Monday, June 11, 2012

Thoughts on FMQ…*&^%@#*!!

Machine quilting is difficult!…I know it takes practice…LOTS of practice!  It’s something that I want to practice BUT there is always something more pressing to do.  Even with a stack of quilting ‘sandwiches’ ready and waiting beside the sewing machine… it means changing your machine’s foot to your darning foot (Ok…that takes 5 seconds) and lowering your feed dogs..(2 seconds).  Hmmm…not so hard…no effort at all..!

So why do I avoid ‘practicing’?    There I have said it out loud!!!  I avoid practicing like the plague!!  I’d rather run for 5 miles over broken glass…sheesh!

On Saturday, when I looked at the Christmas Star/Holly quilt…my heart wanted to hand quilt it…in my head I knew that if I did, it would NEVER get finished!  AND I am determined to get ‘er done…so machine quilting it was!!

In those big empty white blocks between each star I had envisioned hand quilted stars…SEW why not machine quilted holly?

I used an ice cream lid to draw my holly template…P1180945

Let me flip it so that you can see what it looks like on the ‘good side’.


I marked my quilt…I did a test run on the machine first..decided to go with three leaves and away I went.P1180932

One thing that I discovered …working with a small block is way easier than working with a big quilt…:oO!

I went around the holly leaves and berries twice…I thought it would be more forgiving.P1180949

Anyways I’m not finished…not thrilled with this but once the quilt is washed it might look better!

What I REALLY wanted to share today wasn’t my FMQ skills (or rather lack of FM skills)…but a new product (well NEW TO ME) which I experimented with yesterday….

It’s called Slovy by Sulky…Natasha at Cloth Castle mentioned it  at Club on Tuesday and said it might help those who were having difficulty with FMQ!  Well that is definitely ME!!

It was only $8.89 for the Economy size…and $3.99 for the small size!  Pretty cheap if it works…


This is what it looks like…a thin plastic…almost like those cheap plastic tablecloths that you can buy at the Dollar Store…the really flimsy kind.


I drew the pattern on using a blue iron off pen…I used pins to keep the Solvy in place.  Natasha said she spritzed water on her quilt and stuck it on that way…I was afraid it might dissolve before I got started!

I stitched over the drawing…or at least attempted to stitch over my motif…


Then using a paint brush I stroked on water…and immediately it started to dissolve!  Wow…like magic!


Can you see how it’s pulling away?


Will you LOOK at that!!  Pulls off easily and doesn’t pull on the threads!

P1180919      Eureka…think I will be using this on the rest of my holly leaves!!P1180950

What about you?  Are you looking for a quick fix for your FMQ too?  I know…I know…nothing takes the place of practice…practice…practice BUT in the meantime.. I’ll be using Solvy!

Also have you notice how all of the OLD quilting magazines have got ideas for FMQ/Hand quilting!!  Yup…pull out some of your old magazines and you will see tons of ideas for quilting motifs!  I guess with the invention of fancy quilting/embroidery machines the Quilt Magazine staff thought that we no longer need ideas…NOT TRUE!!  Nothing I hate more is the sentence… “QUILT AS DESIRED”!!  Well what I desire and what I get are two different things!! 


I know…practice…practice…PRACTICE!!P1180952  Have a Magical Machine Quilting Kind of Monday!~P


  1. I bought the feet I need, and still have not practiced! There is always something else I would rather do!

  2. Oh my!! I am so glad I'm not alone...I will do anything to avoid practicing....why? I want so bad to be good at FMQ, but it's like I am terrified to sit down and try it. This months challenge is terrifying me!! I have no idea what I want to do with it yet...soon I have to do something; only have til the end of the

  3. Ok I am #3 in the comment section and I too am reluctant to practice. Probably because the few times I have it was horrible. And I ended up with tucks in the back of my quilt not to mention poor tension at times and skipped stitches, and the thread breaking and on and on and on. But I have hope that some day I will sit down and practice, practice, practice.

  4. I think you've done very, very well with your holly leaves. Me thinks you're way to hard on yourself - OK - we all are. LOL

  5. Your holly leaves look wonderful. Way back before my longarm I used my Pfaff DSM to quilt very similiar to that but had access to those rolls of paper that the doctor's office uses to put exam table for each patient. It is real thin and tears easily.

  6. I have always been curious about that I am going to go get some! Thanks!

  7. Your Holly leaves are fab... I am so glad you said that about quilting on a large quilt is way harder than on a practice piece, there is absolutely no comparison with moving a small piece around easily and trying to fight with a large quilt.....I guess we have to do the practice on a large quilt every time. Linda

  8. Great tip! I struggle with how to get my design onto my quilt and this looks like the answer. I tried the golden threads paper, but couldn't figure out how to keep it from moving. Anyway, keep practicing and yes washing does wash away a lot of your boo boos!

  9. YES, I have noticed all of the fun the Quilt designs! How do I remember where I saw them all now that you have shared your tip on Solvy?? Your holly looks great!

  10. I want to do more thread painting with my machine, just going to have to start making small pieces and have fun and not worry about what needs to be done;)


  11. I too think machine quilting is hard, hard, and frustrating! By the way, I have been ruminating and thinkin' about those plaids...just need to get these strings done, and we will be off!!

  12. You're too hard on yourself P, they look really great!

  13. Me too, I just can not practice, I want to do it now!
    I'll sure try the Solvy...anything as long as it works.
    Thanks Paulette.
    Julia ♥

  14. Sounds like a great product. However, I need a product that will quilt it for me too!

  15. I feel your pain Paulette. Seems I have all I need to do the job, but the gumption. The thing is, that once I get started, it is never as bad as I anticipate. Mind you I have no intention of doing the Big Boys on my home machine. I do however have a few Schnibbles waiting in line to be quilted as well as various other projects. I think I have come to the conclusion it really is not the actual machine quilting that gives me grief, it is the sandwiching, and basting...once that is done, the actual machine quilting part goes not too badly. I am enjoying your blog even though I don't comment often and from one blogger to another, I know the comments are an important thing.
    I'll be waiting to see your next machine quilted piece...

  16. Great product review! I'll have to try it out!! Love your holly leaves.

    I love my old magazines for the quilting patterns as well as content!!

  17. Thanks for the idea re the solvy!!
    I know I need to practice & it will improve my technique but I DO NOT want to practice on my good quilts & who has time to practice on rubbish??


  18. Practice, good background music and maybe a glass of wine are always great ways to improve your free motion quilting. I use a product called Golden Threads Paper. It is a light weight tracing paper that I draw my designs on and then stitch thru. It tears off easily and no one will ever know if you stayed on the traced lines or not. I also use it on the backside of my quilt top when I am doing machine applique. It stabilizes the fabric so it doesn't get distorted when you applique...sandi in MN.