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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Happy Halloween: a horror story of FMQ (and a link party)

Horror story about my experience with free motion quilting (FMQ)...

The Ongoing Project List:
  1. SYS2015 future projects - waiting for Oct project
  2. Block Swap Adventure - waiting for Oct project
  3. Charity quilts - second quilt done! (see below)
  4. Happy Halloween wall hanging - started quilting, horror story! (see below)
    This is my project for "A Lovely Year of Finishes" (Oct)
  5. Zipper pouches - paused for a while
  6. Americana QAL - waiting for Oct project
  7. Applique pictures - new project, done designing
The EverythingElse List:
  1. the SK project - no progress
  2. the 31000 Xs project - no progress
  3. Spirit cross stitch project - no progress
  4. Mirror Mirror Afghan - no progress
  5. the Ender project - no progress
  6. Embroidery calendar - no progress
  7. Project of Doom 2015 @ Fandom in Stitches - paused for a while
  8. Alice in Wonderland quilt - no progress
  9. As You Wish -  no progress
  10. Crazy optical illusion - no progress
  11. Memory quilt 2 - no progress
  12. B quilt - no progress
Jennifer put a call for designers to design a Halloween fandom piece and I couldn't pass on that!
I was so inspired that in a day I designed the block and tested it!

One patterns, two different characters! Just switching the color and the embroidery details!
More Fandom/Halloween patterns will be shared on Oct 31st on Fandom in Stitches, so make sure to stop by and see many new cool designs!!

Happy Halloween wall hanging. This is my project for "A Lovely Year of Finishes" (Oct).
I finished the last block

Pattern by Janeen (with colors changed to get a calico look)
Pumpkin is posing next to her fabric portrait :)

Until here, everything was fine, 
Actually it was great, because I completed all the blocks and I could go on and assemble the top. That went pretty smoothly too (even if I calculated the overall size wrong and I had to rearrange a little bit my blocks from the original plans).

And then the horror begins...
Since I wanted to get more practice on FMQ (I started with the quilt below and went pretty well) I decided to use this piece to keep practicing! Since it's a wall hanging for us and doesn't have to be perfect after all...

As you can see in the picture, there are a ton of heavily PP blocks with bulky seams everywhere... I didn't think that would be such a big problem if I go slowly and try to go around those areas... well... I was wrong :(

First of all I couldn't really keep a consistent speed because the foot keep getting stuck (even if I adjusted its height). This created super small stitches and super long ones... not pretty... but not the worst part either. Every 10 minutes (max) I broke a needle!! HORROR... I tried all possible things to avoid that: change direction, change speed, be more careful on where exactly I stitch, change the size of the needle... nothing made a difference :( I quilted maybe half of the piece and broke 6-7 needles. I had to stop because now I only have 2 needles in the house and I cannot afford to break another one before buying more needles!
On the good side, this forced me to change my needle, which is something I don't do quite often normally ;)

Oh well... I guess I learned the hard way why people like to quilt negative spaces or simply pieced tops! The quilting went pretty smoothly in ares where just a charm of fabric was there...
Oh well, I will practice more FMQ on my charity quilts, where I have big panels and simple piecing! I like the overall process as it's much faster than using my walking foot.

And last, but not least, I want to remind you that I am working on charity quilts,
and I would love your help!! 
Quilts are for a quilt drive to help the kids in the DC General Homeless Shelter. 
And you can help me by donating orphan blocks, partial blocks, or fabric (scraps, strips, leftover, uglies, whatever). 
If you are willing to mail them to me, I could use them to make more quilts for these kids!!! 
If you are up for a loving donation, please send me an email at tweloq[_at_]gmail[dot_com] or leave a comment here with your email address so I could give you my mailing address. I promise that your donation will be used to make some kids happy and feel more loved!! 

I am happy to report that I made some blocks to accompany the stars blocks donated few weeks ago! 

Star blocks donated by Dolores and 

I already designed the rest of this quilt so we may have another baby quilt top done soon!

And another finish was added to the pile!

Size: 40'' x 40''
The first quilt I ever FMQ on!!

This was my success story in FMQ! I did meander on the bargello sections and spirals in the white corner. It turned out pretty consistent and nice for my first attempt!
The success is mainly because of the use of the best trick I read on the internet: a Teflon cookie sheet! :)

I was thinking to buy those "supreme sliders" and similar to cover my extension table and make it easy to FMQ. Reading the reviews on Amazon I realized that while people loved them, they were "complaining" about the fact that it was not fitting properly their machine and that they had to tape it down. Then one comment said something like "it's just those cheap reusable cookie sheet you get for few dollars" so I said "well... if it's just like that, why don't I buy those, cut it and tape it to my extension table and see how it goes?!?". I did that and absolutely love it! I could put the hole exactly where I wanted it, cut it to size and tape it to be stable. The good thing is that it's taped to the extension table and always ready to go, easy and fast setup for FMQ!

I tried to FMQ with my feed dog down, but I heard that it may cause issues with the stitch quality. So I decided to keep them up, even if my machine doesn't have the option of 0 stitch length. The solution was simple: just add some layers of cookie sheet/tape on the back to cover the mat and protect it from getting eaten up by the feed dog! Of course this is not a permanent solution, but it serves the purpose and since the hole is easy accessible from the back of the extension table, changing the broken tape is not a big deal! Using this method I got more consistent stitching and I was having fun FMQ (at least before the horror story on the other piece ;) )

How about you? What are YOU up to?
Link it here and share it with me!!


  1. Last year I was having similar issues with FMQ and was on the point of giving up on it when a helpful person suggested leaving the feed dogs up and dropping the stitch length to zero and use a supreme slider. I haven't looked back now I am starting to enjoy FMQ. Since then I have heard of people using a cookie sheet as a cheap version.

  2. I applaud you FMQ, not something Im remotely good at, did put binding on a quilt and I can assure you it worked out the same as your wall hanging :( loath binding but its passable its something I need to work on .

  3. Your halloween top, with the peanuts pumpkins blocks are so fun! Compliment!!!
    Congrats with fmq. it looks great.

  4. Ahh, I will have to try the cookie sheet! I just had the EXACT same experience with fmq. I gave up, ripped out the seams and just used my walking foot. I really want to work on my fmq, too, but I also came to the conclusion that a paper pieced quilt is not the best thing to practice on!

  5. Love Pumpkin's portrait--what a sweetie!


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