First: Make a "bunch" of quilt sandwiches @ 6" x 8"; consider some really pretty floral and/or border fabrics for the [quilt] sandwich top(s), and keep handy for practicing.
Before having wine, beer, tequila, or vodka (they all work well in moderation!), use the printed fabrics as a guide to freehand quilt - with good quality quilting or embroidery threads. Take your time, breathe, and relax. You can then move onto your favorite doodle WITH the blank fabric, or trace feathers, bubbles, flowers with disolving ink, and have some wine. When I liked what I saw (stitch, tension, needle, thread, etc.) I wrote the stats on the practice piece to keep for future reference,(great when using different metallic threads . . . .)
This is how I started many years ago when technology wasn't where it is today. Bernina has the BSR attachment for those who must keep their stitches exactly the same size. In the big picture, very few people run up to your quilt to determine if your freehand stitches are all the same size.
I have the BSR, but I prefer freehand without the BSR.
Happy free-hand quilting!
Thanks so much for the encouragement. I had already "intuited" using large floral prints as my "starter". I have severe tremor in Rt.hand; can no longer draw anything with pencil, but am able to push sandwich around. I find it rewarding/fun; took me too long to try. Do you use a hoop? With the tremor I seem to do just as well with just gloves. You are right about stitch length - just look closely at pictures in the magazines. And, as my sweet husband says, from 20,000 ft it looks fine. I'm more for effect than perfection.
I'm just getting brave to try some of these more fun effects. I'm just not ready to stop making "pretties"!:)))
My advise to those who either don't drink or don't want to consume in the middle of the day, or the morning is to try some camomile tea as another way to relax. Music also helps!
Hi Margot, great to hear that you are pushing ahead. It just takes time to find what works best.
I have tried using hoops, gloves, etc. The size of the quilt usually dictates if I need to use anything to help, but I find it easier to have the quilt directly in contact with my hands - I feel I have more control. I have also tried using John Flynns machine quilting frame - but didn't experience the effects I wanted; don't think I practiced enough though.
Point being, eventually you will find what works for you. Just keep making practice sandiwiched (mini-quilts); they make great gifts or pillows to the garden.... :))
I agree with you - for duirng the daytime hours. Music helps alot - especially during the beginning stages of a project.
i also have problems with my hands. they are pretty badly deformed from rheumatoid arthritis.
i can't use the gloves for quilting - they don't fit over my swollen joints; and they make my hands sweat.
i don't like frames - always getting in the way of where i want to go.
i do make sure the bed of my machine is clean and smooth before quilting - so the fabric will slide smoothly.
i also make sure the weight of the quilt is supported on the table, and not falling over the edge- if it does, it will pull on the needle and not give easy movement.
the little hoops are ok if i am stippling small areas, and don't need to move a lot in any direction. otherwise i find them too confining
i also have a hard time quilting bare handed - unless it is a small quilt. if any bigger than about 2 foot square; i like using the little finger grippers - lile at the office supply store. i can put them on just one or 2 fingers on each hand, and then i can grip the quilt easily. they don't make my hands sweat, and i don't have to worry about trying to force them over the joints (where they are not needed anyway).
also, remember not to push the quilt down hard against the machine - you need to have a light touch so that the quilt will move smoothly and easily. (ie. don't rest your whole hand on the quilt - just use the fingertips to move it.)
stay brave! keep trying new things. it is a lot of fun! ckquilter
I hadn't thought of wine, but, I do use chocolate & music for any project I'm working on. Music just makes everything in life easier to deal with!!
These are great tips for newbie quilters learning to free-motion
quilt. I'm on day #4 of my practice sessions - approx 30 min a day -
and already I can see improvement...I shall incorporate these tips into
my sessions. Thanks CKQuilter.
I just noticed this post!
A glass of wine or beer helps me … Did I mention that on my DVD? I can't remember. But I tell all my students to give it a try. Just as it loosens up your inhibitions at a party, it can make you a bit more easy-going and relaxed and confident at your quilting ... all good things if you are stressed out over your stitching. But I only drink one glass... I don't want to be using any kind of machine — car or sewing machine – when intoxicated!
Susan Brubaker KnappMooresville NC 28115WEBSITE: http://www.bluemoonriver.comBLOGS: http://wwwbluemoonriver.blogspot.comhttp://www.fiberartoptions.blogspot.com