Learning Free Motion Quilting

I have always wanted to try Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) ever since I made my first quilt.  I have watched countless videos on YouTube and Craftsy.  I have decided to just take the plunge and do it this Spring holiday (2 weeks).

I really hate wasting craft supplies so I’m going to practise FMQ on small squares of fabric and join them together using Quilt As You Go (QAYG).  I first got this idea from this QAYGFMLQAL on Quokka Quilts website.  I have decided not to add a border as suggested by the Quilt A-Long (QAL) as I wanted to get right into FMQ ASAP.

I am aiming for a lap quilt which are usually 50″ x 65″ so that is roughly 30 squares total if I made the squares ~10″ in szie.  I raided my fabric stash and I’m going to do them in solids with contrasting coloured thread so I can see the quilting better.  I made my blocks 11″ and might trim them down to 10.5″ before I join them up together.

First batch of squares cut

First batch of squares cut


Before I start FMQ, I wanted to try some stitches on my Janome domestic sewing machine so I quilted the first block using the walking foot.  I used stitches #1 (stitch length 3), #9 and #14.  I like the way some of them look and will quilt this way if I fail with FMQ :).

Block 1

Block 1 using walking foot


The second block was technically my 4th attempt at FMQ.  I did some unpicking as I wasn’t happy with the way some of the previous stitches were looking.  There were heaps of mistakes on this block but I’m happy with it as it’s my best so far!  This gives me hope that I will keep improving the more I practise.

For this block, I found I needed to start slow and finish slow.  Otherwise there were too many jerky and big stitches.  I also found that I needed to stop frequently and re-position my hands.  I was lifting my hand in my first few attempts.  Not sure whether all this were required but I lowered my feed dogs, set my stitch length to 0 and increased my top tension thread to 8-9.


Block 2

Block 2


I am going to try quilt a block a day during my Spring holiday and once a week during school term (10 weeks).  I am looking forward to doing the next block tomorrow :).



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