Use a Practice Sampler to Improve Machine Quilting SkillsLike anything else you wish to learn, the more you practice machine quilting, the more your machine quilting skills will grow. There are many ways to practice machine quilting, and making a practice sampler sandwich is one of the easiest things you can do to become more confident about your stitching.
A practice project removes the fear of ruining an actual quilt -- and gives you a nice stitch reference for future projects. As your machine quilting improves, looking back on the sampler also helps remind you how far you have progressed.The sampler sandwich can include freehand machine quilting (stitched with the feed dogs down) and machine quilting accomplished with a regular presser foot or walking foot (which work best for straight lines, soft curves and to machine quilt around some templates).
Use the sampler to practice different methods for drawing quilt designs onto your quilt. Try out chalk pencils, pouncers, tissue paper, transfer paper, freezer paper templates, disappearing markers or any other marking system that appeals to you.
Make your practice sampler from a yard of muslin (or other quilting cotton) for the top and another yard for the backing. Place thin batting between the two layers of muslin and use safety pins or a fusible to baste the layers together.