Saturday, February 06, 2010

Free Motion Quilting Progress

I have been wanting to learn to do free motion quilting for a while now and attempted to teach myself a few times only to end up frustrated.  I don’t quit easily when I really want to learn something so I kept analyzing my problems and tried to remedy the situation.  Here are some tools that I have learned I must have to be successful:

1.  A sewing machine extension table.  I don’t have a sewing table and the arm of IMG_1765my machine did not give me enough flat area to work with.  I just received my Sew Adjustable from Greer, a husband wife team in Oregon that has crafted a fully adjustable table that will fit any machine.  So if I decide to get a new machine or loan this table to a friend I just loosen a few screws and move the plates around and voila!   I IMG_1767got the 16” table and it is so portable I can take it to my sewing classes easily.  I love the little details they put into this table to make it easy to use and also a little cute, like the scroll in the metal work to make it a little more feminine.   Nice touch!  If you don’t already own a table and are looking for one be sure to check out the link above.  They have several sizes and get it sent to you in a jiffy.  I got mine within a week.

2.  A straight stitch single needle plate for my machine.  It keeps the fabric fromIMG_1769 being pushed into the machine and bunching up.  It also helps the tension to work better with free motion stitching.  I marked mine with a permanent marker to remind myself that I can not do any wide stitches when this is on.  Not only would it break a needle, but could send my machine to the hospital.   It is hard to see in the picture, but the plate has only one small hole instead of a wide hole for the needle to go in and pick up the bobbin thread.  I also use the darning foot and mine is clear plastic which helps to see where you are going.  I have almost mastered going forward and sideways, but still have difficulty going backwards so I just avoid it.

3.  Fons and Porter gloves.  Fons and Porter have some really nice quilting products and they are quite often on sale at Joann’s.  I picked up the quilting gloves the other day and they are so soft and comfortable with the stickiest fingers, just exactly what I was needing.

4.  Good lighting.  My machine has a light, but more is better when it comes to sewing and lights.  I have an Ott lamp that I keep near the back of the sewing machine to provide just a little bit better lighting and it works great.

IMG_1770I’m sure there are other great products that I will find to help me master this skill, like the class I am signed up for in a month, but until then I will practice, practice, practice and then see what new tips I get from the highly recommended teacher at JJ’s in March.  I have done okay on this quilt, but need to improve my stitch length and stop making V’s when I want to go straight.  I hope to work all that out in the near future quilting the stack of tops I have waiting for me to conquer free motion quilting.

Any tips for a beginner?