Monday, April 18, 2011

FMQ Tips for Machine Quilting by Harriet Hargrave

These are the notes and some of the photos I took during my two-day FMQ class with Harriet Hargrave in Nov. 2010.  These are also the earliest entries of my blog if you'd like to see more detailed notes and more photos...

"Listen to the motor of your machine. Never have an iPod, music, books, or other noises. You should focus on the "music" of your machine. Repeat exercises on pg. 122 and 123 of "Heirloom Machine Quilting" three times successively in order.

1. Listen to the machine
2. Focus on hand rythmn
3. Direct traffic by what you're seeing
4. Think of the stitch length you like
5. Duplicate what you see in your mind
6. Concentrate, focus, relax, enjoy, but maintain a disciplined focus

You should enter a meditative-like state. Almost identical to the one where I would practice piano for four hours straight and not even notice my aching back, strained shoulders or anything around me. Breathe, relax, enjoy, focus on only this.

Repeat, repeat, repeat."  Harriet advised us to FMQ for six straight months without piecing or being sidetracked by any other projects.  Can you imagine your results that kind of commitment would produce?

My very first attempt at FMQ

My first feather

This is the back!  Good thing these are only practice squares and not a real quilt!

Harriet requested everyone bring a prepared postage stamp block to practice on....the reasons why are apparent on the back:
 This is only the fourth attempt I ever made at FMQ - Harriet Hargrave is an awesome teacher!  We did this from the front - first 'stitch in the ditch', and then 'looking ahead' from corner to corner and finally with eyeballing hour glasses from point to point by creating a small C shape.
This is a pattern copied from pg 166 of Heirloom Machine Quilting.  Harriet had us pin first and then double-feather's really only my seventh attempt ever at FMQ - I had never done this before.
I love the double feather results I was able to obtain when I slowed down, focused on the sound of my machine, was relaxed and breathing.  I'm still amazed when I look back on this and hope that I can do this again during our FMQ Challenge!


GailM. said...

I would love to have taken a class from Harriet H. Thanks for the pointers. Count me in for the challenge. I do have a quilt that I can use. I'll dig it out and post about "My Project" in a couple of days.

Mary Ann & Mother said...

Fantastic! Glad to hear you'll be joining us for FMQ! Welcome!

CityHouseStudio said...

Great post, how interesting to hear about the class.
Count me in for the Challenge, too. I have 2 quilt tops (maybe more?!) ready for quilting, and I haven't done too much FMQ lately. I'm ready for more practice!

Kelly said...

this is amazing! what an inspiration to learn and practice, practice right! Thanks for posting this info I will be back to read up and absorb!

kwiltmakr said...

I still have not gotten the hang of FMQ yet but I only practice when I think of it, so it is no wonder I am not good at it. I really should make an effort to practice more. Thanks for the relaying the information. I have heard a lot of people talk about that book.

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

your work is looking very nice. Keep it up....I am just learning this myself; and not good at it..I am ok with little items; but not with larger things.....

Hollie said...

Beautiful quilting!

Jen said...

Slow down?! But the faster you quilt the more you can quilt! Hmmm...maybe I should slow it down a little bit. THanks for the great tips!

Lee said...

Oh, I'm so impressed with your quilting, great job. So interesting to read the tips and see your results. Thanks for linking up to WIP Wednesday. : )