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Oh dear....is there a free motion virus going around?

Oh dear....is there a free motion virus going around?

Old 07-24-2015, 08:03 AM
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Unhappy Oh dear....is there a free motion virus going around?

I have been working on quilting up some tops...so far so good. When I stitch in the ditch no problems with threads or such, but free motion OYE! lots of thread shredding. Now I worked on different projects on two different machines....a Viking Ruby and a Brother Inovis. Both machines have been used for free motion before, same kinds of needles, same type of threads, no problems, worked out great. Not so this week. All tops are pieced with cotton fabric, use a cotton batting, and different types of threads from all cotton, to polyester. Different needles, 12 universal, 14 top stich. Different times of day...early morning to late night. So the only common factor is me. So now is there a rare and mysterious quilting virus? Have I passed into the quilting equivalent of the twilight zone? So frustrating, both machines cleaned and new needles, even cleaned the thread tracks for bits of fluff...I simply cannot figure it out. I finally finished and I am going back to just piecing for a while, or stitch in the ditch at the most until the fever breaks and the virus heals (if virus it is). Disclaimer I am a bit of a speed demon when it comes to free motion, but nothing new there.
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Old 07-24-2015, 08:13 AM
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This happens to me when I am going a bit to fast. I am never sure if it puts to much tension on the thread or if I am pulling the needle out of place enough for the edge if the hole to cut the thread. It stops when I slow down. It was a revelation for me to see the speed David Taylor FMQs at, slow but steady.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:07 AM
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I don't understand why it is petal to the metal. You need to be moving the fabric the same motion that the machine would do. I do much more accurate piecing and quilting when I slow down. What is the rush?? This is a hobby and not a NASCAR derby. Slow down and enjoy your creativity.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:14 AM
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I find a size 14 needle is too small for free motion. The torque you put on the needle is too much for a thinner needle. Try a 16 or 18. Slow down your needle speed and try speeding up your hands. You might even need to decrease the tension on your machine, but I would try the other two things 1st. It is matter of getting the right thread speed/hand speed/thread/fabric and batting combos. It is NOT intuitive for everyone and takes some practice and be prepared to be frustrated!


PS have you REALLY cleaned out the bobbin area? My machine gives me FITS when it gets lint behind the finger on the bobbin case (run a thin pin under it to flush it out!) , in the bobbin case or even between the bobbin race way and the stationary part of where the bobbin sits on the post. I even had the president of my machine system come to my HOUSE to work on my machine. As soon as he left, BAM shredding again. Took me a long time to find that glob of lint that was lurking in that bobbin race area.

Last edited by soccertxi; 07-25-2015 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:36 AM
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As far as pedal to the metal, for me, I find there is a sweet spot between the speed of the motor and the speed I move my hands. I can feel it and hear it and all is good. Can't say if they are equal or which one moves faster/slower. Unfortunately, I can't always coordinate the two!!
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:47 AM
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I never could understand the faster speed idea that I have seen published so often. When I first started FMQ I had lots of problems with shredded thread and poor tension. Sometimes the thread would appear on the top and other times the bottom. That did not make sense to me. When I really slowed down and was in control of where my stitches went I solved all those problems. I do not use a slider (I sewed it into a quilt at one point) I was told by a trained Bernina tech that my machine (and others) did not like those washer things in the bobbin case. I now go slowly; plan ahead for where I am going to quilt; keep my quilt 'puddled' around where I am quilting; and,use a #14 topstitch needle. I can use a variety of thread types and can use a different thread on the top and bottom with no problems. Slow and steady win the race-just like the tortoise.
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Old 07-26-2015, 03:30 AM
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Good to read all of this this morning. I'm quilting a BQ2 from Maple Island this weekend and yesterday did some stitch in the ditch.Today I'll move on to meandering. Will go slow and steady. Thanks Ladies!
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Old 07-26-2015, 12:40 PM
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I did the ultimate in frustration today. I am FMQ'ing on a quilt with high loft poly and doing a series of triangle-like lines on the blocks and having a really hard time, it kept fighting me. I finally realized that I had inadvertently set my feed dogs not just on down, but on pin feed on my Brother PQ1500s. Life was much easier on my nerves after I remedied that.
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:43 PM
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I don't really see the problem with going slow or fast.
The important thing is how fast you move your hands. Getting a good looking stitch is what I strife for.
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Old 07-28-2015, 11:04 AM
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You don't mention what machine you are sewing on. I had problems on my Janome and bought special needles with a purple top. Helped with my stitches.
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