I like to take Free Motion Quilting classes every couple of years just to work up my mojo and build confidence while trying new designs. There are so many great books, classes and teachers out there to learn from. This class was taught by fellow Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild member Stacey Murton (hushrules on IG). She recently learned from some of the best modern quilters at QuiltCon and brought back some of her new found knowledge to share.
Ideas for free motion designs are endless, but it is always a good idea to start at the beginning and get into the flow with some simple swirly, loopy, meandering lines. While I regularly revert to my safe swirly stipple for a quick finish, one day I'd like to take more time with a special quilt and custom FMQ elements of it with individual motifs. It is wonderful that authors Christa Watson and Christina Cameli are supporting those of us working on domestic machines!
Some of these designs came from Stacey's class handouts (overlapping whorls, swirls + hooks, water and pebbles seen above), while the ones you see below came from Christina Camelli's book First Steps to Free Motion Quilting (puzzle pieces, interlocking circles & lines, tendrils and mussel shell thingies seen below). I didn't mark anything on these practice sandwiches, I just started quilting. I think that with something like the puzzle pieces and interlocking circles & lines on a real quilting job, I would use a hera marker and ruler to lay out a grid of lines to follow in order to keep things fairly uniform and parallel.
I like medium sized motifs, like the swirls and mussel shell and paisley flower shapes. I find it more difficult to work smaller, as with tiny pebbles. Stacey suggested drawing pebbles like figure 8's but when I tried that it was tough to stay circular - mine ended up looking like tear drops. More practice required! I thought the tendril/vine one would be super hard since backtracking with a darning foot is rather daunting for me, but turns out it wasn't too bad after all.
Having the new Juki TL-2010Q has been a major help for me. The machine purrs along beautifully and I do not have any difficulty with tension or thread breakage. The fairly low extension table is a bonus as well. I keep my speed in the middle range of the machine's tortoise to hare scale and actually move my quilt fairly slowly. I learned to do this from Christina's Craftsy class "Free Motion Quilting Essentials" which is on sale for $24.60 Cdn* until Saturday. I must say, slowing everything down helps to keep my shoulders more relaxed and I have more control over motif shapes and stitch length (no more 1/4" long stitches on curves!).
I didn't do all of this work in the class - these are fairly big FQ sized sandwiches. I completed two of the four while on retreat the week after class. After trimming them up, I joined them together using Marianne's tutorial here. I've sent this off with some VMQG members to display and possibly be our raffle prize at Vancouver's Mini Maker Faire, June 11-12.
*I'm a Craftsy affiliate, which means if you click on the link and end up purchasing a class, I will receive a small commission. I promise to think of you when I buy my next latte.