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How to Overcome Your FMQ Fears

Learn the top mindset hurdles that hold you back from mastering free motion quilting and how to overcome them. This article is released for December 2023 Free Motion Quilting Newsletter.

In recent months, I received emails from quilters who are eager to learn free motion quilting. Some have been studying and watching many tutorial videos already for many months yet are still hesitant to try the actual FMQ process. So in this article, I want to share with you some tips and insights on how to overcome the most common mindset hurdles that prevent you from achieving your FMQ goals.

5 FMQ Patterns for Complete Beginner

But first, let me tell you about the new FMQ tutorial videos (Part 1 and 2) I uploaded on my YouTube channel, JDreamQuilts. Link is in the bottom of this article. These videos are designed for beginners who want to learn the basics of free motion quilting. I explain everything in detail, from the materials, the machine, and the method I use.

However, there is one thing that I cannot teach you, and that is your own mindset. You are the quilter, and your physical and mental state is very important in succeeding in free motion quilting.

I learned this from my engineering career, where I applied the 4M principle of finding the root cause of a problem. 4M stands for Material, Method, Machine, and Man (the operator). 

So, what are the mindset hurdles that stop you from enjoying and improving your FMQ skills? 

Here are the top five reasons:

  • Fear of ruining a beautiful quilt top with bad or ugly stitches.

  • Lack of confidence in your own ability to create.

  • Overwhelmed with the whole process.

  • Dissatisfaction with your own work, comparison with others, and high expectations.

  • Lack of interest and motivation.

Do any of these sound familiar to you? If yes, then you are not alone. I struggled with all of these too, before and even now with the fourth one. But here is the thing: Creativity is all about taking risks. FMQ lets you express your thoughts through lines, shapes, and patterns.

And what really helps me with my FMQ confidence is giving myself the permission to use the seam ripper whenever I dislike my stitches, to cut thread and restart, to keep moving after a wobble, and so on. I managed to filter out the quilting police in my head, and really just indulge in my own process.

It doesn’t matter if my stitches look bad today, I can always try again and improve. And I don’t believe on the saying "practice makes perfect", instead I like to say "practice makes progress and improvement".

So whenever you feel these mindset hurdles, remember that even the best quilters in the world started with bad FMQ stitches, and still get wobbly stitches from time to time. But it’s part of the process of learning FMQ. If you don’t start now, you won’t make progress. So keep quilting.

I hope you found this helpful and inspiring. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to reply on the contact form below. I'll be happy too if you'll share with me your progress or challenges since the FMQ summit.

I don't want to overwhelm you with too much information, so I decided to talk more next week about how I use quilt panels in improving my free motion quilting skills and how I practiced swirls on panels as a beginner. Stay tuned for the next email.

Let's stitch our dreams,

Judith Diaz Kudo


Take a peak of FMQ patterns that I'm recently working with, which I plan to share with you in the future. Link of the tutorial videos is found on the bottom, keep scrolling.

CLICK HERE for the new FMQ tutorial videos for beginners.  

Download FREE Worksheet below just in case you missed it in the previous newsletter.

Download PDF • 2.77MB

Have fun quilting! Please like and share this post if you found this helpful and valuable. It would help me reach more quilters. Thank you. xoxo Judith

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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Judith from Osaka, Japan. I’m a machine quilter and I love free-motion quilting using my domestic sewing machine. I like learning new quilting  patterns, designs, and techniques, which I would love to share with other quilters. If you’re looking for quilt ideas and inspirations, or you're new to free-motion quilting, then this place is for you. You can find my original works in the Gallery.

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