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free motion

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Patricia Fox 128/01/2016 11:40:38
14 forum posts

I have two Janome machines. A DC3050 and a Gem 760.

Desperately trying to do free motion on a quilt using a Janomem Open Toe darning foot.

Front not too bad and maybe with practice I could get something ' nearly' decent'.

However the back is dreadful. Great big bunched up patches of cotton.

Can anybody help please

Carol B28/01/2016 12:05:15
3003 forum posts
776 photos
2 articles

Hi Patricia,

welcome to the forum.

I am still a relative beginner at FMQ but here are a few suggestions which you could look at,

The needle tension may be too loose

Are your upper and lower threads compatible with each other and your machine, (I have a Janome and it can be fussy about the type of threads I use)

This youtube item may help


I am sure some of the FMQ experts on the forum will have more ideas for you

Good luck, Carol Bface 23

Katy28/01/2016 12:38:21
8902 forum posts
5365 photos
898 articles

Hi Patricia

I'm no expert at FMQ either, but it does sound like the top tension is too loose, or it might just be that you haven't settled into a quilting rhythm.

Have you set the stitch length to 0? Try a practice piece using the same top and bottom fabric and wadding and threads, and adjust the top tension until you get the result you want. I personally like to keep the feed dogs up, but most people don't, so you can try that too. You don't want to have the machine running too fast, which I do quite often, so try and relax a bit (impossible for me!)

Eileen Heathorn28/01/2016 17:03:09
365 forum posts
34 photos

Hi Patricia

Try Leah Day website lots of information and videos. Agree with Katy set stitch length t 0 and keep feed dogs up. Make up some quilt sandwiches to practice on rather than start on your quilt. Hope this helps.

Regards E

Lexy28/01/2016 17:55:15
297 forum posts
81 photos

I prefer feed dogs down and also don't forget to put your foot down as well. I've set off sewing before without lowering the foot and it creates a mess on the back like you describe.


Jayne28/01/2016 19:47:30
677 forum posts
118 photos

Yes Lexy, I had that problem the first time I tried FMQ, just because the FM Foot didn't touch the fabric like a normal foot does I didn't think it would make any difference..... Doh!!!

It wasn't until I saw Sarah Payne on C&C who said to thread the machine with the pressure foot up so that the thread can go between the open tension plates did I realise that the pressure foot impacted on the tension, (I'd been sewing for well over 40 years when I saw that...)

Thank you for reminding me Lexy...

Eileen and Katy , I have to ask how do you FMQ with the feed dogs up, could you explain please?

Jayne x

rosemary Rosenfeld28/01/2016 23:18:47
5927 forum posts
1741 photos
13 articles

Hi old machine didn't have an open toed darning foot so to FMQ I lowered the feeddogs and used the embroidery foot! The fabric moved easily in all directions! On my new machine I use the darning foot and because there is no real pressure I leave the feeddogs up! I did try lowering them but it moved so easily that I couldn't control it at all! I think it's a matter of try it and see! Every book/ article/video I've ever seen says something slightly different! Best Rosemary

Jayne29/01/2016 10:27:45
677 forum posts
118 photos

Thank you for explaining Rosemary, I'm still gathering information about FMQ and still not very good at it. Jayne x

Claire Bear05/02/2016 13:04:42
1846 forum posts
411 photos

Hi Patricia,

Everything the ladies above have said is great advice.

I have been lucky enough to attend a couple of classes run by Phillippa Naylor who is a genius at FMQ and she gives lots of tips but at the end of the day its all about finding out what you like to do.

I personally like to use quilting gloves whereas Philippa doesn't and she uses a bit of grippy rubber backing as she quilts.

Shes uses very fine needles (which I tend to break) so I use a universal needle which I get on very well with.

I think the main thing though is practice, practice, practice. face 23

Good luck with it!


Winnie the B.O.L.B10/02/2016 19:18:57
3354 forum posts
190 photos
1 articles

Letia - I am "determined"(???) to try to master this. I am fine/OK with ordinary "outline" quilting with either my walking foot or my clear plastic open toed one although I find large quilts very difficult with my ordinary machine. I tend to "cheat" a bit with those and include some QAYG sized blocks in my designs!!! Stitching in the Ditch isn't all that easy either - it sounds as if it should be BUT!!!

If I had both the room and the finance, I would invest in a long arm quilter - unfortunately, I have neither!!

Maybe my stitch length control just needs lots more practise!!

Does anyone know if there are any workshops on FMQ at the FOQ?

Winnie xx

Edited By Katy on 12/02/2016 09:38:25

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