Saturday, 4 January 2014

My plan to overcome FMQ-fear

Liz asked me about my FMQ plan after my last post so I decided to write it up here in case anyone wants to sew along as I muddle through overcoming my fear of FMQ.

I paid for a FMQ lesson once at Patchwork Passion. It was a good session although I fear I was a very uncouth customer - I found myself swearing often and loudly, and then apologising profusely only to do it again as soon as I started stitching. When I think about FMQ now I get a kind of queasy feeling, and immediately start thinking about reworking my budget so I can pay to get my quilts longarmed :-) This is clearly just plain silly, hence the appearance of my self-help programme.

I had two principles in mind as I thought about a process:
1 - practice often over a shortish period of time
2 - keep the outcome achievable (i.e don't expect to be Angela Walters after two weeks)

Starting tomorrow (yikes!) I have a month of weekly homework in mind. It looks like this:

Diary of a Wimpy Quilter

Sun 5: Squiggling around. 
The aim this week is to get the settings on my machine right, to practise moving little quilt sandwiches around and to minimise the outbursts of swearing (I don't normally swear much at all, but for some reason when I quilt I channel every difficult teenager I have ever taught). I might even aim to quilt my name - apparently this is some sort of proof of progress.

Sun 12: Dogwood quilting.
I am going to follow Elizabeth Hartman's excellent tutorial on dogwood quilting and have a jolly good practice over the week. It is my heart's desire to quilt my Penny-Patch with this pattern one day.

Sun 19: Figure 8 quilting.
I'm not too sure how difficult this will be, but I figure I can mark out lines in the style of a giant exercise book and that might help keep the shape more regular.

Sun 26: Quilting a larger project.
By this time I will have constructed a simply pieced baby quilt (no bigger than 40" square). I will quilt it using either the figure 8 or dogwood pattern.

Having completed this warm-up series, I am going to make Ann Petersen's garden sampler. Ann's class Beyond Basic Machine Quilting can be found on Craftsy, and while the sampler is not to my taste (no offence intended Ann), I really like the way she teaches and figure that if I can machine quilt flowers and a dragonfly, I will have truly found my cojones.

Squiggling around starts tomorrow, so you have time to dust off your FMQ foot and prepare some quilt sandwiches if you want to join me. Otherwise you can just giggle at my efforts from the sidelines, I'm ok with that :-)


  1. What a great plan. Stick to it and remember to drop your shoulders and breath!

  2. Won't laugh I promise, I still have to do a whole quilt stitching as I do a little and give up cos of bunching, or just plain scared it will look awful. Not only that I have difficulty keeping straight lines. So good on you for trying and planning it as baby steps

  3. Hehehe I had a giggle about the swearing - can totally relate! I've heard lots of people suggest a glass of wine with your FMQ - maybe that might help too. With the FMQ I mean - though it may accentuate the swearing too ;)

  4. Count me in! Just the incentive I need to range the FMQ monster