Sorry to anyone with delicate sensibilities, (talking to you mom!), but this is the nicest title I could think of.  So it's a rainy Sunday, and I thought I'd get out my Pfaff manual and a test quilt sandwich today to practice some free motion quilting, with an eye to doing circles on the Terrain and linen baby quilt.  After an hour, I realized something: I SUCK at fmq!  I am so frustrated.  I can't get the stitches to be the same length for the life of me!  I turned down the speed, I turned down the stitch length, and it just won't come.  
This, sadly, was my best outcome:

Does everyone have this much trouble at the beginning?
Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?


  1. Sorry you're having a hard time! Unfortunately for me, it just came to practicing a whole ton to get my speed right with the stitches. I find i get the most accurate result when I actually make my machine move about as fast as it can, and then rely just on how I move the fabric...good luck!

  2. FMQ'ing takes LOTS of practice. And I mean lots. You've started with one of the most difficult shapes. Creating smooth curves in a circular motion is super hard and yours is looking amazing! The good news is that your machine seems to be doing well with tension (sometimes that can be the biggest hurtle). Try squiggling/stippling, or making loops on a test sandwich. I find to keep stitches small you've just got to go for it, move your fabric while your foot is at about 1/2 speed. Just let things flow without worry. Before FMQing a new design, I draw it several times on paper to get my brain and hands talking to each other. Do you read Leah Day's blog? She has zillions of great tips.

    It's a process. Breath. Keep your shoulders down. Try to have fun!

  3. FMQ is hard at first and I agree with the others... practice, practice, practice is the key. Circles are hard. I agree with the above suggestion of trying some loop de loops first. I would also suggest grabbing a pen & paper and doodling your design over and over until you have it in your head. Then and only then will it flow more naturally on the sewing machine.
    I would also recommending increasing your needle speed. The reason your stitches are so big is because you are moving the fabric too fast for the speed of the needle. My best results are always with a "fast foot, slow hands" if that makes sense.
    Hope that helps. Hang in there you will get there :)
    PS So glad your DS fabric arrived. Thanks for emailing me to let me know - That's how I found your blog

  4. Yeah... It really disturbs when the beginning is hard. When I first tried to quilt, it took me 2 days to begin well. It was a nightmare, to tell the truth, but I did it anyway. You shouldn't think you'll fail. You should keep up trying and trying and everything will be just perfect at the end. I'm sure you've already seen it.
    Good luck with you work!


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