I had this idea that FMQ was really just me...moving the quilt...and making cool shapes. It worked for my first FMQ project I ever did, an incredibly small "decorative" piece:
The one thing I did correctly in the above piece was, without realizing it, select the proper thread (more on this later).
I did not do any additional FMQing until late last year...when it became a nightmare! See this post for details. I had done a little reading and had seen some YouTube videos, and thought I was good to go. While I had more knowledge of the HOW, I was still lacking in the UNDERSTANDING. I had no idea why my thread was breaking so much, no idea why I was getting rats nests and my tension was wonky. Because I did not UNDERSTAND the relationship between what my machine was doing and the stress it would put on my thread (I also had a bum pack of needles that I didn't realize until way later, but it all contributed to the headache that my FMQ experience was last year).
This year...well, things have changed a little bit...
- I started reading and visiting The Free Motion Quilting Project site
- I had the opportunity to hear Leah Day speak at Sew South and learned how important it is to accept the fact that FMQ takes practice, and to not rip out something just because it's not "perfect" (I also heard Leah say something that to this day still resonates with me that is completely separate from the FMQ part...but that's a topic for another day).
- I FMQd this quilt and it worked!!
- I read Beginner's Guide to Free Motion Quilting by Natalia Bonner and learned more about different patterns and the movement through a quilt.
- I purchased Leah's Free Motion Quilting A Sampler Craftsy class and learned what is going on with all that thread and the stresses on the thread and all kinds of stuff to improve my UNDERSTANDING of FMQ (I am still working my way through the class...but IMHO, it's probably the best Craftsy resource I've tried yet!).
And now...I'm more confident and ready to try some FMQing beyond the basic stipple. I'm also fully prepared that there may be some ugly quilting happening...but that I may also be the only person that notices said ugly quilting. Woohoo!!