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.