Thursday, June 19, 2008

More Free Motion Play

Just a reminder to go to this post to sign up for my mini-quilt giveaway! You can sign up until Friday night. Winner will be posted on Saturday.



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I got this highly recommended and as-it-turns-out thoroughly excellent book, Machine Quilting Solutions by Christina Maraccini, in the mail yesterday and was so excited after flipping through it that I jettisoned my other naptime plans -- you know, clean the house, do some grant work, take care of various responsibilities, or even take a nap myself -- to come down to the sewing room and play on the big practice quilt sandwich I made for last week's class.

And, because a lot of commenters seemed interested in my first post on my fledgling free-motion attempts, I thought I'd show a few more. I had about five squares left on my practice quilt, so I started from the beginning of the book and tried a few things until I ran out of steam.

I started with her heatwave pattern, an all-over pattern. Yes, my stitches are ENORMOUS, but I'm trying to get used to doing this without the feed dogs:



Various leaves with swirls, including if you look closely, one abortive attempt at a holly leaf with only one recognizable leaf -- but overall these came out pretty good:






The answer to my question about whether it was easier to make a row of leaves if you were moving horizontally or vertically -- horizontally looks better, but vertical is easier. But in the vertical version the leaves don't really point out at an angle the way I'd intended.

And something she calls the artichoke - the lumpy thing in the bottom left corner of this square, with an attempt at her crocus border (a pattern I've always liked and which wasn't too hard) up in the top and left, and an e's and l's border along the bottom (not difficult technically but keeping them even was beyond me:


And this one was fun - this is a chrysanthemum, designed to fill up a square rather than be a repeated pattern:


Lots of fun! And my stitches are getting smaller. I finally quit in frustration not because of the quilting but because I keep having endless problems with my thread! The bobbin thread breaks, gets stuck and won't spool, gets loose and overspools, gathers up in lumps on the bottom, you name it, it happens. Every few minutes, it seems like, one of these things happens. My machine was recently serviced so I don't see how that could be the problem. I've dusted. I've changed the needle. I've threaded and rethreaded a billion times. Any thoughts from the quilters out there? (I have a pfaff, if that helps.)

5 comments:

I AM said...

Is there any chance that it is the thread that you are using? I've had the exact same problem and this seems to be the reason why. It only happens when I use Singer brand thread in a cotton/poly-blend. (I don't even know where I got this thread from!!!).

But I've read that many of the cheaper threads cause problems like this.

Your free-motion stitching is really getting good. I love the artichokes!

Tanaya

Amanda said...

This is looking so good, I can see that practice really does pay off. I need to get my brain in gear and get going on this with a little more commitment! Can't help on the bobbin front I'm afraid, just not experienced enough to see all that as anything other than normal!!

Anonymous said...

That is my favorite machine quilting book! It completely changed the way I quilt, and I rarely transfer patterns anymore.

I agree with Tanaya that it may be the thread. Superior makes a bottom weight thread. Some people don't like it, but I thought it was nice. I used top and bottom on one quilt - not realizing it was a bottom weight thread. Oops. When I have lots of problems with the bobbin, I sometimes pull all the thread off and rewind. That usually fixes it. I have no idea why.

For smaller stitches, run the machine faster. One teacher told me to run my Bernina flat out at the half speed setting. Another told me to move the fabric slowly. Between the two, I ended up with fairly small stitches I'm happy with. (Of course it makes sense to either run the machine faster or move the fabric more slowly. It's that I really had to exaggerate both to get the effect I wanted.)

-Robin

Mishka said...

My thread problems turned out to be a wonky bobbin, which wasn't immediately obvious to me. I ended up setting the bobbin flat on a table, to realize it had a very tiny bump in it that was causing the problem. Wasn't a cheap, at least in cost, one either.

I'm using the bottom line thread from superior and LOVE it. I must get myself some more colours next time I find it somewhere.

Happy quilting,
Michele
Quilting Gallery

Anonymous said...

Your free motion quilting looks like fun. What is the secret to using a Phaff machine?

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