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

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

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

Old 12-29-2014, 09:28 AM
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Default 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
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:43 AM
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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.
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:47 AM
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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.
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:53 AM
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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.
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:56 AM
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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.
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:59 AM
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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.
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Old 12-29-2014, 10:23 AM
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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.
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Old 12-29-2014, 10:27 AM
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When I did FMQ I changed my stitch length to zero.
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Old 12-29-2014, 10:44 AM
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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.
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Old 12-29-2014, 10:54 AM
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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.
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