Well I decided it was time to tackle the monkey on my back... how could I ever be a quilter if I didn't do free motion quilting? Over time I have read many books, blogs & tutorials as to the right way to do this. One tutorial I reread was this one by Camille of Thimbleblossoms. Camille did 10-15 practice pieces before she did a real quilt... I settled for 8, I'm just not a patient person.
I won't share all the frustrating details but a bit about what I expected and was any of it as hard as I imagined...
I thought the hardest part would be where to guide the machine to get a nice pattern... I expected most of the other variables to be pretty manageable if my 40 year old garage sale machine did its part.
My expectations were wrong. Making a pattern was really pretty easy after a few squares of practice. (I did do a relatively decent size meandering pattern... so the size may have helped the experience) My machine performed pretty well, no significant tensions issues. The HARDEST PART for me was moving the fabric... It just seemed like a had a lot of resistance getting it to move the way I wanted. Now I've seen some of those goofy looking gloves in catalogs but those just aren't going to be for me, I have a latex allergy and some of these are rubber. I had the best control pressing down on the fabric and sliding it with my fingertips, but there were times I was almost gripping the sides in my fists.
After all this, I am ready to move on to the real thing and try to quilt my square dance table topper... but the learning process will go on. Sometime when I am at my moms house and my MILs I think I'll just give their machines a whirl and see how they compare as far as ease of moving the fabric around.
PS: It feels great to have that monkey off my back!