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Thread: Not sure where/who to ask - help with darning foot/bobbin?

  1. #1
    Eff
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    Angry Not sure where/who to ask - help with darning foot/bobbin?

    Hello everyone,

    I'm a young expectant mother trying my hand at my first quilt for our son. It grew from a joke of my husband (as I was sewing nursery decor/tapestry) to a very real project that I'm dying to complete before the birth (a week or two away). This is what I have so far (it's a Star Wars theme with hand-made appliqués, from scraps of fabric leftover from the nursery).



    The quilt top is finished. It's not perfect, it's certainly unorthodox and uneven (I did not have a rotary cutter, did not follow a pattern, etc.) and... well I'm sure I could win a few "ugly quilts" contests - but it was a labor of love and I'd like to quilt it now!

    I purchased a darning foot and installed it successfully on my machine. These are the steps I've taken so far.

    - The darning foot is the correct type for my low-shank machine, it goes up and down with the needle and I can move the quilt sandwich underneath it.

    - I have dropped the feed dogs.

    - I have adjusted stitch length to 0, lowered the tension and reduced stitch length to 0.

    And then I tried quilting (thankfully on a piece of scrap batting). I've been struggling for well over an hour. After only 2 or 3 stitches, even by just turning the wheel, my machine locks up and I find a bunched up knot in the bobbin case. I looked everywhere I could online, called the lady who sold me the darning foot, banged my head on the desk, rethreaded the machine, redid the bobbin...

    I'm at a loss. My machine is a cheap Singer Heavy Duty 4411 and from what I can see, even though I've lowered the feed dogs, the bobbin thread gets caught in the lowered teeth and starts going haywire immediately. Is that even possible?

    In the worst case scenario where I don't manage to free-motion quilt it, how horrible would cross diagonal quilting look, considering the "pattern"?

    Any advice would be helpful. Thank you so much,

    F.

  2. #2
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    I always hold onto my top and bottom threads before starting the machine so I don't have any nesting problems. I hold the thread ends for a few stitches before I let go.

  3. #3
    Super Member SuzyQ's Avatar
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    I agree with annthreecats, I pull my bobbin thread up and hold it and my top thread for a few stitches. If I don't then it gets all tangled up. Good luck!

    Suzy

  4. #4
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    I do not lower my feed dogs as I just do wavy diagonal lines. It seems to work just fine for me.

    And yes, it really does help to hold on to both threads as you are starting a line of stitching. If I forget I often end up with the knotted mess you described.

    Really like your quilt! Very nice, especially for a first one. Keep up the good work.
    legendarycandles.com
    Just discovered I qualify for FABLE (Fabric Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy)

  5. #5
    KLO
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    I also hold my threads both top and bottom until I have taken three or four stitches. If I don't, I get a nest also. If that doesn't cure your problem, try cleaning your machine out completely as there could be a thread caught in the bobbin area or in the teeth area. Re-thread all again just to make sure you have it right. I have on occasion thought I had it threaded properly the second and/or third time I tried it but didn't for some unknown reason. A bit of a brain freeze perhaps? Hope you can get this working soon.

  6. #6
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Welcome from Minnesota and happy quilting
    Your quilt top is terrific as your first. Best wishes in finishing the quilting and the new little one.
    Nancy in western NY

  7. #7
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    Cross-hatching would look fine. You could stitch around each of the blocks and possibly around the center object and the cross hatch in the white area but not thru the blocks. The blocks would stand out better. I think your son will love your labor of love. Years ago I made my son (when I was pregnant) a block quilt and today there are only threads (litterly) left of it but he won't get rid of it; he's 26. I'd love to find the fabric and make him a new one. I knew nothing about quilting back then; I tied it like I had watched my grandmother do. It'll be well loved no matter what you do. Check out Leah Days web site on FMQ; she's great and she does it all by a regular machine and if you ask her a question she'll try to answer you.
    Judy

  8. #8
    Super Member greenini's Avatar
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    You also might try setting your stitch length to 0 and make sure you're lowering the foot lever, sometimes it's easy to forget and leave it up. FMQ is a matter of trying to move your hands and foot at the same time and can take some practice. Lots of folks suggest you hold a pencil in your hand and move the paper to get the feel of it before you try it on fabric.

    Cross hatching would look just fine and I'm sure your baby will love the quilt to death because mommy made it!!

  9. #9
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    I love the blocks. Don't quit until you get your answers. You'll be glad you finished it. So will baby. You will get answers from this board. They are very willing to help you over and over.

  10. #10
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    Congratulations on your first top! Straight stitching will look fine. Check the batting package for how far apart the quilting lines can be to determine your pattern. I would start with a straight line of stitching from the top to the bottom in the center. I would then stitch outward from that line on both sides. If everything is still going well you will have it well anchored for further quilting. Good Luck!

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