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Thread: Singer 201 for free motion quilting

  1. #1
    Senior Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    OK, so I've just bought a 201, mostly for FMQ. I'm excited but also a bit daunted. I'd welcome any hints or tips, do's or don'ts that anyone who does FMQ on one of these machines can give me.

  2. #2
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Well, you're starting with a good machine for it. :)

    Have you thoroughly inspected the wiring and cords for stickiness and cracking or crumbling? Does the light seem to work properly when you plug it in?

    With the machine unthreaded, and assuming that it is properly oiled and lubed, run the machine wide open for several minutes. Is the motor housing too hot to touch? How about the foot control? Any burning smells or a lot of smoke? (a little wisp of smoke is probably just dust burning off and usually nothing to worry about)

    Does the motor run steadily and smoothly? If it's been a long time since the machine was used, you may hear it speed up and run faster as the fresh oil penetrates and breaks up gummy or hardened oil.

    If everything is safe, thread up the machine and sew on scrap fabric to check the stitching. Put the right needle into the machine for the thread that you're using, thread up the machine and bobbin, balance the tensions on the bobbin and needle threads and you're good to go.

    Put your darning foot on and drop the feed dogs, lower the foot and try sewing some simple lines and squiggles on a 14-16" practice sandwich made out of muslin and batting scraps. Draw the lines on with a water soluble marker, if you like. You may have to decrease pressure on the presser bar to allow the quilt to pass under the foot. You may also have to loosen the needle thread tension just a tick to keep the stitches balanced for FMQ compared to machine-guided stitching. :)

    Have fun with it!

  3. #3
    Senior Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepolyparrot
    Well, you're starting with a good machine for it. :)

    Have you thoroughly inspected the wiring and cords for stickiness and cracking or crumbling? Does the light seem to work properly when you plug it in?

    With the machine unthreaded, and assuming that it is properly oiled and lubed, run the machine wide open for several minutes. Is the motor housing too hot to touch? How about the foot control? Any burning smells or a lot of smoke? (a little wisp of smoke is probably just dust burning off and usually nothing to worry about)

    Does the motor run steadily and smoothly? If it's been a long time since the machine was used, you may hear it speed up and run faster as the fresh oil penetrates and breaks up gummy or hardened oil.
    It's come from a sewing machine engineer who buys up these old machines, overhauls them and sells them on, and is in wonderful condition, so no worries about the electrics etc, thank goodness.

  4. #4
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Terrific!!!! So now it's time to get to playing with it! :)

    Don't worry too much about "how" - you're going to discover a lot about it just by making up some practice sandwiches and drawing on them. Draw some straight lines and wavy lines side by side and just practice on those, first. It's huge fun! You're going to be tense and hold your breath at first - that will go away as you learn to make the needle fall where you want it to, and to coordinate the speed of the machine with the speed of your hands.

    One thing that helped me a lot was drawing on paper and a Dry Erase board. I'd draw shapes and fill them with feathers - over and over and over, until I could do it with my eyes closed. I still do this with every new design I want to put on a quilt. I draw it over and over and over until I can get out of a tight spot (or into one) without even thinking about what to do next.

    When you put a sandwich under the needle, you're going to be amazed at how easily all that drawing will translate to FMQ. :)

  5. #5
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepolyparrot
    Terrific!!!! So now it's time to get to playing with it! :)

    Don't worry too much about "how" - you're going to discover a lot about it just by making up some practice sandwiches and drawing on them. Draw some straight lines and wavy lines side by side and just practice on those, first. It's huge fun! You're going to be tense and hold your breath at first - that will go away as you learn to make the needle fall where you want it to, and to coordinate the speed of the machine with the speed of your hands.

    One thing that helped me a lot was drawing on paper and a Dry Erase board. I'd draw shapes and fill them with feathers - over and over and over, until I could do it with my eyes closed. I still do this with every new design I want to put on a quilt. I draw it over and over and over until I can get out of a tight spot (or into one) without even thinking about what to do next.

    When you put a sandwich under the needle, you're going to be amazed at how easily all that drawing will translate to FMQ. :)
    What great advise - Thank you

  6. #6
    Senior Member annesthreads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepolyparrot
    Terrific!!!! So now it's time to get to playing with it! :)

    Don't worry too much about "how" - you're going to discover a lot about it just by making up some practice sandwiches and drawing on them. Draw some straight lines and wavy lines side by side and just practice on those, first. It's huge fun! You're going to be tense and hold your breath at first - that will go away as you learn to make the needle fall where you want it to, and to coordinate the speed of the machine with the speed of your hands.

    One thing that helped me a lot was drawing on paper and a Dry Erase board. I'd draw shapes and fill them with feathers - over and over and over, until I could do it with my eyes closed. I still do this with every new design I want to put on a quilt. I draw it over and over and over until I can get out of a tight spot (or into one) without even thinking about what to do next.

    When you put a sandwich under the needle, you're going to be amazed at how easily all that drawing will translate to FMQ. :)
    Some great ideas here, thankyou. I've done FMQ before, though am not very experienced, and have had endless tension problems with my Janome (both the machine's tension and mine!!), so it's a matter of getting this beauty set up and then getting used to its speed etc. I'm presuming my Janome darning foot will fit it, as I've used it on my Featherweight.

  7. #7
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    thanks thepolyparrot. that was a thorough reply

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