Thursday, July 26, 2012

A big step forward...

A must learn item on my quilting/sewing list has been free motion quilting. I read a small tutorial on FMQ last September and was awed. I could not fathom how someone could draw on fabric with a sewing machine, something I cannot do properly with a pencil on paper. I remember lowering the feed dogs on my old sewing machine, putting on the FMQ presser foot and trying to draw a four leaf clover on a piece of fabric. It seemed like an impossibility. The size and direction of the stitch was controlled by the motion of your hand and not the machine itself. I was enamored by the idea and needed to know everything there was about FMQ. I spent weeks after that just browsing blogs/websites/books anything that could tell me a little more on the subject. Soon I discovered that it was almost a requirement if you claimed to be a quilter of any standing. Since then it has featured as the no. 1 skill on my learning list.

I am quite aware of my drawing skills or rather lack there of so I decided I must get all the help I need to learn FMQ. My choice of the Bernina 440 QE with BSR as a sewing machine was mainly hinged on that, though I did not admit it at the time. I could not think of anything better to help me start FMQ. 

Next came the fear of trying. I figured it would take me hours and hours of practice before I could do anything decent with it. I tried a few times on practice swatches but figured it was not a skill you learnt in a day and promptly gave up. I had a few other things I wanted to learn which were easier IMO. I went through those too and mostly exhausted my list. No more excuses now, must tackle FMQ. I also noticed that everyone at my quilt guild did FMQ and made nothing of it. They seemed really deft at it without much fuss, this was encouraging. 

Finally I decided to just go ahead and give it a try, what's the worst that can happen. I did not have a quilt top handy so bought a charm pack of Lucy's Crab Shack fabric and sewed up a quilt top in matter of hours. It was quick and simple because that was not the focus. I pulled out a fabric from my stash as backing and without much delay started to quilt. Decided to keep it simple and do a meandering pattern. It can't get simpler than that. I did a few practice swatches, they seemed to look fine, so dabbled with it on the quilt itself. I was pleasantly surprised. It's far from perfect but it's not horrible either. I know the BSR must be attributed for much of the success but it wasn't as bad as I expected. I quilted in sections based on what I had read about FMQ. At first I did not have quilting gloves but then put on a brand new pair of gardening gloves that were handy and it seemed to make a big difference. For some reason the quilting on the front of the quilt looks better than the back. I don't know if it requires some tension adjustment. It's not complete yet, shall keep fine tuning.

Practice swatch

This post is rather long but for me it's a major milestone and I feel as if I graduated to 2nd grade :)

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. For a beginner thats pretty darn good! Waiting for the finished quilt!


Thanks for visiting!