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Thread: beginner quilting help needed...

  1. #1
    Member lnlwhitt's Avatar
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    beginner quilting help needed...

    I am a new quilter making my first quilt in a class. This week we are supposed to be doing the quilting using our walking foot and a design stitch following our rows that have been assembled. I am getting variation in the stitches sometimes tight and then loose. I'm pretty sure it's not the machine but me...
    My questions are most important even with a walking foot am I the one ultimately responsible for the speed the fabric is feeding through to keep my stitches uniform? Hope that makes sense.
    Also with the walking foot should I be changing any thing on my stitch set up, should they be longer stitches or less tension. It is sewing fine just not uniform looking.

    I ripped out the 14" inches I did last night already....wow was that hard and need to start over. This is only wall hanging size but vertical and horizontal quilting is due on Wednesday. Not sure I will be able to do this part. Maybe I'm not meant to be a quilter or does part take time and practice. I know the free motion is learned but I didn't expect this part to be a challenge too.

    Thanks
    Lisa

  2. #2
    Super Member leatheflea's Avatar
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    It sounds like your quilt is dragging on something, not allowing it to move easily under the foot. Or your helping it to much. When you push it through faster than the machine is pulling you'll get a long stitch, when it drags you'll get a short stitch. Maybe a Supreme Slider would help. Is your quilting surface level or is the quilt hanging off the edges? It takes some practice to get it right. I too have problems with this but gets getting better.

  3. #3
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    put together a practice (sandwich-some people use 12" blocks) and do some practicing- you have to coordinate your (foot speed) with the speed of the fabric/stitch- it takes some practice- it is always a good idea to practice on something (just 2 pieces of fabric with some batting in the middle works) before 'attacking' your actual project- but you can not expect perfection---it will not be perfect- people who have been doing it for years still have on occassion- some uneven stitches---
    if the stitches are very tiny- you are stitching faster than moving the fabric- if the stitches are big you are moving the fabric faster than the machine is going- it takes time to find a (rhythm)
    don't be so hard on yourself- when you go back to class you will find everyone will have some areas that are not perfect-
    i've seen some with stitch regulators- that still on occassion have the same problem-
    it certainly does not mean you are not meant to do this- it just takes time/practice and patience.
    if you use a thread that blends in to the fabrics- the little areas that are slightly bigger/smaller---are not going to be noticable- and no one is going to be there with a ruler measuring your stitches
    if you find the tiny stitches are the biggest problem you could try increasing your stitch length on the machine- but it really just takes some practicing ... and not expecting it to look as if it came from jc penneys- all hand work has variations---the difference between doing something yourself-and buying something manufactured---don't be so hard on yourself- or expect perfection---we strive for perfection- we never really achieve perfection
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  4. #4
    Member lnlwhitt's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll give it another try tonight. I do have a practice sandwich that we made and that's what I spent last night working on (after I finished ripping out on my good piece)and just didn't expect so much of this step to rely on me I guess. My machine is sitting on a table so it's not a level surface all the way across. Thanks for letting me know it's atleast a "normal" part of the process.
    I just thought it was me and not "getting it".

  5. #5
    Senior Member faykilgore's Avatar
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    Lisa,
    Bless your heart and welcome to the quilting family! I've been doing this about 15 years now and I still rip out unacceptable work. Practice is a huge part of it. I still do a practice piece on scraps before starting on my real quilt, just to get back into the rhythm. I do "guide" the fabric under my walking foot, and I do dial in a slightly longer stitch. Guiding the fabric prevents the "pulling" that causes the tight or crooked stitches. It also takes some practice to find a "throttle speed" that works best for you. My recommendation is to practice your quarter inch seam on sewing 1 1/2 inch strips together, then practicing your quilting by quilting in the ditch along the seam lines. Keep your practice piece to run a couple of lines prior to working on the real project.
    Again, welcome. This is a fantastic board for experienced advice. There are a lot of articles under "articles" that may help you with some of the basic stuff.
    Fay

    Wanted: a job that involves raising cats, riding motorcycles and creating quilts!

  6. #6
    Senior Member qwkslver's Avatar
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    Hang in there, you will get it. There are plenty of people willing to help you.

  7. #7
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    working with the sandwich is good, there are times mine works perfect on the sandwich and still messes up so just hang in there. we all have to "rip" but it's a learning experience. just take is slow and easy, if using the walking foot, let the foot pull the fabric through just make sure it isn't dragging or getting caught on something. I've been doing this for about 20 years and I "unsew" a lot on a project.

  8. #8
    Super Member paulswalia's Avatar
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    Are you sure you have the feed dogs "UP"? The walking foot should evenly feed the fabric under the needle with an even speed, consistent with how fast you are asking the machine to work via the foot pedal. The fabric should feed thru the needle just like sewing with a regular foot on it when you are doing piecing of blocks.

  9. #9
    Super Member jmabby's Avatar
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    Quilting takes time to learn, there are many phases to perfect and in a class you have to do them all in a short time. Be patient, you will do fine. I still always have to tell myself "Only God is perfect" Good luck!!

  10. #10
    Super Member Surfergirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lnlwhitt View Post
    I am a new quilter making my first quilt in a class. This week we are supposed to be doing the quilting using our walking foot and a design stitch following our rows that have been assembled. I am getting variation in the stitches sometimes tight and then loose. I'm pretty sure it's not the machine but me...
    My questions are most important even with a walking foot am I the one ultimately responsible for the speed the fabric is feeding through to keep my stitches uniform? Hope that makes sense.
    Also with the walking foot should I be changing any thing on my stitch set up, should they be longer stitches or less tension. It is sewing fine just not uniform looking.

    I ripped out the 14" inches I did last night already....wow was that hard and need to start over. This is only wall hanging size but vertical and horizontal quilting is due on Wednesday. Not sure I will be able to do this part. Maybe I'm not meant to be a quilter or does part take time and practice. I know the free motion is learned but I didn't expect this part to be a challenge too.

    Thanks
    Lisa
    I'm not an expert and have only been quilting for a short time and am still learning, but if you're doing free motion, you need a free motion foot or a darning foot. A walking foot can be used for SID or straight-line stitching. Hang in there, it takes a lot of practice and you will improve.
    Lynn

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