Monday, April 23, 2007

Me, Machine and I

Is it me or my machine? After admiring such beautiful work of Anne's (scroll down) I had a go at some free machine quilting on my Trumpet Stars...nothing near the calibre of work that Anne has done, but just a few embellishments. So far I've I've done some echo quilting around the appliqué using my walking foot and I'm really pleased with the results. But when I tried doing some free machine work I got very frustrated. I dropped the feed-dogs and adjusted the tension, but still got funny little loops of the top thread on the underside. My machine has done this before, but I can't remember if I managed to fix the problem...even after checking my library of books. Has this ever happened to you? In the end I unpicked most of the free motion stuff and will tackle it another day. I hoping one of you will say it's my machine so I can justify buying the Janome 6600... :o)

17 comments:

Fiona said...

I think it's got to be your machine :-). I have real problems with the tension on the back of the peacock feathers I'm doing at the moment. Keryn, at Quilting Twin suggested tying a piece of bias binding round the Free Motion Foot a couple of posts ago but I haven't tried it yet. Of course, I could always buy the Pfaff Grand Quilter...

Now, tell me, did you machine applique your trumpet stars? I think I can see that you have if I enlarge the photo but I never would have guessed from the other pics that you have shown - I'm going to have to try that - it looks superb.

Doodlebug Gail said...

It's your machine :-) ... pop on over to my Blog and see today's entry.

I love to free motion and it does take a lot of practice and I can't tell you how many times I got so frustrated with it. Make yourself some 16" quilt sandwiches and use those to practise with. I find that if I go quicker the stitches are a lot more even. You need to find a rhythm that works for you.

I'll send you an e-mail with some books that I found very helpful when I was learning.

Sarah Jayne said...

I keep trying free machining - but like you get rather frustrated. The girls in the group who are good at say you just need to keep practising. I'm rather impatient and want to be able to do it very well and now....

Carole said...

I remember reading something like that somewhere and it was the machine. The individual took it in for repair. Hope you get the problem fixed! Oh, wait, why don't you go buy yourself a new machine! lol keep well!

Doe said...

I think its your machine, Jane. If you're going to do a lot of free-motion quilting, that's a good enough reason to buy a new one. LOL! Enjoy shopping! Oh, and happy quilting!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to buck the trend of coments suggesting you buy a new machine, but if there are serious loops of the top thread underneath, I would check that the top and bottom threads are the same weight, then rethread both top and bobbin. That usually works for me.
Lynda in Lutterworth
PS Maybe I need a new machine too!

anne bebbington said...

Thanks for the compliment Jane - I have had this problem but usually cleaning the machine (especially under the feed-dogs) and rethreading both top and bottom set it straight again - personally I've never found the need to use matching threads top and bottom, although the machine manufacturers and lots of stitchers recommend it. On top I either use good old gutermann or a machine embroidery rayon (usually on big cones from Empress Mills in Colne, Lancs) and on the bottom I swear by 'bottom line' bobbin thread by Superior threads. Oh and renew your needle (I use Smetz Microtex No 70's or 80's, they're good and sharp) - if it makes a slight popping noise it's too blunt and we often forget just how long the current one's been in situ. Other than that - practice, practice and more practice. Get your two ugliest fat quarters, sandwich them with some batting and using a highly contrasting coloured thread just sign your name repeatedly all over again and again and again - the trick with this is it's a movement everyone can easily do without thinking about it. Don't worry if you overlap just keep going. Once your sandwich is full with the first colour, change to another contrasting colour and another and another - Go for it!!!

Tanya said...

I played around with the bobbin tension awhile but I'm not sure if that is good advice or not. The machine book says don't touch it. But Diane Gaudynski in her Guide to Machine Quilting p. 52 says "if the bobbin thread is looped on the back, then the bobbin tension is too loose." You have go get in there with a screw driver and I don't know if you want to try that without the book instructions, but it solved some of the problems for me. Check out the library for her book. It was helpful to me.

Patti said...

OK - I can say that very easily - it's your machine! You need a new machine if you are going to do free motion quilting. After all, don't you deserve it?

amandajean said...

I hope that you can figure out your machine dilemma. I am going to echo each comment saying that free motion quilting takes LOTS of practice. LOTS. I still have a long way to go myself.
I would try to clean and re-thread and change the bobbin thread...all that fun stuff. And if it has been a long time, a tune up might be the trick. Good luck! I know I've been there and it's enough to make you want to pull your hair out!

Leigh said...

Yes it's definitely your machine.
Is that the response you wanted ;-D

Knot Garden said...

Sounds like it might be a problem with the tension. I find that the tension sometimes behaves differently depending on what kind of stitching you are doing. You could try tightening the tension by degrees and doing some test stitching on scraps of the same weight fabric and wadding. I read somewhere that you need to always have the foot down before you adjust the tension, so the machine is "in gear".
Hope this helps!

Susie Q said...

Oh what a talent you are! I am in awe. I do not have this gift unfortunantly but my daughter does. She is taking sewing lessons and now has her own machine. She is starting to draw pictures of quilt designs she would like to make someday. Her teacher will begin her in quilting this Summer so she is quite excited.

Your photos here are so lovely...I so enjoyed the trip to the farm! : )

I will be back often and Grace will love coming for her sewing inspiration! Thank you!

Hugs,
Sue

gwen said...

Your problem does sound like a tension one. If the thread from above shows underneath, it it because the top tension is not high enough. Although usually it is the opposite that happens when free motion quilting. Maybe you do need a new machine after all! Thanks for the link to The Wild Things. I can see a niece of mine with a summer hat coming along! Take care.

Kim said...

I think some of the other gals have already said what I'd suggest--cleaning the machine, checking your threads to make sure they're the same weight and everything's threaded correctly, etc. But if it doesn't solve the problem, it may be the machine--seriously. I've had the same problem with my Bernina and took it in to the shop and it still happened. I love my Bernina for piecing, but I ended up buying a Juki for quilting--love that too. It's frustrating, I know, but I hope you can solve the problem because doing curves with a walking foot isn't much fun! LOL!

Quilting Diva said...

I have a Janome 6600 and it's worth every penny. Buy it anyhow. Love your pics.

Judy said...

I would guess machine too, because I have donw tons of free motion and never had that happen. Sounds like something slipping tension wise. I think you did fabulously with the walking foot to get around all the curves! Great job!