Free motion tension problems--help!

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
Reply to
Michelle C.
On Aug 2, 2:39=A0pm, "Michelle C." wrote:
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
Reply to
hago
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
On Aug 2, 2:39 pm, "Michelle C." wrote:
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
Reply to
Polly Esther
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
Reply to
Michelle C.
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
Reply to
Michelle C.
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.
Reply to
Leslie& The Furbabies in MO.
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
Reply to
Kate
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!
Reply to
KJ
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
Reply to
Michelle C.
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
Reply to
Michelle C.
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
Reply to
Gen
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
Reply to
turtle
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
Reply to
Michelle C.
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?
Reply to
DiMa
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
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Reply to
Laurie G. in CA
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. . In message , DiMa writes
Reply to
Patti
In article ,
Ummmm....
The walking foot is NOT for free motion quilting. The walking foot does wonderful and beautiful straight line and gently curved quilting designs.
Free motion quilting requires that the quilt can be moved in any direction. It is correctly done with a darning/hopping/quilting foot. Some people do it with no foot at all. But, it is never done with a walking foot.
If you'd asked me before I'd read this if there were any absolute rules in quilting I'd have been hard pressed to come up with many besides "you have to turn the power on to your electric sewing machine for it to sew well". It would never have occurred to me that someone would try to free motion quilt with a walking foot :-)
marcella
Reply to
Marcella Peek
Can't imagine trying to free motion with a walking foot. No wonder it caused problems. Darning foot is the way to go. Gen
Reply to
Gen

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