Saturday 14 April 2012

fluff and the machine

 There's nothing like a free motion quilting marathon to help you get to know your machine.
 As you know I am a fmq virgin.
What better way to practice than to quilt a quilt,
practicing on a small piece is fine,
I did find however that I really only got to grips with it after an hour or so,
which is why a big project worked for me.
Enter stage left
the fluff
After 10 minutes and a clunk my machine came to a halt.
After a mild panic I remembered my Janome hand book.
Fingers crossed I followed the instructions and opened the foot plate.
Hand on heart I have never in my life done this before (my bad)
(remember to unplug before attempting this please)
But whoa do you see the fluff under the bobbin casing!!
This was after I had vacuumed too.
I'm pretty sure I could make a quilt if I gathered enough.
So I gave everything a good clean out and hey presto it only went and fixed the problem!
I must add that the first quarter of quilting is pretty awful.
I started off a bit haphazard and broke the thread more times than I care to remember
(I know now that was a tension problem and generally poor technique)
Day 2 which was yesterday I began to understand and find what worked for me.
I persevered through,
Latex gloves are a must for quilting,
 but are a pain in the butt when threading needles and switching on my machine,
I lost count how many times I snagged them,
even managing to get them wound up with thread when loading a bobbin!!
I worked in random lines 
and found that to do nice loops I could only go from left to right.
Towards the end of my 4 hour marathon I was really rocking the fmq
(like you see on you tube)
And then bam broken needle!!!
It was a new needle too.
Another first for me, I'm not sure how it happened but it did!
I love the wishy washy effect the fmq gives,
it's quite solid yet nice and cosy still.
I am still considering a bit of hand embellishment,
maybe in grey though instead of turquoise.
Funny how quilting can change a quilt so...

my machine janome qxl 605
number of fluff removal 2
grey fabrics by sweetwater
wadding heirloom cotton premium 
design flowering snowball
english paper pieced
name not sure


  1. Ah yes FMQ ! You have to start somewhere and this looks fabulous! Clare you must be a natural...

    I am sure you can think of something better than fluff!

  2. You have done a great job with your quilt Clare and well done on sorting out all the machinery and fluff busting stuff. I have never tried free motion stitching on my sewing machines. ( I have 3 machines and am scared of all of them!!!) The stitching gives an added dimension. Well done on your perseverence - you have produced an heirloom piece x

  3. Love it, love the little turquoise squares.

    I have a janome machine too, not as posh as yours, but after trying to free-wheel with the feed-dogs down and the foot up, I came to thinking there must be something missing (I am blonde) someone helpfully suggested there was a special foot that you could get, now I must seek one out....does it jump up and down? I would love to be a quilter.

  4. Oh, you're brave! I'm desperate to be able to do FMQ, but my one attempt looked like a giant cactus... Where did you start? - middle, edges?

  5. that looks great! My favourite part of FMQ is cleaning out the fluff. Seriously. I find it so satisfying ;-D

  6. LOL (with you, not at you) I have SO been here! It is looking awesome!! I definitely think the name "Fluff" is very fitting!!

  7. Great job! I'm so impressed that you jumped right in! My practice pieces have come out so poorly I'm afraid to jump right in on a quilt top I've just finished. I'd so love to have the nerve to just GO FOR IT!! You are an inspiration.

  8. I wish I could get brave enough to really hunker down and learn to FMQ. So far straight lines and a few wavy lines are all I can do. This looks beautiful.

  9. Gosh, good for you!!! I haven't attempted anything bigger than a place mat yet. But I think I need to jump in there and go for it with a regular sized quilt like yours (which is very pretty, by the way, love the small turquoise bits). I have one waiting to be quilted......I'm inspired to try it now!

  10. Its absolutely stunning! I love it xxxx

  11. Great work! I am impressed. I haven't tried FMQ yet but would like to.

  12. Fluff is living here, too, from time to time. :)
    I had to smile about the name for the quilt. :)
    I liked to read the report and I loved to see the photo of the machine in the corner and the quilt almost done. Makes me hope I'll manage to quilt a huge quilt with FMQ some time.
    I hope your shoulder is doing fine 'though.

  13. But you did it and that's more than I can say !!! I only tried once and that didn't go well (to put it mildly), but after reading this, I may give it another try !!

  14. Your quilting really finishes this off perfectly! Lovely!

  15. Brave girl. One day I will face the fear as well and do it... Just not now. :D Looks great to me!

  16. It looks awesome!! I agree the only way to practice is by doing it on quilts, a totally different experience!! Fluff is a great name ;)

  17. yay! good for you. looks rocking awesome if you ask me :D

  18. You did a great job. I haven't FMQed yet but I plan on doing it soon.

  19. Gorgeous work! I recently did my own first FMQ on a big quilt. You're right that little sample sizes don't really cut it when you're trying to get the feel of it. You'll be a pro in no-time!

  20. Wow, your FMQ looks great!!! Fluff is a great name for a quilt!

  21. Go girl! Great way to "arrive" with FMQ and fun post. I'm late to the vote, but I also like "fluff".

  22. I have a Janome 6600 and it will not FMQ. Even had my GF, who is a FMQ expert, come over and she could not get it to work. I envy you. Your quilt is beautiful.


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