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Message Board > Quilters' Corner > Free Motion quilting woes!!! I need advice ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Free Motion quilting woes!!! I need advice
Free motion
taaudyli
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Date: 4/18/13 3:10 PM

I just bought a Janome HD 1000 based on Leah Day's recommendation. It IS a good machine. I sew from home and so have to do a lot of different types of sewing (hemming jeans, altering prom dresses, garment sewing, quilting, etc). It does all of that really well but I was hired to free motion quilt a baby quilt and that's when my tale of woe begins. I've been fm quilting for a long time and had used my babylock machine until it died a terrible death! It was a top loading bobbin machine and never had a problem with it. I used the bigfoot free motion foot. I tried to use the bigfoot free motion foot with the Janome and on my sample it did just fine but on the real quilt it was a nightmare. The thread kept breaking or the machine would get hung up about every 20 stitches. I was ready to poke my eyes out. I bought Leah's bobbin washers and that did help but would still break particularly over thick seams like when the patchwork intersected. I adjusted bobbin tension, reathreaded, changed needles, everything I know to do but it was really giving me a fit. The quilt had a mattress pad for batting instead of actual batting so I don't know if that made a difference but I've fm quilted on felt and blankets for batting before without a problem. So my question is: should I buy a Janome free motion foot or just invest in a quilting machine? Do you think it was the presser foot since it didn't have a spring in it? Like I said I need to have a heavy duty machine but since free motion quilting is really what I love to do it would be a shame to have a machine that can't do that very well. Maybe I just need practice? I could use some input! Wendy,

goodworks1
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Date: 4/18/13 5:19 PM

Personally? I'd ditch the mattress pad 'batting' and try again.

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taaudyli
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Date: 4/18/13 5:27 PM

I would except it was someone else's quilt.

Mufffet
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Date: 4/18/13 6:02 PM

By golly I have had quite the time with my Janome 6300 as well. I bought it for FMQ. I don't do this as a business, but I wanted the machine mostly for that and it is a terrific machine for whatever I have done except FMQ. I find it is very choosy about threads and picky as heck about tension, and my tale of woes is in another thread here:

Free Motion Nightmare Days

Now, loads of folks do FM on machine from Janome in all their lines, and I have done a few things to make this work:

1. bypass the last thread guide or even the one before that as well.
2. use Maxi-lock thread which it seems to like but I want to use other threads too -

and much more - but the latest is that I did buy the bobbin washers and am getting about 100% more good results from he machine - I did FM yesterday for at least two hours and had my thread break on my twice - before it would have been every 5 minutes. Really - so bobbin washers went a long way. I was also using Masterpiece thread on top and bottom, as I have a lot of it and want to use it!

Good luck - and see if you can set your bobbin tension lower for your FM - I bought the low tension bobbin case.

Since do do sew commercially you might want one of the straight stitchers like the Janome 1600 or the Grand Quilter from Pfaff or the Brother 1500S or the Babylock Jane or the JUKI machines like for example the 2010.

Other than my FM troubles I LOVE the Janome for everything else. And I WILL get to love it for FM too - I will.

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Skye
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Date: 4/18/13 6:43 PM

If it was me I would get the Janome foot with the spring your quilt is bulky. The cost of the foot is more economical that buying another machine.

Did you have your feed dogs lowered ?
You could reduce your foot pressure.
What type of needle are you using? I often use plain old universals but if there are lot batiks or bulky seams to cross I use a jeans needle

------
Wellington, NZ

Jennifer Hill
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Date: 4/18/13 9:43 PM

I was also going to ask about needle type. I hate hate hate Universals for FM work, and with that mattress pad inside, Unis would be a recipe for disaster. Universals are a semi-ballpointed compromise, designed to work on simple wovens and knits, but in reality, do a less than great job on anything. Quilting, especially FM, demands a much sharper needle - for this job I would be using a jeans or a micro-tex (my latest fav point style). You might have to experiment to find the best size for your thread as well as this extra-thick sandwich.

Jennifer in Calgary

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 4/18/13 10:55 PM

I have FM'd a mattress pad before; it was rather dense, but not overly thick. What I found to use was a size 14 or a size 16 jeans needle. You need the punching power of a jeans needle to make it work. As to whether or not you need a spring in your presser foot to FMQ, I must say I disagree--mostly because some machines, like Singer Slants, don't have this type of foot. And I've done some FMQ on a couple of my Singer slants.

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"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

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figaro
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Date: 4/19/13 0:15 AM

There are two different feet available for the Janome. The generic FMQ/darning foot is awful. I used it with my old machine and hated it. If you've read much from Leah Day, you've probably read her description of all the things that make that foot terrible. My new machine came with one, and I never bothered trying it. The day I picked up the machine, I also bought Janome's other FMQ foot.

The other one has a much more sophisticated (and adjustable!) spring assembly. It also comes with three different feet, an open-toe metal, a closed-toe metal, and a big plastic thingy that looks like a target. The open-toe metal one is the one Leah's using in the videos filmed on Janomes. According to Janome's website, they do make a low-shank version of this that will work with the HD1000.

I will admit, the second option is considerably more expensive than the first. But even after trying to modify the cheaper foot using Leah's instructions, I wasn't happy with it. The more expensive foot is better designed and easier to adjust. The first time I used it, it took me a couple minutes to get everything working to my liking and then I was off to the races.

You've gotten some good troubleshooting advice here from others that may solve your problem. But if you're still thinking about a different foot, the convertible FMQ foot is really quite nice to work with.
-- Edited on 4/19/13 0:18 AM --

taaudyli
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Date: 4/19/13 8:53 AM

Which foot of the three did you find worked for you?
Wendy

figaro
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Date: 4/19/13 9:34 AM

I've only made one quilt on this machine, and I used the open-toe metal foot. The closed-toe foot is intended for use with lace and other things that might catch on the little prongs of the open-toe foot. Next time I may try the larger clear-view foot, as I like the idea of it.

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