The beginning of my free motion quilting journey wasn’t easy. I deciphered my first quilting books with a magnifying glass. One of the hardest things I had to figure out was how the free motion quilting foot works.
Now I ADORE free motion quilting. In 14 years I have made many projects: many were fun and easy but some were very challenging. I have learned a lot from my own mistakes.
Now you could learn from my mistakes too, but without stress and countless hours of trials.
I compiled EVERYTHING I know about free motion quilting into a free ebook.
There are many big and little things that make my free motion quilting easier and faster. And FUN too. And I am happy to share them all with you.
Why I love free motion quilting?
Who doesn’t love moving the quilt freely under the needle and stitching intricate motifs without too much effort? But free motion quilting is more than this. It also means less time spent quilting an area. Let’s see this example below.
I free motion quilted that big triangle in a few minutes, in one continuous stitching. Imagine the same triangle, in the center of a big quilt, quilted with straight lines and the walking foot. Imagine the time needed to rotate the whole quilt under the needle to stitch all those lines.
That’s why I love free motion quilting!
3 essential things for my progress in free motion quilting
These three things are the main reasons I enjoy free motion quilting so much.
1. Position of hands while free motion quilting
I don’t quilt with both hands on top of the quilt sandwich!
I keep on top only my left hand.I keep the right hand under the quilt. I use this hand to move the quilt.
I also use my left hand to move it around, but the right hand is mainly doing the job.
For me, this position of hands is much more comfortable. I move the quilt around without difficulty and with no pain in my shoulders. I don’t wear any type of gloves, I don’t need them.
2. I own two sewing machines
One of them is for piecing and straight quilting with the walking foot and the other machine is only for free motion quilting.
Why is this so important to me? It gives me much freedom and saves me a lot of time. I don’t spend time switching from one foot to another and I don’t bother adjusting thread tension!
3. The sewing machine used for free motion quilting is a dream!
This is an industrial machine. A huge quilt – 100” square, fits comfortably under its arm!
This machine (Jack Shirley) was one of my best investments in quilting. I bought it mainly for the large space under the arm, but it also has a few other great features.
You can see in the pictures below how much of a quilt block can fit under the arm of my domestic Pfaff (7”) and how much can fit under the Jack’s arm (10¼”). While the difference in inches is not so big, in reality, when quilting, this difference is HUGE!!!
This machine sews only straight stitches and my mechanic made some changes to it in order to attach a darning foot to it (borrowed from my Pfaff machine), you can see it in this picture.
I often receive messages asking what (longarm??) machine I use. So this is the one! Every time I sit down and quilt with it I am grateful to that wonderful man that recommended this machine to me ( for my Romanian friends- he works here!). This machine really changed my quilting life!
I don’t have enough words to recommend such robust machine to you (I saw Juki and Brother have similar models). You need a good mechanic able to make the changes.
One final thought
There is a fine line between LOVE and HATE when it comes to free motion quilting. Make yourself a big favor, save your sanity and your time: FIRST learn how your sewing machine works. It’s essential to learn how to adjust the thread tension.
Then find out what is the best team for your machine: the needle and thread! Then you will LOVE free motion quilting!
All about these and many other tips in this new free motion quilting ebook.
Have Fun Free Motion Quilting,