Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Machine Quilting 101:Introduction

I've been thinking of doing a machine quilting series on my blog for a few years (!!!) and I think it's finally time. (I know...I. am. speedy.)

The purpose of this series is to help YOU become confident in quilting your own quilts....on your own home sewing machine. Not to sound too much like a commercial, but it CAN be done! Over the next several weeks we will talk about prepping your quilt top, thread, needles, batting, basting, quilting, choosing a quilting design, choosing a thread color, and so much more. I plan to post once a week (or sometimes every other week, depending on how busy things get over here) and cover one subject at a time. Even if you are already quilting your own quilts, I hope I can offer you a few tips/tricks to help you become an even better quilter. I must state-and I can not stress this point enough-I'm still a work in progress myself.

Today, as an introduction, I want to share with you my machine quilting journey.

When I made my first quilt back in the summer of 2000, I finished it by tying it with perle cotton. I made several more quilts and tied them as well. In early 2003 I ventured into the land of machine quilting. The first several I quilted with a walking foot because I knew I could get fairly good results sewing a (somewhat) straight line. It wasn't long before I felt very limited only quilting straight lines- I wanted to do more.

I took a machine quilting class at my LQS (perhaps in 2003 or 2004) and ventured into the world of free motion quilting. I still have the very first quilt that I free motion quilted and let me tell you, it's special! (I'll have to work up the nerve to show you photos of it....it's really bad!) For a few more years I machine quilted my quilts. I got better at free motion quilting and I even became fairly proficient at stippling, but I was getting so discouraged because no matter what, I would end up with huge puckers in the backs of my quilts. These weren't little puckers or bubbles that would shrink up in the wash. Some of the puckers could have doubled as pockets! I don't have any of those quilts in my possession as evidence....I gave them all as gifts. (Cringe, cringe!) Well, my husband, who is always so helpful, told me that if I kept using the same methods (I was spray basting my quilts at that time), I couldn't expect different results. I told him that I couldn't argue with him if he was going to be reasonable and then I proceeded to huff out of the room. The more I thought about it, though, the more it made sense. That didn't help my pride (AT ALL) but eventually I settled down and came to terms with it.

In 2007, right before I moved from Michigan to Wisconsin, I met Michelle. She owned a little quilt shop out in the country and she machine quilted for other people on her domestic machine. That totally blew me away. I bluntly asked her when she was going to buy a long arm. (At this point I just assumed that anyone who was going to finish a quilt respectably needed a long arm to do so. I hadn't experienced anything different.) She told me that she had no aspirations of buying a long arm...she liked/preferred quilting on her domestic. I was in complete shock....I could hardly believe it! But, it gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, I could quilt my own quilts without spending $20,000 on a machine that would take up an entire room of my home.

The final turning point was when Michelle helped me pin baste a KING size quilt. We clamped half of it down on her work table, pin basted that first half, moved it, clamp it down again and then pin basted the other half. I was quite certain that it would result in one gigantic pucker right down the middle of the quilt back. Do you know what? I quilted it on my JUKI without a single pucker! A KING SIZE quilt!!! (It was this one.) I can not express to you how excited I was. Needless to say, I was sold on pin basting. I have been pin basting my quilts ever since and puckers are a rarity now. I certainly haven't had any pocket-sized ones since. Hurray!!!!

So, my husband was right. You can't expect different results if you don't change your methods. I am so very thankful that Michelle helped me get down to the bottom of my basting issues. If it wasn't for her, my guess is that I would have given up on quilting altogether.

That's my story. I feel a little bit exposed now, but I hope that if you are frustrated with machine quilting (I still remember that feeling very well) that it gives you hope that it CAN get better!

To wrap things up today, I would like to ask you where your sticking point is in machine quilting (if you have one). Or, if you have had an "ah-ha" moment like I did, I'd love to hear about that, too.

185 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I'm so excited to follow along for this.
My fear is maneuvering all that fabric and maintaining consistency. After all the work of putting a quilt together, I don't want to ruin it with lousy quilting. So far, I'm a straight line quilter.

gramma val said...

Thanks! You have already answered one of my questions..no more spray! I am trying hard to learn freemotion and my biggest problems are tension and choosing what pattern to quilt. Looking forward to learning more.

Marie said...

I tend to hand quilt but that means a long list of projects to be quilted because I'm a slow poke. I have machine stitched table runners and baby quilts with my walking foot but I think my next big challenge will be FMQ. I have a Spider Web quilt that I've made for a friend in Halloween colours and want to stitch spider webs into it but have yet to pluck up the nerve to start it. Soon. Very soon!

Laura said...

I'd like to know how to successfully maneuver around pins and keep the quilting more or less consistent in terms of look, stitch length, etc., while doing so. I spray baste now but I'm not wild about how it gunks up the needle. Thanks!

just me, molly said...

Awesome idea, thanks!! The basting process is always a trick for me because even though I tape down and pin like crazy I still get more poofy, shifty movement than I think I should. My walking foot won't let me forget it--my quilt top always wants to pinch over itself while quilting the spot where the straight lines intersect. Maybe I need more practice, or maybe I'm not doing something right. Either way, I'm excited to follow along with you!

Kathleen OGrady said...

I am so thrilled that you are doing this series! I have issues with the tension of my stitches (I think). Some will be fine then all of a sudden the next stitch will be real loose or the bobbin thread is being pulled to the top. Very frustrating. I know I need to practice way more than I have. I just want to sit down and be able to FMQ and move on to the next one. I will for sure be tuned in for your next post. Thanks!!

Denise Briese said...

I have been following you from day one. I have watched your free motion quilting video so many times!
Mom and myself both purchased juki sewing machines as you did. But my machine quilting Still only is only straight line quilting cannot grasp free motion quilting. I was told have a glass of wine and relax when i quilt.
I was just drunk and still couldn't quilt.
I do however only pin baste. I tried spray baste it was not for me and I made a mess. My mom loves spray baste though. I actually enjoy the process as I do the process of binding.

Gigi Pereira said...

I pin baste my quilts - have also done up to a king size - and also quilt them on my Juki. I think once you get past the intimidation factor, it's just the greatest thing:) Actually the hubby is going out of town for a week - so my 3 big 8foot tables will be occupying my living room all next week - I have 6 big flimsies to baste (procrastinator). Looking forward to your series!

2 bees said...

You are wonderful! I am so excited to follow along with this. You are so generous with your knowledge. Love it

Anita said...

I'm like your friend, I have no aspirations to own a long arm machine. My biggest issues with free motion quilting are the middle of the quilt (with large quilts) and stitch length. I would love to own a straight stitch machine with stitch regulator and a large opening for large quilts. I'm looking forward to your quilting posts.

Lisa E said...

LOVE that line about not being able to argue with your husband if he was being reasonable!!! Too, too funny.

Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation said...

I loved reading about your quilting journey! I absolutely HATE basting, but I use pins as well and just "suck it up" because every time I try spray basting (with the latest awesome brand that supposedly fantastic and easy) I end up with puckers. I look forward to your posts in this series! I FMQ on my domestic as well!

:) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

Candice said...

I am excited to follow along with this series. I still only straight line quilt with a walking foot. I have tried FMQ so many times and it is just a huge mess. Can't seem to get any consistency on the stitch length. I spray basted the one I quilted and it worked so much better than pin basting.

Kymberly said...

I'm so excited about this series! I'm starting to do FMQ and it's still very scary. I think my biggest problems are the wrinkles that always appear on the back of my quilt, and tension issues. It looks great on the top, and then I flip it over and there's all kinds of little loops.

Anne said...

Thank you for this series! I would say that I'm an "advanced beginner" at this free motion quilting thing in that I now can do a lap sized quilt and have it look quite good. That being said, I can use all the help I can get! I could never afford a long arm machine so I'm really looking forward to learning more about quilting on a regular machine. Your blog is such a great source of inspiration; thank you again.

liz said...

I have lots to learn. I detest the process of pin basting or spray basting. I've paid a friend to spray baste a donation quilt I had a deadline for. The whole process intimidates the heck out of me.

i have some issues with my neck and right shoulder and am concerned with proper ergonomics. The thought of trying to control a largish quilt and FMQ, especially the middle of the quilt, intimidates me. Even with the straight line quilting I do with my walking foot and janome 6600 I have to work hard to prevent drag on the stitching area from the weight of the quilt. I don't know the best method to do that.

I really appreciate your constant and very generous flow of inspiration and information. Thank you!!!

QuiltsHappen said...

Molly, I have the same problem.. I actually spray and pin sometimes(crazy huh?). I am looking forward to your series AmandaJean. I need to get better control on stitch length.

Sewing In CT said...

Hi - This is a great idea. I do my own FMQ. Sometimes I get thread snarls on the back and I don't know what to do with threads, so I just snip them close. I don't think I have patience to tuck them all in, front and back.
I look forward to seeing how you do it!

thread_bunny said...

I'm so excited to find this post and the beginning of this series! I set a skill goal this year of getting comfortable with machine quilting. I can't wait to read your tips and techniques!

SarahZ said...

I am so excited about the timing of this! I know how much I learned about hsts by doing an HST BOM quilt-along, and my machine quilting limitations have been starting to bug me! My sticking points: 1. equipment...a. I need to get a feed dog cover plate, b. I need to get a machine quilting foot, the little round one(?); 2. Even my straight lines are pretty darn "organic" even when I use a guide of some sort. Would like to forego a walking foot, but if I have to get one I will get that too. So, yeah, I can use all the help I can get. Okay, and glancing at the comment above (QuiltsHappen) I definitely need to work on stitch "uniformity", too! I am ready to change, like, ALL my methods....your husband is a dear :)

Jen Barlev said...

I've got a couple of challenges. The first is space - I live in a city and we don't even have a dining room, so I have NO idea how to go about pin basting in my house. I don't even have enough clear floor space to lay a quilt out on the floor - never mind how painful it would be to baste a whole quilt on the floor! I'm hoping you're going to talk about this clamp-and-pin method and that it might be adaptable for me.

The second is stitch consistency when doing FMQ, like most everyone is saying.

Svetlana said...

so looking forward to your series AmandaJean. I loved reading your quilting story, so very inspirational. I always, always spray baste but I don't get puckers, none at all so I'm totally sticking with it. My problem in stippling is I never know which way to go and get stuck in some tight corner constantly. Also, I find it hard to keep all my stitches the same consistent length.

bloominworkshop said...

My sticky points in quilting on my home machine are a)it takes so much longer! b)the stretchy bias and c) large designs in a small space. If I could become FAST and get the same results on my home machine, I would be all for it!

Susanne vb said...

aHA moment came when I was given hand forged clamps that my husband's great gramma used to clamp her quilts to the frame. I thought AH-HA...That's how they did it back in the day!...so I stole four quick release clamps from the hubby's workshop, used a table instead of a frame, clamp-clamp-clamp-clamp pinpinpin and never bought another can of spray. :) Clamps are the bomb-diggity

Joan said...

I am looking forward to your series and following along. My problems are managing big quilts while trying to quilt them and keeping a uniform stitch length. Thanks for the support.

KathyinMN said...

My sticking point had been basting quilts, however I just started using the board basting method and love the results I'm getting. I straight line quilt on my domestic machine right now. I'm out of practice for design quilting, I have down feathers prior. My questions for that would be-how to get back into it when you're out of practice? How do you mark your quilts for quilting? And what happns if you get off the marks-how do you correct it?

Camille said...

So excited for this! I just fmq a full size on my bigger machine, and my problem was how to do it with out getting too much in the harp space. Finally divided it into quarters and worked bottom right to top left going back and forth.

Jeanie said...

Hi there -I just have a ~$100 Singer, so machine quilting is not super for me right now. Hoping to buy a Juki this summer/fall, and then maybe it will be better! Looking forward to this series. Thank you so much!

Blogful said...

YES! I actually named my last quilt "the green pucker" because gah! So so excited to learn how I can fix my issues. And so glad to hear that a pro (you totally are!) is going to show me some things.

Jamie said...

I'm terrified of free-motion quilting. I also tend to try to quilt fast and that doesn't work when you don't have a walking foot.

Jennifer Stutheit said...

I have done all my own quilts from start to finish. I have issues with eyelashing on the back of curves even if I go slow. I like to mark my quilts with chalk but sometimes it doesn't come out. Thanks for this series! I'm looking forward to your tips!

Ellen Mills said...

I am so excited to read what you have to say on this subject. I love your quilts. I have done some quilting on my domestic and I am not happy with the results. I am close but still have a few issues so I hope your help will move me forward.
Thank you!!

Wendy said...

Looking forward to the series as I am only a straight line quilter at present.

Erin said...

I've never commented before, but I just had to say that I am so glad you are doing this series! When I learned to quilt over 12 years ago, I was taught to hand quilt. I just can't do that anymore. I'm the type of personality who needs to gather all the info before I feel like I can start something, and I've just never taken the time to learn how to machine quilt. And, I know I don't have the right foot for it on my machine. But I feel like with your blog I might finally learn! Your quilting inspires me and keeps me interested despite having little ones and not much time to quilt. Thanks for blogging!

Mrs Quinn said...

I've hand quilted a pillow and a quilt. I've decided with 2 small kids at home, the only way I will get any quilts made is using my sewing machine. I have 2 tops sewn up but I am a bit too intimidated to start quilting them. Slowly working up the nerve. Thanks for sharing and I can't wait for the rest of this series.

Kat said...

Thread tension and breakage are my biggest challenges. I recently bought a Viking for the larger throat space and just can't seem to get the thread and tension right. My beat up old Singer was much easier in that regard.

Pam Owens said...

Thank you so much. This will be great. I have tried domestic machine quilting but I think have someone walk be through it will be fabulous. I actually read to pin baste before I tried to quilt so I haven't had pucker problems. My problems are consistency of stitch length, tension, etc. I am sure I am not setting my machine up correctly. Thank you again.

Aliceart said...

I'm thrilled to hear about this series. Thank you! My sticking point is free motion skill. I realize that it takes practice, but I just cannot bear to ruin my quilts in the meantime. Sigh.

Jessica said...

Thank you for telling us your story. It's nice to hear that your road to free motion confidence was long and bumpy. Gives me motivation to keep trying. Right now my biggest issue is thread tension. The top thread keeps getting stuck on my feed dogs and snapping. The machine service guy told me my tension was to loose (though it looked fine on the quilt) and that I need to quilt with it up to 7 or more. Haven't tried it yet (that was Monday) , but I guess that's my next step. Thanks for doing this series. I know I really should take a class, but I don't have the time just now. Looking forward to reading what you have to share.

tink's mom said...

Oh this sounds like fun. I generally straight line quilt or do the squiggles #4 on the Bernina. I do pin baste using my ironing board with a piece of scrap board on top. My back needs the height. If I go slowly I don't get puckers when pinning so less puckers when sewing. I have never attempted quilting anything larger than a twin on my machine. So looking forward to your insights. Thanks.

Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures said...

I still have my very first machine kwikted kwilt and it was horrible. I keep it over my sewing chair to remind me of how far I have come. I do pin basting to my carpet. And lots of them. I have taken lots of machine kwilting classes at LQS and have learned so ethi f new each time as all teachers have something yiu can take away from their style of kwilting. Looking forward to your series.

marcille said...

I actually have 2 sticking points. The first is not knowing what quilting design I should/want to use. The second is just being afraid to ruin all of my hard work by trying free motion quilting. I'm really excited to read and try what you have to say.

Caroline said...

Thank you for your new series. I have only done straight line quilting so I have to learn but am excited for any tips or advice:)

Jennifer said...

Since I bought a mid arm industrial sewing machine, most of my tension problems have disappeared, for everything on the industrial sewing machine is adjustable. Now I am trying to figure out what type of thread works best in the machine. I must admit that I have not been too intimidated to try new things, but I still struggle with basting my quilts well enough. Those puckers and creases are forever present, no matter which method of basting I do!

Joyce Lewis said...

I look forward to your new series. I am pretty new to fmq on my home machine. Choosing the quilting design seems to be my biggest problem.

Amy Verne said...

My biggest problem is moving N,s,e,w instead of ne,nw,se,sw,etc.

SewDemented said...

Knowing me, I bet you can guess! Mine is never quite perfect enough for me!! Even those that are long arm quilted- there is ALWAYS something that bugs me!

shelley said...

I'm very excited for this series, Amanda-Jean . I'm a fairly new quilter and have only straight lined quilted so far. I've both pin basted and spray basted and had no problems at all with spray basting so kind of like that method best - much less time on the floor and I don't have to stop to remove pins all the time. Your quilts are so beautiful and your piecing, quilting, binding all look so professional - I'm thrilled to learn all you're willing to share! Thank you!

Johanna said...

I can't wait to hear more! My back and neck are always the thing that doesn't hold up. I got stuck with the straight lines and walking foot. I got a long arm for Christmas though. That is an interesting adventure. I still like to use my regular machine for smaller projects. I have quite a bit more comfort there!

KWILEY said...

I so love your blog and so am thankful your blog-break is done ((though you TOTALLY deserve the time/space off)) but love your link up Friday's to see your projects and those that follow you (I don't have a blog to share) But I wonder of recent I read folks that use long plywood bars on tables to help keep their quilt tight as they pin baste...I do pin baste currently on a table with clamps but wasn't sure if anyone tried the bars to find they got better results then just clamps. I have had issues it seams my stitches get smaller even I just straight line quilting and am not sure why....I can have it on 3.4 stitch length and they can be tiny stitches or then work into a 3.4 length stitch. I have a Janome 6600 and have used it with a walking foot and without and still have that issue.

Kelly Dawson said...

My sticking point is irrational. I hand quilt because some older lady with phenomenal skills told me it was more artistic than machine quilting and certainly meant more to the recipient. I now have a ton of unfinished tops, 5 kids and little time to quilt-and I live in the south so I don't want to spend months under a quilt in the summer hand quilting. So I need permission, and someone to tell me it's perfectly acceptable, because I am 85% leaning toward trying it on certain quilts I just want finished so my kids will enjoy them.

Judy said...

I am so ready for more help with quilting on my domestic machine. I have been doing straight line with my walking foot and some FMQ.I would love to be able to do more. I pin baste on my dining room table using clamps.

Melanie said...

Love your story about "pockets" on the backside :). I'm kinda a cheater...if I can't spray baste it...I send the quilt out to a long armer. Now since I am super slow when making quilts...it's not too bad for the budget since it only about 2 per year.

Melanie said...

PS
I also can't get my machine to FMQ...broken thread or needles...so it is straight line or wavy line for me. I tried to tell my husband I needed a fancy Bernina with stitch regulator to fix this. He asked how many quilts would I need to make so the Bernina would be less expensive then sending them to the long arm quilter. So I did not get the new machine...why must he be practical :) Actually, he probably knew I would still send them out because I hate basting as I too create pockets :)

Pam said...

FINALLY someone that agrees with me using your domestic sewing machine ! People look at me like I am crazy when I am quilting away ............ love your story :) You go girl and can't wait to see what you have to say about the process I "pin the snout" out of my quilts and I let the quilt speak to me on how I will quilt it Warm Hugs Pam

Kristin said...

So different from my experience! I was a pin baster and absolutely hated basting, and would always, always get puckers on the back. Since I switched to spray basting, I can baste a quilt in under a half hour and I have never had a single pucker. Looking forward to reading the series; I'm sure I will learn something :)

Lorna McMahon said...

I am a pin baster too and haven't had any pockets yet. I do my basting on a quilting frame though, not on a table or floor. Thanks for sharing your experience, Amanda Jean. I am looking forward to all your tips and advice in this series.

the mrs said...

Well, I've only Free Motion Quilted 2-3 baby sized quilts. The problem I have is speed control vs. hand movement. What I'm doing now results in either teeny tiny stitches or gigantic bridge stitches. Especially bad when started after stopping and while moving the quilt to a new section.

I am greatly anticipating reading your new set of tutorials. Thanks for offering your advice!

tahoe34 said...

I also struggle with tension. I am a cancer survivor and it blows me away that people spray baste when that spray is so toxic! If I ever need to do any spray basting at all I DEFINITELY wear a mask and spray outside. I love pin basting and have been using the clamp pin move method for over 20 years and never have any puckers. So excited about this series. Always looking for new tips!

madfabriholic said...

My ah-ha moment came when I realized that even though I was pin basting with my quilts taped down on a hardwood floor, I wasn't using ENOUGH tape and that's why my backs always wrinkled. Duh. So simple, but it took me forever to understand that tighter, tauter taping was crucial. I still struggle with the actual FMQ. "Struggle" being a total understatement.

Marjorie said...

I think that I am at the point in my quilting career where I have used every technique that anyone has thought to share. Each comes with it's pros and cons. My challenge is now picking the right technique for the right look. For example, I can do amazing detail and accuracy using a QAYG approach, but that doesn't help when the design dictates more of a whole cloth effect. My biggest frustration is managing the volume of fabric with a large (Queen +) quilt and my domestic machine. Or maybe I'm just a whiner.

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Oh this is going to be great. I only hand quilt and have done so for 30 odd years. But sometimes I wish I could machine quilt and just get it done. I have the exact machine as you and love it so much! So hopefully I can learn to at least machine quilt a mug rug! Thank you!

Cindy Dahlgren said...

Well, I have a slightly different problem than some others. My husband and I are both handicapped, and while he can crawl on the floor he shouldn't, and I can't. We spray baste because it's faster, and he can't be on the floor long. I've only had small puckers that disappear when washed. How can we baste on a rectangular kitchen table? I saw someone mention clamps, I've heard of board basting, and basting on the wall(which is interesting to me because I can stand). I will be excited to see what you teach, even links to other ways would be awesome. (I might break out in hives if I have to do a google search again, after last time with my son.)

Deborah Cooper said...

I quilted a baby quilt this past winter on my sewing machine. It was very straight forward, all in the ditch & around a 9 wedge dresden plate. I felt like I went in circles myself! I am now working on a 16 round bladed dresden plate. I made 25 and then thought....how in the world can I quilt this! I have to do it block by block...right? If you know different please share. Besides quilting all around the appliqué I am hoping to add some machine quilting in the corners of the blocks, but I'm still not sure what. I learned from a crafty online class how to pin baste using that baby quilt & am eager to learn so much more on machine quilting. Fabric is costly enough. I would have to stop 'trying' to quilt if I have to pay someone to quilt my quilts.

Emily Carnes said...

My biggest problem with FMQ is TENSION... I just finished my first large-ish free motion quilt (stippled) and I can live with the few little puckers but I don't know how to prevent those thread loops from showing on the back.

Love your blog and I'm glad you are giving us newbies some machine tips!!

Sigrun said...

This comes at the right time! I just straight-line-quilted my last quilt and so wish I could (and would dare to!) do something else. Looking forward your series on quilting!

VeeV said...

i am SO excited about this, i've only read the first couple of lines.....and i know i will enjoy!!!
i've been waiting and hoping you'd do this!!!
excellent!!!
xo
eva

Janet said...

I quilt baby and twin quilts on my machine and feel like I am getting pretty good at free motioning on them. But I am afraid of trying anything bigger. I just don't think there is enough space to fit a larger quilt. I'm looking forward to your series.

Jeneta said...

Oh my - I just had a look at your first king sized quilt AND I.LOVE.IT!!! I have plans for a king sized quilt for my bed and I squealed when I saw that your bed head is extremely similar to mine. Maybe the quilt I make will look at stunning as yours. Fingers crossed!

Snoozie said...

I would love to move away from straight line quilting. Anything else scares me silly though!

A Quilter's Mission said...

This is going to be exciting! Let's get started.

Kim said...

I've got the basting down just fine but when I start to FMQ my stitches don't always go where I want them too, my stitches are uneven and I have trouble stopping and starting without clumps of thread.
I can't wait to learn some of your tricks and get back to practicing FMQ! Thanks :0) and

Happy Sewing

Carla said...

Wow this is great. Thank You

Can't move on from the straight line too.

Looking forward to your posts

x

margaret said...

have you been reading my mind????? I put on my blog only this morning why is there no help for us who are trying to quilt. This could not have coma at a better time but please some tips too on quilting with the walking foot, I struggle!!!

AikaMaku said...

It's so great that you're doing this!! I'm not going to miss any of your posts (actually I never miss your posts :) ).
So I'm quilting in a really small domestic machine and my main problem is that even that I've always used pin basting and a quilting foot, the top usually looks full of puckers between quilting lines, even if I use free motion foot... Don't know if it's the thread, the speed, my machine or me, so I hope that you can help me with your tips! :)

Lynne said...

So glad you are going to do this series. I have a number of quilt tops that just need to get finished. I have been drawn to a few free motion quilting blogs of late, so maybe I'm ready to tackle the quilting side of things. To date, I've only machine quilted a couple of quilts. It will be great to follow your series from the beginning.

Annilu + Pele + Lulu said...

My only sticking point with machine quilting (at the moment) is a technical one: I am not very confident with my sewing machine - a Janome Horizon 7700 - because while free motion quilting, the underthread gets stuck every few inches and that is REALLY annoying! When I don't react immediately, the thread cracks and even if I react promptly, at least a big loop of thread remains on the back of the quilt. Uah!!! I bought a special quilting-underthread-bobbinholder for my Janome and with this special "gimmick" quilting works quite fine. Let's see for how long... :OP

Actually I never thought I'd be able to do free motion quilting at all. Only my good sewing-buddy believed in my capabilities and insisted permanently, until I finally tried to free motion quilt for the first time in my life. I made my first quilting experiences with quilting pillow-cases, tablerunners and placemats - small projects, easy to handle and quickly finished. Those first projects went so well, that I immediately tried to stipple my first quilt and I have never stopped since :O)
So - never hold your light to low!

By the way - I also pin baste all my quilting projects and I prefer partial or even punctual quilting because I like the soft touch of a quilt.
If you want to, just look: http://annilus.blogspot.de/search?q=Quilt
http://annilus.blogspot.de/search?q=quilt or http://annilus.blogspot.de/

annilu

charlotte said...

I am looking forward to reading along in this series. I don't have a sticking point, but I am always on the lookout for tips to make it easier and better. Actually, maybe I do have one issue: I have trouble finding the best way to roll up and corral a larger quilt while quilting. My Swoon quilt was a nightmare that took forever to quilt. So that would be my question.

Patti said...

I'm so excited about this series! I learned to quilt over 30 years ago but tying became my specialty because I hated basting. I can't begin to count how many quilts that I've tied. In the past year I've started following many bloggers who do beautiful work (you're one of them!) and I've been so inspired! But, I still haven't tackled anything larger than a piece of patchwork for a pouch or bag. Hopefully you can help me change that!

Tammy said...

HI! Thank you so much for this series! I am so excited to learn how to improve my FMQ. I am an intermediate-beginner. I am determined to improve my skills. My problem is stitch length. Some of my stitches are long and others are short. I'm not sure why.
I have only FMQed one twin size quilt and some small projects so far. I'd love to do a King sized quilt someday! At first I was nervous to FMQ, but the more I worked on my twin quilt, the more fun it was. I explained to my daughter that FMQ is like interpretive dance with a sewing machine. I even did some dance moves- she was not impressed. I guess I should stick with trying to improve my FMQing instead of my dancing! LOL Thank you for starting this series.. I'll be on the edge of my seat in anticipation waiting for your next post! ;)

nattygai said...

looking forward to reading your tips on quilting. i'm a beginner myself, only been quilting for a year and haven't been game enough to fm quilt yet. i'm still straight lining it!

judith henwood said...

thank you I have 4 or 5 quilts to finish but can not get the machine quilting right, I put them away because I do not want to make a mess.

thank you judith xx

highwaycottage said...

My a-ha moment was discovering your blog post about pin basting some years ago. I've never looked back and never spray basted again.

sonia said...

Like you, I thought that to do it professionally you needed a long arm, now you have reassured me that we don't. I'm still learning but I love quilting on my bernina. I use both glue and pins. I have never tackle a king size quilt, though. I'm really excited that you are going to do this series, I love the way you explain things. I'm a fan!

AnnieMac said...

Thank you so much for doing this blog. I'm so looking tlforward to your hints and techniques. My stack of tops to be quilted is growing as I'm too scared to have a go at FMQ.

April Hunt said...

I am delighted by this series. My machine quilting has gotten cruddy lately and I don't know why. I'm worried it's my machine, but it's also quite possible that I've regressed somewhere. Looking forward to seeing how you do things to figure out what I could do better. Thank you for sharing about your journey. It's nice to know that even the "big girls" have made puckered quilts. :)

Gamma's Sewing Room said...

Thanks for doing this. I've been actually getting paid for quilting others quilts to my surprise! I have the same Juki and love it. I spray baste though. The only time I have trouble with puckers is when the back is pieced an does not lay flat, or when I don't use 505 temp. adhesive spray. Any other brand gives me fits.

Sigi G said...

Oh you have just been a big inspiration to me. I am really looking forward to your coming tutorials. I haven't had a 'ah-ha' moment yet, till I've read your blog today. As much as I love making quilt tops - I shudder when it comes time to quilt them. Can't wait for the coming weeks as I have a few 'large' quilt tops sitting and waiting.....!Thank You Amanda!

Cindy Mizer said...

I have a Husqvarna/Viking machine my husband bought for me and this one does not have a walking foot. I have wondered about using a walking foot for a similar machine, but I have hesitated due to the cost of the foot. I have started up a savings for just quilting-having it done professionally. But, I'd like to do smaller projects at home and have them turn out better.

Carol said...

What do you clamp with? I'd love to see some step by step photos of that process.

Justine Malinski said...

I too hesitate to FMQ because of stitch length issues and being a fabric lover, I feel that some all-over quilting hides the features of the print on the fabric that I love. Done right, straight line quilting, especially stitch-in-the-ditch,enhance the print on the fabric.

I have a suggestion for eliminating tucks and puckers on the back. I pin baste on the floor, pins about every 4 to 6 inches, keeping the backing fabric taut with tape. Once the pins are in I remove the tape and move to a counter height table, back side up, and starting at one end, smooth out the quilt sandwich with my hands. Any tucks or puckers will be obvious and I re-pin to smooth them out, adding more pins where ever needed. This is also a good time to check alignment with the front if that is necessary. Then I turn the quilt over, pieced side up, and smooth with my hands again, check for alignment if necessary one more time, and re-pin any tucks or puckers. This iterative process developed when I found I could not stay on the floor long enough to baste perfectly. It work very well for me.

Justine Malinski said...

I too hesitate to FMQ because of stitch length issues and being a fabric lover, I feel that some all-over quilting hides the features of the print on the fabric that I love. Done right, straight line quilting, especially stitch-in-the-ditch,enhance the print on the fabric.

I have a suggestion for eliminating tucks and puckers on the back. I pin baste on the floor, pins about every 4 to 6 inches, keeping the backing fabric taut with tape. Once the pins are in I remove the tape and move to a counter height table, back side up, and starting at one end, smooth out the quilt sandwich with my hands. Any tucks or puckers will be obvious and I re-pin to smooth them out, adding more pins where ever needed. This is also a good time to check alignment with the front if that is necessary. Then I turn the quilt over, pieced side up, and smooth with my hands again, check for alignment if necessary one more time, and re-pin any tucks or puckers. This iterative process developed when I found I could not stay on the floor long enough to baste perfectly. It work very well for me.

Sandra Allred said...

I am so excited you are going to do this series. I'm new to quilting and just bought a Juki to get the speed control on it :). I'm straight line quilting right now but want to do free motion (which I tried with my Brother and couldn't control my hands and foot petal - lol).

My biggest fear is handling the large quilt while trying to quilt it. The one I'm working on now is a lap size and it's a struggle - lol. I want to do bigger ones eventually.

JGrosch said...

I, too, am excited to follow this series. I really want to be able to finish a project from start to finish . I have quilted small projects fairly easily but recently quilted a twin size for my son and just about ended up throwing it in the trash!! I felt like I was wrangling a six foot snake that wouldn't stay still. I was basically doing a long serpentine stitch but had so much drag that it proved very difficult for me. I enjoy FMQ when I am practicing. I feel like an artist. But when it comes to handling a full size quilt, I just want to scream. So any instructions you can give on how to handle the bulk of the quilt , I would be thrilled! Thanks so much for doing this!

Daytona Damsel said...

I cannot seem to move the quilt smoothly and evenly through the needle. I have watched numerous videos but they are not detailed enough or they move to fast. I look forward to seeing your series.

Jan said...

I'm so excited that you're going to do this! Learning to machine quilt is on my "to do list". I'm really looking forward to your tutorials. thanks.

Leslie said...

i feel like i am limited by the size of my machine...keeping me from quilting things bigger than a lap or twin. i also severely dislike basting so i can not wait to hear about this basting method you used way back in 2007.

Anna F. said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Amanda Jean.
I would like to see your basting process as well. I've been convinced for a while that the floor is not the best option and have been trying out a couple different ideas using a table. I've read about using clamps before but can't quite visualize it in my mind, especially a king size! Would love to see your process. Again, thank you so much for sharing.

Unknown said...

I quilt on a BabyLock machine, set in a sewing cabinet. Main problem has been turning the quilt during the quilting process. Best tip I've been given: dont quilt more than 45 minutes - get up, stretch, do something different (laundry, dishes, walk around the block). Then come back and you'll fee refreshed and ready to go for another 45 minutes. Would like to learn free motion (tried and failed) and to quilt in strips (sound easier to manage).

Emily Camfield said...

I had been itching to make a quilt for some time, but I was really terrified to do the quilting. I was talking to my mother-in-law about it, and she looked at me and said "you know, it's really not that bad. And it doesn't take as long as you'd think." And that was all I needed to get going!

I'm still just quilting straight lines on my quilts, but I've done a queen-sized quilt on my little home machine, and now I feel like I can do anything!

I'd like to try free-motion quilting some time... just need to work up the nerve. :)

Thanks for sharing your story!

Heather said...

I am so thrilled that you are going to do this series!! I have admired your quilts for years (and that orange king size you quilted at home is one of my very favorites) and look forward to all that I can learn. I would say my biggest hurdle is intimidation/confidence. When I learned to speak a different language, I had to learn to let go of my fear of making mistakes and I have a hunch that this skill - enjoying the freedom of occasionally failing - will probably come in handy again with quilting.

AuntieCrafty said...

You know, it's funny. I pin basted my first couple of quilts and got puckers. It wasn't until I started using spray baste that I no longer get puckers. :)

Dona said...

I had puckers with spray and moved to pins but went back to spray and changed the WAY I spray. I now spray in bursts or dots, just like pins and it works beautifully. For me it is the perfect blend and solved the puckers but the ease of spray is there. Thanks for the series, looking forward to it.

Joni Geels said...

YAY! I've machine quilted all my quilts over the years by myself, and even though I'm pretty good at it now I can't help but think, "How can I screw this one up?" every time I first put that needle into the sandwich. Looking forward to learning new tips from this!

Diane said...

I have gotten so much inspiration and gained so much knowledge from your blog and book, so I am very excited about your new series! My biggest sticking point is (was) actually not with quilting, but with cutting fabric. No matter how careful I was, my ruler tended to slip. I read your blog about putting duct tape on the back of a triangle, I think it was, in a pinch. So I added a few pieces to my ruler. It makes an amazing difference! I tried those sticky rubbery dots from the fabric store, but those grabbed the fabric TOO much, and I couldn't straighten my ruler without moving the fabric. Your duct tape method is perfect. Thank you!!

Wonky Patchwork said...

I'm really looking forward to your posts on this. I would love to be more adventurous with my quilting and also just be better at it! As well as the issue of keeping the layers all lovely and flat, I just have trouble manoeuvring a large, bulky quilt around on my sewing machine smoothly, so straight lines are always very tempting.

AllisonB said...

Thank you for doing this series! I would like to know how to free motion quilt a large sized quilt on a regular machine. I have done a twin size, but I'd like to attempt a queen. Also, how do I keep my stitches pretty even on the bottom compared to the top of the quilt?

Margie said...

Recently watched a video on putting a quilt together in columns, quilting it and then adding the next column, quilting, and continue this way, keeping the bulk of the quilt to your left and out of the way. Am enjoying this so much and now have finished 3 flimsies and also enlarged them in the process. I now look at quilt patterns different (can it be put together in columns)!! My problem is coming up with a quilting pattern itself. Thank You for doing this and I will be here watching and learning.

RockinHairBabe said...

I am so excited about this! Your blog has already taught me so much! I love it! Thank you so much for what you do! I just recently bought my first Big Girl Sewing Machine. I started out on a little project runway brother. I just got the Babylock Jane. A straight stitch machine similar to your Juki. My FMQ challenges are curves, sometimes they are actually curved and sometimes they are a hot mess. Also spacing and size is difficult, I have big fluid meandering lines and then I have teeny tiny ones on the edges. Also I would say having consistent stitch lengths, I am practicing and it gets a little bit better each time. I do not have a stitch regulator, that is all me. I am so excited to continue this journey! THANK YOU!!

Sheila Howard said...

All this time I thought it was only me! Can't wait for the next installment.

Laurelle said...

I would love to hear how to fix tension problems and why thread breaks when free motion quilting.Also It always takes me ages to decide how to quilt the quilt so any suggestions there would be awesome! Can't wait. Thanks for sharing :)

Jessica said...

Thank you! I'm an exclusive spray baster and straight line quilter, so I definitely need some encouragement to improve my basting and jump into FMQ.

Susanhusan said...

I am looking forward to the continuation of this series. I try my hand at FMQ, but feel that they could be much better.

Jantine said...

I have no problems spraybasting but donwonder what kind of pins you use. Safety pins or quilting pins.....

Julie L said...

I am in the process of fmq on a domestic on my kitchen table!!! Am I crazy? Not quite yet but soon. My biggest problem is stitch length consistency. Also my travel stitching leaves a lot of room for improvement. Looking forward to your series.

diane said...

I am looking forward to this series. My problems are stitch length consistency and tension issues. I am pretty good with walking foot but the free motion foot scares me. Every pattern I start ends up to be loops. And meanders.

Rebeca said...

Como é possível??? Já desisti de costurar grandes colchas! Como se faz? Não entendi, me ensina, por favor?
Beijos aqui do Brasil

Vercareli On The Farm said...

I have to confess that for years I looked at your lovely, free motion quilting and jealously longed for the skills to do my own quilts that way. And I tried for two years to practice and it just wasn’t working. I felt so frustrated and disgusted that I gave it up for a whole year. But I was determined to “get it.” I read everything I could about free motion quilting and tried it out on my machine. But nothing helped. I kept getting loops on the bottom whenever I went into a curve and for years I thought it was a tension issue. I tried every tension setting possible and it did not go away. I practiced and practiced hoping that it was just my speed as I handled the curves. Finally, I just figured that I was incapable of learning it. Unfortunately, we are not near any quilt shops, so I couldn’t even take a class to help me out. It was then that I found Leah Day’s website and watched a video where she explained why she DOESN’T drop her feed dogs when free motion quilting. When I tried it on my machine, it WORKED! She explained it better than I could, but that was my problem the whole time. Once I left the feed dogs up (and I don’t even cover them with anything), I was able to free motion quilt!!! There was something about my Kenmore sewing machine that just wouldn’t work when I dropped the feed dogs. And the funny thing is, it has a lever specifically for dropping the feed dogs. So that was my AH-HA moment. And now I am happily free motion quilting my quilts. :-)

Kelly Dawson, may I just say that it is perfectly acceptable to machine quilt your quilts. Our grandmothers didn’t have access to all of the modern conveniences that we have and the only way they knew was hand quilting. So of course that is what they passed on to us. Don’t get me wrong, I still hand quilt. It is a labor of love. But, we live at a much faster pace than our grandmothers did and we have resources that they did not have. Quilts are just as beautiful when quilted by machine. Just look at all the pretty quilts that Amanda-Jean has made and quilted on her sewing machine! You are still investing a lot of yourself – your time and creativity – into each quilt and it is still a unique gift of love.

Anne said...

I look forward to this series. For as long as I've been quilting, finishing them up myself has always been an issue. Tension is a problem as well as just maneuvering the quilt. I have an old Bernina with very little space to move around. I can also say that I'm a designer and far more enjoy the process of designing a quilt and making the top so I've come to terms with it being ok to let someone else quilt it so I can go on to the next one I want to design. That is where the real joy lies for me. I admire those of you who do it from beginning to end but I may never be that quilter and that's ok too. I will follow your series though and learn a few new tricks to try when I do an occasional quilt top myself. Tanks for sharing.

Books_Bound said...

I'll pretty much try anything quilting-wise, and so far, things have turned out ok! My biggest hangup in FMQ is doing more complex patterns--my brain just has a hard time wrapping around how to move around the space or to repeat something more complex. It's probably somewhat a skill thing, but I think it's also just how my brain is wired--that sort of thing comes a lot more naturally to some people than for others.

But even accepting that, I think it's good for people to not get stuck on "I can't do that pattern, so I can't FMQ!" I think some patterns just make more sense to some individuals than others. My first quilt instructor told the class that stippling--that staple of first time FMQers-- was something that just did not come naturally to her at all. Loops, however, did. Likewise, swirls continue to baffle me, but I've become pretty adept at paisley quilting and carnation quilting. Who knows why some make sense and others don't!

Glad you found a basting style that works for you, because I love your blog! I'm a pin baster too. I just find spray baste messy, and I don't trust it to stay together. It works really well for some people, but I'm find sticking with my old-fashioned (and cheaper!) safety pins.

Heather H said...

One more reason why i love your blog. Thanks so much!

Amy said...

I am so excited for this series. I have so many quilts that need to be quilted. I have one all pin basted and ready to quilt. I have even tried to do some stippling. I stopped and took out all of my stitches. The quilt is big 80x80. What is holding me back right now is time. I need to have a big space to lay it out and it will require the kitchen table. I will have to wait until the summer when my child is gone and I can use the table. Also, I don't know where to start the quilting. Do I start on a side and work toward the middle. UGH! I know I will be able to do I just have to start! I can't wait to get more tips. Thank you!!!

Kaaren said...

Amanda, I have your book, have followed your tutee, and made several. I also follow the blog religiously, although this is my first comment (I think).

Can you please talk about what thread you use" "Egyptian" looks SO good, and I can't figure out the color. I would love to know what you are using so the quilting shows but the thread kind of goes away. Sincerely, Kaaren in CA

Seamingly Sarah said...

Hurray, hurray, hurray! I can't wait to read more. I have a Slant o Matic Singer, really old! And I Have no money or room for a long arm. I've machine quilted straight lines only with this machine on baby and lap sized quilts, that's it. I tried FMQ once and gave up after I don't know how many broken needles. I've read that if I keep trying I can make my machine FMQ and I've read that my machine just can't do it. Either way, I want to at least straight line quilt larger quilts. Thank you for doing this!

Samantha K said...

I cannot wait to follow this series! So many examples of people quilting on domestic machines show them quilting a lap size or smaller quilt--I'd really like to see how they maneuver a king sized quilt on a domestic machine!

I have so many ideas and thoughts in my mind as to how I'd like one of my quilts quilted, but I'm not quite 'there' in actually getting my machine to do what I want. So for now, I usually do a combination of stitch in the ditch and a bit of tying if the blocks are larger or I will zigzag across the seams if it is a simple patchwork. Which, I have not completed a quilt larger than full size.

Also, I'm afraid of taking that first step to start the quilting in a quilt top, afraid I'm going to mess it up. However, I have a hard time personally with having someone else finish something I started, to me it doesn't feel like it is fully my quilt then. I know lots of people send their quilts off to be finished, and there is nothing wrong with that, but personally, I cannot yet bring myself to do it.

Thanks for taking the time to do this series--I really look forward to your posts!

Marisol said...

Thanks for such useful info! Looking forward to read your next article! I'm just willing to quit my first quilt with my bernina aurora 440 and I'm scared about spoiling my beautiful sampler which is a gift to mi 3 years old daughter

bnh123 said...

I straight line quilted my first three or four quilts, and then tried FMQ stippling for the next 30 or so. I'd like to move into doing designs vs. random meanders, so that the quilting is more of a design feature vs. a purely functional thing.

I have a little trouble with puckering when I straight line quilt and pin-baste. I do get some puckering around borders still, but that's more because I am a little sloppy at measuring borders.

But for all the people who are intimidated by FMQ, don't be! I didn't know enough to be intimidated when I started and it started feeling natural pretty quickly. And I do all of my sewing and FMQ on a 40 year old Kenmore machine, so I definitely don't have the latest-greatest sewing machine technology.

Karen Thorneycroft said...

Thank you for your inspiration! I have been quilting for about 10 years, the first few quilts were done for my kids and all hand quilted. I originally pooh poohed machine quilting. I have seen the light as they say, and am now quilting my quilts via machine, also a Juki by the way. I am slowly slowly getting better. Practise, practise, practise as they say.

Tracie said...

Mine is just the sheer BULK of the quilt. Even machine quilting small runners or wall hangings often has me frustrated trying to shift all that fabric around. Also, it seems like sometimes the quilt will get stuck, like maybe the pins get caught up on my sewing table or the weight of the quilt makes the movement drag. I would love to hear how you manage all the bulk and the weight and the movement of the quilt. Thank you so much!

Natalie Jones said...

I'm so glad you are doing this series! I've just quilted my first quilt using my domestic sewing machine and it worked, but there were a few puckers. It was a gift for my niece, and she's very forgiving, but i did wonder whether I'd ever be able to do it properly. Now I think I might!

Megan M. said...

I'm one of those people that just blindly tried something new and doesn't think about how jacked up it could turn out, so I haven't been too fearful of things. :) I have a small Brother machine and FMQ is a PAIN on it though. Broken thread, tension issues, too small of a throat...it's the pits! I used my friend's Juki and I loved it! I am a big fan of stippling at this point...I found if I just relax it turns out a lot better than if I sit there trying to concentrate too hard on it. I've pin basted and spray basted and to be honest, I really love spray basting. It's faster to baste and faster to quilt since you don't have to pull pins. But to each their own! I say do what works for you!

Can't wait to read more!

MoMcL in AZ said...

I just started using a walking foot and am getting better with it for quilting. I really, really want to learn to make consistent meandering on my quilts. I'm afraid the quilting will be all bunched in one area. As others have said, I hate to ruin a quilt with poor FMQ. Thanks!

Lindi said...

I've tried free motion and used a walking foot. I always baste by hand except once trying pin basting and the pins were so in the way. I'd be curious about how you manage that. But my biggest obstacle, by far, is the sheer management of the quilt's bulk. I feel like I'm constantly rolling and re-rolling it.

Kanoelani said...

Looking forward to your series on FMQ, Amanda Jean. I do not use safety pins or spray glue to baste my quilts. Instead, I mount the quilt on my design wall and use lines of Elmers Washable School Glue. No puckers, no bending over a table and no mess. After quilting and binding the quilt must be washed to remove the glue.

Barbara Konkle said...

I just LOVE your blog! I am so excited about this series! Thank you for doing it! I have been quilting for about three years now and I have improved but the quilting part is a definite struggle. I love what your husband said and now I need to finally go over why my quilt seems to slip so much when I quilt. I use gloves but I seem to always stray from the straight line. In fact so much that I have finally done crazy "straight line" designs to just go with my flaw! LOL! Lots of boxes and geometric patterns. I need to quit being afraid and dive in! Thanks! :-)

Live a Colorful Life said...

Well, as you may recall, quilt making comes to a screeching halt for me at the basting phase. I HATE the basting process, and am having so much trouble with my right index finger that I'm not sure pin basting is even an option for me. I'm kind of lukewarm on spray basting, however. And then the second issue is that in my head I can't get past the feeling that you must be proficient in stippling before you can move forward to other forms of FMQ. I know--that is just a nutty idea. So I'm totally looking forward to this.

P.S. I bought my ticket to MN last night. :)

Hilacha (loose strand) said...

This is very interesting: I consider myself an intermediate-beginner. But my process is exactly the opposite. I used to thread baste, then changed to pins and lastly to spray. I kept having puckers. Until I realised that what was wrong was the batting. Here in Spain the most frequent is poly, with a thin layer of poly material or fabric on both sides, which kept shifting. I discovered polyester/cotton (20/80) and changed to it and have since overcome all difficulties. I now spray baste only and have never had a pucker again. Now I'm eager to start learning more from your blog, and improve my FMQ skill. Thank you in advance!

Jeri Niksich said...

I'm excited to be following on this topic, the biggest I've done is a lap size on my DSM, I don't have a table to clamp to either I use my king size bed with an old flannel sheet covering it & spray baste then safety pin too! Yep I get some small puckers but still learning. I WILL get a table as soon as I finish saving up for a 9" throat machine. In the meantime I'll be learning the ins & outs from you. Thanks for doing this for us.

Marianne said...

I've never once had a pucker on the back of a quilt whether it was spray basted, pinned or basted with thread. I really don't get that! My problem is the physical-ness of quilting, it really gives your body a workout and it seems each year it gets harder on my back and neck.

Lisa J. said...

I am so excited that you are doing this. Getting more confident is quilting on my domestic machine is my main goal this year. Quilting with the walking foot became more interesting for me when I stopped stitching in the ditch so that the quilting became a feature. The major problem I have with free motion is that I expect it to look better than I am capable of so I'm afraid to get started ...but I have been braver this year and just gone ahead I'm more willing to live with the mistakes I guess.

Janet M said...

I have problems with thread breaking during FMQ. Funny thing is it only happens with my Janome 7700 that I bought especially for the 11" harp area. I get frustrated and go back to my older 9" harp Viking Mega Quilter and don't have any problems with thread breaking. I haven't figured this one out yet.

Beth said...

I foloow along but don't comment all the time (my bad). I am really excited thatyou are doing this. Last year I moved to a small apartment and I honestly do not have the floor space topin baste larger than a baby quilt. I always pin basted on the floor. I don't like spray cause I could never get front and back smooth at the same time.
So far you have already helped me...I have some tables and even a couple of doors in the basement so I could set up and pin baste.
I have a really big pile of tops that I really want done so I can start a bunch of new quilts.

badlandsquilts said...

I'm a pinner, too and puckers have never been an issue but we've changed our flooring in the last year so I don't have floor space to pin large quilts...about to break down and buy some of those folding lifetime banquet tables.

JenS. said...

My hang up is my machine. I would love to try machine quilting, however I have an Elna 8000 with snap on feet, and a shank that cannot be removed. An open toe foot cannot be used with it either. I do not have a walking foot. I am thinking about a new machine, but which one should I get? I am not even sure I will like machine quilting.

ChristaQuilts said...

Amen sistah! You are preaching to the choir here, LOL!! I am so happy though that you are doing your part to share the "quilting on your home sewing machine" love!!!

It also makes me smile to hear others prefer to quilt on a domestic over a long-arm, too. I'll choose my home sewing machine any day over the fanciest long arm there is :-)

Gina M said...

Wow, I think you've struck a chord here! So many comments. I've only fmq'ed two quilts. My main trouble is regulating the speed to get a consistent stitch length. That and getting "stuck" with out a good place to go without messing up the pattern/density. Looking forward to the series!

Deb said...

Thanks for doing this. I love how quilt patterns are all super specific about how to sew two triangles together, something that most people who passed high school geometry could figure out, but when it comes to the end, it's "quilt as desired." Trust me, if I could make my quilting "as desired," I would. I have a lot of stitch length variation problems and loops on the back of my quilts. I hate to destroy all of my hard work, so it's been a walking foot for me.

wonderlandbyalyce said...

I have many tough areas that discourage me in my machine quilting efforts. I think the #1 issue is lack of decent throat space. I can't afford a new machine, so I just have to make due, but it's such an energy-sucker to wrestle even a twin size quilt through that small space. Also, I can't get even stitches and this is mostly because of the throat space issue and partly because I just can't seem to keep a steady, relaxed pace. I'm trying to quilt my daughter's quilt now and she asked for a double sided minky for her backing and I pin basted, but of course I got puckers. Then I tried tying it, but I still got puckers, so I'm thinking I'm going to have to take all that out, including the pins and start basting it all over again and double the number of pins and that makes me want to cry. All that to say that I will be anxiously waiting for your machine quilting 101 series.

sewok said...

I am fairly new at machine quilting having started a couple of years ago. My LQS really pushes the spray but that is the only time I get folds, puckers or pockets on the back. I am a pin baster from the beginning and I guess I always will be. Looking forward to your series.

LJ said...

I haven't done a lot of FMQ but always find myself becoming frustrated - I WANT it to turn out BETTER!! Keeping control of the stitching and a not having consistent stitch length are the things that upset me lately. I'm still praying for an "ah-ha" moment.

Katysboys said...

My first FMQ was a crazy patch double wedding ring quilt. I was so naive, and took the information I learned in class and just did it. Fast forward 15 years and now I'm afraid to FMQ . I have been sending my quilts out to be finished. I hope with your help, I will gain the confidence to FMQ my sons quilts on my own.

Tamara said...

I love your story about the spray basting! I almost considered switching from pinning to spraying recently because it looks so much easier. I'm glad I didn't! My sticking point right now is trying to get the tension right for free motion quilting. It seems so hit and miss and changes in the middle of the quilt. I wonder if it's the thread I'm using or that I just need more practice.

Vera said...

I'm at the learning stage so I look forward to pick up few tricks.

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Heather said...

Thank you so much for doing this series ! Every time i try to FMQ i get those eyelash things, bad stitch consistency. Thank you also for being so open and sharing your story with us !

Trisha V said...

I am SO EXCITED to follow this series! Been trying to improve my skills for a couple of years!! but kind of in a rut. Biggest problem is stitch size regulation-(or impatience)-perhaps I'm too anxious to finish?

Dana said...

I'm looking forward to your tutorial. I took a log cabin quilt class at my LQS, and she showed us how to pin baste the quilts. It was an eye opener, and I was hooked from that point on. I am hoping you can show me how quilters piece their backing or add large labels and are still able to ensure they are straight after they are pin basted. Thanks!

Sara Fiedler said...

I love your blog!
I hope you do videos of YOUR process so we can SEE exactly how to...
"a picture is worth a thousand words." Thanks.

Lisa Wallert-Johnson said...

I am so excite for this series of posts! I haven't ventured quilting anything bigger then a baby quilt and even then I mainly stick to straight lines. Thank you also for sharing some of your quilting background. I only discovered your blog a few months ago and I was blown away that you haven't been quilting your entire life. That definitely is inspiring to a beginner like me. :)

pandchintz said...

I've attended three machine quilting classes and failed each one. I'm ok at walking foot/straight line quilting, and that's what I limit myself to as I find this frustrating enough!! Any hints or tips gratefully received! Looking forward to it.

nanajsews said...

My biggest issue with quilting a large quilt on my domestic sewing machine is handling the volume/weight of the quilt hanging down. I've tried setting up chairs around my machine to catch some of the overflow (which does seem to help some), rolling the quilt (not helpful at all for me) and even pinning up some of the excess (somewhat helpful). I spray baste and pin my quilts, which seems to work okay for me. Love that you are creating a series on the subject!

Cathy Berninger said...

I'm looking forward to following you machine quilting series.

MissJubilee said...

Wow, I wonder if it's possible to put the comment box at the top of the comment section? That was a lot of scrolling on my tiny phone screen! Tho considering the phone and blogger also refuse to play nice in the comment box (any attempt to edit what I have written locks all typing), I should probably just stick to lurking!
Still, now that I'm here, editing my comment in the notes app as the blog page reloads, I'll share my two cents and then paste it in! I'm only on my second lap quilt, having made a couple small quilted items in the past, and what is keeping me from machine quilting is that I took apart a comforter for batting, so it's too thick to sew on the machine! Didn't realize it would be a problem till too late. I had to take them to the bedding-tailors' stall at the fabric market just to get them basted because I couldn't get that to come out smoothly either. Once basted, I tied one and hand-quilted the other. I just finished the binding (also by hand) on the first and have almost gotten to the point that I can prep the binding for the second. But never again will I use such thick batting. Ugh! One of the happy things about moving back to the States this summer, proximity to a craft store... Of course I also lose my close neighbor with a lendable sewing machine, but maybe I'll meet a new one!

Bennett and Graves said...

I am addicted to my walking foot but want to FMQ badly. In January I took a one day class and although the principle of FMQ is clear, my abilitiy is lagging. I know, practice, practice, practice. That said, I tape down my backings and pin baste and have had good success with smooth backs quilting from the middle out so I can also smooth a bit as I go. Feeding the quilt onto my dining room table has taken care of the weight of it hanging off the machine. If you are new to using a walking foot; make sure you read your machine's instruction for tension setting etc. Can't wait to follow along with your series!

lmno said...

I found that the right batt as well as a new needle and good quality thread helped my skipping stiches problem.

lmno said...

I forgot to mention that 80% cotton/20% poly batt (I usually pre-soak) or 100% cotton batt gives me great results.

Vanessa said...

I absolutely love your blog! I am so glad and thankful you are doing these posts.
I pin baste. I have no desire to try the spray. I tape the backing to my hardwood floor and then pin away.
I've straight line quilted a queen size but that's the largest. I have been making baby quilts in order to practice my FMQ'ing.
I get the 'eyelashes' too on the curves. I find if I just relax it goes better but I always am in a hurry to get it done. I forgot to lower my feed dogs and ended up with all loose stitching on the back that I had to pick out.
Can't wait for the next installment!

debbi d-w said...

Lots of people you'll be helping! I took two machine quilting classes about a decade apart, and learned much as things changed during that time. I'm fine on small projects, but working with the weight of the quilt pulling against the sewing space on anything lap size or larger changes the freedom that makes working FM on the smaller pieces easy. I have tables all around to take the weight, but would welcome other ideas!

pendie said...

One of my sticking points is getting the layers smooth when pin basting. Can you post a picture of how you clamp your quilt down to baste it?

minnesota nice said...

I have a long arm machine that I've been afraid of for a year. I set myself up to fail because I thought that if you don't custom quilt everything like the pictures everywhere, you're not progressing. I've finally come to the realization that I can complete a lovely piece with simpler patterns. I'm now reminding myself that its necessary to learn to walk before you can run.

Rebecca MacNeill said...

Thank you! Thank you! I'm a hand quilter who has a fear of machine quilting. I would complete so many more quilts if I could just get over it. I trust you to hold my hand and guide me through it. I even have a quilt I'm piecing together now in mind for it.

Granny Maud's Girl said...

My biggest fear is wrestling the weight and bulk of a big quilt under the throat space. I agree that basting is key – get that right and the end result improves enormously.

Potter Family said...

I owe all my machine quilting and basic quilting skills to you. when i first started to quilt, I found your blog, and it has since become my bible! :) I gained confidence in machine quilting on my domesticmachines,from you. It has been a learning curve. I have made my mother a lot of placemats with some horrible stippling, but I have come a long way. I quilt all of my own, nothing fancy, but I am doing it! I want to improve, so I am excited to follow along. I did pay money to have my recent king size quilted on a long arm. **gasp** it was pricey. I very much enjoy quilting on my machine and am forever grateful to you and your blog for teaching/inspiring/uplifting/encouraging and helping me find this hobby that helps me in all aspects of my life.

alejandra said...

Great post, love all your quilts, I have been following you, sharing your moments with us, thanks for all what you share,
I love hand quilting, but, at this point, I think I should try machine quilting, I should give it a try

Thimbleanna said...

Holy Cow! This post sure brought out the comments LOL. How fun to be able to see your process. I'm a pin-baste convert too. Lately, I've gone from stipples to straight-line, just because I like the look more. It's probably just a phase. My big sticking point is that my arms and shoulders get so sore -- it's a lot of work!

mailergoat said...

Wow, so many valuable comments! Wish I had time to read them all this morning!

I've still only used a walking foot, though in a couple of cases after tearing out unsuccessful FMQ attempts. My big problem is tension -- the top or bottom lying on top of the fabric surface after stitching, no matter how I adjust the tension. I tend to get a ton of thread breaking too (every 3-5" of stitching!) so there's clearly something wrong there. I have a $100 machine and while I'm convinced it should be able to handle FMQ, I do wonder if it would be different on a better machine...but haven't gotten around to trying a class and don't really want to buy a new one. I do, however, madly look forward to this series! Thank you!!

Grandma Ruthie said...

My ah ha moment is a bit like yours. I took a quilting class and came away with the clamp/table method of basting. Up to then I was on the floor and to be honest my back just couldn't take basting on the floor any more. Moving ot the table with my clamps has made basting as fun as it can be. :-)

As far as basting methods I've tried thread, pin and spray basting. I still like thread basting the best for large projects, then pin basting for medium or small projects. I can't handle chemicals in spray basting. They bother my breathing too much.

Susan said...

So looking forward to this series. Many times when following a quilt tutorial I feel like I am left hanging, when it says "quilt as desired".i have been reluctantly FAQ for several years, but do not feel very confident or pleased. I have a baby loc ellageo and a large surface which helps a lot. I did not see this problem when reading all the comments and hope you can address. When different designs are used in different parts of a quilt , how do you make your starting and stopping look nice when you are in the middle of the quilt? Also, glad you are addressing thread color, if I match the quilt front, sometimes my backing is a totally different color and my FAQ is very exposed on the back. Last problem, I know I should do a better job of having quadrants and plan, but sometimes I will run into a basting pin. Thanks so much and looking forward to your series!!!

Kaaren said...

I am SO interested to know how to choose neutral threads that do a nice job of the quilting, but sink into the quilt rather than riding on top. I notice quilts that look so good, and seem to be continuous quilting, and the actual thread color is SO hard to see. Is it 50 wt? I'm sure eager for help and photos of the process.

Leanne Parsons said...

This should be a great series. I've wondered about spray basting, but worried I wouldn't like it. I pin baste everything now and I think I'll stick with that. I can't seem to get a consistent stitch length. Maybe I just need more practice, though.

Judy said...

Okay, I am belt-n-suspender type quilter. I spray baste AND pin whether I am doing a quilt-as-you-go project or anything larger.

I don't do free motion quilting. I'm not a big fan of it on pieced quilts. I find hand-quilt designs that will work with a domestic machine and mark my quilt tops before basting.

The other thing I do is straight-pin the line I am quilting about a foot in front of the needle; which has helped beat the pucker issue where the current line of quilting crosses a previous line of quilting. Along with stretching the sandwich a little front and back which seems to also help (the belt-n-suspender thing, again).

So I'm going to follow your tutorial with interest because I'm always interested in exploring different ways to do the same thing.

Conni said...

I look forward to following along, I have only FMed 2 quilts so far, spray basted them both, and no puckers!!

Barbara Beyun said...

oh, this will be exciting. I am terrified of FMQ. All of my quilts have had pocket sized wrinkles in the back- but I've only pin basted and was hoping that spray basting the next one would do the trick!!

Oh, and I get similar "helpful" advice from my husband...

jamie said...

i feel comfortable in my straight lines, and i do like using them - so many variations! - but i'd love to learn how to approach/plan designs that are more creative and changing, yet fluid across the quilt. i'm not really drawn to stippling. i want something more open, organic and relaxed... something that doesn't take the quilt too seriously. oh, and i wished i made more sense!

regardless oh my rambles, i'm reeeeeally looking forward to your proposed series and many thanks to you for doing it!

Catherine said...

I've favourited your post because I've decided it's about time I quilted my own quilts instead of sending them away for long arm quilting. I want a quilt to be ALL mine! I'll be following the series and can't wait to begin.