05 March, 2012

It's Monday again!

I have actually been doing things this past week, just not very exciting things that I want to blog about. I've painted the kitchen ceiling and it's now a bit whiter than it was (doesn't make for an interesting photo) and I've taped up the windows ready to start on them. They've been sitting in this state for almost a year! It's kind of pretty-looking

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I've also been getting ready to make Hazel a Lilla Handlebar basket out of oilcloth. I haven't actually tried sewing the oilcloth yet, I'm hoping my machine will cope with it if I have the walking foot on so I don't have to sew over tissue paper because that will just make it more fiddly than seems it should be. She wants it to be exactly like the one on the pattern, although she decided this morning she'd like the cherry fabric lining because it would be "delicious". She tends to get kissed after saying things like that :)

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And lastly, I've been turning out some really appalling FMQ.


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This troubles me no end to be honest. I HATE not being good at things, in fact I avoid things I'm not good at. I keep thinking I'm getting better at it but I'm not entirely sure, I might just be delusional. I'm also not sure how much of the appallingness is down to me and my inexperience, and how much of it is down to my machine. I can't stop with the needle down which is a problem, but the main issue is that the fabric doesn't feed evenly so while I'm trying to get into a rhythm and move with the needle, I get spots where the fabric won't move and the stitches are tiny, and then all of a sudden it surges forward and I get a few long ones that may be heading out in the wrong direction. Is that me? Will it get better? The tension also seems off - I can't get it to behave the same as it does with a regular foot so I have the different colours showing through top and bottom at times (I know, different colours isn't ideal for a beginner!) I'd love to blame my machine for all of this but that's pointless. However, I would like to know if some of it IS down to the machine so I'm not unnecessarily hard on myself :) I think upon reflection I need to rip out this section and do it again for my own peace of mind!

15 comments:

  1. Oh well done for perservering with the FMQ. I think I am like you - I am practising on quilt sandwiches but as I am not instantly good at it, am finding it hard to keep at it!! I am having trouble with the tension as well - Tricia at Patchwork Passion suggested a jeans needle (!). I haven't tried this yet.

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  2. Oh and I meant to say - I can also reduce the pressure of my presser foot on my machine which helps the fabric fo feed through more evenly - there is a lever thingee inside the machine near where the bulb is - I had no idea it was even there!!

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  3. Are your feed dogs up or down? Lots of people recommend having them down for FMQ, but I've found that my stitch length is more consistent with them up. Fewer of those super small stitches follower by really long stitches. Of course, the FMQ I've done has been with a normal foot. I just got a quilting foot last week, and that may make everything different.

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  4. Not all machines are created equal when it comes to fmq. I use an open toed embroidery foot, feed dogs down, stitch length zero,same good quality thread for the bobbin and top. Having a pair of quilting/gardening gloves helps alot too. Practice, practice, practice! Failing that, try it on someone else machine and see if the quilt guild can run a class for you. Best of luck!

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  5. Ah, stitch length to zero - haven't tried that and I do need to get some gloves. I did have some but I used them to protect my hands while sanding! Licking my palms every few minutes probably isn't sanitary or particularly effective...

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  6. Down, but it's possible that up might be better - will give it a go! I've never tried it with a normal foot but I've noticed that my walking foot is actually easier to move things around under because it lifts up like the FMQ foot does. Not that I think it would be better though!

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  7. Ok, jeans needle has been added to the list of things to try. I did look at the presser foot but couldn't see anything that looked leverish. I'm using a quilting foot so it (theoretically) shouldn't be putting any pressure on the fabric when the needle is up and things should move freely. I need to try this on a flash machine and see if there is any difference!

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  8. Without wishing to be so non pc I cannot help but be amused that what I presume is a predominantly female passtime of quilting has a code language that reminds me of a group of men discussing a shed project or car. FMQs and feed dogs? 

    That handlebar basket pattern is adorable.  Hazel will be the envy of her friends with it on her bike.  Hope the oilcloth is easy to stitch.

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  9. No, not non-PC, it's a very anthropological observation! All groups use terminology or dress or something like that so they are identifiable and know each other. I'm just marking myself out as part of the quilting clique so they don't savage me, take away my fabric and then run me out of town. FMQ is free-motion quilting where you don't have a foot pushing down on the quilt and you can do meandering lines or curves or writing or whatever you want. Kind of like writing with thread. Feed dogs is just about the best term sewing has in my opinion - but they're just the little metal teeth under the sewing machine foot that move the fabric along. See, now you can safely approach a group of quilters without fear.

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  10. We just gave our 2 year old grandson a bike for his birthday. Great timing, I'm going to try this one out. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. OK, a few things. Firstly, I see that during my maternity convalescence you had a fabulous giveaway that I didn't participte in and could have potentially won! Double farts! Secondly, with FMQ, yes it sould just as much be your machine as anything. Don't be too hard on yourself. Just like matching up every single point when piecing isn't a total requirement, perfect FMQ isn't either. NOBODY (except a-holes) will be looking for imperfections in something you make. You have to practice and fail, practice some more and fail some more again. Knowledge isn't skill. Knowledge and 10,000 times is skill. Besides, wash and dry that quilt and nobody will be the wiser. What's important is that it's comfy! And didn't make you go insane. :)

    Thanks for the well wishes with the baby. Have fun in Sydney!!

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  12. Oh, and I meant "could just as much be your machine" not "should".

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  13. Kimberly PetersenMarch 9, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    That basket - So cuuuute!  Also, I didn't have great luck with FMQ either.  Haven't attempted it more than once, but I didn't think it was very fun in the first place, so I don't know if I will!

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  14. ohhhh, darn...i was going to do FMQ on my NICU quilt, it has been sitting like a machine cover over my sewing machine for about 4 days now, waiting for me to get brave...so maybe i will rethink that one!! love the bike basket...would love to know how you go with the oilcloth - i have some waiting to sew, and again have just been looking at it!!!

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  15. I haven't quite given up on FMQ but when I can do nice straight stitching it's hard to switch over and do something seriously dodgy! I've started sewing up the basket and the oilcloth is surprisingly easy to sew - doesn't stick to the foot or anything like laminated cotton does. The tension is a bit tricky but I think that's just because it's so stiff.

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