When it comes to starting a free-motion quilting project, the beginning can be exciting! Some quilters take many classes before feeling comfortable free-motion quilting. Whether you are tackling free-motion quilting for the first time or the 100th time, here are some tools that I think are helpful in getting the job done.
Have a plan:
Planning out what design you will quilt is a great starting point. There are many books that will give you ideas on how to plan your quilt design. Free-Motion Quilting Idea book by Amanda Murphy is a staff favorite. It has so many quilting inspirations! Angela Walters has a new DVD out: Start Free-Motion Machine Quilting with Angela Walters. She covers not just tools, but detailed explanations and discussions on ergonomics, basting, tips, and more. Plus it includes her free ebook, Free Motion Quilting with Angela Walters.
You will need the proper marking tools. We have a number of different pens and pencils specifically for marking on fabric on our website. Some are washable, some iron off. Some even disappear with air! The Clover Trace ‘n Mark Water Eraseable Pen is a staff favorite because it features both a fine and a thick-tip (c).
If you have a quilt that has a border and prefer not to mark your quilt, these Borders made Easy rolls are a perfect option for you. All you have to do is carefully baste them onto your quilt. Golden Threads Quilting Paper is a great tool for those who want to quilt more elaborate designs on their sewing machines at home. It’s easy for beginners looking to build their quilting skills, and it’s faster than marking the quilt with chalk or markers. If you’re interested in learning more about how to use this paper, read this tutorial.
Ensuring you have a fresh, sharp machine needle in size 90/14 will help handle the many layers of fabric while quilting. If the needle is dull, it will have a hard time piercing those layers of fabric and could leave visible hole in your quilt.
One important thing is being able to properly grip your quilt while you work. Slipping is not an option. With the Fons & Porter Machine Quilting Gloves, gripping your project will be easy. You can also roll up your quilt and put these Soft Grip Oval Quilt Clips on to further secure your work. Just unroll, quilt, and put the clips back on to secure the bulk of the quilt as you work.
Of course there are so many more free-motion quilting tools, tutorials, and books. There’s no wrong way to start. The best advice to give is just to dive into it–make free-motion quilting a fun activity to do by understanding that, just like anything, you’ll get better the more you practice. Take some fat quarter fabrics and some batting to make practice quilting ‘sandwiches.’ The tools mentioned above will certainly be helpful in getting you started!
What is your experience with free-motion quilting? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Have you ever tried it?