jjgallamore: I feel your frustration and desire to learn to machine quilt. I teach machine quilting. Here are a few of the things I suggest for beginners:
You have the will, now start building muscle memory by doodling with paper and pencil. Choose simple flowing designs to start: simple meander (like Loosely fitted puzzle pieces), then vary the meander into loops-still like loose puzzle. Once you are comfortable filling a page with these two doodles, go to your machine with small quilt sandwiches and practice. Remember to sit at your machine comfortably-knees at 90 degrees, feet comfortable, shoulders not hunched around your ears :-0,upper arms hanging down with forearms level with floor and wrists held level. Cotton gloves with rubber dots on the finger tips(Machingers or gardening gloves)or rubber finger tips will help you move the fabric sandwich without pressing down. Machine speed should be moderate hand speed should be a bit slower than you would expect in order to control the stitch length. Remember with the feed dogs down, you are controlling the movement of the fabric. Work for short intervals. Rest, stretch, check your work and determine if you are happy with the stitch length. YOu may need to move the fabric a bit slower to shorten the stitch or run the motor a bit faster. You decide. Practice these two patterns until you achieve smooth curves, even stitches and then look for a book that helps with more basics like leaves, hearts (which can be very similar and easy), simple geometrics and how to build from these.
I hope this helps you get going. Let us know! Happy Holidays.
12/10/2010 8:44:58 PM