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Thread: Quilting wavy lines

  1. #1
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    Quilting wavy lines

    I thought this would be so simple, but I am struggling terribly with the mechanics of handling the quilt. I have a large lap size quilt that I thought I would just do some wavy lines, but the walking foot doesn't want to wiggle around very easily. Starting and stopping with the fmq foot is giving me a fit with it jumping around. The thought that just popped into my head is maybe trying to fmq horizontally rather than the length of the quilt? I have a domestic machine, but it does have an 11" harp, and I have a large quilting table, so good on that score also. Anybody have any tricks up their sleeve for me?

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    walking feet work with your feed dogs to quilt nice straight lines...to do waves, curves, loops, free motion quilting you will have better luck using a free-motion foot (sometimes called a hopping foot) and dropping the feed dogs-so they are not trying to guide the fabric in a straight line- with the feed dogs dropped and the correct foot you can manipulate the fabric to create your waves.
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    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    When using a walking foot for making wavy lines, it's a matter of gently moving the quilt sandwich as it feeds into the walking foot. I never had difficulty with it, so I'm not sure I understand the problem.

    Regarding FMQ, have you tried doing it with the feed dogs up? That can help with the jumping around problem.

    Otherwise, I do not see that sewing horizontally would be any easier than sewing the length of the quilt. It could be more difficult because there would be more bulk under the arm of the machine to manage.

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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    put needle down option when you do FMQ. that will help. I do wavy lines with my walking foot. I can't think what is causing the tiny stitches.
    "From hence only infer that an Englishman, of all men, ought not to despise foreigners as such and I think the inference is just, since what they are today, we were yesterday, and tomorrow they will be like us"
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    After working on this for a bit, I've got my groove with the best results using my regular sewing foot - Thanks for your response.

  6. #6
    Super Member carslo's Avatar
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    The last time I did wavy lines I used a regular foot and the Serpentine stitch on my sewing machine. It worked quite well and I went vertical from top to bottom not side to side. Good luck!
    A bed without a quilt is like the night sky without stars.

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  7. #7
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    The problem I had with doing the serpentine/wavy line with my walking foot was trying to use that metal guide you attach to the walking foot for evenly space quilting lines. I was surprised that my machine was moving the quilt left to right and it was hard to keep it on course.

    found the best way was to use the white plastic thing that makes creases in the quilt top - I like it better than putting marks on the quilt. Then I just tried to aim the line through the center of the foot. I imagine seams would also make a good quilting guide for this stitch. I have a Babylock.

  8. #8
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I don't use a walking foot when I use a serpentine stitch, but I heavily starch backing fabric and also spray baste quilts so that may be why I don't need the walking foot.

    When doing wavy lines with a walking foot, I am actually using a straight stitch and simply guiding the quilt side to side to make long, curvy lines. This is a completely different look than the serpentine stitch.

    I wonder now if there is some confusion about "wavy" versus "serpentine".

  9. #9
    Super Member IBQUILTIN's Avatar
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    All great advice. When you start and stop while doing FMQ, be sure to hold your fabric stationary and don't make any bumps and bobbles. It will come to you, just takes time

  10. #10
    Junior Member pam7858's Avatar
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    I have used the walking foot, go slowly and use the "needle down". My lines were wavy - is that more widely spaced than serpentine? when needed, Feed dogs up

  11. #11
    Member QuiltNGanny's Avatar
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    You've gotten a lot of information about how to do the wavy stitches. I had the jumping around problem - or at least a jumping around problem when I was free motion quilting and found that if I used some the bands for my hands from
    Steady Betty that I no longer had that problem. Hmmmmm. Sounds confusing. Some people use garden gloves, some people use special gloves for FMQ and I like the things that fit around the palms of my hands and allow me to move the quilt sandwich more easily and smoothly. That's what helped me get rid of a lot of the hopes and bumps. Good luck.

  12. #12
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    When using a walking foot for making wavy lines, it's a matter of gently moving the quilt sandwich as it feeds into the walking foot. I never had difficulty with it, so I'm not sure I understand the problem.

    Regarding FMQ, have you tried doing it with the feed dogs up? That can help with the jumping around problem.

    Otherwise, I do not see that sewing horizontally would be any easier than sewing the length of the quilt. It could be more difficult because there would be more bulk under the arm of the machine to manage.
    I agree with this except to say that I have an excellent walking foot made by Bernina that I use on my 1972 Bernina Record 830, and I have an off brand one that came with one of my other vintage machines. I can tell you that there is a difference between one walking foot and another. I think the key to the wavy lines is probably to keep the waves very gradual. I do have better luck with the walking foot than with FMQ for that, but I'm not very good at FMQ in general.
    “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~Maya Angelou.
    One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

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