Monday, May 13, 2013

Brick Road Sew Along Week 6: Machine Quilting

Today we are going to focus on machine quilting. Let me begin by saying that I am by no means an expert, I've been machine quilting for a few years and these are just some tips and tricks that help me along the way.  I am just going to give some basic machine quilting advice.
Two websites that I love are Angela Walter's and Natalia Bonner's.  They are both longarm machine quilters and have beginners FMQ books with lots of cool designs to try. Check out their books and websites and learn from them, they know a lot more than me! :)
One BIG trick on becoming better at machine quilting is PRACTICE!!  Practice, practice, practice....the more you do it, the better you'll be!  I like to take larger scraps or FQs that I have laying around and make quilt sandwiches with them (backing/batting/top) and practice machine quilting on them.  Practicing on smaller pieces allow me to learn with ease instead of pulling a huge quilt through my machine.
Some tools I like for machine quilting:
Machingers Gloves
These gloves are soft, light and have fingertip grips to help grip the fabric as you quilt. I'm sure there are many places online where you can buy them, and I know JoAnn's carries them (so grab your coupon and go pick up a pair!)

Walking Foot
I love using my walking foot when I'm straight line quilting.  A walking foot has feed dogs along the bottom, so that there are two sets of feed dogs pulling your quilt through for an ease while quilting.  If you don't have one already, I highly recommend getting one!

Free Motion Quilting Foot
A free motion quilting foot has a wider/open foot to allow for better vision while quilting.
Straight Line Quilting:
Straight line quilting is exactly what it says, it's quilting in straight lines. Straight line quilting is how I started machine quilting. It's one of the best (easier) forms of machine quilting for beginners.
Depending on the quilt, you can decide how far apart you want to space your straight lines.
Some tips:
-I like to adjust my stitch length to either 3 or 3.5, I find that these to lengths make quilting much easier and I'm not having to pull on my quilt.
-Use painter's tape, chalk, or water soluble pencils to mark lines to follow. If you use painters tape you can follow the edge of it with your foot or needle.
-use a walking foot (for reasons above)

Please ignore my dorky self on the videos....this was my first video so I say "um" a bit at the beginning....I'm sorry, it gets better! Don't you just hate seeing yourself on camera?
This video is about straight line quilting and can be found HERE on our YouTube channel. I was going to upload the videos on this post but it was taking forever and there are three separate videos.
So, please check out our YouTube channel to find all of these videos plus more!

Free Motion Quilting FMQ:

Free motion quilting is when you quilt freely. You are the one controlling your machine, design and stitches.  FMQ can be any design you wish.
Some tips:
-Before I start any new quilting design, I like to practice drawing it on paper first. This allows me to feel where the design is going and learn where to go so when I'm quilting on my actual quilt I can freely quilt around it. 
-use your FMQ foot
-feed dogs down
-stitch length at 0, this allows you to control your stitches
-start in the center of your quilt and go outwards. This allows you to smooth out your quilt as you go.
-Start out slow when you first start FMQ. Your pedal (foot) and hands should be going at similar speeds, this will insure your stitches will be equal.

The next video is pebble quilting and can be found HERE on our YouTube channel.

The last video is swirl quilting and can be found HERE on our YouTube channel.

So, hopefully you're still with me after those videos!

Try one or all of these machine quilting techniques (or something completely different) on your Brick Road quilt and don't forget to upload photos to the Flickr Group! Just remember to relax and have fun!!!
I will post a binding tutorial tomorrow; this post already seemed long enough!

Next week, winners will be announced! Remember, you can only win if you've uploaded photos to the Flickr Group!
Up for grabs, RJR fabric and SunFlower Quilts Patterns!


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