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Thread: Total newbie needing advice

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Total newbie needing advice

    Okay, here goes...I'm a newbie...not sure if this is the right spot for this thread.....can you tell I'm blushing madly already???
    So I used to do hand quilting years ago and now I'm having fun trying to do machine quilting and free motion stitching. Only problem is that my machine is a 25 year old Janome. Now, using the walking foot and doing straight stitching on my practice quilts is just fine but oh dear, I am in a world of pain with my darning foot and trying to do free motion stuff. For some reason I just can't stop getting needle thread showing through on my backing no matter how I change my tension and presser foot pressure. I know a lot of my problem is "me" as a newbie but, is it possible that my little old machine is not helping me all that much? Am I solely to blame? What would be a good entry level machine for me to purchase to continue doing free motion stitching? So far I haven't minded mucking up my practice quilts but now I am keen to "do' a lovely big quilt and I want to "get it right". It's tricky getting myself to any classes as I work yucky hours so am basically "winging it" with the help of internet tutorials. Any advice would be great and please accept my apology if I have posted in the wrong spot or sound like a real newbie twit

  2. #2
    Senior Member faykilgore's Avatar
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    Welcome to the quilting board! My first question would be, when did you last have the machine in for service? Many an old machine will work just fine, if it's properly tuned, cleaned and adjusted. I would start with that.
    Fay

    Wanted: a job that involves raising cats, riding motorcycles and creating quilts!

  3. #3
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    You can successfully fmq with any machine as long is you have the right tools. You say you are changing the pressure on the darning foot. You shold not have to change this pressure if using the darning foot. Change the needle and hange the thread. Be sure the feed dogs are dropped or covered (even tho some say this is not necessary). Also be sure you are moving the fabric at an even pace. Since it is difficult for you to get to classes, you might consider a short private lesson to help you get tarted. The price may pay dividends in improving your skills.

    I also sugget since you say you have tried to adjust tension etc.....go back and set the machine for regular sewing and try and then start over in your adjustments It may be that something has become unblanced in your trying these things Also be sure you have the same weight thread on bottom and top and definitely a new neede that corresponds to your the size of your needle.
    Last edited by Holice; 12-08-2012 at 03:57 AM.

  4. #4
    amh
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    Frustrating, isn't it. I worked at tension for an entire day and it is finally correct. Sounds like your bobbin tensin might be a little too tight. However, my first suggestion to you is: Put in a new needle. Sometimes if they are a little dull, and that seems to make weird things happen. My machine performs best FMQ if I use jeans needles (size 16).

    You probably have some new needles on hand, but if you don't have a jeans needle, replace with a new needle -- the biggest you have, and see if that helps a little.

    amh
    Aileen
    Saskatoon SK Canada

  5. #5
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    if you decide to get a new machine for fmq. i recommend the 1600p by
    janome it does a fantastic job.

  6. #6
    Senior Member gail-r's Avatar
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    It is mostly practice, practice and more practice and not all on the machine. I know that sounds crazy but and lot of FMQ is muscle memory. So, if you practice drawing a design on paper or any thing that you can see (I say this because I used to have a micro-fiber rocking chair with big arms, perfect for drawing with my finger) and practice one design at a time along with practicing on your machine you will get good. Start by writing you name with your machine, first name, last name, then put a heart in the middle, then maybe add a star at the end or maybe a grapevine. It will come just stick with it. If you are having your thread show mostly on the curves you are probably moving your hands faster than the machine, just try to slow down a bit on the curves. Good luck, you can do it. Hugs.
    Gail in Utah

  7. #7
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I agree with Hollice ... the first thing you need to do is set the tension back to normal and do some straight stitches with a regular presser foot on the machine - just using fabric (no batting) - using regular 50wt cotton thread and the appropriate size needle. If you are unable to get the tension back then your machine may need servicing.

    Oh ... did you change the top tension only or did you also attempt to change the bobbin tension?

    If you also changed the bobbin tension you will have to get that back to normal as well. Generally speaking, I never change my bobbin tension. Under normal circumstances, it's not necessary.

    Once you get the machine back to running a nice smooth and even straight stitch seam with 50wt thread you can start over again.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  8. #8
    Super Member jemma's Avatar
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    soo much good advice --welcome from a fellow aussie [well in truth ex pom]

  9. #9
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    the trick to making sure your machine is in correct tension balance is to sew a line on the bias of fabric and then gently pull the fabric holding ends of stitching. If the tension is in correct balance then the stitching should not break. If one side breaks then that is the tension that is too tight and needs to be adjusted . I do not adjust my bobbing tension. but only the top. Also I have found that I do not need to adjust the tension when FMQ . I use invisible thread on the top and thread matching backing on bobbin UNLESS the bobbin thread is too dark for the top and few of the stitchs show thru. EG- black thread shows thru on gold top.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BeckyB's Avatar
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    I agree with the bobbin tension! That is usually my problem area!
    It is easier to be wise for others than for ourselves.

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