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Forum > Quilters' Corner > free motion quilting is it really possible ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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free motion quilting is it really possible
quiltingwolf
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quiltingwolf
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Date: 1/24/12 2:28 PM

for someone to do this that can't draw, paint etc? I've been watching Leah Day videos like mad. And then I show some design quilt pics she drew and realize the woman can draw no wonder she can free motion so nicely. I was always convinced to do this well you needed basically the same talent as a drawer/painter has. So I'm back to wondering if it is really possible to learn this or must you have a talent for it like drawing. Let me know if you have no artistic talent yet you can free motion and I mean by free motion not following lines from a template, but going along free style. I don't want to put a lot of time into trying to learn something I will really never be able to do.

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quiltingwolf.blogspot.com

Jennifer Hill
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Date: 1/24/12 6:18 PM

I can't draw, or at least, I don't enjoy it and am not very good at it. However, since I have got into FM quilting, I have started doodling. Not a lot, mind you. Just enough to test out quilting ideas. Doodling with a pencil on paper is a quick and easy way to start training your brain, especially to think about continuous line designs, which seldom come naturally. I find it really is most important to get your brain trained in FM - your hand movements follow once you have absorbed the concepts. Of course, those who can draw can usually churn out more designs faster than those of us who just plug along, but it really does get easier with practice.

Jennifer in Calgary

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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Date: 1/24/12 6:39 PM

I'm not a FMQ expert by any means, but I read something in one of my FMQ instruction books that helped me to better understand the whole process. The author/instructor noted that her students would become frustrated if they couldn't FMQ hearts or stars that looked just like hers.

She compared FMQ with handwriting. Everyone's handwriting is different, so your meandering or your stars or your zig-zags or your leaves or whatever will be unique to you, just like your handwriting. Don't be too concerned with matching someone else's FMQ exactly. FMQ is like writing or doodling with your sewing machine.

I agree with Jennifer: start doodling on paper whenever you get a chance. It really helped me to get my brain and hands "in the groove" with each other, so that doodling feels "normal" to me. I can experiment with different designs or patterns on paper. Plus, I find it relaxing because uses a non-verbal part of my brain.

CMC
-- Edited on 1/24/12 6:40 PM --

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to quiltingwolf


Date: 1/24/12 6:43 PM

Quote: Sewwolf
for someone to do this that can't draw, paint etc?

FMQ is not limited to free-hand style. I can draw very well, and paint nicely, but I will not free-hand FMQ a quilt. All mine are marked. All I have to do is follow the lines. That's hard enough.
threaddy
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threaddy  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/24/12 7:02 PM

Sue Nickels explains it is a skill not an art. It takes practice just like penmanship.

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"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." Theodore Rubin
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." George Bernard Shaw
Dan 9:24-27

Bernina vintage and computerized, Bernina and BL sergers , BLcoverstitch (a stray Pfaff and Viking followed me home too)

iSewQuiltArt
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iSewQuiltArt
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Date: 1/24/12 7:18 PM

You do not need drawing skill or painting skill or art skill to freemotion quilt. Sue Nickels is absolutely right, it is a skill. A skill some take to art form levels. But I see ALL the time students come to class and profess their inability to draw or paint, yet they learn to quilt and learn to quilt swirls and leaves and flowers. But I teach exercises that develop control over the movements they need in order to execute those designs, and essentially train them in eye-hand-brain-sewing machine coordination.
Dont lose heart but do try to find a good teacher in your area that can speed up your learning curve and reduce frustration at the same time. You don't have to do it the hard way at home, and struggle for literally years, determined, as I was that with enough practice I would become skilled. I think that struggle and years of quilting is what actually now has made me acutely aware of the fmq process and how to make it easy to learn, by figuring out what didn't work well! Use the resources that are now available to learn to freemotion quilt. There are so many around now new quilters are almost spoilt for chioce. Truly, anyone can learn to freemotion quilt but don't expect to be an expert overnight. It takes practice and it takes practicing the right things with discipline and time for that to develop.

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Quilting up a storm
Bernina Girl, in possession of a small herd...

jynclr
jynclr
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In reply to Doris W. in TN


Date: 1/24/12 11:06 PM

Quote: Doris W. in TN
[quote]for someone to do this that can't draw, paint etc?

FMQ is not limited to free-hand style. I can draw very well, and paint nicely, but I will not free-hand FMQ a quilt. All mine are marked. All I have to do is follow the lines. That's hard enough.[/quote]
This!

While I am not yet ready to try FMQ, I was thinking that when I am ready to do so.. how in the WORLD am I going to "draw" with a sewing machine since I have absolutely no drawing ability???

I figured that I'll get designs I want to FMQ with and print them out from my computer. Then, using chalk paper as a sort of carbon paper between the print out and the fabric and use a tracing wheel to trace the design onto the fabric. Then I'll FMQ on the lines drawn this way.

So I'm glad to read your post, Doris, because I thought I was going to be cheating - however I was in no way going to feel guilty about it! So I'm glad to see others do this technique.

------
Evelyn: Pfaff Creative Performance
Helen V: Babylock Companion BL1550

jynclr
jynclr
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In reply to iSewQuiltArt


Date: 1/24/12 11:09 PM

Quote: iSewQuiltArt
I teach exercises that develop control over the movements they need in order to execute those designs, and essentially train them in eye-hand-brain-sewing machine coordination.

isewquiltart,

How is this different from hand-eye-mouse coordination?

Interestingly enough there have been studies that show that surgeons who play computer games, specifically those that are MMORPGs (like World of Warcraft) or even first person shooters, have better hand-eye coordination and perform surgery better.

So I'm wondering how this could apply to FMQ? I am curious because I have played a lot of World of Warcraft and other computer games like it.

------
Evelyn: Pfaff Creative Performance
Helen V: Babylock Companion BL1550

Franksdottir

Franksdottir  Friend of PR
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In reply to quiltingwolf


Date: 1/24/12 11:27 PM

Sewwolf,

I have my hand up waving enthusiastically at you. I have no artistic talent AT ALL. I couldn't draw to save my own life, I had to take Art History pass-fail because I don't have the eye to see what the experts see, and although I admire art I don't understand it.

I have no problem doing free motion quilting. My FMQ isn't perfect, but it is good enough to please me, and that is all that is required. I have not yet mastered Leah Day's beautiful patterns, and perhaps I never will. So far I mostly meander. No template, nothing but my open-toed foot and me.

You have to be willing to start at the bottom. You won't be Leah Day in a day, or probably even in several quilts. It sounds silly, but the truth is that everyone who is just starting out is new at whatever it is. You are new to this, and you have to let yourself learn without making yourself crazy.

You won't be very good most likely the first time, so practice on some ugly fabric which you won't mind pitching. Just keep practicing, and it will get better. You will find a rhythm which serves you. You have to allow yourself a chance to improve.

I have only recently started to FMQ and I can already see a difference in my work.

------
Barb

iSewQuiltArt
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iSewQuiltArt
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In reply to jynclr


Date: 1/25/12 1:23 AM

The hand eye quilt machine coordination is a different feel to the feel of the mouse. You are also moving the quilt around under a needle that only goes up and down, it doesn't move over the quilt like a mouses does over the computer screen. The feeling is different in that way. Also both hands move not just one. Part of the skill is learning to visualise in your head designs before you stitch them out. That is why it is always harder to fmq over a marked design than it is to imagine it and break it down into components that you can quilt bit by bit. Kind of the principle of you can eat an elephant one bite at a time. Knowing the path you will take to stitch in advance makes it far easier so drawing helps but only gets you so far. You need to learn to quilt by quilting!

------
Quilting up a storm
Bernina Girl, in possession of a small herd...

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