AQS QuiltWeek – FMQ in Grand Rapids, MI
Back in May, I signed Sue and myself up for a FMQ (free-motion quilting) class at the AQS show in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was so excited about the opportunity! Bernina was a sponsor for our class and provided the machines for us to use. Using a different brand of sewing machines is just one component I was looking forward to. Here is the 770 that was set up at each station, and what half the classroom looked like.
Yes, You Can Stipple
“Yes, You Can Stipple” is the name of the class we took in Grand Rapids and was taught by David Taylor. Here is an example of stippling and David Taylor himself.
The description of the class was: “It uses a series of quilt sandwiches specifically chosen to teach the rhythm and movement that makes free-motion quilting so much fun. Students will learn how to find their own rhythm without a stitch regulator. David discusses thread types, tension, and burying the thread ends. This is a wonderful beginner’s class for the newbies to learn free-motion quilting.” Now doesn’t that sound just wonderful and something that both of can learn and ultimately use?!! Are you wondering how it went?
Our class had 24 participants with different skill levels. We spent at least 30 minutes winding the bobbin and threading the machine. Sue and I both thought this could have easily been done prior to the class. David started the class discussing needles and thread and how their size relates to each other. We both learned a lot from that discussion and it was very helpful. We used Superior Threads #40 with a #90 needle for our class.
FMQ Lesson One & Two
David used the movie “The Karate Kid” as inspiration for our lessons. Our first assignment was to just ramble about, trying to get a rhythm with our hand movement with the speed of the machine. Use the wax on/wax off theory from the movie with clockwise followed by counterclockwise sewing. Our styles are very different, with Sue stitching close together and my work spaced far apart in the left picture.
The second lesson was to trace around the circles. Neither one of us really enjoyed stitching around these pre-drawn circles. I continued to have machine issues so I missed a lot of the instructions. It seemed like I needed to floor the foot pedal in order for it to sew without it stopping and cutting the thread. Thankfully, Sue finally suggested turning the foot pedal around, and then I could manage to go much slower. Operator error I am sure but this class is not selling us on Berninas.
FMQ Lesson Three & Four
Our next lesson was more like stippling or meandering to me. We were given this cute paw print fabric and was asked to stitch around them. Again, use the clockwise and counterclockwise motion. We both clipped off a few toenails. Ouch!
This is when David informed Sue that she was doing a GREAT job!! Her stitches were very uniform and it looked great. I was told that I am quilting wrong or backwards. Rather than push the fabric away from me, I was pulling it toward me. I should be looking at what is coming up instead of trying to see behind the machine. Of course I agree! I haven’t been doing FMQ all that long, so it shouldn’t be a hard habit to break.
Our last task and lesson was to outline the vine and leaves on this print. I tried the new technique of pushing the fabric away from me, and Sue continued to keep her stitches uniform. We both liked this lesson, although I’m not sure we will ever trace a quilting pattern.
Where do we FMQ from here?
We both plan to continue to use these fabric sandwiches for practice on our sewing machines. I have talked Sue into using the stipple or meandering stitching on one of our outstanding UFO projects. She is going to tackle I Wish You a Merry quilt which is our September OMG. How about that?!
The sewing machine setup in class was very similar to what Sue sews on with Lily. Now if we can figure out if there is a FMQ foot, we’ll be all set. You know we’ll update you as we proceed and forage ahead.
Our other Linky Parties can be found by clicking the link or along the sidebar on our website for more quilting fun – check out what our friends are up to. Like/follow us on our Facebook page and you can share your photos of what you’re working on. We would love to see them!