Free Motion Quilting Tips and Tools

I’m forgoing Foodie Friday to bring you Free Motion Quilting.  Yes, if you’ve been tuning in, I’m on a roll!  😉

Demo’ing last night at guild

The Creative Gypsy in her element 😉

In prepping for my Fort Worth Modern Quilt guild’s free motion demo pictured above, I compiled a list of items and ideas to assist in the FMQ process.  Beyond the basic things you need for machine quilting like a sewing machine, walking foot, and or a free motion foot, there are items that make the free motion quilting process go much more smoothly.   Here are a few and in no particular order:

  • Additional surface around your machine, tables, card tables whatever you have that can support your quilt as you work, helps.
  • I love a large sheet of plastic vinyl laid onto of the surface under the quilt.  Drape it across the table and onto the bed of your machine but don’t cover your machine’s throat plate.  The smooth surface helps in the ease of quilt  movement. I found it at Wal Mart for $3-4 a yard
  • Adhesive backed Teflon “Sew Slip” sheet placed on the bed of your sewing machine, helps with the smooth movement of your piece as you quilt.   (After many uses, if the sheet back looses adhesion, you can simply wash the back side to remove the lint. Just don’t use a paper or cotton towel to dry as then you’ve just reattached the lint. If it is really bad and the lint has embedded itself in the silicone side, you can actually run it through a dishwasher cycle. Stand it up against some plates and will come out good as new. Scarey, I know, but it works!” That info was from the owner of “Sew Slip.”)
  • Packaging tape to hold the two previous things in place and together! 😉
  • “High Tech” quilting gloves ;D aka a garden glove with the pointer finger cut, so it can flip the finger tip on and off as needed.  This is an excellent way to answer the phone mid-quilt or turn on your favorite Pandora station to get your quilting groove on.  DSC_0320
  • Teflon washers “Magic Bobbin Washers”, assists with bottom thread tension
  • Additional lighting, one can never have enough lighting!  My fav?  Ikea’s Jansjö flexible neck task light
  • NEW machine needle, I like Schmetz Microtex 70/10 OR Schmetz Stepp-Nadel Quilting needle 75/11.  Here’s some more info on Schemetz needles.
  • Sewers Aid, a silicone based product that can help eliminate skipped stitches not only in free motion but also helps with fusible when you find you’re struggling with build-up on your machine needle.
  • A great new book by Angela Walters, Free-Motion Quilting Workbook . It’s full of great ideas and loads of graph paper for doodling your quilting designs.
  • Blue low tack painter’s tape is great for marking your quitting without “leaving a mark.”
  • The Ultimate Marking Pencil for dark fabrics, irons off!
  • Blue water soluble marker wonderful tool just never and I mean NEVER iron it before removal.  The quilting mark will be permanent. : /
  • 9 times out of 10 I use Connecting Thread’s long-staple, 3 ply cotton thread for quilting I wrote about that here: Your Thread Collection is Art
  • I like Hobb’s 80/20 batting.  It’s a bit more durable for frequently washed quilts.

photo-104 copy

  • Oh!  If it’s possible a really nice view. 😉  I got lucky on this one!  Surroundings can make you calm and you will quilt better.  I promise!

In addition, here are some websites to go to for further info:
Leah Day’s probably the most prolific web-based machine quilter/educators today.  Her website not only offers loads of inspiration through countless quilting designs, she has a really nice video tutorial selection available to view and learn from and offers many e-books you can download. She can be found at:   http://www.leahday.com
Currently 21 classes are offered by Craftsy an on-line educator.  They’re not free but they’re affordable and great information on “how-to.”  Definitely worth a look.
If you’d like, I have 115 pins on Pinterest on  my Machine Quilting board.  Yes, I spend may hours chasing rabbits down rabbit holes but, I LOVE reading and the information that’s  out there on the web.Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 11.20.03 AM

Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share?  I love questions and feed back so please feel free to comment or question below. 😀 Thanks!

4 Comments on “Free Motion Quilting Tips and Tools

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