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HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

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    HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

    My 1st attemp at machine quilting - FAILURE!! Good thing I was doing a practice piece before I went to my project piece. As you can see from the top I need allot of practice. But it gets worse. Look at the bottom - what's going on with the bobbin thread??? What's causing it to bunch like that? I increased the tension for the straight lines and it's a little better but still a problem. I have one more notch on the tension dial. What should I do? I know you folks will have the answer.

    HELP! What am I doing wrong. I'd like to finish my project (a handbag) this weekend so I can take it on vacation with me next week.

    ]
    ;)Nancy

    I got a sewing machine for my husband. Good trade, huh!?!

    #2
    Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

    not an expert by any means, but first I would rethread the whole machine just in case. does is help if you slow down a bit? I've read that you can get loops like this on curves if you're sewing too fast. i don't do a lot of FMQ but others here do.
    “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world, is and remains immortal.”

    ― Albert Pine

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      #3
      Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

      Maybe tighten your thread tension maybe?Connie

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        #4
        Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

        you could also change your needle.
        Sewing mends the soul.
        sigpic


        Do the math; count your blessings
        Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside.

        http://pinterest.com/vintageprims/boards/ Unless we are creating we are not fully alive
        ~ Madeleine L'Engle

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          #5
          Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

          Tighten the tension - I do have one more notch on the dial. Change needle - you mean to just get a fresh sharp one? Or a different size?
          ;)Nancy

          I got a sewing machine for my husband. Good trade, huh!?!

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            #6
            Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

            Try another size,presser foot up or down?
            Last edited by Connie Chamberlain; March 12, 2011, 12:30 PM.

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              #7
              Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...


              Forgot to take picture of back.

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                #8
                Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

                DSCN0413.jpg

                This is the back. What sewing machine do you have.That doesn't matter i just want to know.
                Last edited by Connie Chamberlain; March 12, 2011, 12:42 PM.

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                  #9
                  Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

                  Connie, Your quilting is fabulous. Someday maybe me too. I have a Brother XL3750. Brand new, only had it a couple weeks. I'm using a quilting foot and with that on the presser foot won't stay up. I have to lift it with my fingers to get the fabric sandwich under. I've still got the original needle in and I think it's a #11 but I could get the magnifying glass out and go check. What size do you recommend for quilting?
                  ;)Nancy

                  I got a sewing machine for my husband. Good trade, huh!?!

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                    #10
                    Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

                    Should I lengthen my stitch when quilting?
                    ;)Nancy

                    I got a sewing machine for my husband. Good trade, huh!?!

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                      #11
                      Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

                      Hi Nancy, It definitely looks like you have a thread tension problem. Also were you doing the test stitching on the block with just batting but no backing fabric on the underside? Looking at your photos of the wrong side it looks like the stitching is on poly batting without any backing fabric to make a 3 layer quilting sandwich? Not sure if that is the case, but if it is, sewing with just the batting on the underside may also contribute to an uneven stitch pattern.

                      Here is a link to a good article on understanding thread tension:
                      http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/...thread-tension

                      Based on your photos it looks like the upper thread knot is showing on the bobbin side which would mean your upper thread tension is too loose or your bobbin thread tension is too tight. You may want to do everything already suggested, ie change to a new needle, re-thread the machine completely, make sure the bobbin case is clean and free of lint or dust, adjust your tension per the instructions in the article at the link....and then try another test block but make sure you have a 3 layer sandwich with the top, batting and backing fabric to test your stitch pattern again. I am no expert at FMQ but the steps listed above will help get a uniform stitch pattern on any sewing project you are working on.

                      Test your stitch pattern first with the feed dogs up as usual and using your standard presser foot to do a straight line stitch test to see if the tension is set properly. You should get a nice uniform stitch on both sides. After confirming your normal stitch pattern is working, lower your feed dogs and use your darning foot or quilting foot to test the FMQ stitches.

                      Start out with a small area on the test block and move the fabric with your hands slowly as you keep a moderate to fast sewing speed with the foot pedal. Start out with just a straight stitch and see what it looks like on both sides. Try moving the fabric at different speeds to see how it affects the stitch length when you FMQ.

                      Then test moving in large curves or circles. If the stitch pattern looks good, start practicing on larger areas of the test block and with different movement and speed patterns until you find what feels most comfortable to you and gives you the results you are looking for.

                      FMQ is something that I believe takes lots of practice and getting a "feel" for your style of movement/speed before you will be comfortable working on a finished project. I keep tons of scrap fabric sandwiches around and test lots of different patterns but still am currently only using FMQ for outlining stitch patterns already on my fabric. One of these days I will "break free" and start doing freehand patterns! Just practice ...practice ....practice! It will get better!

                      Here are some links to Leah Day's videos on FMQ. She has TONS of videos showing how to stitch hundreds of different FMQ patterns and also talks about how to setup your machine properly and some of the FMQ tools that will make life easier for you. Several of the products she mentions are available at the MSQC shop online or at your local quilt shops.

                      Here are some simple FMQ stitch patterns to practice on:

                      Straight line Spiral pattern: http://www.youtube.com/user/lcvday#p/u/84/vPo_YAGFOQY

                      Basic Spiral pattern: http://www.youtube.com/user/lcvday#p/u/275/ghs92pEck3A

                      Echo Shortcut pattern: http://www.youtube.com/user/lcvday#p/u/5/rIzbhVbgPkg

                      Link to tons more Beginner FMQ patterns: http://www.daystyledesigns.com/365difficultymain.htm

                      FMQ Tools to make life easier: http://www.youtube.com/user/lcvday#p/u/14/hP3SC5zFSkc

                      Here are a couple pics of a FMQ project I am still working on. I am only doing outline stitching of existing patterns in the fabric using my quilting foot with the feed dogs down and moving the fabric around to stitch the shapes, so no real free hand yet....but will be getting to that part soon!

                      Stitching around the patterns on the front side of the quilt and how it looks on the backside:

                      HARVEST WALL HANGING QUILTING ON TOP .jpgHARVEST WALL HANGING QUILTING ON BACKING SM.jpg
                      Last edited by Sewbee; March 12, 2011, 01:32 PM.
                      Linda
                      -its not the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away!

                      sigpic

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                        #12
                        Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

                        double check to see if the foot is on right. I'm not near my machine to see how mine is on but I think the little wire/arm thing( on the right of the needle when you're facing the machine) needs to be above the screw. The foot shouldn't rest on your fabric but rather float over the fabric as you sew.
                        “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world, is and remains immortal.”

                        ― Albert Pine

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                          #13
                          Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

                          Sewbee and bakermom. thank you thank you thank you. I'm going to do my homework, follow the instructions and practice practice practice.

                          Sewbee - you're right there is no backing on this piece. I'm making a modified version of Jenny's tote tutorial which has you quilting the outer bag fabric to the batting, sewing the sides of the back, pleating the bottom (is that what you call is) and making the inner bag (lining) which then gets sewn together with the outer quilted bag. Thus all seams are hidden inside. Do you suggest adding another layer (which will be hidden between the inner and outer bags) as a backing for the quilting process? I'll check out your links, thanks. I have seen many of Leah Day's; she has very good clear videos. I've copied your reply to keep for reference - lots of great info.

                          Bakermom - my wire/arm thingie (that's a technical term right?) is in the right place. But I did see a clip on YouTube (Leah Day) where they wrapped a tiny rubber band around the shaft to hold the foot up higher. Maybe I need to do that.

                          Thanks for all your help.
                          ;)Nancy

                          I got a sewing machine for my husband. Good trade, huh!?!

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                            #14
                            Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

                            Also put a phone book by your foot pedal heel. That will help control your speed a bit.

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                              #15
                              Re: HELP! What the heck do I do with this...

                              Yea, follow the instructions above, also you should have your feed dogs down if you don't already, and you should easily be able to slide your fabric in between each stitch. The foot holds it in place for a second while it stitches, you slide fabric, foot goes down to hold again. With tension. I've also had problems when bobbin thread isn't the same type as top thread.
                              Lin

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