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A good resource for understanding needle sizes?

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    A good resource for understanding needle sizes?

    I'm starting to putz around with FMQ, and mostly failing abysmally, lol. I read the posts here discussing needles & thread and tension and lint and and and...my head gets a little 'splodey.

    Can anyone point me to a good overall explanation/decoding of what all these needle sizes are & how they relate to thread weight (I think it's weight?)

    I've done a bit of FMQ on some practice pieces - just random piecing of scraps with batting & a back - and I don't seem to be really making any progress. I'm not even sure what questions to ask until I can narrow down whats going wrong, lol, so I'm trying to break it down into the "major components", as it were, of Things That Mess You Up When FMQ and get a better understanding of the why so I can try to apply that to the messes I make.

    (which, tbh, isn't nearly as fun as just doing it and seeing what happens if I just do it and change how I'm doing it because...change! Which, frankly, isn't really getting me too far...)

    #2
    Re: A good resource for understanding needle sizes?

    AMG, there are many others on here that have far more experience than I do, but I will offer what I can. I found that practice is what it takes to make any progress in FMQing. Slow down the machine and just get used to the movement of fabric and hands. At some point, it begins to get a little better. I worked on stipple/meandering first until I felt I had that down reasonably well (at least I wouldn't be embarrassed to give it to someone), then I wandered into other things like loop de loops and other repetitive motifs. There are some great classes on Craftsy on beginning FMQing. I enrolled in some of them when they came on sale. Someone will be along shortly with more advice. Just keep practicing.
    Cindy

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      #3
      Re: A good resource for understanding needle sizes?

      Education

      They have "education" on several different things. Scroll down to Needles and then you get a drop down menu of a bunch of different things.
      K is for Karen 😊​ Albuquerque, NM..................
      Cremation - My last hope for a smokin' hot body.


      Before you speak,
      T - is it TRUE?
      H - is it HELPFUL?
      I - is it INSPIRING?
      N - is it NECESSARY?
      K - is it KIND?

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        #4
        Re: A good resource for understanding needle sizes?

        Originally posted by K. McEuen View Post
        Education

        They have "education" on several different things. Scroll down to Needles and then you get a drop down menu of a bunch of different things.
        Ok, wow. There's my reading for the week! Thanks!

        And thank you too, Cindy - I know I do need to just keep practicing & eventually I'll either get better (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease) or I'll just decide I'd rather pay to have smart, talented someone make my quilts gorgeous It does get frustrating to feel like I'm not progressing and I'm "wasting" time and fabric - I know it isn't a waste at all, but it feels like it sometimes when things aren't going right.

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          #5
          Re: A good resource for understanding needle sizes?

          I will say, I messed around with trying to figure out FMQ for more than a year before it finally clicked. One of the best things I did was make a quilt sandwich out of a yard of fabric that someone gave me that I never would have used, part of an old sheet for backing and an old blanket as batting. Pretty low cost, and a good size, because you may think you are doing ok on small pieces, but you need practice on something bigger. That went pretty well, did it with no eyelashes, so that encouraged me to try a quilt. For practice I would make donation quilts for Marilyn's group, kid size, and FMQ them. Kids in the hospital aren't picky and it helped me improve a lot.
          K is for Karen 😊​ Albuquerque, NM..................
          Cremation - My last hope for a smokin' hot body.


          Before you speak,
          T - is it TRUE?
          H - is it HELPFUL?
          I - is it INSPIRING?
          N - is it NECESSARY?
          K - is it KIND?

          Comment


            #6
            Re: A good resource for understanding needle sizes?

            Hi AMG - just last night I finished a quilt along project which I spent 6 months working on. It is Leah Day's Building Blocks Quilt Along (google it :-) ). It is a quilt as you go project. You buy the guide for $20, you buy the fabric and batting and you make 42 8" square blocks which are FMQed in many different ways and then joined together. The lessons start out easy and then build on what you have learned. It has given me the confidence to quilt on my own. I think the hardest part is getting over the feeling you are ruining perfectly good materials. So as Karen suggested you can take fabrics you would otherwise have never made anything from or you can spend an limited amount of money if you are able on new materials with the explicit purpose of learning from the experience. I now have a lovely quilt to show for it, which is full of blunders and bobbles and I learned a ton.

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              #7
              Re: A good resource for understanding needle sizes?

              Hi AMG, like you, I'm just starting to learn fmq so, whilst I can't offer any real advice I will say......let's bumble along together!!!! My floor is littered with a gazillion practice squares and whilst I was some days feeling like I was making headway, other days it was a total "blah"! I understand your reticence in wasting fabric and batting so I did as many others did....used up some awful fabrics and old blankets to practice with in a large size to simulate an actual quilt and the difficulties of learning to move it.. I have now just jumped in and am slowly fm quilting a quilt I have just finished. The one thing I do without fail is sit down and do a "warm up" with my practice quilt for about 10 minutes before I start on the quilt. The meandering is in places a bit frantic (!!!) but overall I am pleased with how it is going for a "first timer". Best of luck, keep at it and lets see some pictures when you're done with your first splendid quilt.....I will, if you will!!!! LOL

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                #8
                Re: A good resource for understanding needle sizes?

                Good question about the needles. DH saw the box that I keep mine in and asked why I needed so many different sizes and types, wouldn't just one work??? LOL I told him that his router bits were all different sizes and shapes so why couldn't there just be a universal one? He always told me something like the right tool for the job. He just looked at me... Now I know where to find the information to make better choices and explanations.

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                  #9
                  Re: A good resource for understanding needle sizes?

                  The Building Blocks Quilt-Along by Leah Day is an excellent way to improve both piecing and fmq. The pattern includes drawn-out quilting lines on the blocks so you can trace them onto your fabric. Black is not a good choice for this project--ask me how I know! She also has videos for each block which are helpful. She is a great teacher.

                  Also each block is 10" square and done quilt-as-you-go so you only have 10" in your machine at any time. I made this quilt and enjoyed the process.
                  The trail is the thing----Louis L'Amour

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