FMQ with rulers is NOT for the faint hearted!!!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been working on the quilting for my Brown Stripe Quilt. I decided to do the entire quilt with rulers in the hopes that I will become more proficient as I go. Having said that, this is a nice quilt and I really don’t want to ruin it with poor quilting!!

With that in mind, I started making a list of things that I need to do EVERY TIME that I set up for FMQ with rulers. It looks like this…..

Without this list, I forget important things that made the quilting not work well….as you will soon see!!

I spent a fair amount of time playing with designs for the brown stripes…..

….and finally decided that I wanted to put a Chevron type design in each.

With the first few, I physically marked the center line of each block and also the starting square, but after using the ruler for a while, I noticed that there were perpendicular guidelines……

……that I could use for the first set of chevrons meaning that all I needed to mark was the center line and the mid point of the block.

When I started with the first block, my thread broke FOUR times and I moved too far off the line once meaning that I had to restart the quilting five different times and then tie off and bury the thread tails…..UGH!!! At this point I was having serious doubts about whether I wanted to use rulers anymore!!

I then remembered my list (from above) and started working thru the different items on it. First I realized that I hadn’t grabbed the Supreme Slider which made it hard to move the fabric around.

Then, I realized that I didn’t have the foot pressing hard enough on the quilt sandwich which was probably causing the thread shredding!!!

See….I should have looked at my list to BEGIN with!!!

The second block only had three new starts and the third block only had one. Fortunately, the next 12 went fairly smoothly so now I have accomplished 15 with 33 left to go.

One problem that I have been dealing with is skipped stitches and subsequent thread shredding when I am traveling a certain direction. I think it is happening for one of two reasons. Either I am not comfortable going in that particular direction so am jerking the quilt sandwich more OR it is moving in a direction that is opposite to how my needle is threaded, causing the thread to pull. As I work on the last 2/3rds of the blocks, I am going to try shifting my quilt sandwich slightly before I start traveling in that particular direction to see if I can alleviate the problem.

Somewhere along the line, I realized that I was trying to quilt the designs from top to bottom which meant that it was hard to see where I was going…..

Switching to a horizontal orientation made a lot of difference…..

So tomorrow I am prepped and ready to quilt a bunch more of the blocks…..

So, if someone hears screaming coming from Bishop, Georgia, just remind me to check the list!!!


I have finally figured out what is causing all of my problems!! The areas where the thread is shredding correspond to where the backing has been majorly pieced. It seems that when there are SO many seams to sew thru it messes with the tension and also the action of the needle!!! Here is the front and back…..

When I pieced this back, I was determined to use up all of the strip sets that I had left over. Next time I will keep things super simple!!!!

Tomorrow I will finish the quilting on the stripes, even if it means dealing with lots of stops and starts. Hopefully the designs in the light color areas wont be as hard to do since there wont be as many seams to deal with.

I am SUPER relieved to know what was causing my issues!!!!

5 thoughts on “FMQ with rulers is NOT for the faint hearted!!!

  1. That does make it tricky but at least you know what is going on with the thick seams.
    Finding out really does feel like a light bulb going on.
    Good luck with the next stage.

  2. I love reading through your process. I’ve had an awful time so I plan to go through your tips.
    Thanks for sharing.

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