Tuesday 20 March 2012

go with the flow......

 What's the best antidote to a morning of frying my brain setting up a blog for my parents history society?
An afternoon learning how to free motion quilt!
 When I say learn, I mean sit with my machine
 and in the words of Tim Gunn
'make it work!!'
I did learn that the term for the mess I was creating was called eyelashing!!
I worked out that my thread tension was off.
So I practiced, moving the thread tension wheel (the one on the front of your machine)
until I found the back looked as good as the front ie no eyelashing!
7 was a good tension for my machine (janome QXL605).
I'm not sure I've really learnt just yet,
but at least I know how to do it now.
I just need to get to grips with it...it's such an odd way to sew,
especially when you are used to backwards and forwards sewing.
I can only describe it as drawing with your machine..
...now I need something to practice on.
I used a free motion foot of the open toed nature,
with my feed dogs dropped of course!!
The feed dog is the part that grabs your fabric,
for free motion you need to drop them,
try looking round the back of your machine you should find a switch
that does it all for you, just don't forget to reset your machine for regular sewing!!


  1. Oh Clare I am sure you will do wonders with this!

    But I did need a fair bit of practice to get going and still have off days! I love writing on my quilts and I think all my quilt labels will be done that way now!

  2. I love free machining. Top tip is fast with the foot, slow with the hands. Go for it!

  3. It is weird I agree!! I like to go fast when I fmq, if I go slowly I get in a tizz! Lots of people practice their patterns on paper, doodling - I don't bother but it helps for me to think of it as doodling when I'm doing it!! I love the writing :)

  4. I am so with you. I need to practice this but hate to "waste" time practicing when I could actually be making something

  5. Good for you, practicing! I heard a rumor that it does help! I like making placemats to practice on. They can be as fancy as I want them, or not at all, and it something I can actually use even if it is not perfect.

  6. What sort of foot did you have on your machine Clare?


  7. It just takes practice!!! Try the FM gloves or clean grippy garden gloves....they help to hold the fabric while you keep your hands flat. Remember to relax your shoulders or they will hurt. Sometimes it helps to sit on a pillow if your machine is not in a cabinet. It looks great so far Clare!!!

  8. Just wanted to throw my 2 cents in about tension...often one needs to tighten the top tension as you did to eliminate the eyelashes. If you think about the top thread having more pull (more tension) it pulls the bottom thread into the quilt sandwich so where they meet is in the middle of your wadding (batting) Things that will cause the need to alter your tension are things like wadding choice, thread choice and if you are using a different thread on the top and bottom. Keep practising...you are doing fab!

  9. Yay! I just had my first go of this a couple of weeks ago. My experience was quite similar. Someone suggested that you write down your tension and thread types on the sample so you can easily compare and remember. I think it's genius. I should so do some of this today. Thanks for the inspiration!


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Clare x