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

  1. #1
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    Tension different in different directions when FMQ?? Can we discuss?

    Ladies, so I finally quilted my latest project. What I noticed was when I quilted in one direction (toward me or away...I can't remember) the quilting was beautiful. When I quilted in the other direction, you could see the bobbin thread. I was FMQ. I was doing lines, swirls, a little of everything. I noticed the bobbin thread was definitely coming through through the majority of it, pretty much except when I was doing lines that (I think) were when I was pushing the quilt away from me. Is this just the way it's gonna be? An imperfect world?

    Thoughts welcome. I'll try to upload pics but so far it hasn't been successful! Ty!

  2. #2
    Junior Member yolajean's Avatar
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    I am not a great authority on this subject and will follow this post to learn more. I can only tell you that I have struggled for years trying to perfect my FMQ. I believe, in my case, that when what you describe happens to me, it is because I am moving my fabric too fast. FMQ is the art of getting your foot pedal speed and your hand movement speed coordinated throughout the process. I just keep practicing. I am finally falling in love with FMQ. Another thing I've noticed, is that when I take closeup photos of my FMQing, it actually looks much better than I believe it is. Also, was told to try a larger needle, 90/14. This didn't help me. Good luck!

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    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I usually never change my tension for that. when talking to my sewing machine repairman, he said I could buy a separate bobbin holder for FMQ. did that but don't' think I've used it yet.

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    Moving too fast could be the problem. You need to practice over and over and concentrate on consistent speed of movement in all directions. After a while it becomes automatic to you. Not sure how much tension or needle size could affect this but any changes you make, do them one at a time so see if any one of them helps the problem.
    Sally

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    Moving too fast could be contributing, but it seems that even if I'm moving slow it would still happen. I'm really just baffled by the fact that when I was quilting away from me (or towards me?!!! Argh), it would be great, and the other direction...not great. Just so odd. These were uneventful, boring straight lines when FMQ *should* have been simple.

  6. #6
    Super Member rvsfan's Avatar
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    FMQ makes me crazy.
    rvsfan
    A Ricky Van Shelton fan

  7. #7
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    I have noticed the same thing, and have done FMQ on several different machines. And different machines would have different "least favorite" directions. I had the least problem with a Singer 15 which has the bobbin mounted horizontally, facing the side. Had the worst problems with a slant needle machine going away and to the left, it's bobbin faced the front. It worked fine in every other direction, so I would make sure to turn fabric instead of going that way. I only did one small quilt on that machine and moved to another.

    If you think about the way the hook meets the needle to grab the thread, and how fabric may be putting pressure on a different side of the needle than where the slot is, you can have some rubbing that could affect tension - as it's adding tension to the thread due to friction.

    I have not tired to FMQ with my Juki, but it's got the same bobbin setup as the Singer 15. But it was made specifically to do FMQ, so I expect it would do fine.

    One would think that an embroidery machine would be made to sew good stitches in every direction, so they would also be good with FMQ. I've also not tried to FMQ on my embroidery machine.

    Machines that were only made to sew forward and backwards (not considering swing needle) may not have the ability to sew a consistant stitch in every direction.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  8. #8
    Super Member bjchad's Avatar
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    Because you are moving side to side, the needle flexes side to side and may affect your timing just enough to throw off your stitches. A stiffer needle, perhaps larger or a different type, might help.
    Donít know if this would work or is possible on your machine but on the sweet sixteen they suggest turning the eye of the needle just slightly towards the five-thirty position instead of the six oíclock position if you are having thread shredding which is also a timing issue. Maybe something similar would help you.
    Next time you take it in for servicing ask them to check the timing and set it correctly if it is off even a little. That may help.

  9. #9
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    Are you using an open toe foot? Which machine do you have?
    I know for mine it says not to move the layers towards me if
    I'm using the open toe.

  10. #10
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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    If you are FMQ on a domestic machine, not a dedicated FMQ like the sit down long arms, then there are several things that could cause this problem.: 1. moving your hands too fast in relation to the machine speed. 2. top tension too tight. 3. location of the bobbin can make some machines finicky when moving the quilt sandwich in one particular direction.

    Based on what you've described, I suspect it is a combination of 1 and 2. Try loosening your top tension slightly to see if you get better results. You may have to loosen your top tension more than a little depending on thread--there have been times when I've had my top tension all the way down to between 1 and 2 while FMQ because that's what the combination of thread, quilt sandwich etc. needed in order to get good consistent stitch formation. You probably won't need to do that at this stage if you are using the same thread in the top and bobbin and if the thread is a good quality 40-50 wt cotton or poly like Aurifil, or Isachord. C and C Dual duty is also a good one to start with as it is fairly strong and medium wt. Use a 90/14 or 100/16 Topstitch needle with all of those when FMQ.

    Also be super aware that when changing direction or making circles, spirals, loops, etc. the tendency is to speed your hands up as you go around the curve, that will cause eye lashing. You want to make sure you don't speed your hands up as you go around curves or change direction. And, make sure you are using a sturdy needle. I like to use a topstitch needle and even if I'm quilting with very fine thread I usually use either a 90/14 or even 100/16.


    Rob
    Last edited by rryder; 02-27-2018 at 01:11 PM.
    1955 Singer Featherweight 221/ Late 60's early 70's White Selectronic 970/
    1975 Kenmore 158 model 1914/. 1981 Brother VX560/ Brother PC420PRW/
    Brother PQ1500s/ HQSweetSixteen

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    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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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.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

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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.

  13. #13
    Super Member ArtsyOne's Avatar
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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.
    A fabric stash is always missing that one fabric needed to finish the quilt on which you're working.

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    It was using a larger needle that helped me.

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    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
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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.
    Patrice S

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    Quote 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.

  17. #17
    Senior Member kat13's Avatar
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    Does it happen on a ďtest sample sandwichĒ or just a heavy quilt?

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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!

  19. #19
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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    If your machine is the PQ1500, then yes, itís straight stitch only. Thatís the one I use. First, donít worry about getting holes that are too big by using a larger needleó thatís 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 haveít missed any guides and making sure that the thread hasnít 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 ďqĒ 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 youíre 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 youíre 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 youíve 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 itís 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 canít do this, then the bobbin tension is too loose for the thread youíre 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.

    Rob
    Last edited by rryder; 03-03-2018 at 06:47 AM.
    1955 Singer Featherweight 221/ Late 60's early 70's White Selectronic 970/
    1975 Kenmore 158 model 1914/. 1981 Brother VX560/ Brother PC420PRW/
    Brother PQ1500s/ HQSweetSixteen

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