Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Revisited

Oh what a tangled web to view
When I attempted FMQ!

I had done a small bit of free motion quilting years ago and decided I would try again.  Voila my mess!  It looks like an unraveling tangle of yarn.

But wait, there is more to this project that makes me think of a web. When I sat down to blog about my FMQ experiences this morning, less than a foot from my nose on the computer screen was this critter - diameter about the size of a golf ball. Yuk!  I did not want to squoosh him on my lovely large glossy (albeit dusty, now that I look at it) Mac monitor but neither did I want to whisk him off to who knows where.  My husband took him off with one of those yellow stickies by 3M.  Then he squashed him! Yeah!

But back to my FMQ adventures.  I remembered three things about FMQ: 1) drop the feed-dogs, 2) the faster the needle moves the faster you have to move the fabric to get even stitch size, and 3) it takes practice.  I'd forgotten how MUCH practice.  More critically, I'd forgotten what position the pressure foot needed to be in.  I tried "down" and could barely move the fabric even with vigorous tugging which I knew could not be right.  I tried "up" and you can imagine what a mess I had to pick out. I then went a-googling to find a U-Tube video and thought this set of four how-to sessions was quite good.  I thought, "Great, the teacher even uses a Pfaff like me," (as seen in image grab from the video).

I learned that I'd forgotten it takes a darning pressure foot. Back to the sewing machine to try again. My next challenge was that I'd forgotten how to install the darning foot on my machine.  Finding the right  "hole" to put the peg in took a while. And the teacher said the foot is "down". OK. So far so good. Ready to roll.

But I still could not strong-arm the fabric around!  I tried "up" again and then "down" again, then "up" again and "down" again and somehow during this floundering around I learned by accident that apparently on a Pfaff there is not just up or down but also an "in between" down when using a darning foot.  I confirmed this discovery by  re-reading my machine manual much more carefully.  Here is the close-up of the leftover block I used to practice my FMQ. Part of this exercise was to prepare for quilting the Duck, Duck, Goose quilt from my  previous post.  No pun intended, but now I am "chickening" out.  I will reserve my first FMQ project for a recipient other than my first grandchild.  I will probably try it on something I keep for myself.

On the bright side, though, I did try out the 505 basting spray and was quite impressed with it.  There was no odor while applying.  The sandwich was not stiff at all and did not smell even when I put it right up to my nose.  The basting spray held like a charm and, believe me, this little sandwich got pulled, and tugged, and picked at a lot.  The batting scrap I used was Warm and Natural and the little bit of stickiness on the exposed portion that peeked out from around the top was gone when I checked the next morning.  So my escapade was a learning experience and I am looking forward to taking a class in FMQ at my local quilt store this summer or with my daughter's quilter in Oklahoma when I visit.

So I do not have a lot physical to show for this week but I gained confidence and knowledge with basting spray.  Much better than pins!  And as the saying goes, "once begun is halfway done",  I am now on the road to not being so hesitant to learn FMQ.

Completed projects:
  1. Got over fear of basting spray
  2. Learned  some beginning info for FMQ on my Pfaff
Ongoing projects:
  1. Duck, Duck, Goose - completed binding
  2. Bug baby quilt - admired fabric and read directions
  3. Chicken quilt - planning to spray baste with 505
  4. Doll quilt - with free-motion quilter, binding is made
    No progress (but re-listed here so I do not forget and leave buried in closet):
    • Hexagon Mask Quilt - layout begun but overwhelming
    • Fire and Ice Quilt- sitting in closet awaiting decision on backing
    • Grinch Quilt - ripening on the design wall
    • Pumpkin/Iris/Blossom square wall hanging- needs backing and binding
    I want to start:
    • Presents with Bows quilt kit
    • The Ghastlies- strip quilt
    This week's stats:
         Completed  projects - 2 sort of - depending on how you count 
         New projects - 0 
         Currently in progress - 4

    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


    1. Ewww...what WAS that thing on your monitor? Now that it's springtime, we've (along with our friends) have been having a lot more indoor spider sightings. Sabina even hired someone to spray her entire house and backyard for spiders. If nothing else, it's a positive sign that summer is right around the corner!

      (As you may have noticed, I tend to only comment on the non-quilting items that you discuss in your blog articles because I know nothing about quilting and have nothing to add to that discussion! I'm sorry for sidelining your posts with non-quilting comments!)

    2. If only you had called me, Diane, I could have helped you with all the set up on your machine. (Including the intermediate down on the Pfaff). Next time you all come, I will be glad to teach a special class just for you and I'm sure you can use a shop machine which just happen to be Pfaffs.