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Thread: Pulling my hair out - FMQ (trying to learn) on Janome 6600 - GRRRR

  1. #1
    Senior Member PghPat's Avatar
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    Pulling my hair out - FMQ (trying to learn) on Janome 6600 - GRRRR

    Can someone help me. I have been trying to learn off and on for about 4 years to Free Motion Quilt and every time I think I am determined to stick to it until it clicks. So far I have given up every time. Now I think I am doing worse than ever. My thread keeps breaking. I have checked everything and even put different foot on to do straight sewing to see if the thread breaks and it doesn't. I have tried about 6 different threads and it sews for 10 seconds and then breaks when trying to FMQ. I have the feed dogs down, FMQ foot on, fast machine, slow hands - what am I doing wrong. I think I did the very same thing about 3 weeks ago on a practice piece and it looked decent - not good - but decent. Any suggestions? I have tried a different needle and it didn't help.

    I love doing stitch in the ditch and have no problem - hide my stitching very well. I read where so many people say that SITD is one of the hardest and I have no problem with that. I have a quilt I'm trying to quilt and did quite a bit of SITD on it but have areas in each block that needs to be filled in and would love to do a little FMQ in them - nothing fancy - just stippling/meandering.

    Frustrated!!!!! to say the least. Pat

  2. #2
    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    Just some ideas. Try a new needle and depending on the size you have in now a larger one. Also use a top stitch needle, which has a large eye, a large groove and is a stronger needle. Make sure the thread has a clear path, sometimes a small nick on the end of the spool can hold up the thread and cause it to break when doing FMQ. Try keeping your feed dogs up, sometimes that actually works better than down.
    Hope maybe one of these ideas will help. It can be frustrating until you get the hang of it.

  3. #3
    Super Member notmorecraft's Avatar
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    Make sure your quilt is supported on all sides, if it hangs over anywhere it will creat a drag on your stitching. Although you have a fast machine, have you tried reducing the speed, also turning tension down to zero. This is one thing you can't use your auto tension on, hope you get this worked out.

  4. #4
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    Have you taken your Janomee in for it's yearly service yet?? Your thread balance if it is off slightly will show up more prominent when doing FMQ over SITD. The WORSE time to learn FMQ is when you are under a time constraint.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  5. #5
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    I learned and carried out all my FMQ on my 6600 before I had the 8900. All machines, even the same models, differ and it's a case of trial and error to find out what works for you and your machine. Sounds as if your tension is too high. I had my 6600 on 2 or 3 tension, had my speed on middle setting. You will also find that the stitch Mode 2, number 11, works better than the utility stitch.
    Used a topstitch 80/12 and successfully used King Tut, Masterpiece, Mettler Silk Finish, Isacord, Gutermann, YLI. Finer threads such as YLI Soft Touch or silk I could fmq with a TS 70/10. I used the metal fmq foot which comes with open and closed toe. An important item - do you have the "blue dot" bobbin in the machine - the tension is suited to fmq - and I also used the little plastic bobbin washers.
    I think you could be manoeuvring slightly too sharp and too fast and could be why the thread is snapping. Slow down a little and move the fabric smoothly. I found the machine on fast speed also gave snapped threads, and that it was better to have the speed control on middle but use my foot to control the speed.
    I did countless practice pieces before I was proficient though, it takes a while to find out what works for you and your machine. I hope this helps some.

  6. #6
    Senior Member gram2five's Avatar
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    I am learning fmq and the best tips I have received are - use a topstitch needle, set your tension to 0 and start out with machine speed at medium. I also invested in the Janoop (sp?) suspenders, and they have worked out great to support the weight of the quilt.

  7. #7
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    One of my most liberating classes was watching David Taylor do FMQing. I was trying to stitch way to fast. He stitches at a steady kerthunk, kerthunk, kerthunk. I used that word because as you say the word out loud, that is his speed.

  8. #8
    Super Member IrishgalfromNJ's Avatar
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    When I did FMQ I changed my stitch length to zero.

  9. #9
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    One of the main reasons for thread breakage is a needle-thread mismatch. Start with a really, really big eyed needle, like a top-stitch needle, as someone said. With it, use a fairly fine-weight thread at least until you've found a "safe place" with little to no thread breakage.

    And try polyester thread -- a hush fills the room ;-), although the idea that you shouldn't mix cotton and poly is a well-repeated myth ;-). Trilobal poly will be less nubby than cotton and thus less likely to catch in the quilt sandwich and break. Leah Day (the 365 quilt block lady) uses Isacord poly, but many of the poly threads will do. I even use Maxi-Lock swirls, in my longarm quilter. Although it's actually a bit nubby, it's fine-ness makes up for it. It is fun and holds up really well! But a trilobal poly will generally be smoother. The high-end pros like Karen McTavish use Glide trilobal poly.

    You also want the needle to be nice and sharp. It has to make a clean hole through the quilt sandwich to prevent shredding the thread in the fabric sandwich. So make sure the needle is new and not damaged.

    And patience helps. Watch some of the quilting videos online. Use them to help you develop a medium-speed rhythm.

    And yes, another vote for setting your stitch length to 0.

  10. #10
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    This is one of those areas where a hands on teacher can help. I would check with quilt shops in the area and see if any offer a FMQ class.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  11. #11
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    I too have a janome 6600p and did a lot of reading because I seemed to struggle with the FMQ part. I would say you have a lot of good advice already from other posters but if that does not resolve the issue have a look at the following interesting items : http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...a-t171947.html

    http://content.janome.com/fusetalk/f...&threadid=1893


    http://freemotionquiltingadventures....lt-set-up.html

  12. #12
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    what threads are you trying. For me I had just about every thread break that was cotton except for king tut which is long staple egyptian grown cotton. Also had more success with poly. I had practice off and on for about 4 years and just recently with the help of craftsy classes just started to have some success. I recommend a topstitch needle and using poly or if you really love cotton king tut is the best of all brands IMHO the only one I haven't tried is presencia but all the others had shredding. Topstitching needles have a wider hole and groove for the thread which causes less shredding. Some of the breakage can also be due to moving the sandwich too fast. Don't give up, I almost did and finally it just clicked and I feel it will for you too if you give it some time
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  13. #13
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    speed queen teflon washer. go to lea day she has them and shows how to trouble shoot. the washers fixed mine when that happened to me.
    don't stop!just keep trying and something usable will turn out!!

  14. #14
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    oh the washer fits under your bobbin. my thread was breaking top and bobbin no ryme or reason.
    don't stop!just keep trying and something usable will turn out!!

  15. #15
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    My Janome likes the feed dogs up, stitch length 0. Keep trying you will get there
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  16. #16
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    Does it break when you sew normally? Maybe try going slower - I set the speed at about 50% for FMQ.

    I'm lucky, I guess...I can FMQ on my 6600 and all I have to change is the speed and the foot. I don't change tension, no special bobbin case...I don't even drop the feed dogs anymore. It just...works. (I still kind of suck at making it go where I want it to go, but that's a lack of practice on my part; can't blame the machine for that!)

    I use Aurfil or Precensia thread - both are very fine and Precensia is pretty tough. Maybe try a thinner thread?

    I used to get a lot of looping on the back before I slowed the machine down, which seems counter-intuitive since usually looping is caused by moving the fabric faster than the needle. I think having the needle move at a slower rate makes me more relaxed and careful overall.

  17. #17
    Super Member meyert's Avatar
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    thanks for asking this question. I have a Janome 6600 so this is all good info for me. I use King Tut thread and I have good luck with that. I set my tension very high.. like 8 or 9. I recently FMQ an entire quilt by using the start/stop button.. no foot pedal. I really liked that I do drop the feed dogs

  18. #18
    Super Member Yooper32's Avatar
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    It sounds to me like you are pulling your fabric along faster than the speed of your machine and consequently it causes the thread to break. Slow down and live and let live, (your thread, that is.)
    Yooper32 aka: Donna B

  19. #19
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    I just started FMQ on my 6600 a little over a year ago and just started off doing samplers, then potholders and table runners. I attended a workshop with a quilter who has published several books and I have also purchased a couple of Craftsy FMQ classes that I can watch over and over. Both were confident builders.

    I'm not perfect, but I do enjoy what I am able to accomplish now. I can easily FMQ crib, lap and twins but I rent a Long Arm at my LQS for anything larger than a twin.

    Don't give up...you'll find your groove.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Jan in FL's Avatar
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    When I was learning on my Janome 6600P, I was so frustrated. I took my machine in and found that I did not have the settings at the top properly set. Let the dealer help you to make sure you have the proper settings - not just stitch length and tension but the other settings for this model as well - the manual is not very clear on this part.
    Enjoy your day,
    Jan used to be in FL when she chose this user name

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  21. #21
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    Can I make an odd suggestion? Try stitching in the ditch fmq. I always do mine that way and I think it has helped me to learn to control my speed and the quilt. Maybe if you are doing a movement that you are already comfortable with it will help. You are used to the speed that your hands are moving for that machine speed and the sound that goes along with it. If you are still having breakage problems you will at least have taken your movement and speed out of the equation.

  22. #22
    Senior Member SusanSusan33's Avatar
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    I have a 6600 and do a lot of FMQing on it. I like a size 90 topstitch needle. I usually use Aurifil or connecting threads cotton thread. I have wanted to try the trilobal poly for a while. Need to go find some!!

    I also bought the special bobin case. Not sure that it really helped all that much. I also have the slippery mat (sew slip? I bought on Amazon).

    It looks like you have a lot of good suggestions above. Did you find anything that helped?
    SusanSusan33- Blessed by God at Age 33 (Oct '00) with B/G twins. U.S. Air Force Veteran (1995-2002).

  23. #23
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    Don't know whether this will help but Leah Day says she always quilts with the feed dogs up. She used to use Janomes. Don't know what she uses now. She has a blog and teaches something new each day.

  24. #24
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    WELL I was taught metal to the pedal but in my case that did not work for me. If you can slow your machine down it may help that is what did it for me. I also used the silk thread it is real fine and very forgiving sure I made mistakes but when I got done it looked okay Well what it did for me was to give me the courage to keep trying and using heavier threads and different designs. I sure hope you keep trying you should do it every day for at least 10 minutes or more you will be surprised by the end of a week or so.

  25. #25
    Super Member Sassylass's Avatar
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    THank you for asking this question and thank you to all the ladies that have given great advice!
    If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. -Will Rogers

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