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Thread: Help with machine free motion quilting

  1. #1
    Super Member SherriB's Avatar
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    I am fairly new at quilting. I have made a few quilts and have stitched them in the ditch.

    I just finished my granddaughter a quilt and did some free motion quilting on it. I did kind of okay on the front, my stitches are FAR from even. My problem was the tension on the back. I dropped the feed dogs and used the darning foot sold to me by the Janome dealer. I tried adjusting the tension a little but it seemed like it made the problem worse.

    I have a Janome HT 2008. I tried reading the manual but no luck. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!

  2. #2
    mgshaw's Avatar
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    I am just learning FMQ too and I had to crank the tension all the way up to 5 and even up to 8 depending on the thread. Just make a practice sandwich and stitch a little bit, check it, adjust, stitch some more, check it, adjust some more if needed etc, etc...... until you find your weet spot :D

  3. #3
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    mgshaw is correct. That's what I learned in class, too.

  4. #4
    Super Member SherriB's Avatar
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    Thank you both! I am going to try cranking up the tension and practice on some scrap quilt sandwiches tomorrow.

  5. #5
    Lisa T's Avatar
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    I attempted my first FMQ-ing yesterday. I had to turn my tension all the way up to 8 to get it to work right.

  6. #6
    Roben's Avatar
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    Another thing to keep in mind is speed when stitching curves. If I go around a curve to fast, I end up with 'eyelashes' on the back, where the bobbin thread is almost straight and the top thread pulls through to the back. It looks like it would be a tension problem, but it's actually a speed problem :?

  7. #7
    Super Member justwannaquilt's Avatar
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    I was going to type exactly what Roben did, sometimes if you are moving to fast and pulling your fabric around to fast it can look like you have a tension problem but really you are just moving the fabric around to fast. This will also cause needles to break and thread to snap!! Ask me how I know!

  8. #8
    Super Member ScubaK's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info!!!
    I never thought I could be going "too fast", now I know why I have eyelashes!!! :oops:
    Kirsten

  9. #9
    Junior Member Lainee's Avatar
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    Hi...yes, don't change quilting directions to quickly. It is also helpful to use something to have a better grip on the sandwich like finger cots, rubber finger tips, gardening gloves, a halo or like device. Also, make sure that the surface that the sandwich is sliding on is as slippery as possible...I bought the teflon slidder sheet. Some have used plastic sheeting (with hole for needle) and some have even suggested waxing the surface of your machine bed.

    Practice, practice, practice...it's like skiing or riding a bike...keep trying and before you realize it things have come together and you're doing it.

    And don't be too critical of yourself...I've seen stitching on quilts in quilt shops that made me feel much better about my stitches!

  10. #10
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    one thing, did you bring the bobbin thread up to the top before doing your quilting? You need to do that, hold the threads and take a few tiny stitches (barely moving the quilt) and then trim the threads when you can.
    that should help. a clean machine helps a lot too.
    zero stitch length is good but not necessary. the movement of the quilt determines the length but the mess on the underside is another thing.
    try cleaning and stitch something regular first to see if all is back to normal.
    then try free motion on some scraps with batting in between.
    good luck

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