I'm back from a very fun and productive quilting retreat, hopefully I'll get some pictures up soon...still in the mad rush for the bazaar. But I thought I would do a post about free motion quilting, since it comes up a lot on facebook groups that I am in. Free motion quilting is my favorite part of quilting, but for many people, it makes them break out in a cold sweat :-) I teach classes at a local quilt shop, so I have learned a few things that I think are helpful to people starting out. (Also, I have a tutorial here, or click the tutorials page above)
1. I tell students that I can give them lots of information, but I can't give them experience, and there is no substitute for it! It takes time to learn a new skill, like learning to play an instrument, and you can't get there without putting in the time.
2. Be fearless! I think I spend more time being a cheerleader than teacher :-) Practice on cheap fabric, or fabric you want to get rid of. You can even use your practice pieces as insulation in potholders. A friend said she uses hers in her dog coats :-) Then you can move to potholders or coasters. My card patterns are a good place to try it on a small low-risk project, there is very little investment of time or materials. You are probably going to have to kill some fabric to get experience. Just think of it as the expense of taking a class from yourself :-) As an art quilter, that's been the hardest thing to learn, I have to be willing to "waste" some supplies. (It's not a waste if you are learning!)
3. There are no rules. Some people are purists about not crossing lines. I'm actually one of them when it comes to stippling, but you don't have to be! And there are lots of other designs where lines have to be crossed, do whatever you want!
4. Have fun! The people who become good at free motion quilting are the ones who push past their fears and just do it :-) If you really like it, you can move on to thread sketching and thread painting, lots of fun! :-)
Scroll back a couple of posts to see the moose quilt I got to do the free motion quilting on recently! (I didn't make the quilt, it is the sample for a new pattern at a local quilt shop, the Material Girls)
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I am a homeschooling mom of three fun kids, who are now old enough that I have a little time to pursue my passion for sewing! After several years of making quilted cards and art quilts, I'm now designing kits and patterns. Some of them have even been in Keepsake Quilting! I teach classes at local quilt shops, and would love to do more traveling and teaching eventually. I also have many tutorials, including some on you tube. I am blessed to live in Alaska where I am surrounded by the inspiration provided by the beauty of God's creation!
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