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Thread: I really need help with machine quilting..

  1. #1
    Diamonds's Avatar
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    I have been practicing machine quilting for the past few days.. Mine looks like crap... The stitches are still not even and at times the bottom looks worse than the top as if the bottom thread is not tight enough.. I am really starting to get upset :( I feel like I should have already mastered the technique...

    I am almost to the point of just going back to my hand quilting... I can do that beautifully and average 10 stitches per inch.. My only problem is that I have 6 king size quilts to have done by Christmas for my sisters.. No way to accomplish that without using the machine...

    Any advice, any tips or any hints would really be appreciated right now... I am very discouraged...

  2. #2
    Senior Member QuiltinLee's Avatar
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    First check your tension on your machine with leftover scrapes from your quilt and batting. That may take care of the thread problem. Another thing to remember is when you start, put your needle down and then pull out the thread from the bottom so that you don't have that bobbin thread gumming up the works on the back. I usually go to an area that either I'm not going to quilt or going to do later so that the threads can be pushed out of my way until I can get to a space to safely clip them without having to move my quilt and take the chance of messing up my pattern.

    Another suggestion may be the speed that you have your foot pedal working. This is going to sound goofy, but I put on hard rock when I quilt. I find that I push my foot pedal down faster and move my hands faster keeping up with the beat I know, I know -- just me! It's a mind thing :oops: ) It seems that the faster you move the needle and the quilt, the smaller and more even the stitches.

    I've been machine quilting for about 7 years now. I'll be honest with you and tell you that it took me probably 6 months before I liked the way the quilting looked but then again, I was only quilting on the weekends because of work. It takes time and practice. :-( .

    Don't get discouraged. Even God took 7 days!

    Hope this helps.

    Lee

  3. #3
    Carla P's Avatar
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    First of all, you should not be discouraged because FMQ is not really something you can master in just a few days. It takes practice & a lot more practice, so do not continue to beat yourself up. Now, pick one technique and practice it... a lot! Stippling, for example, is a bit easy to get bored with, but it is a great starting point. Sew fast (sort of) & move slow. Since you have 6 king sized quilts to finish, I would recommend putting the walking foot on your machine, & do all of your ditch quilting to all of them first. Then come back to the FMQ on each. In the mean time you can practice the FMQ as you have time, & not feel so overwhelmed by the size of the project as a whole. You can do it, just relax a bit. When you get frustrated, walk away from it for a few minutes.
    As for the back thread problem, make sure your stitch legnth is set at 0 and your bobbin is wound correctly. Check your top tension; I find it usually has to be a bit higher when FMQ than when doing standard sewing. Last, but not least, use good thread. Thread causes more problems than you could ever imagine.


  4. #4
    lin
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    Lee and Carla covered your questions and concerns so well that there's really nothing to add! I would, however, stress what they both said about being patient with the process. FMQ takes a lot of practice to get your foot and hand/arm speed co-ordinated for those even stitches. But once you "get it", you've got it for good!! :)

    And relax!!! Check youself every now and then to make sure your shoulders aren't bunching up around your ears! It's easy to get tense, which makes the whole process seem tiresome and frustrating. Really do concentrate on keeping your body relaxed. Good luck. I just know you'll get good at this in time.

  5. #5
    Diamonds's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone...

    I was just getting so frustrated and felt as if I was an imbecile :oops: Everything in quilting has always come so easy to me.. It was just second nature at least until trying to machine quilt.. I had even purchased a Hintenberg machine quilting frame a year ago.. Tried for a couple of months to master it and finally gave up.. This time I was just using my machine on my sewing table...

    I did finally break down and called a friend... She is going to machine quilt five of them for me for $45.00 a piece to cover batting, backing and binding.. It will leave only one to hand quilt and I will hand quilt one for her in return.. That takes some of the pressure off of me.. I know I can have the last king and her queen quilted in time for Christmas..


  6. #6
    lin
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    Aw, I'm sorry you were feeling so bad about yourself because of this. Lots of quilting techniques come easy to me too, but then there are those that I don't quite get the first few times and I struggle until I finally do. Paper-piecing was a nightmare for me at first, but then it suddenly "clicked" and it's been ok ever since. M-quing was the same. I screamed, cussed and probably threw a few things in the beginning. LOL I got myself into more messes with thread knotting up, puckers, sloppy stitches, and I even had the tension off so bad once that my thread kept flying off the holder hard enough to hit the wall!!! :lol: I nearly quit, many times. But I just wanted to learn it soooo badly, that I stuck to it and worked out the kinks one by one. I'm stubborn that way. LOL

    I'm so glad you're out from under the stress of having to finish all these before Christmas all by your lonesome self. What a great friend you have!!! Now maybe you can concentrate on simply learning the process. Take each issue you have with it one at a time and tackle it until you know what you're doing wrong. Eventually you'll be sailing through it and producing results you never knew you had in you! :D

  7. #7
    Senior Member QuiltinLee's Avatar
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    Diamonds,

    I found a really great website video that might help you with your project.

    http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1201929124&channel=156457828

    Hope that helps.

    Lee

  8. #8
    Diamonds's Avatar
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    Thanks Lin for the kind words... I was getting frustrated :lol:

    QuiltinLee I did watch the video and bookmarked... Thank you.. I may watch it a couple more times before I try again..

    Since Vickie is machine quilting for me I have time to piece one more top.. This one will be for one of my younger sisters and all of them will have one now.. I told her she would have to wait till after Christmas but now I can surprise her with it at the same time...

    She wants a Lone Star done in purples.. As soon as it is pieced I will post a pic of it... Just be kind when I do :lol:

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