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Thread: FMQ-What am I doing wrong!!!?!!!

  1. #1
    Senior Member quiltingnd's Avatar
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    Angry FMQ-What am I doing wrong!!!?!!!

    I have this quilt I am doing for a friend's daughter. I REALLY wanted to try my hand at a meander. I had practiced a few times on small scraps and it didn't seem too bad. I figured this quilt was a good way to practice. I could sew around each block and then meander in that box. Make it seem less daunting. While the top doesn't look too shabby (I was even happy with my spacing), the bottom looks HORRIBLE! What am I doing wrong? I have my feed dogs down. My stitch size set to 0..and my tension on 8-9?

    I feel so VERY frustrated because I REALLY want to do this. It doesn't have to be perfect, but I sure would like it usable. I am guessing by the looks of the back that I need to figure out how to pull that all out and try again?

    Am I just moving my fabric too fast? Not going fast enough on my sewing machine? (speed wise?)

    Pics of the back:



    Pics of the front:



    I feel so very frustrated and honestly..dumb. Is FMQ really this hard?! I am just tired of stitching in the ditch or straight line quilting. I wanted to do a quilt that actually LOOKED quilted. Please help!!!

  2. #2
    Super Member decky's Avatar
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    I think you may have your top tension to high.

    Pat in MN

  3. #3
    Member Yoshi's Avatar
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    I am still learning and i've found that when this happens it is a combination of any of the following: the tension being too low, my hands moving too fast and my machine speed being too slow. I've also found that it's much more likely to happen on poly batting than cotton.

    Being the pro that I am at FMQ I can tell you that a seam ripper will take that right out and you should be able to go over it again.

    edited to add: i don't know if i can link to another quilting web site so I'll just share with you that if you type "what is FMQ eyelasing" into the search engine of your choice, you'll find a TON of information on how to troubleshoot the problem!
    Last edited by Yoshi; 03-20-2013 at 12:54 PM.

  4. #4
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    Same here, it should be easy to take out so try it again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yoshi View Post
    I am still learning and i've found that when this happens it is a combination of any of the following: the tension being too low, my hands moving too fast and my machine speed being too slow. I've also found that it's much more likely to happen on poly batting than cotton.

    Being the pro that I am at FMQ I can tell you that a seam ripper will take that right out and you should be able to go over it again.
    When life gives you scraps, make a quilt.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Diane007's Avatar
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    yep... you really have to play with your tension

  6. #6
    Super Member tatavw01's Avatar
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    slow down new Needle first, put your tension and length back to what you use to stitch with. I never change the tension, length and keep my feet dogs up and always use a new needle. Here is sample of my quilting I do on my Juki
    Name:  20130127_085435-1 (484x640).jpg
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    Last edited by tatavw01; 03-20-2013 at 01:29 PM.

  7. #7
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    I have best success with new needle, medium speed (if you can, set the speed on machine and let it run), feed dogs down, tension at about 7, and moving the fabric slower.....once you get the hang of it, you can speed up the machine and fabric.....tension can be a tricky thing, you will have to play with it a bit.....don't get down on yourself, it isn't easy at all the first few times you try.....put together some practice sandwiches to work on until you at least get the tension better....I despise ripping out, so will always get a practice sandwich before starting a quilt, just to make sure machine is behaving!.....it looks like your stitch length is pretty consistent (something I always struggle with), so that is one aspect you won't have to worry about so much....try to have fun, but practice, practice, practice!

  8. #8
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    It looks to me like your top thread may not be actually in the tension disks, or your bobbin tension is way too high. If it was just a speed issue, those eyelashes would be more prevalent around the curves, but yours look fairly consistent throughout.

    First, I'd take the thread out of both the top and the bobbin and totally re-thread.
    Next I would do a "regular" straight stitch on a practice sample using a regular foot with the feed dogs up and stitch length set "normally" to see if the tension looks good that way. If not good, adjust and necessary and re-test. The tension shouldn't need to be changed significantly between doing a regular stitch and a FMQing stitch as long as you are using the same threads as you will for FMQing.

    Then I'd drop the feed dogs,
    Set the stitch length to zero,
    Put on my quilting foot,
    and do some test meandering on a practice sample with the same or similar backing batting and top fabrics.

    When all looks good on the practice piece, you'll be all set to go back to your quilt!

    This is the process I go throught each and every time I set up for FMQing a piece.
    Wendy

  9. #9
    Junior Member jzaaboo's Avatar
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    I agree with Wendy-I agree with you on how frustrating it is at first, I've only done 11 quilts, and I'm always convinced I've ruined my beautiful tops. The tension problem here is more than a little eyelashing, something is threaded wrong, or maybe your bobbin is in backward in your bobbin cover and it's catching.

  10. #10
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    The good news is, the bobbin thread will pull right out and then you can easily pull out the top eyelashes. You need more tension on your top thread as too much thread is being pulled to the back. You might have the bobbin tension too tight as well. Put your tensions back to the factory settings and then adjust a little at a time until you get a good balance in the sandwich sample.

  11. #11
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    I had this happen to me. I would re-thread the machine, change needles, check the bobbin and lower the tension. Hope you find a solution, this is frustrating.
    Pat M.

  12. #12
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    adjust your top tension , i had the same problem with my new juli 2000 qi , finally i got it adjusted right, now i love. it .adjust a little at a time , then a little more , you'll get there. i had to do alot of picking out too , uck , good luck

  13. #13
    Senior Member quiltingnd's Avatar
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    Well..I had just finished doing a regular stitch around the squares themselves and you can actually see that in the pictures. It looked fine.

    And then I switched to my darning foot, changed the tension and length. I will rethread my bobbin and get a new needle and set everything back...and see if it makes a difference. I have no idea how to change the tension in the top thread.

    Ugh..it's just so frustrating. I'm trying to remember to breath....and take it slowly.

  14. #14
    Super Member Foxflower's Avatar
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    To change the tension in the top thread you need to twist your tension dial in the body of your machine. To adjust BOBBIN tension you have to turn a screw on the bobbin case. Something looks wonky with your top tension to me, but I'm a novice too.
    "Life is mostly froth and bubble, but one thing stands as stone. Kindness in another's trouble, courage in one's own." Adam Lindsey Gordon

  15. #15
    Junior Member dmarie's Avatar
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    That happens to me when I forget to lower the pressure foot. Easy to take out. Good luck.

  16. #16
    Super Member Blinkokr's Avatar
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    Sorry for you problem and thank you for sharing
    Have a Blessed night
    Ellen

  17. #17
    Senior Member omaluvs2quilt's Avatar
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    Thats exactly what I was thinking...It's so easy to forget when you're using the darning foot. It can also be lint in the bobbin area or if your machine needs a little drop of oil in that area. Also be sure the bobbin thread is wound nice and tight, although you would probably see problems with straight stitch too. I have found that my Janome does require more top tension unless I'm using the blue dot bobbin case.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmarie View Post
    That happens to me when I forget to lower the pressure foot. Easy to take out. Good luck.

  18. #18
    Senior Member quiltingnd's Avatar
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    I rewound my bobbin and put in a new needle and reset my tension. I tried it again on a left over practice piece. This time it looked much better. It would knot in areas where I would halt without stopping the machine and every now and then I would see a small loop of thread that looked like it didn't catch. But it didn't look nearly like it did early. So maybe I will try again tomorrow.

  19. #19
    Super Member sylvia77's Avatar
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    I've had this happen to me and it was the bobbin thread wasn't engaged with the tension spring. Hope this helps.

  20. #20
    Senior Member quiltingnd's Avatar
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    I wouldn't know how to fix that.

  21. #21
    Power Poster debcavan's Avatar
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    Free Motion is fun, well when your machine is set correctly. I would check your bobbin tension that it is not too tight. Your quilt top is so pretty. Well at least it will rip easily. The "rules" say to check your tension on a sample piece. OK, I don't either.
    DEB CAVAN

  22. #22
    Member bjiwami's Avatar
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    Remember, loops on the back means your top thread tension is too loose or your bobbin tension too tight...loops on the top of the quilt means your top thread tension is too tight or bobbin tension is too loose. Making adjustments...righty tighty, lefty loosey! My advise in either case, try adjusting the top thread tension 1st. Using a practice sandwich 'til you get it fixed is always a great way to keep from having to rip things out.
    Brenda

  23. #23
    Junior Member mrsk's Avatar
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    I too, thank everyone for their helpful tips & suggestions. I have been trying freemotion lately & I am fighting with it too. Or I should say, all goes fine for a while then , suddenly it all goes terribly wrong. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one to experience problems. Well tomorrow is another day. I guess I will try again then, instead of quitting!!!!!

  24. #24
    Super Member busy fingers's Avatar
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    Make sure that you have the weight of the quilt supported. I had the same problem and when I made sure that the weight of the quilt was not dragging down things went well. I spent 2 hours ripping my mess out.

    I read on this board that someone else had the same problem and they turned their sewing machine on its side which is what I did. I built up either side of the machine to support the weight.

    Good luck with it.

  25. #25
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azwendyg View Post
    It looks to me like your top thread may not be actually in the tension disks, or your bobbin tension is way too high. If it was just a speed issue, those eyelashes would be more prevalent around the curves, but yours look fairly consistent throughout.
    Yes this above what Wendy says.

    Also it seems every machine is different. It took me years to figure out the best setting for the Janome 6500. It ended up being that I have NO problems if I leave the feed dogs up with that machine. I also do better with a slightly thinner/lighter thread in the bobbin then the top or a lighter thread in both. When quilting I also use a top stitch needle 90/14. It made a big difference for me. Maybe you can post what machine this was done on.
    Anna Quilts

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