Well! My machine is doing what I want (finally) and I'm ready to progress with my free motion skills. There's a great article in the current issue of Quilting Arts magazine that was written by Heather Thomas. I know that "practice makes perfect". It doesn't mean I actually practice much though. So Heather's article was a good kickstart for me to make up some practice pieces. Make lots!
|quilt sandwiches made form leftovers & batting scraps|
If you want to get better, then just do it. It's easier if you have all the supplies ready. So spend an afternoon just making these sandwiches. You can spray baste them and pin them at the corners. It's an excellent way to use up all those little strips of left over quilt batt. Once you have a stack of these, then all you need to do is practice. Heather suggests 20 minutes a day. I'm reminded of Leah Day's ability too - that's what you get when you FMQ on a daily basis. It's amazing where a little practice time will get you.
|it's not perfect - but it's practice time under my belt|
If you make all your sandwiches 8x10, you can put 3 grommets along one side and save them in a binder. I don't. I do save the rare one that I would want to replicate some day.
Here's a list of my top tips:
* use quilting gloves. I use Machingers gloves for free motion or straight line quilting. They help me so much with control & precision. What's your favorite grip?
* match the weight of the top thread with the weight of the bobbin thread.
* you may have to tighten up the top tension a bit to avoid "eyelashes" on back. In other machines (like mine), you may need to loosen the bobbin tension.
* put the speed control on medium so you can never speed up way too fast by accident. Other people might suggest drinking wine to relax, but.... nah. I like to be sober when I sew.
* basting - I stitch in the ditch between blocks then remove all pins before I begin quilting so that NOTHING is in my way. Michelle at Periwinkle does the same thing. How do you do it?
The article in issue #49 of Quilting Arts also suggests things like "trace the pattern with your non dominant hand" several times to really learn how to move the fabric through with both hands. I thought that was interesting. Still, the best tip I can think of to offer is "practice practice practice". So make it easy on yourself and go get those sandwiches prepared! ; ) Quilt a sandwich every time you go to sit at your machine.
What helps you?? Inquiring minds want to know. : )