

      B.

      Reply
  3. Dorian

    I, too, need to do a lot more practice. But for me, I practice on my quilt tops. I don’t have the time to do pretty practice pieces. LOL. I like your sunflower. Your doing well on your practice pieces. I really like the Inbox Jaunt site too, great inspiration and motif’s to use. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Dorian, I also ‘practice’ on quilt tops. The issue is that I don’t finish enough quilt tops to stitch often enough. So as I work on piecing a quilt, I am trying to use up batting scraps and practice on smaller pieces. Just to increase the amount of time I am actually quilting. Thanks so much for your comment!

      B.

      Reply
  4. Sandra :)

    WOW. Just … WOW! That is free motion quilting to the power of 10 (I couldn’t do a superscript 10, lol) – it’s amazing … especially considering that it was a *practice* piece!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you! That makes my day. ? I was thinking about this piece and it came to mind, why the heck didn’t I use my walking foot for the straight lines that made the grid? It is so hard to FMQ a clean straight line. Next time I will use the walking foot to create the grid and the FMQ foot to fill it in.

      So glad you stopped by!

      Bernie

      Reply
  5. Muv aka Lizzie Lenard

    Hello Bernie,

    What a lovely sunflower! I totally agree with you – doing lots of small pieces is far more fun, and definitely the best way to get plenty of practice and enjoy experimenting.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

    Reply
  6. Betty

    Very awesome quilting. Thanks for showing the back of the block too. I am going to try to make some blocks like this.

    Reply
  7. claire aka knitnkwilt

    I love both the flower and the filler. I’ve taken a class with Christina and I’ve been to Lori’s website often. My practice FMQ is mostly on doll quilts–neither the kids nor the dolls care. I had an eyelash problem that turned out to be type needle. Although top stitching needle had been recommended to me (in yet another class) on my machine I could not do curves with them. When I use a quilting needle all is well–not quite regular and even stitch length, but none of those gaps.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      It is a challenge to figure out what works. Looks like you got the problem solved. I love to FMQ on small items- great practice and you can more easily pay attention to the details.

      Reply
  8. Valerie Reynolds

    Bernie, you hit the nail on the head when you stated:”I had to make a conscious decision not to worry about perfection”. I agree thatwe need to give ourselves the opportunity to learn and experiment. I have collected old fabric for this very purpose and figure I can always use the created pieces for dog beds, rabbit hutch blankets, ect…..kinda like turning the page in a sketchbook….thanks for sharing at Tuesday Archives this week….bad tension or not….your cross hatching is creative and came out great!!

    Reply

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