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Thread: FMQ/darning foot trouble.

  1. #1
    Senior Member dixie_fried's Avatar
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    FMQ/darning foot trouble.

    I bought a darning foot on Amazon, a generic one as I initially wasn't sure I would enjoy FMQ enough to keep doing it. It has been sufficient in getting the job done--just a clear plastic oval with red lines.

    I started meandering a baby quilt last night, got about 1/4 done and decided to stop for the night. When I went back to work on it today, About 6 or 8 inches of stippling, and the needle broke with a WHAM! I could see where it had hit the darning foot, on the back side, bending the needle so that it eventually broke from hitting the metal plate just in front of the needle hole. I thought maybe I had put too much tension on the needle with the way I had the quilt positioned, so I changed needle, moved the quilt and tried again. WHAM! another broken needle after 6-8 inches.

    Of course it's Sunday and I probably won't find a darning foot at any of the chain stores. But, I wonder if a replacement foot will fix the issue? Not to mention, I need a new pack of quilting needles....

    Anyone had this happen? How did you fix it? Does the metal darning foot work better than the acrylic one?
    Last edited by dixie_fried; 04-22-2012 at 07:39 AM. Reason: speling
    "And I guess I might have made a few mistakes.
    But maybe that's exactly what it takes.
    To get a little happy in this big sad world..."
    ​One Line Wonder, The Avett Brothers

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    is the needle hitting the foot or the sewing machine plate? there are a couple different types of plates- one with a small round hole- one with a wider/oblong hole- used for decorative stitching- do you have the correct plate on the machine?
    also, are your feed dogs down? sometimes if they are up/engaged- the act of pulling/pushing the fabric fighting against the feed dogs function can cause the needle to be pulled out of placement.
    I realize (generic) feet are less expensive---but truly not compared to the cost of repairs needed after the damage they cause to the machine.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
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    The needle doesn't sound like it hit the plastic darning foot or it would have broken. If the needle is hitting the needle plate you may be putting too much pull/push on your fabric sandwich. Check to make sure the foot is attached properly and hasn't worked loose from FMQ. Hopefully the bent/broken needle hasn't messed up the timing on your machine.

  4. #4
    Senior Member dixie_fried's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    is the needle hitting the foot or the sewing machine plate? there are a couple different types of plates- one with a small round hole- one with a wider/oblong hole- used for decorative stitching- do you have the correct plate on the machine?
    also, are your feed dogs down? sometimes if they are up/engaged- the act of pulling/pushing the fabric fighting against the feed dogs function can cause the needle to be pulled out of placement.
    I realize (generic) feet are less expensive---but truly not compared to the cost of repairs needed after the damage they cause to the machine.
    From what I can see, the needle hit the foot causing the needle to bend forward--then hit the needle plate in front of the hole. The machine only came with the oblong hole needle plate.
    Feed dogs are down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    The needle doesn't sound like it hit the plastic darning foot or it would have broken. If the needle is hitting the needle plate you may be putting too much pull/push on your fabric sandwich. Check to make sure the foot is attached properly and hasn't worked loose from FMQ. Hopefully the bent/broken needle hasn't messed up the timing on your machine.
    I'm not really vigorous about my pulling/pushing, but, I wondered if the movement was pulling the needle and causing it to bend and hit the foot and then the plate.
    I checked the foot--it had not worked loose.
    I'm going to go check and see if the machine will sew regular stitches to make sure the timing is not off.

    Thanks for the replies so far!
    "And I guess I might have made a few mistakes.
    But maybe that's exactly what it takes.
    To get a little happy in this big sad world..."
    ​One Line Wonder, The Avett Brothers

  5. #5
    Senior Member dixie_fried's Avatar
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    The timing seems fine. It sewed all it's stitches beautifully with a regular all purpose foot.
    I thought I would try the FMQ foot again and really watch it move to see if I could identify the problem. I really think it's the foot...the shaft that attaches to the bar is plastic. The whole thing bends and bounces around. Of course the needle broke again...this time it broke into 3 pieces, the middle one flew out and hit me in the chest.
    I'm throwing it out and buying one specific to Singer.
    "And I guess I might have made a few mistakes.
    But maybe that's exactly what it takes.
    To get a little happy in this big sad world..."
    ​One Line Wonder, The Avett Brothers

  6. #6
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    I don't think it is the foot. It may just be the wrong one for your machine. Have you got the piece over the needle screw so it works with the needle as it goes up and down? I am trying to figure it out as you say it was working last night.

  7. #7
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    I bought a genaric foot for my machine and had the same broblem you are describing, after checking, found the angle
    was not right, I think you have the right idea, buy a foot spacificly for the machine you have and hopefully everything will be OK!

  8. #8
    Super Member tjradj's Avatar
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    I've done this on my steel darning foot a couple of times. It usually happens when I just starting after a full stop. It is just me moving my fabric too fast before the machine gets up to speed. You don't have to tug very hard to pull the needle to the side enough for it to hit the foot. If you happen to be pulling when the needle is up - wham!
    Now I try to make the effort to get the machine up to speed before moving the fabric.
    BTW, have you modified your foot like Leah Day does? It really helps for visibility. Check this link.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APD6s7PwoqU
    I used to be "hot", now it's just "hot flashes!"

  9. #9
    Senior Member dixie_fried's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ewecansew View Post
    I don't think it is the foot. It may just be the wrong one for your machine. Have you got the piece over the needle screw so it works with the needle as it goes up and down? I am trying to figure it out as you say it was working last night.
    I had used the foot a bunch of times before, and left it as it was when I quit for the night last night. I double checked how it was installed, even took it off and reattached it to make sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieBB View Post
    I bought a genaric foot for my machine and had the same broblem you are describing, after checking, found the angle
    was not right, I think you have the right idea, buy a foot spacificly for the machine you have and hopefully everything will be OK!
    Which angle did you find was not right? Was this because it was installed wrong, or just not the right foot? Did you replace it?
    Quote Originally Posted by tjradj View Post
    I've done this on my steel darning foot a couple of times. It usually happens when I just starting after a full stop. It is just me moving my fabric too fast before the machine gets up to speed. You don't have to tug very hard to pull the needle to the side enough for it to hit the foot. If you happen to be pulling when the needle is up - wham!
    Now I try to make the effort to get the machine up to speed before moving the fabric.
    BTW, have you modified your foot like Leah Day does? It really helps for visibility. Check this link.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APD6s7PwoqU
    I will try to be more careful, even after I locate a new foot--no luck on that at any chain stores today. I will try the LQS's tomorrow.
    If I can't find a foot specific to my machine, will it hurt to try the "BigFoot"?

    Thanks again for your help!
    "And I guess I might have made a few mistakes.
    But maybe that's exactly what it takes.
    To get a little happy in this big sad world..."
    ​One Line Wonder, The Avett Brothers

  10. #10
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    If you have a short shank machine, then any decent ss foot should work. I bought a Janome walking foot and FMQ foot for my Elna and they fit very well.

  11. #11
    Senior Member dixie_fried's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishrose View Post
    If you have a short shank machine, then any decent ss foot should work. I bought a Janome walking foot and FMQ foot for my Elna and they fit very well.
    I thought so, too. At this point, I will have to use whatever I can find tomorrow. I am trying to finish a baby quilt for a shower on the 28th (It's DH's cousin who I had forgotten was pregnant :/. got the invitation on Wednesday, cut and pieced the top on Thursday, pieced the back and basted Friday, started quilting Saturday). After I get it done, I can worry about ordering something online, but, time isn't on my side for this project.
    "And I guess I might have made a few mistakes.
    But maybe that's exactly what it takes.
    To get a little happy in this big sad world..."
    ​One Line Wonder, The Avett Brothers

  12. #12
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    It sounds to me as if the plastic foot is flexing as you sew -- not good. Is this a "hopping" foot? Or a "floating" foot? You might want to go to a metal foot, and I personally prefer a hopping foot.

  13. #13
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    sears Kenmore generally has a decent darning foot that fits MANY machines..including Janome, Elna, Singer, Brother and Kenmore!

    still why did the "foot" supposedly mess up NOW??? not really sure it is the foot! Did you totally rethread the machine or just replace the needle?

  14. #14
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    The last time I FMQ and had a problem with needles breaking, it was because the bobbin area was loaded with lint. It gets filled with lint alot faster when I quilt than when I piece. Try a clean out.

  15. #15
    Senior Member dixie_fried's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    It sounds to me as if the plastic foot is flexing as you sew -- not good. Is this a "hopping" foot? Or a "floating" foot? You might want to go to a metal foot, and I personally prefer a hopping foot.
    The part that holds the foot to the machine did seem to be flexing and allowing the needle to move out of placement. Or, at least that's what I could make of it as I tried to FMQ/watch the whole she-bang moving/try not to sew my hands! I'm going to try and find a metal foot today, but, I have no idea what the difference is between a floating foot and a hopping foot? I assume my current one is a hopper...it has the spring in the top where it hangs over the needle screw.

    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok View Post
    sears Kenmore generally has a decent darning foot that fits MANY machines..including Janome, Elna, Singer, Brother and Kenmore!

    still why did the "foot" supposedly mess up NOW??? not really sure it is the foot! Did you totally rethread the machine or just replace the needle?
    I will see if any of the LQS's and sewing machine repair shops carry the kenmore foot. I'm calling all of them in turn as soon as they open. Have to save my $4 a gallon gasoline!
    I did rethread after replacing the needle, even removed the foot and made sure it was on right. I just don't understand it either. The only thing I can come up with is the foot must be junky.

    Quote Originally Posted by hopetoquilt View Post
    The last time I FMQ and had a problem with needles breaking, it was because the bobbin area was loaded with lint. It gets filled with lint alot faster when I quilt than when I piece. Try a clean out.
    Good idea! I will take the guts out and give it a cleaning and see what's in there. Though it hasn't been long since I last did it, it could be full of gunk.

    As ever...thanks for your help. Hopefully I can get something going today and I will update if I identify the problem!
    "And I guess I might have made a few mistakes.
    But maybe that's exactly what it takes.
    To get a little happy in this big sad world..."
    ​One Line Wonder, The Avett Brothers

  16. #16
    Senior Member dixie_fried's Avatar
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    So....
    I called around this morning to see who had what. The LQS and sewing center closest to me both had FMQ feet, but the LQS only carried the plastic big foot. The sewing center is a Janome dealer. The owner asked me to bring the machine in so we could see what would fit.
    While my tot napped, I took the machine apart and made sure there was no lint built up. Very little debris. Still no go with the darning foot.
    I took the machine to them, and we tried a variety of feet. Eventually, we found that the regular Janome low shank darning foot works perfectly. It's even quieter--like it fits better. AND...the part that screws to the bar is metal!

    I conclude that the generic acrylic foot can't stand up to frequent all over FMQ'ing. I think the one I was using got bent or warped and wouldn't stay put above the needle screw like it's supposed to.

    Thanks again for all the help trying to figure it out.
    "And I guess I might have made a few mistakes.
    But maybe that's exactly what it takes.
    To get a little happy in this big sad world..."
    ​One Line Wonder, The Avett Brothers

  17. #17
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Great! So glad you found a solution!

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