For even stitching, your hands and pedal foot need to be in harmony. During my initial FMQ session, I struggled the first few minutes and my stitching was all over the place. I had no idea where to place my hands; I had no idea how to work the pedal to produce even stitches. But after about ten minutes, and a few practice pieces, I began to feel comfortable with my hand placement and the pedal's sensitivity.
I began free motion quilting bare handed. When I tried on a pair of Machingers gloves, the difference was night and day. Pressing on the fabric felt more natural, smoother, and I had so much more control. When I forgot to put on the gloves, I noticed the second I touched the block that something was off.
Another major element in better control was, interestingly enough, doing the opposite of what Leah suggests. Leah recommends operating the pedal barefooted. And this was how I worked for the first few hours and sessions of free motion quilting.
Here's what Leah says about quilting bare footed:
I'm more comfortable wearing shoes around the house, but Leah usually wanders around barefooted. So I decided to experiment by wearing a pair of sandals while quilting. Immediately I noticed a difference as the pedal was suddenly so much easier for me to control and maintain speed.
I also quilt with the ball of my foot on the top of the pedal. My toes hang off the top because I have more control over the middle part of my foot than my toes.
Feeling the pedal and all the speeds your machine has, and being able to go from fast to slow and from slow to fast is a skill that will definitely come with time.
So if you're struggling to find even stitching, try putting your shoe back on, or, if you're wearing shoes, try taking it off. You may also want to try wearing a sock too. Everyone is different, so there's no right or wrong way here.
Just find whatever feels most natural and comfortable to you.
Until next week,