Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Free Motion Machine Quilting

Although I haven't written about my challenge in learning how to free motion machine quilt, doesn't mean I haven't been practicing. I've spent several hours practicing but because of other obligations, I have not worked on it for the last few days and need to.

This is what my stitching looked like when I first started. I know the picture isn't real clear, but if you click on the picture it will enlargen and you can see the stitching detail better.


This is what my stitching looks like now. As you can see it isn't perfect but I've definitely made some improvement. The purpose of using this large scale fabric was to give me the opportunity to work on the various shapes and although it looks like it would be a simple pattern to follow, it wasn't. There is a pretty big learning curve. Of course, because I'm using Pfaff's Fabric Mover for quilting, I'm not only learning how to free motion machine quilt but I'm also learning how to use this tool. What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment.

Here is the backside. I’m not sure why, but it appears the batting is being forced thru the fabric and leaving little specks in the quilting. I’m using Warm & Natural and have never seen anything like it before. I suppose it could also be the fabric as it is lesser quality than what I would normally work with. I’ve adjusted the tension several times without much success. I’m hoping it will disappear after I’ve washed the piece. I’m welcome to suggestions on how to eliminate this if you have some.

I’m not completely comfortable with the process but I am improving. I think one of my biggest struggles is my need for perfection. This last picture is a clear example of this. When I look at the front side of the quilting piece I zero in on all the mistakes. Places where my stitching didn’t fall exactly on the line or my stitching lines cross. However, when I look at the back side, I can see a pretty intricate design and it looks OK.

Along the same topic, I found a great site that focuses on free motion machine quilting. Leah Day, author of 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs blog, features a new free motion quilting filler design each day. While she takes you thru her creative process, she provides videos demonstrating the logistics of stitching out the design as well as guidelines and tips for achieving success. Great site!

I’ll continue to practice to gain more confidence and skill before I attempt to machine quilt my musical angels quilt. In the meantime I’ll work on other projects while I persist on learning how to free motion machine quilt.

8 comments:

Marie' said...

Looks great to me, Dena! Using a fresh needle might help with the batting coming through. Thank you for the link, too. I will have to check it out.

Piecefulafternoon said...

Looks like you are making good progress. Perhaps a smaller needle? But then I know nothing of machine quilting so you better wait for experts to help out. :-)

Connie said...

Ah, the struggles of being a perfectionist! However, the rewards are great and the effort does pay off. Great work.

Micki said...

Your machine quilting is wonderul Dena! Great job!
Micki

ivoryspring said...

Dena,

You are doing a great job! You might try using a smaller needle. My favorite is the Schmetz 70 Sharp.

Quiltblocktour said...

That same thing happened with a king size quilt I recently finished up. It was rather up setting that it was looking like that. I'm not sure how I ended up fixing it. What I did was just buy a new machine ;) I hope it works out for you and I am interested to see suggestions on how to fix it

-Katie
http://quiltblocktour.blogspot.com

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Looks so good. I've been wanting to get on the 365 Days of machine quilting wagon, but life goes on.......

Doreen Baros said...

Dena you should switch to a quilting needle or a sharps size 70/10 or 80/12 to avoid the batting poking through. Your needle might also be dull. What is happening is the needle is pushing batting through the backing fabric rather than piercing cleanly through the batting. The needle is too blunt. Quilting needles are made specifically to remedy this. Sharps are even sharper still so also would not do this. The scarf is cut a little different on these needles as well but either should work well. Keep up the great work. You'll have that learning curve mastered on both the free motion and the fabric mover in no time.