I recently bought an embroidery foot to start free-motion quilting. I was surprised that it is actually not that expensive, so I jumped in as I wanted to try FMQ for a long time.
Luckily for me, Craftsy classes were on sale when I was looking to start FMQ. I joined the “Start free-motion quilting” classes with Elizabeth Dackson (she has a lovely blog here by the way).
I was so excited to start. I prepared few quilt sandwiches with solid fabric to be able to see the stitching clearly.
As soon as I started, I had two main issues: slip stitches and thread breakage.
Elizabeth covers these two issues in her “trouble shooting” session (very helpful session). It appears that these two issues are due to the type of needle you are using. As the thread in FMQ needs to travel faster than normal sewing, the eye of the needle needs to be bigger. I had no clue of needle sizes before, so it was very interesting to listen to the differences and the reason why. All my IG pals recommended a 90/14 quilting or top stitch needle. I went to buy new needles at my local sewing shop and it made all the difference! Whouhou.
Here is the second practice sandwich with different stitches:
I still need to practice a lot but I already had fun making this. What I find the harder at the moment is choosing the correct speed, keeping a consistent speed and combining the speed of the machine with your hand movements. I first started sewing slowly to be more precise but I think FMQ is better when you go full speed with your machine.
I then wanted to try on a quilt block. I had a log cabin block lying around in my fabric stash who was dying for some action.
Log cabin is a very convenient block to practice FMQ, I changed stitches at every strip.
The class is well structured with nine different lessons. Each lesson covers a new stich (apart lesson 1:Introduction). Elizabeth also covers a specific topic on each lesson (i.e needle sizes, marking tools, quilting gloves, threads, etc). I first found it a bit odd that she pauses in each lesson to talk about these topics as you will need to watch the entire class before starting your own FMQ. I prefer classes who “set the scene” with all the tools and then go through each lesson. I can place my iPad in front of my machine and I listen while I try.
However, this is not a major put off for me and I still enjoyed the class very much. I can’t wait to practice more. Maybe one day I will be good enough to quilt my quilts!