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So very frustrated with free motion quilting

So very frustrated with free motion quilting

Old 06-25-2013, 11:03 AM
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Default So very frustrated with free motion quilting

I started free motion quilting on my old Kenmore & just loved it. Did a couple of quilts with feathers & felt like I did a decent job. I just knew that if I had a little more throat space and needle down I'd be a whiz. So, I got a Janome 6600 about a year & half ago and love the space, the needle down, etc., but my free motion stitches just aren't that great and I feel like I've tried everything. On my current frustrating project I'm using Superior Bottom Line in both the needle and bobbin. I have the blue dot bobbin case and I'm using a Superior Topstitch 90/14 needle. I can see little dots of bobbin thread on top and get some eyelashing on the back around the curves. And if I'm not seeing bobbin thread on top I'm seeing needle thread on the bottom. No such thing as balanced stitches. It hardly seems to matter where I set the top tension or whether the feed dogs are up or down. And I know to slow down going around those curves. Actually, what has started working best is to leave the machine on Mode 1 with a 3.5 stitch length and drop the feed dogs. The stitches look better that way, but still not perfect. I just feel like I was doing better work when I started out on the Kenmore using Coats & Clark & whatever needle I'd had in my machine for the past six months. All my attempts to improve seem to have set me back....skill wise as well as money!

Thanks for listening!
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:56 AM
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I don't know anything about the new fangled machines

One tip I heard recently is if you don't like the throat space for FMQ on the machine you have, turn it 90 degrees.

Face the nose of the machine. Voila - "infinite" throat space. Obviously this doesn't work for machines built into tables unless you want to lay like you're Superman, but maybe it gives you some ideas? This is really just like having it on a frame, with no frame.

Maybe since you did well with the Kennie but wanted more space you could use the Janome for everything else, and keep going with the Kennie for FMQ.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:57 AM
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I have the same issue with my newer machine... I finally gave up playing with the tension and pull out my old machine to do the free motion on it.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:05 PM
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OK, I have been quilting on a Bernina for over a decade. I always try to have matching thread in the bobbin because you can not move the fabric precisely as the sewing machine does. I know that newer Bernina do have an automatic stitch regulator which would probably resolve your problem. Also check if the bottom surface is as smooth as your other machine. Just for your information, I used Mettler silk wrapped thread when I quilted. Hang in there. Use a sandwich using muslin on top to write the settings down next to the stitching. Hopefully with other members posting suggestions, we can get you back up and quilting.......
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:07 PM
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Sorry to hear of your frustration. I sure would not use Bottom line in the top and bottom with a 14 needle. That thread on top is way to fine for that large of a needle. Give it a try with nothing finer than wt. I also would increase the top tension.

Saw your blog---your quilts are beautiful; can tell that you are no amateur. I would never use bottom line on the top; however, I really like thick threads on top like 28 wt. Keep on trying. Good luck!
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:07 PM
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Smile Nix the bottom line on top

Sorry to hear of your frustration. I sure would not use Bottom line in the top and bottom with a 14 needle. That thread on top is way to fine for that large of a needle. Give it a try with nothing finer than wt. I also would increase the top tension.

Saw your blog---your quilts are beautiful; can tell that you are no amateur. I would never use bottom line on the top; however, I really like thick threads on top like 28 wt. Keep on trying. Good luck!
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:17 PM
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First, I apologize for pitching a hissy fit here on the board. Re-reading my initial post sounds like a two year old tantrum!

Thanks for your replies. Tammi, I think I will try a little fmq on this project my old machine for a comparison. It's just a pain to switch everything out and the Kenmore isn't set up for fmq with the necessary tables & all to support the quilt.

Ripped, isn't that a shame to have to go back to the old machine? I'm going to give this my best shot, but if I just can't get it right on the new machine, I think I'll trade for something with fewer bells & whistles; maybe just a straight stitch like a Juki.

Thanks for the encouragement, Maniac Quilter. If I ever get this project off the machine I think I'll go back to cotton thread for quilting, although I hear great things about Isacord. May have to try that one. I've loved the Bottom Line thread in the bobbin for piecing.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:22 PM
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SmickChick, thanks for the sweet comment. I wondered about the needle too but I'd gotten that advice somewhere, or maybe I misunderstood it, which is likely. I was using Bottom Line in the needle in order to match my bobbin because I thought that way I might be able to use a different color thread on top & bottom as long as they were the same brand & weight. Anyway, I'll change out my needle and give it another go.
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:26 PM
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You have a great machine to FMQ! I have the 7700 Janome, but have quilted with ladies who use the 6600 and they do beautiful work. So, I do think the issue is with threads and needles. Machines can be cranky about that! I have found that it is extra nice to find a thread you can use in the top and bobbin, so there are no issues with little peeks of the thread showing on the wrong side. I love 50wt thread for fine stitches, but heavier wt. is better if you like to really see the thread work and it is more durable for wash and wear quilts. Don't give up, you have a machine that really purrs!
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Old 06-25-2013, 12:30 PM
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Just saw your last post and I LOVE Isacord thread, it has a beautiful sheen to it. I have only used the 50 wt. in that brand.
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