FMQ Refresher

With the onset of the pandemic and especially when everything shut down, my shop went nuts. It took me by surprise, never having owned an on-line business during a pandemic before. (Who knew??). Anyway, I was happy to provide fabric to the many, many people making masks as well as quilters who were not able to physically go into their LQS. As a result of this increase though, I was really busy and had almost no time to sew.

Things have changed and many people are venturing into brick and mortar shops (which is good for the shop owners, as long as people are being careful and masking up.) I think the frenetic mask making has slowed down a tiny bit as well. Thus my shop has gone back to a more realistic level of sales for one person to handle. What does this mean? More time to sew!! Hurray.

This week I had the opportunity to learn to use my friend Sophia’s Baby Lock Tiara sit down quilter. It is a dream. The wide throat is incredible and it sews with a nice even stitch. So much easier than using my Janome (which while it has a bigger throat, is getting old and tired) for FMQ.

When I wanted to first try it, I decided to just bring a piece of cloth over – I wasn’t sure how successful I would be and didn’t want to bring anything I had pieced. I have had a yard of this cute fabric sitting on the shelf for a good 4 or 5 years. I am sure it was a border print made for a panel but I think it is adorable. I used to sing this song to my kids when putting them to bed and now I love hearing my son sing it to his girls.

I decided to use it as a whole cloth baby quilt for donation. To practice with Sophia’s machine, I just stippled this. It was so fun and so incredibly quick. It took (almost) as long to pin baste it as to quilt it.

The bold blue polka dots on the back are really cute. You can see the stippling a bit better on the back side. I used an off-white thread which doesn’t really show on the front.

Now there is a cute baby quilt ready for donation and I have a little practice under my belt with the Tiara machine. It is rather tiny in size (30 x 36″) so I will need to see which organizations can utilize a quilt of this size.

So that is a (small finish for me! Used a little bit of fabric off the shelf, learned to use a cool machine and have a donation ready for someone! My next project with the machine will be the jelly roll quilt I recently pieced. I am looking forward to getting some tops finished up! πŸ™‚

Updating to add:

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19 thoughts on “FMQ Refresher

  1. Laurie Lasala-Tuttle

    Yay for you Bernie! Your shop going nuts, learning a new skill, and making an adorable baby quilt! That fabric really speaks to me, and I’ve never seen it before. Do you have anymore, or know where I might be able to purchase some?

    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Julie: I thought Jack’s Basket was asking for smaller size quilts. I will check to confirm and donate to them. Thanks so much!!

  2. Wendy

    So glad you are able to do some sewing, Bernie! So appreciate your hard work in your shop too and so glad it has weathered the pandemic well so far. That quilt is darling!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you. It feels so nice to do some sewing. Really I have done very little over the past four months or so. Makes me remember how nice it feels to be in there, my happy space.

    1. Bernie Post author

      The sit down machine is so much nicer than a domestic machine. Quite different than a long arm (which I have very little experience with) But the fact that it doesn’t take up so much space (or cost as much) is a big bonus. Thanks Yvonne.

  3. Kaholly

    It’s great that business was booming, but I’m glad you are getting back to a more normal routine. What fun to be able to play and practice on a new machine!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Oh gosh, me too Karen. The pace was too much for me. Fine for a short while but not over the long haul.
      Hope you are well. How is the head these days? Mine continues to give me fits. Sigh.

  4. Kathleen McCormick

    What fun to try your friend’s machine. To paraphrase Dr. Seuss…a finish is a finish no matter how small.

  5. Linda

    I’m happy you were so busy during the virus, that was a plus!
    What a precious quilt – a nice dividend of practice! Your stippling looks really good. Isn’t it fun when you can have space to move without wrestling the fabric? My Janome has a nice wide throat too, but I dread the constant hauling the quilt through it and fighting the pull. So glad you had time to enjoy it.

    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks friend. I have the same issues with quilting on my machine. I also love the way the quilt is placed under the needle on this machine. There is so much room on the table so I can see what I am doing. It is a whole different ballgame. Have a great weekend Linda.

  6. Roseanne

    Hi Bernie! I just love this project and I saw that you shared some links above. My sister, who’s been gone for over ten years, always sang this song. I made her a cross-stitch picture and framed it with some special mats, and now I think I NEED to make this into a quilt myself. LOVE this!! Thank you so much for sharing today. ~smile~ Roseanne

  7. Rebecca Grace

    Danger, danger, Bernie! These fabulous quilting machines will lure you like a siren… ;-). If you’re thinking of getting one for yourself, take a look at the Bernina Q20 and Q16 before making a final decision. I have heard great things about the Baby Lock Tiara as well, but when I test-drove the Bernina Q Series machines I was really impressed with them and would probably lean that direction for myself.

    I used to sing the “You Are My Sunshine” song to my kids, too, but the second verse made my younger son cry so I stopped singing it:

    The other night dear
    As I lay sleeping
    I dreamed I held you
    Safe in my arms
    But when I woke up
    I was mistaken
    So I held my head down and cried

    You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…

    See? I can’t imagine why THOSE lyrics don’t get printed on the fabric panel… πŸ˜‰

    1. Bernie Post author

      Hahaha – I don’t know that I have ever seen the second verse but now that I know it, I doubt I would sing it as a lullaby!! How strange.
      I don’t think I would buy a sit down machine because of the space they need. At least not in the near future anyway. But I am so grateful that Sophia is ok with me using hers!!! Quilty friends are indeed the best!

  8. Mari

    This is such a lovely finish, Bernie. It would make a lovely little doll blanket, wouldn’t it? Perhaps you know some child who might need a blanket for her dolly? πŸ™‚ I’m glad your shop is doing so well. I know I always love getting a cute package from you!


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