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Thread: FMQ - What am I doing "wrong"?

  1. #11
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Most everyone that has fmq on vintage mechanical machines have a good experience. The 301 is the best I've ever used for it. It's just so limited in space. I am happy with my Brother 1500, all mechanical machine with wide throat space. I can do a great quilted feather but have trouble with round circles.
    Last edited by BellaBoo; 03-17-2013 at 06:45 PM.
    Got fabric?

  2. #12
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaperPrincess View Post
    Sounds like all you need is practice. You've already identified one common problem: going too fast on curves will cause imperfect stitches. While it is theoretically possible to get perfectly balanced stitches (between the top and bobbin thread) it's not always possible.
    This is good news I will also stop trying to "tweak" the tension. I'll treat it like a decorative stitch then, and just make sure there's no evidence of the bottom thread on the top. Most, not all, but most of my sudden turns are me realising, or being told that the pillar of the machine will not move out of my way. That's definitely something I need to keep a better eye on.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    With my FMQ, I like my stitches to be as even as if I am using my regular foot with the feed dogs. I figure my FMQ is successful if my stitches are evenly spaced, no thread pookies and the back should look as good as the front. If you've mastered all that then don't worry about problems you don't have.
    Quote Originally Posted by sewbeadit View Post
    Just practice some people learn it very quickly and some don't apparently you did. Good for you, now just stitch stitch stitch.
    Mastered is a strong word,... but I will stop "borrowing trouble" (as DH's grandpa used to say) then and just practice my butt off.

    Quote Originally Posted by franc36 View Post
    Wow! I wish FMQ was that easy for me. You are fortunate.
    I watched a video from Patsy Thompson, she said that it almost required you to think "backwards"... you're moving the paper, not the pen. I just I'm just naturally "backwards". Boy that explains a lot, not just quilting either.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  3. #13
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JulieR View Post
    Sounds like you're taking to FMQ like a duck to water! The more you stitch the better you'll be, and the more you'll be able to spot areas you'd like to improve (which is true of everything in life). Meanwhile, enjoy the process, and your success!
    I put it off for so long, then when I started trying it and didn't have the problems I read about, I thought "I must be doing this wrong"... Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

    Quote Originally Posted by hopetoquilt View Post
    Some of the problems are exaggerated to sell products and some are greater on certain machines. Polyester thread is supposed to be easier to quilt with but I found it harder. I bought the bobbin genies and use them but don't see much of a difference. I am not a great FMQ expert but aim to improve drastically when I am off from work this summer. Use whatever works for you.
    I had wondered about the "selling products" angle. Strangely, I did do a lap quilt and used a cotton thread, and I didn't see/feel a difference while doing the FMQ. I used a 15-90 for that one, and if I compare to the work I was doing on the 301 last night, and for that matter, the work I did on the Pfaff 6122 right at the beginning, other than consistency, I can't see a difference in the stitching. Where would I notice problems with either the poly or the cotton? Tension? Snapping? I know that poly is more elastic than cotton...

    Quote Originally Posted by DogHouseMom View Post
    it sounds like you're not doing anything wrong .. FMQ is just one of your natural talents!!
    Thanks DHM! I've never found straight lines to be easy (can't draw or cut one with a ruler, but I'm getting better), so the cutting/piecing part of quilting bordered on stressful. I guess I just figured it would all challenge me equally.

    Quote Originally Posted by BellaBoo View Post
    Most everyone that has fmq on vintage mechanical machines have a good experience. The 301 is the best I've ever used for it. It's just so limited in space. I am happy with my Brother 1500, all mechanical machine with wide throat space. I can do a great quilted feather but have trouble with round circles.
    I had wondered if it had anything to do with the vintage machines. Does that have anything to do with the "auto" tensioning that a lot of the newer machines have, do you think? I was playing with the 301 last night, and realised an hour in that I'd forgotten to set the stitch length to 0 and lower the dogs. What a forgiving machine. I do agree with the throat space. I made a lot of weird angles by crashing into the pillar, and I had a much harder time using the "grips" than gloves because of the limited throat space.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  4. #14
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    I'll tell ya what, the bobbin washers for one thing don't seem to be necessary if you have a bobbin spring already in your metal bobbin case OR if you have plastic drop in bobbins. Backlash is when little unsightly loops form on the back side of your stitching - usually when using a metal bobbin in a metal bobbin case. Bobbin springs keep the bobbin from continuing to spin after you stop. I find I have more backlash issues on my long arm than any of my sewing machines...but that's the whole "bobbin washer" deal. I have a cheapo Walmart brother that I do beautiful heirloom quilting on and never an issue with backlash.

    The more you do the more you'll become familiar with what to look for. Another thing that hangs some people up is thread. When you switch from polyester threads to cotton threads you generally need a different size needle and not everyone grasps what a HUGE difference a size 10 needle will make with a thin poly thread.

    Sounds like you were fortunate to have a good combination of needle and thread off the bat and the stitching part comes naturally!

    **Edited to add ** Another note on the bobbin washers. The looping and issues some of the "big name" quilters like Leah Day or Sharon Schamber have also come from using high speed machines. Sharon uses a Juki that stitches up to 5000 stitches per minute - that's faster than my APQS long arm. Backlash and sketchy tension seems to be more of an issue when you start stiching at high speeds like that.

    For what it's worth! Have fun!!
    Last edited by pumpkinpatchquilter; 03-17-2013 at 07:36 PM.
    Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

  5. #15
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Not everyone has issues when they first start. Sometimes they show up after a while with different materials or different fabrics.

  6. #16
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    I thought all bobbin cases had "springs".. the tension spring is what you're referring to, right? I haven't found one yet that was in good condition that didn't.... All of the machines I've been using are metal bobbins in metal bobbin cases, with tension springs...

    I will use a different sized needle next then to see what happens. I've been using s 90 / 14 universal. I will have to look to see if I even have a size 10.

    Considering that the first machine I ever tried this on (A 290C, self winding horizontal bobbin, aslant, - talk about stacking the deck against yourself - a couple of years ago) almost went out the window, it's more than a little surprising that this would be "natural".

    OK,.. I didn't even think about the bigger machines. I saw tutorials with LD using a Bernina or a Janome or something and figured that was a common machine for her.
    Last edited by ArchaicArcane; 03-17-2013 at 10:14 PM.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  7. #17
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by justflyingin View Post
    Not everyone has issues when they first start. Sometimes they show up after a while with different materials or different fabrics.
    So I'm not necessarily out of the woods yet, is what you're saying?
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  8. #18
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    Frankls I don't get what you are asking. You say nothing bad is happening and you are getting better. So what is it?
    I have no crystal ball that will tell you the future or warn you about something that aparantly isn't happening. I didn't even read all the replies since you said nothing is really wrong but you want to know what might go wrong if it ever does.

  9. #19
    Senior Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    Enjoy your blessing. It's OK to be good at something.

  10. #20
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    Frankls I don't get what you are asking. You say nothing bad is happening and you are getting better. So what is it?
    I have no crystal ball that will tell you the future or warn you about something that aparantly isn't happening. I didn't even read all the replies since you said nothing is really wrong but you want to know what might go wrong if it ever does.
    Totally fair question. Why I was asking was twofold:

    Do you ever get the feeling things are going too well? You're going along, figuring that things are OK, but have a nagging feeling you've forgotten something, or failed to see something, and it might be "big"? Otherwise known as waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    The other thing is that FMQ is largely about creating muscle memory. I didn't want to train my brain and muscles wrong then have to break the habits. Better to catch them early.

    I heard from a number of people and read on a lot of sites that FMQ wasn't necessarily for "beginners". I haven't completed my first quilt, and I've only made perhaps 3 (very small) quilted items total so far. I'm a "barely has begun" quilter at this stage. There was no reason to believe (I thought) that I would be able to do this without huge investments of time and practice at all. I expected needle shrapnel (it's a big part of my sewing history as it is), and loops and broken thread at the least. I thought there was a good chance I was overlooking a lot of smaller things just because the massive problems weren't happening.

    Quote Originally Posted by petthefabric View Post
    Enjoy your blessing. It's OK to be good at something.
    Thanks PTF, that may well be exactly what it is. Sort of a consolation for the years of not being able to draw or cut a straight line... I'll take FMQ over the ability to draw a straight line any day.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 431G, 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 99, 115, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

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