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Thread: Best FMQ foot for a 301?

  1. #26
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    Make sure your tension is engaging with the foot down. I've had a similar problem with some machines/fabric combo where the foot is not holding the fabric firm enough, and for some reason this interferes with the thread's ability to form a loop the shuttle hook can "grab" so no stitches are formed. Take the foot off all together, lower the presser bar to engage the tension, hold the fabric smooth and firm with your hands, and see if it will take a stitch. This is the way the "old" instructions are for doing darning and such - no foot is used at all, and FMQ is just a modification of darning. But if you don't have the tension on the fabric correct, you can end up with all sorts of issues that appear to be thread tension, but they are not. These types of problems are normal with quilting machines and often the problem is the quilt it stretched too tight, than the other way around.
    My name is Cathy - and I'm addicted to old sewing machines and their attachments.

  2. #27
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Thanks Macybaby. Loading up on chocolate right now to get myself into gear to look at it again.
    Alyce

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macybaby View Post
    Make sure your tension is engaging with the foot down. I've had a similar problem with some machines/fabric combo where the foot is not holding the fabric firm enough, and for some reason this interferes with the thread's ability to form a loop the shuttle hook can "grab" so no stitches are formed. Take the foot off all together, lower the presser bar to engage the tension, hold the fabric smooth and firm with your hands, and see if it will take a stitch. This is the way the "old" instructions are for doing darning and such - no foot is used at all, and FMQ is just a modification of darning. But if you don't have the tension on the fabric correct, you can end up with all sorts of issues that appear to be thread tension, but they are not. These types of problems are normal with quilting machines and often the problem is the quilt it stretched too tight, than the other way around.
    Okay, first I sewed a beautiful straight stitch with the regular foot. Took it off, and tried to get the bobbin thread to pick up on fabric. No go. Moved the tension dial up and down and had no effect. I had smoothed the fabric out with my hands. It was three layers of quilt sandwich. Going to try and figure out of the timing is off.

    Also going to try putting more pressure on the presser foot and a bigger needle. I'm using 50 wt. cotton thread top and bottom.
    Alyce

  4. #29
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Don't know which thread will get read, if any, so here is my current situation. I got another FMQ foot which works better, but, it is very close to the fabric and even though the feed dogs are down and stitch length set as low as it will go, I have to really pull it through. It moves, but not so flowy as my dinky mechanical Brother which is my go-to machine for FMQ. If I rig the new foot just a bit, to be ever so slightly off the fabric as it goes under the needle, it doesn't make a stitch. The tension is definitely engaged. What's up with that?
    Alyce

  5. #30
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Pictures of the issue and feet would be helpful.

  6. #31
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Pictures

    Here is one with presser foot down and one with it up. Feed dogs down. Knob for pressure on presser foot loosened then tightened. 50 wt cotton thread in bobbin and top. New needle. I also removed and cleaned the hand wheel and things much quieter and smoother.
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    Alyce

  7. #32
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    That's probably my least favorite FMQing foot. I'm not a fan of it. I prefer the other one that Sew Classic has. Are you still getting skipped stitches with it and did you check the timing?

  8. #33
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    This is my second foot. I sent the purple one back because it didn't work, clattered, and I felt like it would break. I don't get skipped stitches when the foot is flat on the fabric, but, there is very little moving around room, some of which for me is necessary on FMQ. This is an improvement on the purple foot which didn't work at all, I think because it was too far off the fabric sandwich. As soon as I wedge even anything under the bar to raise the presser foot, even a tiny smidge, then I get skipped stitches. I have ordered a metal open toe slant shank darning foot from sewing machine 221. When you talk about the Sew Classic one, do you mean the little plastic one that would require removing the last thread guide? I'll give that try if the metal one doesn't work.
    Alyce

  9. #34
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    With your Presser Bar down, and your Needle Bar up (as shown in your photo), there should be a gap between your foot and your fabric. Your foot needs to be down only while the needle is in the fabric and on its way up to exit the fabric. Once your needle is free of the fabric, your foot should lift off of the fabric.

    Since your foot is still down when your needle is up, maybe you can adjust your Lift Arm on your foot by bending the arm down a little where it attaches to the rod on the foot.

    CD in Oklahoma
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  10. #35
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    thanks CD. That was my intention, but, as soon as the bottom of the foot doesn't have such good contact on the fabric, is when it starts skipping stitches big time. I am still very "green" at diagnosing and fixing, so the timing issue scares me a bit especially since I can't really see where the needle is in relation to the hook. I do have a good light and have watched a lot of videos. Hoping not to have to go that route. Do you think it is the timing since it will sew a nice straight stitch and will make stitches if the FMQ foot is down tightish?
    Alyce

  11. #36
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitchnripper View Post
    This is my second foot. I sent the purple one back because it didn't work, clattered, and I felt like it would break. I don't get skipped stitches when the foot is flat on the fabric, but, there is very little moving around room, some of which for me is necessary on FMQ. This is an improvement on the purple foot which didn't work at all, I think because it was too far off the fabric sandwich. As soon as I wedge even anything under the bar to raise the presser foot, even a tiny smidge, then I get skipped stitches. I have ordered a metal open toe slant shank darning foot from sewing machine 221. When you talk about the Sew Classic one, do you mean the little plastic one that would require removing the last thread guide? I'll give that try if the metal one doesn't work.
    I don't remove the thread guide as I've not found that necessary, but yes the plastic one that has a square opening.

    Can you put on your regular foot and take a picture of it in the raised position? I wonder if your foot height has been messed with. You can release the foot pressure to see if that helps.

    You can bend the arm a bit on that FMQing foot, but if you want to return it etc. you couldn't do that after tweaking it. I did tweak mine a bit but still prefer the plastic, square one.

    Like I mentioned previously, I've had to reset the timing on many of my 301's for this very reason. Great with a straight stitch, but FMQing makes skips. But that's only after making sure it was out a smidge. I don't recommend you do it if you've not tried every other alternative or can't visually determine if the timing is out.
    Last edited by Candace; 08-28-2014 at 01:45 PM.

  12. #37
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Regular foot

    Here is the regular foot with the presser foot raised. I think if I bent the bar on the FMQ foot that would help me move the fabric but then I would get more skipped stitches.
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    Alyce

  13. #38
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I can't really see the height of the foot from the photo.

  14. #39
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    My wife uses her Singer 301A for FMQ, but it’s set up right now for piecing and she’s not home yet from the shop. I believe that the foot that she uses is very similar to yours (I peeked in the drawer, and it’s the only one that I found in there), but her lift arm (or actuator arm) is lower than yours. I don’t recall if we “tweaked” it from its original position or not.

    And about the lowest thread guide that some folks remove for some hopping feet..... My wife’s foot was clattering for a while, until she broke that thread guide smooth off. She told me when it happened, and I answered “ummm, ok?”. She kept on sewing and it’s been running really nice and quiet ever since! Sometimes these things just work themselves out......

    CD in Oklahoma
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  15. #40
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitchnripper View Post
    I think if I bent the bar on the FMQ foot that would help me move the fabric but then I would get more skipped stitches.
    But a “hopping foot” needs to hop. That’s what it’s for. The only time that a hopping foot is supposed to be down is when the needle is entering, stuck in, and exiting the fabric. The rest of the time it should be off of the fabric going up with the needle, or coming back down with the needle. That is when the fabric can be moved for the next stitch.

    Skipped stitches only have to do with the hook missing the loop when both the needle and the foot are down. And in the olden days, they didn’t even use a foot on the machine to darn, which is basically what FMQ is about. They only had a hoop to hold the fabric taught, or used their hands to do the same. Your machine will sew without a foot on it pressed tightly against the fabric. The fabric just needs to be held down while the needle and hook are doing their thing under the fabric.

    CD in Oklahoma
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  16. #41
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    CD I get what you are saying. When I was looking for feet, the notes with that little plastic one Candace mentioned said "some people" may have to remove the last thread guide.

    Candace, the distance measures just under 3/8" (I was as accurate as I could be) and the adjusters manual says it should be .295". Is it close?
    Alyce

  17. #42
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Alyce,

    I had exactly the same problem you mention with the purple Big Foot. It rubs on the needlebar and hangs up then it skips stitches. I believe that when it "wears in" that it would likely stop skipping, but really who wants to do that?

    If I change absolutely nothing with the machine other than the foot, there's no skipping. In my case it's not a timing issue for sure and I would strongly advise you to rule out absolutely everything before taking on the timing, and check the timing before just retiming it. I have only had to time 6 machines in total in the years I've been working on machines. Two came to me untimed from someone experimenting, one was legitimately wrong for no apparent reason, one had broken hook gears - a Singer Diana, one had been thrown from an embroidery pattern sized too small, and one had a broken hook. None of those were 301s though, and the 3 301s I've had have all been timed fine and FMQd great if they didn't have the purple big foot on them.

    I also don't love the foot with the yellow grid. For some reason, my eyes feel like I can't see what I'm quilting, which I know makes no sense, since it's clear plastic. I like the one that Leah Day sells for low shank machines (4021) as well as the metal equivalent 4021-L), so not relevant here.

    For the 301, I use the original Singer foot 161596 which is difficult to find now.

  18. #43
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitchnripper View Post
    CD I get what you are saying. When I was looking for feet, the notes with that little plastic one Candace mentioned said "some people" may have to remove the last thread guide.

    Candace, the distance measures just under 3/8" (I was as accurate as I could be) and the adjusters manual says it should be .295". Is it close?
    That should be o.k. I've had to retime 6 out of my 10 301's to FMQ properly and they do tend to go out more than other models. If you're not confident of your ability to diagnose this, I'm thinking a local repair person would be able to take one look at the hook to needle placement and let you know if that's the issue and give you an estimate for repair.

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