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Friday, January 11, 2013

Free motion Friday 1/11/13

This the back of Max the dog I have been quilting this week.
I'm having issues, nice that the worse thread problems are happening on the black so it hits you in the face

As you can see my issues happen when I go backwards. I'll be moving happily along and then always on the way back, I get the looseness , (tension bobbin problems?) above. It doesn't happen all the time which puzzles me. Can anyone shed some light on what I may be doing wrong?

I did some whiskers this morning that came out good.


  1. Hi, Carol-
    A couple things you might try for your tension issues. First, change needles- it can make a big difference. I most often use a top-stitch 90/14, which has a larger hole for the thread to go through, so it doesn't create as much drag for the tension. Next- use a thread holder- one that sits behind your machine and has a tall arm the thread goes up and through before going into your machine. This way the thread unwinds upward and doesn't get caught at all on the spool (unless it has one of those nasty plastic notches- I use a nail file to get ride of those.) Some machines also have an adjustment for the tension or amount of pressure that the presser foot puts on your piece... check if yours does. Finally, if you don't yet have the Supreme Slider, get one--it really helps. Hope these help you!

  2. This portrait looks great--I definitely want to see the finished dog.

    It appears you are sewing through a number of applique layers. If you normally don't have problems with FMQ, I suspect the issue is the number and type of layers here. I would certainly try a "sharp" (e.g. microtex) needle and possibly sewing at a moderate speed might help if I couldn't get the tension perfect with other experimenting (like the suggestions above this comment). If I don't have the tension correct and see "eyelashes" on the curves, then usually slowing down mitigates or eliminates it. That might get you through this challenging project!

  3. Leah Day has pointed out that many "tension" problems aren't tension problems at all but a shift in the coordination of timing between the speed of the hands moving the quilt and the foot controlling the speed of the needle. Your quilt looks like this could be the issue. This often happens on spiral/circle quilting since we are more comfortable executing one half of the circle versus the other and naturally speed up and/or slow down our hands, but necessarily our foot depending on comfort. The same could be said for lines that go forward and backward. You are probably more comfortable moving forward than backward.

    Looks like it is going to be a fun quilt.