Tell Me There’s Hope

I posted here on Sunday that my mother foisted a perfectly good Janome Memory Craft 3000 onto yours truly.  I sincerely hope she sends more of her awesome quilting detritus  my way as I have more than suitable home for all of it.  Are you listening, ma?!

Anyhow, the Janome now has a name, Captain Jack (I love you Johnny Depp!) and Lennie the Featherweight is none too pleased as he’s currently residing on the floor while I have my way with The Captain.  Jack has a lot in common with Somebody’s Brother, only the SB lasted a few short rounds and then it was lights out, toes up and hello Sewing Machine heaven.  I’ve already made up my mind that Jack will be strictly for free motion quilting since I love the stitch I get from Lennie, but the whole FMQ on a domestic machine is giving me hives.  I assumed, and you know what they say about THAT, FMQ on a domestic was akin to FMQ on a longarm.  Stop laughing.  I swear I don’t know how people FMQ on a domestic machine.  Tell me it gets better.  Lie if you must.

I’ve probably already shown you the meandering picture, but…


Then there’s the rocks/pebbles/yes, that’s a feather trial run…


Stop laughing.

I don’t concentrate on anything this hard unless I’m trying not to fart in public.

Should it really be this difficult?  Tell me it gets easier.




  1. A long arm dealer once told me that long arm quilting is like writing with pen on paper. Domestic machine quilting is like moving the paper on the pen! No comparison! It does get easier but never gets better than long arm. I think your start is pretty darn good. I do ok with small stuff, but pretty awful with big pieces.

    • The longarm thing just f l o w s and I can really get in the groove…it feels more natural, I guess. I imagine with bigger pieces you have to really support the entire thing during the quilting process on a domestic. I felt like I had my shoulders up around my ears, I was so tense.

  2. Two things: you need Captain Jack to be countersunk and it will work better. At a minimum you need the thingy that gives you a bigger sewing bed. Second, quilters gloves. They really do help. I agree with Sue. Looks pretty darn good to me. I don’t do anything larger than a baby quilt on my DSM. One queen was all it took for me to by the HQ16.

    • There’s no countersinking in my near future, however, the Featherweight has the thingy you were talking about. I can’t remember the name of it. I have quilters gloves so I’ll give those a try. There’s no stitch regulator…do DSMs not come with one? Ugh!

      • Does your dining room table extend for putting a leaf in? There is a tutorial I saw where you can put your machine down in that and use 3 or 4″ foam insulation to fill in around it. Seemed like a great idea to me. SR for DSMs are hit or miss and as I understand, mostly miss. Keep practicing.

      • Ooooh, yes, yes that DR table does extend now that you mention it. And what the hell else would I use my DR table for but sewing because we certainly don’t eat at it! That is brilliant. I’ll have to find instructions. Thanks, Mary!

  3. Diane Gaudynski (sp?) does beautiful work on DSMs. Her work is what keeps me pushing. Leah Day does too; she also has instructions for a pulley system to support the weight of big quilts. I think it iwas in a Craftsy class, but might also be on her blog. Only one brand of DSM has a stitch regulator–they patented in such a way that other companies are shut out (I’ve been told). And I’ll echo others’ saying your first attempt looked good.

    • I find that my brain (poor thing) likes straight lines rather than curves…maybe that’s my problem with the DSM quilting, although on the longarm I have no problem. Maybe I’m just weird (the peanut gallery needs to keep quiet on that one) and I’ll eventually get it right. Thanks for commenting and following my blog 🙂

      • In a DSM class Barb Schapel (sp?) said some tend to do curves easier and some straight and angles. she showed round, square, and triangle spirals.

  4. Lucky you for having such a great Mom.
    I have the Janome Memory Craft 4900 and enjoy it very much. I’ll never do all the things that it”s capable of doing but that’s OK with me.

    • Yep, all those squirrelly buttons that do fancy stitches are calling my name….’push me’ they say, but I’ll probably never use them. I like the automatic needle down feature. I’m simple that way. Good to hear from you, Etty…sending love from Texas!

  5. As a quilter who can only do straight lines I cant comment on the domestic machine vs longarm debate. Its always easier for me to long arm my quilts because that means I send them out to be quilted!

    • My mother has a longarm and has quilted exactly ONE quilt on it…the rest she’s paid someone else to quilt. CRAZY!! I’ve done somewhere between 15-20 on her machine and it is awesome.

  6. Excuse me, I have done more than one quilt on the long arm, thank you very much. You forgot too that when you use the long arm a margarita is helpful. Love Ya, Mom

  7. I think your practice samples are better than my paper & pen practice sketches I attempt to do. I’d love to try a long-arm just once (although, I fear I’ll fall in love with it and I don’t have the space in my home or my checkbook for one) and see how it works. I always think I’m going to try some FMQ on my domestic machine but end up just straight stitching in the ditch or if I’m feeling sporty, I’ll do a zigzag stitch across my seams. Or I’ll just find matching embroidery floss and tie the sucker. Christa Quilts! does FMQ on her domestic machine and it is amazing. Good luck with practicing–you are doing great! I just once want to see someone wrestle a queen or king sized quilt under a domestic machine and completely quilt it all–HOW?!?!

    • LOL…you just can’t see ’em up close and personal! I tried swirls and loops today. GROSS!! I’m going to try again after a couple of glasses of grape juice 😉 and I’ll let you know. I’m under the impression that folks who can quilt anything larger than a lap sized quilt have medicinal help, but I could be wrong. Maybe they’re just crazy!!

  8. I think any who even attempts FMQ is a legend. I am with Shay…I can only emotionally handle straight lines after a traumatic stippling incident a while ago.

      • Nope. I can safely say my quilting is not good. Straight lines all the way. This week I am going to try my first lot of free motion. I am not hopeful.

      • I just got the latest Quilty magazine and Amy Ellis was giving tips for FMQ on a DSM. I tried it out and the results were waaaaay better. I’ll post pictures later.

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