Sunday, May 2, 2010

Need to take the plunge... to learn to FMQ!

So a wee while ago I took a stippling class at my LQS. It was not successful. In fact, I came out thinking that stippling was not for me. I love the effect I just couldn't quite master the actual doing.

But the budget buster (aka the DP) and I are going over the books tonight and I know he's going to say no more LAQ unless it's absolutely necessary. So I *need* to improve my machine quilting! I am ok if it's straight line stitching and I can masking tape out my lines to quilt against, but FMQ is beyond me...

So I desperately need all your top tips and stories! Please let me know how you do it! Do you draw the pattern on first? Or just go for gold? How do you keep the stitches even and get nice curves?

I am thanking you a bunch in advance!!


  1. I actually find FMQ easier than straight line quilting because I *cannot* sew a straight line to save myself! Don't draw your pattern on the fabric first, but I do find that drawing it onto a piece of paper helps - it somehow helps you to learn which ways to twist and turn and not end up stuck in a spot that you can't get out of.
    GLOVES! Gloves help a lot! You don't need to get fancy quilting gloves, I just use some from the supermarket. i think they are an Ansell brand, stretchy fabric stuff on the top and grippy rubbery stuff on the palms. They really help you to get a hold on the fabric and move it around.
    Practise, practise on little quilt 'sandwiches', it's not exactly the same as fmq-ing on a big quilt because there's none of the weight, but still good.
    Hmm, what else... flat out with your foot peddle, and slow with your hands.
    That's about it I think - practise is the main thing.

  2. Have a look here too -

  3. I've done one quilt with stippling and it is easy after a while. Honestly! After a while you get off the machine and your brain can't stop stippling! It drives you crazy after a while.

    Advice - Go fast, it's easier. Work out a pattern and just keep repeating it. Dont' worry if some of your stitches are imperfect. You won't notice it when the whole thing is done. Lots of luck, you can do it!

  4. I find that I keep stipplng, stippling, stippling in my head too - stippling dreams! It does drive you a bit mad! Lines of loops look really good too and might be a good place to start if you're worried about stippling.

  5. If you match your thread to the fabric you won't notice any mistakes. And you need to start out just accepting your "mistakes". In the end it is all quilting and doesn't really matter. It won't look like the masters to start. You just have to keep working at it. This is my mantra and I keep going and hoping I'll get better some day. Stippling is easiest. Feathers are hard.

  6. Practice, practice, practice !!!! Gloves for gripping, think ahead of where you are. I love to stipple, I have way less puckering than with straight lines. Pin baste - no spray.

  7. Lots of good advice there! including fast speed on the pedal, slow with your hands. However, I found that fast on the pedal made the quilt 'run away' and did not give me enough time to think where to go.. You DO however need a consistent fastish speed, that's true, so what I did is pushing the 1/2 speed button on my machine (don;t know if you have one) and then go full pedal. It turns out to be just the fast and consistent speed you need. Good luck!

  8. Make up sme sandwiches about 12-15" square and practice practice practice! Also, grab a piece of paper and start in the top left hand corner and try make it to the right bottom corner while filling in the whole sheet with stippling design. Don't know how, but it does help! There are many videos on you tube too that you could check out? As someone else has said, when its all quilted and you stand back, only you will know where you went wrong! Good luck! xxx

  9. Hi Lara!

    Looks like you have lots of comments on this already...

    Practice lots.

    Use quilting gloves.

    Drink wine in copious amounts. This will loosen you up and enable you to meander very well. :-)

    Have fun!

  10. I agree with everyone above, but practice is the key. I also play with a pencil on a piece of paper just to give me some idea of how I am going to move. Dena on (I think the first) quilt along has made a video, and she does say there, that if a mistake is made no one will even notice it, so don't worry too much. Good Luck


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