The “Mantra” heard in so many places of late………

Is the “Triple ‘P’”……….”Practice, Practice, Practice”!!! Nothing (not even something super enjoyable!) comes without a price of some sort. It is a fact. Absorb that truth………..then act!!!!!  Now, just like exercise, a practice session has its rewards but not usually up front or right away. What to do? In the “Beginning FMQ Workshops” that I teach, one of the first/important skills to be mastered is using your sewing/quilting machine enough that it becomes an extension of ‘you’. Your ears pick up the sounds that it makes and they correspond to the pressure your foot is exerting on the power pedal. These skills only come by practice and I’m here to suggest a fun method of doing just that. So simple. Here’s a link to Jenny Bowker’s article in “Machine Quilting Unlimited” magazine’s “web extras” that is a free PDf download further explaining the concept. The following photo is a practice piece I did when I first got my Juki TL2010Q (4+ years ago) and was trying to “become one” with it!!!!! 039  I randomly cut a fabric scrap from a large floral piece and, using a spray bond, adhered it to a piece of muslin, which I “sandwiched”. The huge advantage to this is that I had a starting point!!! Inspiration!!! Something to expand on and, at the same time, practice getting used to the machine! “Thread painting”, echo quilting/stitching….whatever you want to call it, I took my cues from the fabric design and jumped in……….and had fun learning. In my workshops, at the end of the class, I send each participant home with a random scrap on a muslin to have fun with. Hopefully this will be the springboard to many fulfilling hours of creating with their machines. Many times, when faced with that daunting quilt sandwich that holds so many possibilities (sometimes way too many!), I pull back and just look at it. The fabrics/prints/designs, the piecing lines, etc, to see if there’s inspiration there just waiting to be released!!! I refer to this step as “listening to the quilt”!

So, if there’s that project on a shelf, or table, that’s begging for some attention, ‘go for it’! You can do it………all it takes is……..Practice, Practice, Practice!


About treadlemusic

A quilter who rides motorcycle, living on a small hobby farm in southeastern Minnesota. Grandmother and Great Grandmother.
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12 Responses to The “Mantra” heard in so many places of late………

  1. You even STARTED good! 🙂

    • treadlemusic says:

      I do appreciate your sweet words. I, also, know that I had a head start on this as I had had my sewing business (bridal and formal wear) for many years and had worked in the industry before that so the sewing machine really had become and extension of myself already!!!! And I might add…..I love mechanical ANYTHING!!!!!

  2. Rosemaryflower says:

    Gosh. this is beautiful..
    I need to practice everything. You are such an inspiration Doreen

    • treadlemusic says:

      I am (and get!) over the moon excited about FMQ and so want to share that with everyone!!!! It is such an awesome artform and so much can be learned/acquired by practicing. Not everyone will be a Margaret Soloman Gunn but everyone who applies themselves can finish their quilts!!!! And be proud of the finish!!!! Many hugs comin’ at ya!!!!!!

  3. Goodmorning Doreen,
    I really like the idea of using a scrap as a starting point for a practice session. I will give that a go soon! You are so right about the sound of the machine. We don’t even realize that we listen to the sound when FMQing’ right?!
    Have a lovely morning, I’m off to work in half an hour. Going to have some creative time with my students in art class: sculpting in foam, cutting out linoleum and working with plaster. Sounds like great day!

    • treadlemusic says:

      I LOVE working with linoleum!!!!! I’m off to quilt guild in a couple of hours.
      That scrap idea came to my mind when I was just starting this FMQ journey in earnest and needed that “jump start”! I think every artist has that momentary “hurdle” when facing that blank canvas and the only solution I have found is to take that first brush stroke to “break the ice”, so to speak…….then the real fun can begin!!!!! I’m so glad you found this of use!!!! Hugs…………

  4. None of us could write perfectly the first time we got a pencil in our hands or keep a bike upright let alone pedal along first time we got on a bike so I wonder why some think they should be perfect first time they sit down to FMQ and get discouraged by not being perfect. Having now practised FMQ for over 2 years (I started in a group of 9 and I’m now the only one who is still doing any) I’m slowly getting to a point where I can and have produced stuff I’m pleased with. Mind you if I skip practice a couple of days I need to draw on paper and have a small practice before tackling the real quilt and there are days where it goes better than others so I have now learnt that when I’m not doing as good as I know I can I leave it for the rest of that day. I think it is important to learn that we should not become to obsessed by perfection but at the same time FMQ is a bugger to unpick so why continue if we’re not in the mood or our hands and foot are not prepared to cooperate.
    Your practice piece is lovely and if I may I will try out this idea. Sometimes plain old muslin is just a bit boring to use for practising. Thank you for the link to the article which I’m off to read now. Thank you too for being so encouraging!

    • treadlemusic says:

      Your comment is awesome!!!! It totally speaks my heart!!!!! I really think that practicing should be just as much fun as a real quilt, so this little trick really helped! Thrilled that you see it the same!!! Uber hugs to you!!!!!!!!

  5. witchylin says:

    Pearshaped in Wales, you are so right. We do need to practice everything before we can do it well. I tend to FMQ with a stipple design because I thought I had practiced enough with that one. While making a cot quilt in a bit of a rush this weekend I stippled all over the top and then found a pleat in the backing fabric, However there was not enough time to take all the stippling out so there it is, a glaring error, on what I had hoped would be a lovely gift. It will be covered by the label but I know it is there. 😦 Practice is the only way to keep your ‘hand in’ as they say.

    • treadlemusic says:

      And, once again, a “learning” has occurred!!! LOL! Just like having the backing fold back under the quilt as you are stitching only to be discovered after way too long! If you are fortunate, the offending fabric may be super carefully cut away from the stitching and pulled out BUT, sometimes unpicking is the only answer. Wonderful that those labels fill multiple needs!!! Just smile and say “thanks” when the compliments come your way, my friend!!!!! Hugs and blessings………………

  6. Jackie says:

    I’m not a quilter but I’ve learned so much from you. Biggest thing I’ve learned about quilting…. it’s not just putting little squares together with a sewing machine. Love what you do Doreen, I’m quite amazed!

    • treadlemusic says:

      There are so many facets to this art….many more than I even imagined years ago and some that have only recently come into practice. So exciting to watch others “catch” on to and get enthusiastic about it……BUT, along with those who actually “do” it, there are many more who watch and appreciate the art……ALL are needed and welcomed!!!! I’m so glad that I can play a small role in sharing with you some of the more “inside”/technical doings in such a way that you are able to have a glimpse into what it’s all about. I so appreciate your insights and sweet words. Thanks so much for taking those moments to share them with me!!! Hugs………

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