Friday, April 22, 2011

Time for some quilting!

My sweet husband helped me baste two quilts last night, thanks to a very dwindling can of spray baste which is now empty, so I've got a quilty kind of weekend ahead of me here.  I am really looking forward to quilting my Bottled Rainbows quilt and my Supernova quilt and getting these cuddle-ready!

Two quilts basted and...
Sorry for the blurry photo!!!  Nighttime pictures never seem to work out for me!
I'm going to be doing some straight-line quilting on my Bottled Rainbows quilt, since it was a quilt-as-you-go project.  I'll be outline quilting each block, which should be pretty straightforward and simple.

For my Supernova quilt, I'm going to be doing an all-over stipple, which is the first FMQ style I learned.  It's the style of quilting I tend to use the most, and I get a lot of questions from my followers about it, so I figured there might be some of you who might like a few of my tips.

My Top 5 FMQ Tips:

1. Practice on paper first.  It gets your muscles in the right mindset for quilting.  Doodle - and doodle often!  I recommend using a gel pen, not a ballpoint, because they move more smoothly.  I often doodle during the extra half-hour it takes for my son to finish every meal after I've finished mine.

Close up of Zoology Baby Quilt
My first FMQ on my first quilt
2. Make a playlist or two.  I have six different playlists on my iPod for quilting.  They make all the difference in the world for me when I'm quilting.  They range from rock to rock/rap fusion to pop to Broadway to alternative.  My musical taste is kind of all over the place and quite broad.  Oddly, I find that I quilt best to something that's a little bit loud, fast and rough in some way.  One of my favorite bands to quilt to is Paramore, which is one of the reasons I was so excited to help Brooke finish off her Paramore quilt last year.  OT - I am a bit of a music nerd.  I could seriously go on Name That Tune (if they still had it) and probably win with just one or two notes each time.

Locked and loaded, ready to quilt!

3. Use gloves.  There's special quilting gloves (I have a cheap pair from Jo-Ann's), but some are really over-priced.  Gardening gloves with grippy fingers can work just as well (as long as you use them just for quilting!).  The grippy fingers really help you move the quilt around better!

4. Wind up a boatload of bobbins first.  That way you don't have to stop midstream to wind bobbins.

Locked and loaded, ready to sew!

5. Tackle one row at a time.  Fold up the rest of your quilt and use clothespins to keep your excess quilt out of your way so you can quilt down a row before moving to the next one.

Drunk love - another quilting close-up

What are you sewing this weekend?  And what are you listening to while you sew?


  1. great tips, thanks. I'm just beginning to learn to free motion quilt. & listening? Lots of contemporary christian (Natalie Grant, Francesca Battistelli, Laura Story) & Pandora Radio (I especially love my Colbie Callet station)

  2. I love your photo addition - 'empty :(' so funny! Thanks for the FMQ tips, definitely tagging for future quilts.

    My music has been all over the place recently - rock music ( which makes me wonder about the crushcrushcrush fabric you have and if here is a link to paramore...) tunes as performed by glee, and contemporary piano. Lots of singing and humming along!

    Good luck! hope your weekend is productive!

  3. I'm so in envy of the quilting supplies you can get over in the US. It's so hard to find a lot of quilting stuff in the fabric stores here in Ireland... Like quilting gloves or basting spray or even quilting rulers that are a bit different from standard size. Must get me on a plane with an empty suitcase! Thanks again for those tips. I like to set up playlists too, I mostly like indie/alternative and rock or pure classical like Grieg or Elgar or Dvorak, but have been known to download a chart topper on occasion!

  4. Good Morning Elizabeth! I have 2 baby quilts that I would like to finish up this weekend as well. You're right about the gloves. I found some good ones at Hobby Lobby and they were cheap!!! Happy quilting!

  5. I was just thinking about trying some spray basting soon, I hate to pin baste. I've got 3 quilts waiting to be basted and quilted so I'm going to try to spray baste them! I've never thought about a playlist, genius! As for gloves, I got a cheap pair of kitchen gloves and use those. They are grippy enough to help with fmq, which is all I've ever done. Happy quilting weekend!

  6. Thanks for the FMQ tips. I've yet to try it on a big project...but I plan to soon!

  7. i have a quilt that is almost done, and one in progress. just need my sewing machine back from the fix-it shop! :)

    listening to? last night is was the aretha franklin station on pandora. the music helps keep my mind engaged while i sew!

  8. Great tips, thank you!! I'm looking forward to my next quilting session, however I am still piecing two tops. As far as listening... I typically have a movie on while I sew.

  9. Just started getting into FMQ, and yeah - those gloves are invaluable! It really is much, much easier to move the quilt around with them. Living in HOT HOT HUMID Florida, I was loathe to use them, but the white ones (unfortunately one of the ones tending toward the pricier side) are nice for our area. The fingers have enough all-around plasticking to work very well, but the hand/wrist areas breathe very nicely.

    Aren't Quilty Husbands awesome!!! Here's a big HUZZAH to all those who appreciate the end products and who help in their ways - be it chipping in with basting, helping straighten the fabric zone, cooking, cleaning, running to the store for light bulbs when he notices you're working in twilight. . .

  10. That's awesome that your husband helped you baste! I've tried to get the mister to help me, but he's just not interested. I can't imagine why...

    I'm going to be working on my Super Nova quilt this weekend. Can't wait to see your sewing results!

  11. Wish I could get my husband to help me baste!!! What a help that would be. I will be finishing the top of a string quilt listening to a book on my iPod!

  12. I could not have quilted my last quilt if not for the help of my husband helping with the spray basting.

    I have been listening to books, but can you please tell us some of the songs on YOUR playlist? :)

  13. I usually listen to Pandora (Chopin or Buble) as I sew to calm me. FMQ causes a lot of tension--and not the thready kind.

  14. Love your tips, and lucky you for getting your hubby to help you. Mine wouldn't touch a quilt with a ten foot pool. Well maybe then, but that is becuase I would be laying it on the floor at his feet to baste it in the only clear floor space, LOL!

    Where did you get that bobbin tray???? I want one!

    Happy/Hoppy Easter! ~Kimberlee,

  15. What am I going to work on this weekend? Good question. I need to start planning my quilt for Margaret's Hope Chest. I have the fabric, but no real plan. Might squeeze in a few bottled rainbows too. Or, I could work on something completely different!

    I'm excited to see how your Supernova and BR turn out!

  16. LOVE basting spray. I recently came into some spray (I forget the brand) for $3 a can. YAY! Those are great tips. I have music, but I don't know why I never made a quilting playlist. Sometime I just use the genius option. I have found that Florence & the Machine is great sewing/quilting music for me.

    I use garden gloves and they make all the different. I'm on my 7th bobbin right now on my citrus pebble quilt and barely 1/2 way through the quilting. Sigh...

  17. Great tips!! I love FMQ and I, too have a few playlists. I can't do it without music. And I'm a music nerd too. :) I listen to alt. rock and some pop music while quilting because they are so upbeat. And Michael Jackson. That's just good stuff right there!

  18. cant wait to see them all done and quilted. Have a great weekend. Happy easter.

  19. Wind a bunch of bobbins first? I always know I should do that but I never do. Perhaps you've inspired me to change my lazy ways!

  20. My music is all over the place... country, pop, rock, etc. This weekend (actually today) I'll be finishing the last of my Easter placemats, just in time for Easter!

  21. I had planned to piece some drawstring bags this weekend; instead, I've ended up moving my study to a larger room (and the bedroom furniture to my former study). Can't see me having time at the sewing machine for a few days!

  22. I love that spray baste too! I don't dread quilting nearly as much because I really, really hated pinning. I've been much more successful at decreasing my UFO pile(I only have two or three in my closet now!!!)

  23. Hi Elisabeth! Thank you for advices! I haven't quilt like that and I'm still thinking from where you start and where you end?
    Have a lovely time! Teje

  24. Great tips! Funny, gloves are a love/hate thing I think. I tried them and hate them... I have to touch the fabric :) I don't know why but I always start with 8 bobbins, regardless of the size quilt, 8.

    I think I am going to throw together a quick block baby quilt to practice FMQ on my Juki. Other that have one said it takes getting used to since it is so fast.

  25. Have fun! NEXT weekend will be a basting and quilt fest for me ;) This weekend- just chocolate!

  26. What is that cool looking bobbin tray thing? It looks so cool! I love your tips for FMQ, never tried it myself, may have to get a foot....

  27. Thanks for all these great tips! I love how gloves help with FMQ, but I lose the "feel" for the whole quilt and then don't know when I've folded over the backing or otherwise bungled things.

  28. These are great tips. I am new to FMQ but really want to be able to do it and do it well. I think these are great starting tips.


Thank you for leaving a comment for me! I appreciate each and every one of them and try to respond when time allows. Your comments totally brighten my day :)

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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