Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Free Motion Quilting Challenge - My Practice Leaves

Like many of you, I am signed up with 3 FMQ challenges right now as I am determined & focused on getting better with my quilting.


So my first homework assignment this month was to do leaves on one of my 18x18 practice sandwiches.  I find that white thread on solid black fabric shows up best.  Last night I checked all 3 websites to see what the first assignment was: Leaves @ Sew Cal Gal.  I watched the video a couple of times (AT ABOUT 3AM) to get a good feel for the stitch.  I didn't even practice on paper, I jumped right into actually doing it.  Like literally after I watched the video.  This was my first time ever doing this stitch.  As you can see from the top row, I stayed in a straight line to get a feel for it and it ended up looking like a strand of lights!  I do plan to practice some more before I submit my homework.  But I think I did pretty good with it.  The arrows point to where I got stuck.


Right before I watched the leaf video, I read a blog post at Free Motion Quilting Project (3rd graphic above) where Leah talked about whether or not to drop the feed dogs.  I was intrigued to learn that there is such a thing as FMQ with the dogs UP!  Yes UP!  So I thought that I would try it since I have been having a hard time with my FMQ, the tension, the major eyelashes on the back and such.  Leah also said that she always sets her length at 0.  Which the below quilt lady didn't tell me.  I also set my width at 0.  Just wanted to make sure that everything was at 0.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving I went to a local quilt shop to buy a darning/FMQ foot.  The lady (OWNER) showed me how to use it and told me to always keep my dogs down when doing FMQ.  She also told me to keep my top tension set at 2.  Needless to say when I got home and "quilted" my twin's throw quilt...............when I got done..........there were eyelashes all over the back!  So I googled it and that is not a "wanted" part of quilting.  After that quilt I was very hesitant to try FMQ anytime soon.  Then these above 3 challenges came into play and I jumped at the chance and signed up/pledged.

So anyway, the first couple of leaves were set on top tension 5, eyelashes.  Then I tried top tension 6, smaller eyelashes.  Then I bumped it up to 7, the stitches were really nice.  I wanted to see what would happen at 8, which is where I stayed for the rest of the practice sandwich. 

I hope this helps somebody, especially a newbie.  What I plan to do with my sandwiches when we are done is bind them and give them to a shelter/rescue group for their cages/carriers.


  1. Your leaves look great. I'm trying that challenge too but haven't started yet.

  2. What a great idea!!! I am going to start practicing FMQ soon. I think that my darning foot came in the mail today, at least that's what the BF said. Yay!!! Thanks for the tips and the inspiration. I love the leaves, by the way. Very nice first try.

  3. I always leave my feed dogs up...and tension is just something I play with depending on the type of thread I am using. I am still learning and just play with it as much as I can and rip out when I have to. lol
    I am considering joining one of these FMQ challenges too but haven't decided which one, don't feel I want to do all three.
    So exciting to see what you have done.

  4. What great looking leaves! I always adjust my tension depending on what thread I am using. Thread makes a big difference. I always drop my feed dogs. Have fun!

  5. Oh my gosh - those are beautiful!!!!!

  6. @ Lori - So far the challenges are fun, plus since they were free I decided to do all 3! Plus they give me more to post about. I'm a gung ho kind of person. I'm glad you like my leaves.

    @ Lindsey - You are most welcome. These leaves were a little awkward at first but I got the hang of it after a few. Thanks for loving my leaves. I love my darning foot, might get a 2nd one as backup just in case. Well now that I think about it, might need a 3rd one. My twin has the exact same machine as mine and when I go overseas soon to visit her she wants me to teach her how to sew.

    @ Kristi - Yeah, from now on I will leave them up. I wonder why they call them FEED DOGS? You should join especially since they are FREE! I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. The practice sandwich is still taped to my closet door aka "Small Design Wall".

    @ Connie - Thanks. I was totally clueless about top tension. I thought since the lady at the quilt shop was also the owner, I would just do what she said. Might work for her machine, but not mine.

    @ NurseBrandy - Thanks. I tried.

  7. Great job April. Hope you are having fun with all the FMQ Challenges. I know I am.



I Love Reader Comments! They make me Smile! Please leave me one!

I try to respond to all comments on my blog except during give-aways. If you never receive a reply to comments you leave here, you are probably a no-reply-comment-blogger. Change that status in your blogger profile and I will start responding to your comments!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...