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Thread: Question about FMQ

  1. #1
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    I guess I'm a little confused about FMQ. I posted a topic a few days ago about a book called Free-Motion Quilting Made Easy by Eva A. Larkin and how I thought it did look "fairly easy". I tried this weekend and of course got VERY frustrated, VERY quickly. I was just going to give up, but for some reason I decided to put the feed dogs back up and try it. It turned out great! Not perfect of course, but I was very happy with what I did on my first try and my DH thought it was really good too. So I guess my question is why do you drop the feed dogs and can you leave them up and still FMQ? It didn't really explain it in the book. It seems to work for me pretty well with them up. Am I missing something?

  2. #2
    Super Member Stacey's Avatar
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    I, too, can FMQ with the feed dogs up. I don't usually do it that way, although last week my friend (a newly addicted quilter) used my machine and did fine with the dogs up. No tucks or bunches.

  3. #3
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I'll be watching this thread. I'm trying to start FMQ and I'm a big chicken!

  4. #4
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I try it both ways, and go with the one that works the best with that quilt :D:D:D

  5. #5
    Super Member TonnieLoree's Avatar
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    Do whatever works best for you! I lower my feed dogs because I was taught to do that. I seem to break fewer needles with them down though. I FMQ 90 miles an hour once I get going and if the feed dogs are up, there is more resistance. With them down, I can get more swirlys and smoother loopys and it doesn't appear as jerky. A lot of FMQ involves moving from side to side as well. With the dogs up (which only pull in one direction, to the back), moving from side to side is much harder. Hope that makes sense.

  6. #6
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    It's all a matter of what is comfortable for you.

    I personally find it easier to move the fabric left to right when stippling or meandering. So the feed dogs engaged would not allow me to move the fabric freely sideways, as they feed the fabric up & down.

    When doing feathers or other designs where you are following a pattern, the feed dogs can also interfer.

    This is the way I set up my machine: feed dogs down, adjust the pressure on the foot by lowering it by 1, new needle. Less pressure on the foot allows you to move the fabric freely. I use an darning foot that has spring action to it. I do a test to see if the tension is ok, adjust it if I need to.

    If I want to FMQ in the ditch, which I do sometimes, I do leave the feed dogs up to help feed the fabric. Remember that the feed dogs are moving the bottom fabric, so watch that you do not get puckers in the backing if you leave the feed dogs engaged.

    Hope this helps.

  7. #7
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Leah Day is an expert quilter and she leaves her feed dogs up. Says the machine makes a better stitch that way. So I've tried it and it seems to work for me. I do cover the quilting area with a Super Slider so the feed dogs don't come in contact with my fabric.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sueisallaboutquilts
    I'll be watching this thread. I'm trying to start FMQ and I'm a big chicken!
    I was chicken too, but have been dying to try it. I was surprised at how well I did the first time. I started with just wavy lines and then kept getting "curvier" - like flower petals, etc. Start out pretty slow and you'll get the hang of turning the fabric.

  9. #9
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    it is a preference. The accepted way is to drop the feed dogs so there can be no movement on the underside. Some leave them up but dial the stitch length to 0. I feel that leaving up without dialing down to 0 just gives the feed dogs a chance to scratch the underside. For every way there is always an alternative. Do what is best for you and produces the work you want. To everyone his or her own.

  10. #10
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    You can do whatever works for you. Like we always say:

    NO QUILT POLICE!!

    :-) Good for you that you kept trying. Practice, practice, practice. It takes time to get this skill learned.

  11. #11
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    Thank you all for your advice and encouragement. I love this board! :D

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