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Message Board > Quilters' Corner > why drop feed dogs? ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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why drop feed dogs?
ayin

ayin
Intermediate
WA
Member since 6/28/05
Posts: 548
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Date: 12/10/08 11:47 PM

Hi quilters,
So I had my first quilting experience today in a general sewing class. We just needed to produce a sample by drawing a design on a peice of muslin and then quilting it with batting and another peice of muslin. We were not instructed to drop feed dogs. I was able to do a pretty intricate design and loved how it came out. So it leaves me wondering, why drop the feed dogs? (This is the only thing that intimidates me about quilting.)

I had a similar experience with machine embroidery last year. I found that I could do perfect work if I just kept the dogs up.

Thanks for any insight you can provide!

Irene

Irene  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/11/08 3:22 AM

Keeping the feed dogs up helps to feed your fabric--always in the same direction (from front-to-back). If you're working with something small, you can easily turn the piece in various directions and enjoy the assistance the feed dogs provide in feeding the quilt sandwich. However, imagine trying to change direction on a queen-sized quilt! Dropping the feed dogs lets you change directions (from back-to-front, or from side-to-side) without turning the piece around.

Ratkins

Ratkins
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NY
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In reply to ayin


Date: 12/11/08 9:42 AM

What kind of foot were you using? Like the previous poster said, it's easy to move a small piece around, but once you get to larger pieces free motion is the way to go.

There are a lot of quilters who free motion with the feed dogs up. They feel it gives them more control, and there's usually enough clearance between a free motion foot and the dogs to let them to move the sandwich easily.

It really boils down to what helps you do the best job you can.

Janet

PattiAnnJ
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PattiAnnJ
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In reply to ayin


Date: 12/11/08 10:01 AM

You can also free motion with the feed dogs up and the stitch length set to 0. The feed dogs do not move at 0.

Feed dogs down or stitch length at 0 - you have the control to make the stitch in any length or direction you desire.

------
I dont give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think its Hell. Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to ayin


Date: 12/11/08 10:50 AM

Quote: ayin
So it leaves me wondering, why drop the feed dogs? (This is the only thing that intimidates me about quilting.)

Most people drop them to move the quilt around easier.
BUT ..... I can promise you that the quilt police will NOT arrest you if you leave them up. And a quilt show judge will never know the difference, either. A lot of quilters, including famous ones, leave them up. Many people have a feeling of more control.

I've accidentally left mine up and couldn't tell any difference. In class I'd suggest you do what the teacher tells me to, but at home ..... they won't know. We all do what works best for us.
ayin

ayin
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In reply to Doris W. in TN


Date: 12/11/08 8:53 PM

Oh, I didn't think about that difference with needing to move the fabric in different directions with them up. That makes a lot of sense. Thanks to all for the responses!

To the person who asked about which foot, I used my regular zigzag foot yesterday (the all-purpose foot with a flat bottom.) The one time I tried free motion a couple of years ago, I did it without a foot. I really liked the visibility.

Doris W. in TN
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In reply to ayin


Date: 12/11/08 9:17 PM

Quote: ayin
The one time I tried free motion a couple of years ago, I did it without a foot. I really liked the visibility.

That's why I like to use a foot designed for FMQ that is made out of clear plastic. I mark my quilts and need to see where I'm going.
sewonandsewforth
sewonandsewforth
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TX USA
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Date: 12/12/08 11:00 AM

Buy a foot designed for free motion/darning. I FM with the dogs down but might experiment with leaving them up for small things. The right presser foot will make a lot of difference in the ease of sewing both in moving the fabric and in seeing what you are doing.

ayin

ayin
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In reply to sewonandsewforth


Date: 12/12/08 1:08 PM

I did buy one when I got my machine. But then I read about using a "naked needle" to FM so I tried it (just on fabric, not with a sandwich.) This is my only FM experience, but I would definitely do it this way again and compare it with the FM foot. I have a big qulit project in the queue so I'll be able to experiment.

Ratkins

Ratkins
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In reply to ayin


Date: 12/12/08 1:53 PM

I tried the naked needle with my treadle. It really didn't work all that well, maybe because I was terrified that I was going quilt my finger.

The foot also helps deal with the puffiness of the sandwich, making it easier to see and make nice even stitches.

Janet

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