FMQ practice—the right way!!

As I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, I was concerned that I wasn’t practicing my FMQ in a good way. I was just hurrying thru it to say that I was done!!

So, as I sat down to do the next installment of Angela Walters “FMQ Filler Challenge”, I knew that I wanted to slow down, take my time, and try to do the very best that I could do!!

In this challenge, she is presenting up to 10 different designs each week and that is simply too many to do at one time. So when I had an hour to quilt, I decided that I would work on 3 of them and then stop.

The first one is a design that I have done before. In the course that I teach called “MOVE IT….a Free Motion Quilting Bootcamp” (for more information, see the end of this post), I called it “U-Turn” and taught it like this……


I worked from side to side and basically worked on one row at a time. It works well, but as you see in the video, it is easy to get stuck at the side and have to do a lot of traveling along the edges.

Angela’s method is interesting……

Firstly, she quilts vertically rather than horizontally because domestic machines have more space to maneuver when you are working back and forth rather than side to side…..SO smart!!!

THEN, she quilts in columns rather than rows, being sure to fluctuate where each of the lines ends.

Here is my first column…..

Then you add another column, meeting the first column at each “U-Turn”and making the ending points fluctuate again…..

The final column finishes the design and fills in the rest of the area…..

I found this to be much easier than the way I was doing it previously!!

I focused on trying to keep the line spacing even and think that I did a pretty good job of it!!

Filler Design #2 was a square meander. In the effort to practice better, I first drew the design out on a dry-erase board and was happy with how it looked……

As I did this drawing practice, I realized that I really needed to think about which way I wanted to travel or I would end up stuck in a corner.

So, as I quilted, I would stop before each new square started and decide which direction that “crossing line” would go. It helped tremendously!!

I was very encouraged when I looked back at this block…..

The 3rd design was the hardest. It involved “nested squares” that, at some point, shot off to the next square!! The first one was easy enough…..

….but I found it difficult to nest them together.

It helped when I finally realized that, once at the center of the square, I could get out going in any of 3 directions……

Knowing that gave some ease to my anxiety and it was easier to finish the square…..

I think that I would only use this design if I could work BIG and had LOTS of room to develop the pattern. But it was still good to learn something new!!

I was very happy with the final result on these three blocks…..

…..and ESPECIALLY happy that I used better form in my practice session and probably learned a lot more than I could have!!!

Now I am excited for another free hour to try three more designs!!

Are you in a rut with your machine quilting? Sure, you know HOW to do FMQ and you have 4 or 5 patterns that you do well. BUT, you are bored with those designs and need a push to try some new things. If so, please join “MOVE-IT…. a Free-Motion Quilting Boot Camp”!! I will take you on a FREE 10-week journey to learn new designs and become more comfortable with just MOVING IT!! You can sign up by clicking HERE.

4 thoughts on “FMQ practice—the right way!!

  1. The square meander and nested square are very reminiscent of an early last century artist. I recall it from art history class decades ago.

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