Thursday, July 03, 2014

Putting On My Big Girl Panties

I was "talking" to Terri over at QuiltNCards via email a couple of weeks ago about free motion quilting and my almost pathological aversion to it. She confessed she suffers from a similar malady , and I chucked out the idea that we should provide each other with moral support by doing FM together. The logistics of this are intrinsically difficult since she lives in the Northern Hemisphere and I live at the bottom of the Southern Hemisphere but I'm all about solutions and solving problems. There is a way around just about everything if you think hard enough. 

A bit of background for you all: I tried FM once on a practice piece ably mentored by Kris who probably wanted to put her hands around my throat several times during the process and squeeze really hard. To her credit she was really patient considering how badly I sucked at it, and I kept telling myself I sucked at it, and in moments when I wasn't kicking my own arse  (why do I do that?) I vowed to practice, practice, and practice in the hope that one day I would be good enough to attempt a whole quilt. Since then, which was about three years ago, I've practiced once more and then gave it away as something I was probably never going to be able to do. There was probably swearing involved and possibly some tears. And over time I totally convinced myself I was a dumbarse at free motion quilting (and zips and the being a functional human being thing and a whole range of other things we don't need to speak about here) and just accepted that I was forever doomed to only quilt in straight lines or get other talented people to make my quilts pretty. 


A bit more email discussion ensued between Terri and myself and we decided to pick a day and give it a crack. That day is tomorrow! Im going to fortify myself with chocolate and courage (and probably vodka ) and do it on an actual quilt. 

This quilt ....because if I'm going to do this Im not going to muck around any longer. I'm going straight for gold. Because I'm actually not a dumbarse and I can do anything I set my mind to. 


To mark this auspicious occasion Terri and I are going to do a giveaway each. Leave a comment on either of our FM posts (this one, Terri's and the ones we're each planning to write after our joint sewing day with our hilarious results , assuming we are still alive)and you can go into the draw to win fabulous prizes. I still haven't worked out exactly what my prize is yet (but it will be fabulous) and I'm thinking it will include some lovely bright assorted fabrics so you can make your own orange peel quilt, or postage stamp quilt or whatever else you might fancy, and I'll chuck in some notions and other bits and pieces to round it out. There may also be chocolate involved. And we'll announce our winners on Sunday. 

I'm seriously contemplating taking video of my effort so I can educate you all with some new swear words. Wish me luck ! 




PS. In your comment feel free to leave your suggestions for  swear words I may not have heard yet , cocktails,  FM quilting tips or commiserations. 

47 comments:

Marg said...

You can do it, I know you can and I bet it will look awesome. I think your video might be censored if you try to upload it, as I know you can swear really really well.
Haigh's chocolate please, when I win.

Terri said...

You made us sound so organized... I forgot we'd announce on Sunday.
Good going girl!
Hugs

Shevvy said...

Hooray, go for it. Just don't worry too much and as long as the stitches stay together and aren't so big you can get you big toe under them it will be fine.
You mind surprise yourself and begin to enjoy it?

Amanda said...

Cocktails might be a good move I am sure you will be more relaxed about the FM after that.

Jennifer said...

A glass of wine could be your best friend, before you sit down at the machine - purely for relaxation purposes, you understand, so you won't tense up. I have also heard that the correct music plays a part (don't laugh - it can), something rhythmic like waltzes by Strauss, because you don't to be jerking your quilt through the machine, it should flow. Swear words - um - how about "knickers"?

Dianne Neale said...

I have faith - in fact I'd go so far as to say, Id be happy to win something you'd FMQ'd!

Tina Short said...

So glad you are taking the bull by the horns and going for it.
I used to say 'Toot' instead of '*u**' in front of my kids!

Me and My Stitches said...

You go girl! I, too, suck at FM and have given it up forever. I bet you will have it mastered after tomorrow, and I will be jealous! Can't wait to see!

Houseelf said...

Good Luck- Terri sent me over. I have a similar aversion to free motion quilting. I may evben be fond of my little ditch/rut. Can I call it Free Motion Sickness? LOL

Kirsty@Bonjour said...

You're braver than me, I haven't even tried, how bad is that! For all I know I could be the best FMQer in the galaxy and I'm missing years that could have been spent creating masterpieces. Or maybe not.
I second the 'have a glass of wine, it will relax you' train of thought. Unless you start quilting in the morning. In that case, you should have champagne.
Good luck, god speed and safe sewing x x

Sooli said...

Good lord woman, no wonder you suck at FMQing, you're listening to those negative voices in your head too much instead of practicing! I kick them to kerb first and don't expect to be perfect when you're learning. Could you ride a bike without training wheels the first time you tried? Bet it took practice to get that right too. My tip would be to find some fabric with a large flowery print (hideous is fine), make a quilt sandwich and start by tracing around the design until you get the movement between your hands and foot speed in synch. Then practice drawing one simple design on paper (in front of the TV eating chocolate is good) until its in your head and then get thee to your machine! You'll be fine as long as you don't expect to be perfect first time. Go for it!

martha said...

Don't have to high expectations, enjoy relax and have fun with it!

Kate said...

Whine. But can't you just hate FMQ like me and forever declare yourself unable to do it? What if you're successful at it? What does that mean for meeeeeeee?

Pat said...

The first few projects are the hardest. Go slow and take breaks. I know you can do it.

P. said...

Yay for you and Terri! Consider all of us your cheering section. You can do it!

Mary said...

Good luck with the FMQing. I've been doing it for quite a while and it can really be fun. Just relax and eat lots of chocolate! Try doing something with lots of stops and starts. Stippling is not a good first design - I think its difficult when you're first learning.

Sheila said...

Relax and go for it. If you wind up cornered in areas that have been previously quilted, loop-de-loop your way out and on to areas that needs quilting. Don't worry about it. A go in the washer and dryer forgives quilting oops : )

Rachaeldaisy said...

May the quilting fairies be with you Shay! There's lots of great tips in the previous comments. The general consensus seems to be eat chocolate. You're great at that so you're half way to be an awesome FMQer already!!

Sue SA said...

I dont know I think drinking alcohol is probably better for helping you FMQ, cos you will be relaxed (swear and care less) and therefore "let it all flow!" Have you decided on the FMQ pattern? If so, doddle it with a pen and paper to get the rhythm and just remember you are allowed to stop for a break. This is not a marathon where the whole quilt has to be finished in one sitting. Use your needle down feature if you have one. Then when you get "lost" or stuck, you can take a little break easily. I am rubbish at FMQ but I confess to practising on cot quilts, never actual practise pieces. Attempting on a large quilt is a hard thing to do, so best of luck, dont be too hard on yourself and be sure as to book hubby to go pick up take away for dinner and a quick dash to BWS if you run out of grog!

Sue SA said...

Oh and I swear by quilting gloves as a big help. I just buy the green ones from the supermarket, that are textured rubber on one side and stretchy cotton type fabric on the back, they are cheap, fit well and help your grip. Go for it!

Cath said...

I find swirls easy to manage. Swirl in and follow it out and around to the next one. Maybe practice writing some lines of curvy "C's" and little "e's" before you start just to train your brain. RELAX and have fun.

Noela said...

I procrastinate about it too Shay. Good luck to you and Terri. I look forward to reading how you go. Hugs....

Anonymous said...

Good luck. I have an issue with FM to. I once did a workshop with a quilter and she suggested drawing the design you want to use of paper first that way it sort of gets in your head what you need to do without the pressure of actually sewing. It helped a bit. We I do attempt it I always put some music on, haven't actually tried alcohol yet might give it a try!! Louise

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I would love to see your attempts at free motion - I won't give it another try- I have tried on several projects and the whole thing just sucks in my opinion - I can straight line - best at hand quilting but free motion! would love to be counted in your give away.

SoozeM said...

I would try to help with cocktail recipes, but really in the end does it matter what you mix together? My advice would just be to empty out your cocktail cupboard (or do a trip through the house finding all the hidden bottles), line them up on the table and start at one end. Once you get to the point that you can no longer see where you are sewing it is time to start your free-motion quilting! And the best thing is you won't even remember saying all those swear words the next morning AND if you sew through your finger you won't even feel it!! :)

Tamie said...

Chocolate is a great idea! I've only tried FM once and our teachers tip was to sew fast (pedal wise) and move your fabric slow. Good luck.

Mistea said...

Start the day with a 'bloody Mary' you'll be right to get those FM curves to play nice.
I admire your adventurous attitude, I haven't even mastered straight lines in sewing!
Definitely chocolate and groovy music to set the scene.
Good luck.

Canadian Abroad said...

Just go for it. Remember the only people who look really, really close at our quilting is ourselves and the quilt police - and we don't care for them at all. Step back and look at the over all effect, then put it in the wash, get it crinkled and be happy. Bet you ace it this time anyway. x

Trish said...

Hello, just found your blog.... My FM quilter lives in Colac. Victoria and she is good. Totally relate to you. Leave it to the experts. Sit back and enjoy a few wines.

Sassi said...

Lol love your blog. Some of us are piecers and some of us are quilters, both are necessary, just be happy with whatever you are ( besides awesome lol). Keep up the great work and entertaining blogs

Kate said...

I'll be cheering you on from the northern hemisphere. You really can do anything you set your mind to. If you need to blow, feel free to vent via email (novel swear words and all).

Sarah Craig said...

Shay, I've hopped over here from Terri's blog and can't wait to see your results! FYI - from past experience, I can tell you that alcohol doesn't usually make the process go any easier! Just relax and breathe!!!

Jennifer Stutheit said...

You can do it! I hate to say the obvious, but for me the only way I got better was by lots of practice. I agree with previous comments about doodling and wearing gloves. I use garden gloves and I feel like I have so much more control when I wear them. I would start with a row of lower case cursive e's and keep doing them until you like them. I'd also try some wiggley lines and loopdy- loops. I've been fmqing for a few years and still do a little practice work on a scrap sandwich before I start quilting a new quilt. Best of luck-I drink wine while quilting and it works well for me.

audrey said...

Your blog is always so fun to read. Love that you can poke fun at yourself and still plow through life's adventures. Will be waiting for your results. They say practice is the only thing that helps us to get better, but sometimes I just don't wanna.:)

Needle&Foot said...

Hi Shay:

Stumbled on to your blog today. I LOVE this post. You crack me up. I am only a bit ahead of you with the whole FMQ process. I just now feel like I enjoy it and am not too shabby at it. You just have to practice. That is all there is to it. It is so awkward but the more you do it, the better you will be. Plus you get used to it and stop fighting the machine, the fabric etc. Vodka is a good idea.

Good Luck!!!

Bernie @ NeedleandFoot.com

Brandie said...

I'm glad to hear you don't really think yourself a total arse! You CAN do it and you WILL be proud of yourself!
Some people say that a glass of wine help losen your arms, so I say go for the vodka!

Kay said...

Can I ask what sewing machine you use? I started quilting on a Janome and COULD NOT FMQ...the tension was absolutely . I have since bought a Bernina with the BSR and now I can FMQ to my hearts content. So it may not actually be you - it might be your machine. Just a thought....

Suze said...

I just got home with 2+ weeks with my 8 and 3 year old grand sons. Thankfully my daughter and son-in-law were gone most of the time. My eight year old grandson told me something which just wasn't true and I told him that was bull crap. He immediately told me that was a bad word. You guessed it, the three year old immediately repeated it. The second day I was there, there was a 6 month memorial service for there grandfather who died in December. A lady was trying to take a picture of the family at the cemetery. The iphone didn't work and she said s***. The three year old covered his mouth - he knew that was a word he wasn't supposed to say. Obviously, he had heard it before. i'm with you - when I do try to quilt, I want to do straight lines and use my walking foot. I am a perfectionist and am not artistic and get upset when I'm not satisfied. I had planned to try to FMQ this year and haven't done that yet this year. I lost my husband a year ago this July 30 and I'm doing what I can to heal from that and I'm just doing what I can. So, I'm thrilled to see you try your hand at quilting and can hardly wait to see your attempt. I came home with requests for 4 quilts. I have no ideas when I'll think about those - I just am getting by day to day and slowly improving myself. I have volunteered to do a 5-10 minute education segment at my quilt guild each month. I'm going to serve on the program committee for the rest of the year. I'm volunteering to help with a newly formed widow's program at church and participate in one. I'm going to help with a grief program at church in the fall. So, I think I have enough on my plate now. I do want to start quilting again. I love seeing the creations of others.

Suzan Oxenreider said...

I remember being terrified of free motion quilting so I forced myself into doing it over and over again. I am comfortable with it now and pretty proficient. I started on 12 x 12 squares (I now have a huge collection of pot holders!), moved onto baby quilts, then couch throws and finally twin bed sized quilts. I will never do a really big quilt because I don't feel like fighting with fabric...and because I have access to a long arm!

Katy Cameron said...

Hmm, no further updated yet, are yo pished under the table or drunkly euphoric about a finish?!

Karen Rowland said...

It will get easier. Relax and just go for it!!

AnnieO said...

Wish I could be there to hear the colorful euphemisms. Really, I do think you can do this! It's nerve wracking and won't be perfect but try to let that go and remember it's just fabric and thread. Once you wash the quilt it changes it a lot too!

LA Paylor said...

fmq takes practice of course. I think mine improved with getting a table where the machine is set down into it with a flat table top. Dragging a heavy quilt over a small tray creates drag. I pin baste a lot. The right needle helps and a new needle. From my hand quilting days, I still basically start in the center, but now use the walking foot to stitch the big straight line areas first.
LeeAnna Paylor
leeannaquilts at gmail dot com
lapaylor.blogspot.com

patmmm said...

I too am learning fmq. I understand your apprehension. I'm on my 10th quilt or so. I'm less nervous now than on the first I guess practice does help. So do NOT give up. Smile.

Sarah said...

How about FMQing something extra to give away, hehe! :) I tried it once, and won't say there wasn't swearing and tears on this end, too! As for new swear words, my sister-in-law has two I've never heard anywhere else; she says "Fudge!" for, well, you know. And "Guy" for g.o.d. Those may be a bit too sweet for FMQ though. I love your blog! sarah@forrussia.org

Tazzie said...

Hey there Shay hon, your FMQ looked wonderful yesterday, so stick with it. Won't be long and this project will be FINISHED!
*hugs*
Tazzie
:-)

Barb H said...

Good luck with the FMQ, Shay. I know you can do it! When I was in beginner quilting class, I came to a piece on which I'd left some selvage and that became my quilting swear word, as in "Oh, SELVAGE!"