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I am doing something wrong
free motion quilting
Denise L Perry
Denise L Perry  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/13/13 8:11 PM

I am trying to teach myself to free motion quilt using YouTube videos and lurking on PR. I am probably not doing too badly, but know there is something I am really missing. I am really having trouble moving my fabric smoothly. I am using a vintage singer 201 which seems to work the best of my many vintage machines. Today I added a slippery plastic under piece to see if I could move my fabric more easily, but it didn't seem to help. I have tried feed dogs up and feed dogs down, and for a while the feed dogs up felt better, but now I think that there's not a whole lot of difference. I am wondering if my hand placement needs to change--maybe closer or further from the needle? Every once in a while the fabric seems to move easily, but then it seems like I want to grab the fabric from the top and bottom to move it. I hope you understand my issues and that you might have some suggestions. Thanks for any help you might give!

Julkane
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Julkane  Friend of PR
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In reply to Denise L Perry <<
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Date: 3/13/13 8:50 PM

Are you using quilting gloves? They help me grip the fabric so much better. Also your item should have no drag on it so I have a large table behind my sewing machine and have the machine as far right on my table as possible so there is a level surface on my left.

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Elna Excellence 740, Pfaff Quilt expression 4.0, Janome 300E, Brother 8500D, Babylock Ellageo, Janome 900CPX CoverPro, Brother 5234 Project Runway Serger, Singer Treadle, Singer 66, Singer 99

http://juliannasjourney.blogspot.com/

Franksdottir

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In reply to Denise L Perry <<


Date: 3/13/13 9:30 PM

What tension are you using?

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Barb

Jennifer Hill
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Jennifer Hill
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In reply to Franksdottir <<
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Date: 3/13/13 11:12 PM

I can't see how the tension would affect ability to move the fabric.

You are using a darning foot? It may be as simple as MORE PRACTICE REQUIRED!!!! FMQ is not as easy as it sounds like it should be - on ANY sewing machine.

Jennifer in Calgary

Mufffet
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Date: 3/13/13 11:33 PM

There is a thread here that sadly tells of my troubles in FM as well. I called it Free Motion Nightmare or words to that effect. First - the gloves are a MUST - oh my what a difference - if you don't have quilting gloves, you can use fingers cut off rubber gloves, or garden gloves until you get yourself some Machingers Quilting gloves - yes, they are worth the price. Then the suggestion that Julkane also suggested about the support for the quilt itself - that is also a must - I put my ironing board at a right angle to my sewing tabel so that on the left I have the quilt supported. Keeping it loose is the important thing - the less drag the better.

Your quilting foot (darning foot etc.) has to be close enough to the surface of your work to hold it when the needle bar comes up so that the quilt doesn't flap up and down and so on, but far enough up to keep your fabric freely moving.

I think the videos on Leah Day's site are the best - I just today re-viewed her tutorial on sewing on her Horizon 7700, even though this isn't my machine - her hints are the best. But there are more, and you say you have watched them.

Yes, gloves and freely movable fabric. And practice. And the right threads and tension settings because without the tension correct, the thread breaks and there ya go.

I say good luck and
-- Edited on 3/13/13 11:34 PM --

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"Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible."
--Dalai Lama

I have sewing machines

Vireya
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Date: 3/14/13 2:14 AM

If you are leaving your feed dogs up, are you setting your stitch length to zero? You should, or else they will be fighting any movement you are trying to do in unusual directions.

Apart from that, the things that have helped me have all been mentioned by others here: supporting the weight of the quilt to stop it dragging on the edges of the table either in front or behind the machine, using gloves for grip, adding a slippery surface to the machine, and using the correct darning foot for my machine. After all that, the next step is lots of practice!

iSewQuiltArt
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Date: 3/14/13 5:00 AM

Did you reduce your presser foot pressure? On many machines if you don't you will get a real tight restricuted movement. Think there is a screw on the top of the 201 to reduce presser foot pressure? Reduce the pressure down nice and low and the resistance you feel should be eliminated.
The other thing is to check the clearance under the presserfoot relative to the thickness of batting. Thick quilt and tight space under foot to bed of machine = more resistance when quilting.
Hope these tips help!

------
Quilting up a storm
Bernina Girl, in possession of a small herd...

Denise L Perry
Denise L Perry  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/14/13 5:09 AM

I just posted a long reply and lost it, so I'll try again! Thanks everyone for your thoughtful help. My fabric is well supported. I have my machine in a cabinet that is backed up to another desk that I have my serger on and the quilt is rolled on the right side. It is a small project, one of two pillow shams for the bed. Each sham has 6 8 inch blocks with an inch of sashing in between the blocks. I am using a template that quiltingwolf found online and posted about. This one is called Laced Tulips and is very simple--so simple in fact, that I did the first one with just regular sewing, feed dogs up and regular foot, just stopping and pivoting as needed. It came out perfectly and I might have decided to do the rest that way, but decided that I would never learn free motion if I didn't practice. The next two I did with feed dogs down and a darning foot. The tension is about 4 (remember this is a vintage Singer). On the third one I fashioned a very slippery, thin plastic piece that I taped onto the machine. That seemed to do absolutely nothing. I have resisted gloves because they sound uncomfortable to me, but they can't be any worse than the knots in my shoulders were last night! My stitching is somewhat wonky as being a newbie would imply, but the stitch is balanced. It's a great quilt to practice on because it is a crazy quilt block and very busy, so my wonkiness is not so apparent. I guess the answer is to get myself some gloves and to practice, practice, practice and to have the Advil and my DH's massaging hands nearby! Thanks again everyone! I don't have any quilting friends and this forum has been a great sourse of information! You are all so helpful and gracious!

Denise L Perry
Denise L Perry  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
Vermont USA
Member since 9/4/08
Posts: 117
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In reply to iSewQuiltArt <<


Date: 3/14/13 5:14 AM

Thanks for mentioning this! I do have an adjustment and will try this today. The darning foot that I got does not seem to leave a lot of room under it even when the needle bar is up, and that may be a part of my problem. I will reduce the foot pressure and try again.

Denise L Perry
Denise L Perry  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
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Posts: 117
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Date: 3/14/13 8:38 AM

I just finished the last block on the first sham. I loosened the foot pressure and that did help a little. I then switched to my only other machine in a cabinet, which is my 40 year old Kenmore. After a few practice tries, I did a block on that, and it is my worst block--very wonky. I think it was easier to move and not being used to that, it threw off my rhythm. The foot control was also harder for me to use since I am now used to my favorite 201 with the new electronic pedal. So I went back to the 201 for my last block and that was my best block. I still feel a lot of tension in my shoulders, so this is not something I want to do for many hours at a time. I will get the gloves and I think it is all in practice. I noticed too, that my Kenmore sits lower since it is in a treadle cabinet, and although I have used it that way for close to its 40 year lifespan, I hurt in different places! I think I need to keep watching the experts to get a sense for how and why they feel this is so relaxing

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