Every time I free motion quilt something, I find there’s a lesson in the process. Today I’m sharing FMQ lessons learned (the hard way) during my most recent finish. This wall hanging was a bonus project from a class I taught last year. I wanted it to have lots of open space for free motion quilting, giving me the opportunity to practice more. I’ve been “practicing” for 20 years!
I’m really happy with how this turned out overall. In general, I practice a design on a whiteboard until I feel comfortable with it. Often I will then use a practice sandwich to practice some more. Then I quilt the actual project.
Lesson one for this project is to always bring up the bobbin thread to the top of your quilt even if you have a very short thread tail. I always thought if you used the automatic thread cutter on your sewing machine, that you didn’t have to pull up the bobbin thread. But, I found that I was getting a small thread nest on the back of my quilt.
When I started to bring up the bobbin thread, even without grabbing it and holding onto it, the thread nest disappeared. Okay, now we know!
Lesson two is to use a thread color that is slightly lighter or darker than your fabric so you can see it as your FMQ’ing. I stitched a feather in one of the black triangles with black thread. It was so difficult to see where I had been stitching and where I needed to go. So, I switched to a brown thread.
Lesson three. Test your thread color before you commit. I didn’t like the brown thread! So, I used a black Pigma Micron Pen and colored over all of my brown feathers. This took a while, but it was something to do while watching TV at night. If this were a quilt that was going to be washed a lot, I might not have bothered. But it’s a wall hanging and it won’t fade or wash away. Pigma ink is waterproof, chemical resistant, fade resistant, bleed free, quick drying and pH neutral.
Those are my FMQ lessons learned for this project! I hope you learned something as well. For more tips, check out my free motion quilting practice tips here.
I’ll be back on Sunday with May’s Sew Thankful Sunday blog post. Until then, I’ll be in Austin visiting my grandkids. Happy (free motion) Quilting!