No matter how many classes I teach, I am still shocked at how hard quilters can be on themselves. Especially when it comes to free-motion quilting. Many times, I have heard quilters say things like, “I can’t do this,” or “I’m just not artistic enough for machine quilting.” Both are completely incorrect!
I have said it several times, but I will say it again, machine quilting is just like learning to write. Think about it, when a child learns to write, the teacher doesn’t just draw out a letter and tell the class to start writing. Instead, they give them tools to help them learn. Starting with pre-printed letters to trace and paper with guide lines and plenty of practice. Now most of us can write without even thinking about it.
Quilting is exactly the same way. There are plenty of tools to help you feel comfortable with machine quilting. From sketchbooks to stencils, chances are that you already have some. These tools are like training wheels, guides to get you started until you are comfortable enough to fly on your own.
The idea of “training wheels for quilters” was in the back of my head as I designed the fabrics for my newest collection, Drawn. The designs are inspired by quilting, and are made to stand on their own as beautiful fabric. But, they could also be used as training wheels for machine quilters who want a little practice.
You can make a quilt sandwich out of a solid and print and quilt on the lines for a fun wholecloth.
The quilt above uses the Scroll extra wide quilt backing on one side and a grey linen on the other side. It’s a great way to practice echoing or quilting swirl scrolls.
Or how about wishbones?
Perhaps the ribbon candy design is giving your trouble?
Or my personal favorite, paisley feathers
Remember, you don’t have to quilt over every line. Instead try out a couple, then fill in the rest of the area with some different!
But no matter what tool you have, the main thing is that you have to practice! All the tips and tricks in the world are no good if you don’t actually quilt. So grab some fabric and start quilting….trust me, it’s the funnest part!
I didn’t forget to draw a winner for the Drawn giveaway! Since there were so many entries (thanks!!!) I drew three winners! Reba, Ellie and Eileen- check your email for some good news!!
Love what I’ve read so far! I’ve felt so intimidated by fee motion quilting but have hope after your reading your article. Thank you!
I love these wide backs. I’m not sure I’ll use them for practice b/c nothing helps me there 🙂 (just to prove your point)…I can’t wait to use them on my quilts.
This is genius and just what I need to get practicing! Thank you! I will definitely have to get yardage!
So that’s the case? Quite a revelation that is.
I agree! Great idea. I have seen practice sheets for DSM’s but nothing like that for long arms. If I haven’t quilted for a while I will put a quilt sandwich – say 2 yards on my HQ and just quilt the whole thing to get the rhythm back.
That is a genius idea! I do FMQ pretty well but I can’t seem to do the ribbon candy to save my soul. I think this is a great way to practice. Thanks!
I can see using this fabric to create a quilt and using a solid fabric for the backing…quilting your designs and ending up with a fabulous whole cloth quilt on the back!! A two-sided quilt full of quilty goodness!!!
when is the fabric coming out? it is just what I need for impetus!
Kay- I am so glad you like it!! It’s out and in my online store if you are interested: http://quilting-is-my-therapy.myshopify.com
Thanks for reading my blog!!
Thank you so much for this article. I just ordered some of the fabric from you. This came just as I was getting frustrated…again…that I would never catch on to free motion machine quilting. I have a couple of your videos from Craftsy and need to watch them again. One of these days it’s just going to happen and I’ll be able to make a circle that will be round and not a circle with points! I’m going to take Sam’s advice on NCIS LA and “just be and not do”! I think that might open up the channels between my mind and my hands.
What a fabulous idea!! I’m exactly your target market for this product and look forward to getting some.
Think I am going to quote you (again) at my next guild meeting and point them to this post! As the new librarian for our guild, I see there is a serious lack of quilt your own quilts books in the library. I plan to rectify that!
This is a perfect idea for practicing! I need some new placemats and this is how I’ll do the quilting!
You don’t need to use these as a wholecloth – you can use your pieced quilt top as your backing and the wide backing as the ‘top’ and quilt your quilt upside-down! I love these, I will definitely be trying one or more out in the future!
Thanks for the pep talk. You put a lot of thought into designing your fabric.
I love your talent for breaking down machine quilting into simple familiar shapes and letters and building from there. I recently did a small table runner using my mom’s initials in all lower case (lrh) and enjoyed the expression on my sister’s face when I showed her what the “curlicues” really were. I have a long way to go to be a proficient machine quilter but do enjoy the journey. Thanks for the continued inspirations!
Training wheels – What an interesting idea! Keep us posted on feedback!
Wow, the material is beautiful and its such a great idea too.
great idea – would have loved this when I first started and could still improve on my feathers
I just my first quilting machine because I am a sadist, or so I thought! After reading this post I feel a lot better about it. I am undoubtedly heading over to craftsy tor an online quilting class. I just have to figure out how to put this machine together first! Thank you Angela for making my day.