Free motion tension problems--help!

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Took my long awaited (I've been gathering my courage) into free motion
yesterday.  While I didn't notice any tension problems on the block I've
been practicing on, I'm having problems with the quilt.  It looks okay
on the front, but on the back it's as if the top thread is too loose
(looping underneath) and the bottom too tight--despite my adjusting the
tension on the top thread.  It manifests itself on curves.  (I'm
stippling.)  Any ideas?

TIA
Michelle in Nevada, USA

Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
wrote:
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So, the tension is fine on stippling on the small practice piece, just
not on the quilt? It might be that you are pulling more on the quilt
or going too fast around too tight curves?

If you think you might be pulling too much on the quilt, you can try
to gather it up around a little area to be quilted (like 4x4 inches)
and do that piece before moving to the next area (and moving your
hands).


Mostly nothing good will come from physically wrestling with a quilt
in the making :-)

Hanne in DK

Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
There are lots of things you might try - but first - it is very possible
that you are forgetting to put the presser foot down.  If things were going
well on your practice block, maybe just swapping over to the quilt and
getting everything arranged made you forget.  It happens.  Polly


wrote:
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So, the tension is fine on stippling on the small practice piece, just
not on the quilt? It might be that you are pulling more on the quilt
or going too fast around too tight curves?

If you think you might be pulling too much on the quilt, you can try
to gather it up around a little area to be quilted (like 4x4 inches)
and do that piece before moving to the next area (and moving your
hands).


Mostly nothing good will come from physically wrestling with a quilt
in the making :-)

Hanne in DK


Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Hi Polly,

Thanks for the thought--and yes, it wouldn't be beyond me to forget
something like that.  ;-)  But it's not the presser foot--my machine
just wads the thread up in a ball if I don't put it down.  :-)

After I wrote my plea for help, I went back and looked at the block I'd
been practicing on.  I did have a few places on the curves that had the
same issue, but it just wasn't near as noticeable.

Best regards,
Michelle in Nevada, USA

Polly Esther wrote:
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Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Michelle C. wrote:
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I had the exact same problem this week.  I am a beginner at fmq.  On
my machine at home I had no problem with eyelashes, but when I tried
working on a machine at the rec center, there they were!!  After much
experimentation, I found if I worked with the feed dogs up but covered
there was no problem, but with the feed dogs down, there were the
loose stitches on curves again.  When I got home I took a good look at
the work I had been doing here.  There is no sign of loose stitches on
the underside.  I don't think that I have changed my style or speed
that much, so I have to assume that there is some difference in the
preformance of the machines themselves.
Turtle

Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
turtle wrote:

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While I'm definitely a novice, so I know my technique leaves much to be
desired, I've wondered if I'm trying to convince the machine to do
something it really doesn't like.  That said, I was working with the
feed dogs up and stitch length set to zero, but perhaps I should try it
with the feed dogs down.  (Embarrassingly, I didn't know my machine had
that feature until after I stopped last night and happened to see that
in the book.)  I realize you had the opposite problem--problems when the
feed dogs were down--but perhaps, mine will be happier if they are down
rather than up....  I hope.

Thanks Turtle!

Michelle in Nevada, USA

Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
snipped-for-privacy@dcs.qmul.ac.uk wrote:
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Hi Hanne,

I was wondering about that.  After I wrote my plea for help, I went back
and looked at the block I'd been practicing on.  I did have a few places
on the curves I did on it that had the same issue, but it just wasn't
near as noticeable.

Thanks!
Michelle in Nevada, USA

Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Michelle, I find as I get tired or tensed-up I tend to rush my curves and I
get that looped effect on the bottom.  Try concentrating on slower movements
(machine and hands) on the tight curves and keeping your stitches the same
size.  You have so much going on with FM'ing that you can get a few of the
movements uncoordinated if you don't keep everything meshed just right.
Good luck!

Leslie & The Furbabies in MO.

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Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
I also think that those of us who are quilting on our domestic machines try
to mimic what we see the longarmers do on videos or commercials.
They seem to fly around the curved shapes easily.  We shouldn't compare our
technique to theirs.  But it's so tempting to try!

--
Kathyl (KJ)
remove "nospam" before mchsi
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Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Hi Leslie,

I bet you are right.  I'm a bit more nervous about doing curves--it's
kind of like coloring outside the lines.  ;-)  Okay, I'll have to
concentrate on not freaking out on the curves.

Thanks!
Michelle in Nevada, USA

Leslie& The Furbabies in MO. wrote:
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Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Hey Michelle

What you are getting is referred to as "eyelashes" on the back of your
quilt.  You are going around curves too fast for the stitch to form
properly.


It's like driving down a 2 lane country road.  You come to a curve, do
you stay at the same speed as on a straight away or do you slow down
to make the curve and stay in your lane.

I bought a second bobbin so I could use it for MQ.  This one I can
adjust the tension.  Sometimes your bobbin tension needs just a small
adjustment to get good results, but I suspect you are a "speeder".  So
get out another practice piece and play with it for a few hours.  Once
you practice alot, you will be able to let up on the gas and make that
curve with no problems.

Make sure you put a drop of oil in your bobbin race after every two
bobbins and make sure you clean out the lint also.  This can also
cause problems with your tension.

Kate T.  South Mississippi

Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Kate wrote:
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LOL!  I LOVE your analogy, Kate--and I'm pretty certain that you are
exactly right.  I'm a speeder.  :-)

I'm so glad I asked you all for help, because I didn't realize I was
doing that.  Knowing what I'm doing wrong, I can now concentrate on
fixing it.

Thanks!
Michelle in Nevada, USA

Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
I have the same problem on curves.  I realize that I'm jerking or moving too
quickly on curves.  Need to learn how to make a smoother movement at that
point.  More practice needed.  Also make sure the quilt isn't "hanging up"
and you're yanking it on curves.
Gen

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Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Thanks Gen.  That sounds exactly like what I'm doing.

Best regards,
Michelle in Nevada, USA

Gen wrote:
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Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Just like driving a car, you need to Slow for curves!
Roberta in D

On Sun, 02 Aug 2009 06:39:49 -0700, "Michelle C."

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Re: Free motion problems--now breaking thread
LOL!  :-)  Good analogy.

Best regards,
Michelle in Nevada, USA


Roberta wrote:
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Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Just a thought - when I was FMQ and not getting it right, my sister, an
experienced quilter compared to me by a long shot, suggested I try using the
darning foot rather than the walking foot.  I am almost ready to FMQ a small
quilt and will give that a try.

If anyone has used the darning foot, how did it go, was it alright?

--
Di
I'm creative!  You can't expect me to be neat too.
Vic Australia
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Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Don't know that I've ever read where using a walking foot while FMQ was the
way to go. A darning foot or free motion foot with the presser foot tension
eased and the feed dogs dropped or covered is what makes FMQ'ing successful.
If you have an open toed darning foot, you may have even greater success
since you are better able to see where you are quilting.

That's not saying the walking foot doesn't have it's place in domestic
machine quilting. It would come in handy while doing straight line
quilting - SID, crosshatch, etc. The feed dogs would not be dropped and the
presser foot tension would be a the normal setting.

~~~~~~~
Laurie G. in CA
http://www.finishingtouchesquilts.com
http://community.webshots.com/user/lagrant7
~~~~~~~



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Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
I am printing out the information you wonderful ladies have given me.
Thank you.

--
Di
I'm creative!  You can't expect me to be neat too.
Vic Australia
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Free motion tension problems--help!
Oh Di, I thought the darning foot was what you *had to use for FM.  No
wonder you were having problems if you were using your walking foot.  It
must have been so awkward.  You will find such a difference when you try
the other foot.  Don't forget to shorten your stitch length to zero, or
lower the feed dogs.  Sometimes I can do better with the feed dogs up
and the zero stitch length, and sometimes with the feed dogs down and
the stitch length left where it is (if the feed dogs are down, the
stitch length is immaterial as it is the feed dogs that regulate that).

Good luck.  Don't forget to try a sample piece, as it will feel a lot
different to you.
.
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--
Best Regards
pat on the hill

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