Friday, August 30, 2013

FMQ Friday #2 - The Difficulties of Straight Line Quilting

I thought I'd try to keep the quilting on this mini quilt simple since the block is just so busy. Also, it seemed like it would be easier than actual Free Motion Quilting (FMQ).  I wanted to do simple straight lines...but not all the way across. I used my ruler to mark lines 3/4" apart. - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Straight Line Quilting

Here it is ready to quilt. - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Straight Line Quilting

The finished quilting. - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Straight Line Quilting

I had a few false starts. I was having tension difficulties because I was using a finer thread on top and a heavier thread on the couldn't be helped.  The colored threads I had on hand were differing weights and quality. Then, the first line I quilted was a bit wobbly, and I ripped it out. I finally got the first line in the ditch, but when I stitched the second line the back I ripped that one out. To make sure things stayed flat, I started the first few lines in the middle and worked my way out.

The back still puckered some. I was a little bummed about it. In fact, that night I dreamt about. It wasn't a good dream. I dreamt the back was WAY loose and puckered--you could fit a small child in there. I took my fabric scissors to it and cut the whole back off.  After I woke up, I went to look at it and realized it really isn't THAT bad. 

Here is a close up of the middle back. - Modern Lonestar Quilt, Straight Line Quilting

It is a bit hard to see since the fabric is so dark, but you can see how in the middle intersecting lines it isn't exactly flat. 

I thought doing straight line quilting with my walking foot would be easier than Free Motion Quilting, but I seemed to make more mistakes, it seemed to take more time, and the backing moved around a whole lot more. The presser foot kept pushing things around in my quilting sandwich compounding all the above. I felt like I had basted it and pin basted it well, but it didn't seem to help. 

Do you like quilting with your walking foot better than FMQ or vice versa? 
What tips have you discovered that have made quilting with either method that have helped you the most?
How do you keep your back nice and smooth?

And be sure to check out the Leah at the FMQ project. 


starflash quilts said...

I have got hold of a clear acrylic off cut from work, I'm going to try using it as a guide with my walking foot......we will see! I get really frustrated when even ruled lines end up wobbly!

Muv said...

Hello Allison,

This week I did some straight line quilting and really didn't enjoy it - FMQ is ten times quicker.

The puckering shouldn't be so bad if you start from the centre and work outwards. I use pins rather than tacking threads - if the sandwich starts shifting they are easy to move. As for walking feet, I gave up after one try. I use only vintage machines, and use a hinged regular foot with the presser foot on maximum. Works a treat.

Danih03 said...

Don't be so hard on yourself having bad dreams and all!! I think it looks great. For straight line quilting, I like to use my straight foot, not my FM foot or walking foot. On my old machine, I would have used my walking foot, but the machine I have now, I actually have better results without it.Even the guy I bought it from said I didn't need the walking foot, but I insisted. I know you can achieve straight lines with a FMQ foot, but I don't have as good of results. I think it's a matter of personal preference and your machine.

Renee said...

I prefer my walking foot for straight lines and large circles or spirals, and my FMQ for everything else. It doesn't look like you basted your little quilt (though maybe you used a spray?). I baste EV.ER.Ything--even little practice quilts made from scraps, usually with pins. It really helps keep the batting and backing in the right place.

Allison said...

Thank you, Ladies, for your comments.

I hope I can work out the kinks in this straight line quilting because it should be faster...only it is faster in theory right now. I do want to try doing the large circles with the foot. I've seen many bloggers do it with great results.

I did baste my quilt with many pins for the same reason Muv said--They can be moved easily when things start to shift. I think I just let the presser foot push too much stuff around on me.

Pat Merkle said...

I think straight lines are the hardest thing to quilt, although I love the look of it.

Allison said...

@ Pat Merkle - I completely agree with you. They look great but are hard to quilt. I've defiantly learned my lesson.

Kitchener Quilter said...

Like Renee, I baste everything. This is key. I use my walking foot for all my straight lines. Gives me a neater look. And I start in the centre, then work my way out. I've stopped marking, and now use rulers to get nice straight lines. I must say, your star quilt is very pretty, those fabrics are so charming together. Don't worry about the backing on this one, chalk it up to experience!

Allison said...

@ Kitchener Quilter - Thank you for your compliment and your feedback. I really need to pay attention to starting in the middle and working my way out and basting it better. I will chalk this one up to experience.

Unknown said...

i love the star with the modern fabric look complete different than the traditional stars

Allison said...

@ Henda van der Berg - Thank you for stopping by. Although it is super busy, I like the more modern look, too. It's very different, and I like that about it.

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