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January 17, 2017



Like you, quilting on my domestic machine looked amateurish-to put it politely. Nothing ever looked smooth. Then a friend of mine, who is a LAer told me, the secret to using a domestic machine is to pin every couple of inches to stabilize, straight stitch or SID with a walking foot all you can and then go back and add the decorative curls, stipples and loops. My last table runner looked so-o-o good.

Tracey Holzer

Its for sure something that we have to keep practicing if we want to be half decent at. I don't do it often, but when I do, my go to quilting book is Harriet Hargrave's book. I duplicated one of her templates from the back of the book so it was easy yet turned out pretty. I'm excited to see how they turn out, Nicole!!


I'm no good to you on this topic! IF I do my own quilting on a small (very small) project it's using blue painters tape for straight line or diagonal crosshatching o.n.l.y. Heck! I don't even do a decent SID!!! My LA quilter lives on the road behind me so it's very easy to drop off quilting...out of sight; out of mind!

Mary Kastner

Put on your walking foot on the machine Nicole. Don't stress about these. They are perfect for straight line quilting. They are small and I think straight lines are perfect for them. Then after they are finished if you are so inclined start practing Stars, loops and stipples. These are the easiest to master but honestly they would have to be so small on this size it is really not worth it and not easy. Practice big first then shrink! Good luck!



I do not do free motion quilting. I would love to but I don't think I have the creative eye for it.


I'm not so good at FMQ and in fact I started to quilt my Tula Pink sampler and now rip out all the quilting I've done because it looks so horrible. To my defense it's a really big quilt (will finish at about 75") and quilting a quilt that big is NO fun on a domestic machine. But I'm mostly okay (at least for my taste) with smaller projects and one thing that really helped me were Craftsy classes. I watched one my Leah Day another my Angela Walters and both great. And you can always do some straight line quilting which is what I'll do now with my 'monster';-)

Colleen Gander

One of the blogs I read this past week called me a topper, one who likes to create tops but not a finisher and that's me. I have a box full of tops needing quilting. I can't afford to send them out so I need to bite the bullet and sit down with these classes I have purchased and PRACTISE. I know that I could do anything I put my mind to but never invest the time I need to get acceptable results. I take comfort knowing there are tons of quilters just like me.


same boat here. i do a straight line cross hatch. :(


I would like to encourage you not to give up on the free motion quilting. In addition to the careful pinning (or spray baste) I would suggest getting your hands on a product called "Quilt Glide" from There may be other brands now, but this is the silicon spray that I am familiar with. Take it outside and spray a rag with it and then apply it to every flat surface that your quilt will drag across as you quilt it, including the machine bed and throat plate. This reduces the drag on your quilt as you move it. --Even tho you might think the drag is not a problem, it is amazing how the silicon spray facilitates the movement. Then, practice writing your name. You already have the eye/hand coordination for that. You could probably do it with your eyes closed (but don't --that needle deserves care.) After your needled signature is ok, then practice the loop de loops, etc. Litttle ones, big ones, close together, far. Actually, loop de loops can look quite nice on a little top. Have fun!


Love your little table toppers! The colors are so great together! As for machine quilting, I've taken a few classes but need to practice. One of the classes I took was with the Westalee rulers and they are amazing! You just attach the little foot to your machine and then use the rulers to make all kinds of great designs. I was impressed with how good it made my quilting look after only a few tries. I think there is a Craftsy class that shows you how to quilt with rulers. Good luck!


Sometimes a small stencil in a few blocks can add interest along with the straight line you have used.

Amy L

The book that helped me break free of my free motion inertia was Christina Carmeli's "First Steps to Free Motion Quilting." Her advice and designs were easy for me to follow and to do. I took Angela Waters' "Dot to Dot Quilting" class on Craftsy, and while it was basic, it helped me free motion quilt my guild challenge. My daughter actually asked me, "Who did the quilting, Mom?" (Full disclosure, while Angela did her designs free hand, I used the walking foot on a couple of them.) And right now I'm taking the first quilting with your walking foot class by Jacquie Gerhing on Craftsy. She's excellent. I've got a quit top begging for me to use her techniques. Have fun with your two tops! Go for it!


Purchase a 12x12 whiteboard with pen and eraser. Practice your motions (over and over) on the whiteboard and then try on the quilt. Practicing on the white board builds muscle memory. You'll find you will get better and better over time.


Nicole, daily practice either by machine or drawing helps even for five or ten minutes reaps rewards. Sadly I fail with this so I don't improve as I should. Two Craftsy classes I enjoyed and were helpful are 'Design It, Quilt It', with Cindy Needham and Paula Reid's class. I also bought the 'Creative Quilting with a Walking Foot' several years ago but have still not finished watching it as well as one of Anne Petersen's classes but she puts me to sleep so it also is not finished. Love stencils as I am better following a drawn line. So with all that, the best advice I have had is slow down and find YOUR comfortable speed which improved my stitches and mostly wiped out the jerky bits. Try not to be scared but enjoy it.

Nancy Watkins

Love, love, LOVE these table toppers! I want to learn how to quilt the small quilts too.

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