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Tension different in different directions when FMQ?? Can we discuss? >

Tension different in different directions when FMQ?? Can we discuss?

Tension different in different directions when FMQ?? Can we discuss?

Old 02-27-2018, 03:15 PM
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If I go too fast on tight curves or circles my stitches won't look good. I try to relax and not get too uptight. If you are tense it shows in the stitches. I was switching between to straight stitch machines. Foot pedals are different, now I just use the Juki because I like that pedal the best. The other I use for piecing. Works best for me.
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:24 AM
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I have mostly abandoned FMQ as it causes me too much stress. When I want loopy or curvy, I either hand quilt or send it to a long armer. Leah Day's new book on walking foot quilting which has become my Bible. She offers quite a few alternatives to stitch in the ditch.
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:43 AM
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I know that when I FMQ on my domestic 40-year-old Kenmore, I tend to "push" or "pull" the quilt, and when I go sideways I get eyelashes, and I think it's because my speed is slightly different for each of these actions. What helps is to take a deep breath and make a conscious effort to calm down and maintain a constant pressure and speed. Certainly has eliminated the eyelash issues for me.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:16 AM
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It was using a larger needle that helped me.
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Old 02-28-2018, 11:15 AM
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I agree with concentrating on moving at a steady speed. I always used to speed up on my curves and then got eyelashes. Once I learned to move at a steady speed throughout my FMQ, things got a lot better. I'm working at perfecting mine now and I've learned it's practice, practice, practice. I also find the sometimes as I'm going along examining things very closely, they don't look good to me. But when the project is completed, they seem fine. And, yes, I am my own worst critic.
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Old 02-28-2018, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Mkotch View Post
I have mostly abandoned FMQ as it causes me too much stress. When I want loopy or curvy, I either hand quilt or send it to a long armer. Leah Day's new book on walking foot quilting which has become my Bible. She offers quite a few alternatives to stitch in the ditch.

I pretty much abandoned it too, but in it's place I use my decorative stitches. I know, I know it is cheating, but whatever works, right? I won't pay someone else to quilt mine as I give them all to a private home where the owners let homeless people sleep. I have given them about 60 now, so you can imagine the cost of sending my quilts out. Besides that, they really are not show quilts.

I like using the decorative stitches. I do QAYG, so every block I use different stitches. I don't use the ones that are dense of course, for obvious reasons. Blessings to you.
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Old 02-28-2018, 11:25 PM
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Does it happen on a “test sample sandwich” or just a heavy quilt?
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Old 03-01-2018, 01:07 PM
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Wow, thanks for tall the thoughtful posts! It's a Brother 1500 which I think is a straight stitch machine. I've played with the tension but really doesn't make much difference. I have a small Patchwork Bernina, 350 Quilter's Edition which I only do piecing on, but I'll admit I'm curious.

I could try a larger needle. I do sort of worry that it will make a larger hole but I'm willing to try it!
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Old 03-03-2018, 06:44 AM
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If your machine is the PQ1500, then yes, it’s straight stitch only. That’s the one I use. First, don’t worry about getting holes that are too big by using a larger needle— that’s not likely to happen with quilting cotton. Since your bobbin thread is showing on the surface when you FMQ, that suggests that your top thread and bobbin thread are not pulling with equal force- the tension between the two is not balance. If you are seeing bobbin thread on the top, then it is your top thread that is pulling harder. This can happen if you are moving your hands too quickly for the speed that your machine is moving the needle up and down, or if top thread has been misthreaded in some way, or if your top tension is set too high. This is what I do when I start seeing eyelashing on top of the quilt while fmq:

1. Recheck top threading making sure you have’t missed any guides and making sure that the thread hasn’t slipped off the spool and wound itself around the spool holder hthat happens with some cones threads). If you are using a slippery or very fine polyester thread, you may need to use all 3 holes in the pretension bar, otherwise use either the 1st and 3rd hole or only use the middle hole- this is something you will have to experiment with. 2. Check to make sure bobbin is properly inserted into bobbin case- hold bobbin case with open side facing you, make sure bobbin is turned so thread hangs off the right side - looks like letter “q” then insert bobbin making sure to pull thread through slot and up under the tension spring. 3. Switch to a new Topstitch needle, either 90/14 or 100/16. i usually do all of the above

Also: since you’re still learning, make sure you have the same thread in the top and the bobbin, that will make your life easier for now.

now try moving your hands slowly while running your machine about half speed or a little faster- you will get tiny stitches at first because you’re moving your hands slow. Try doing some loop de loops across your practice piece. Stop and look at it do you see any eyelashing on either the front or back of your piece? If not, try again, but this time slow your machine speed down but keep your hands moving at the speed they were before. Alternatley you could keep the machine speed steady and speed your hands up slightly. Your stitches should get longer. Stop and check to see if you’ve got any eyelashes front and back. If at any time you have straight areas with no eyelashing, but there are eyelashes around the curves of your loops, then the problem is either hand movement too fast in relation to machine speed or you need to tweak your tension slightly depending pn whether the eyelashes occur on the top (bobbin thread showing on top = top tension too tight= loosen top tension) or if they eyelashes occur on the bottom (top thread showing on back=bobbin tension too tight in relation to top tension= tighten top tension).

If slowing down your hand movements in relation to your machine speed does not solve the problem and you are continuing to get eyelashing on the top of your piece, then try reducing the top tension even more, even going down to 1 if necessary. If doing all the above has not solved the problem then it’s time to look at your bobbin tension:

Take bobbin case out and make sure it is threaded properly and make sure bobbin thread is through the slot and under the tension spring. Now holding the loaded case in one hand, Lift up on the thread being careful not to pull it out from under the tension spring, you should be able to lift the bobbin case to a standing position and then lift it slightly off your hand- if you can’t do this, then the bobbin tension is too loose for the thread you’re using and you will need to tighten the tension screw on your bobbin case (your manual shows how to do this). Just a tiny turn at a time is all you need to do, keep checking to see if you can lift the case by pulling on the thread. Once it does, then reinsert bobbin and see what happens.


Last edited by rryder; 03-03-2018 at 06:47 AM.
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