Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Free-Motion Quilting

From the title of this post, you probably gather that this is focusing on something lots of us already do and many want to learn.

With the advent and availability of the modified "long-arms", we are able to move from machine quilting on our standard machine over to the rails and tables more easily. Having a brand-name high-end machine is terrific if 1. you can afford it and 2. have the space required to set one up and 3. the time to actually use it.

The Handi-Quilters, Tin Lizzies and others have solved this dilemma for many and every month we hear more people getting them and this can be an exciting time in quilting.

However, one thing that never seems to change is that of tension control and how to achieve it. I have been using my machine now for 7 years and occasionally get it bang on and other times just struggle so in an attempt last week to verify what I thought I knew, I came across this video about tension in both the bobbin and the top-thread.

I don't know where Jamie Wallen has been these past 7 years but they say, "When you are ready, the teacher will appear." This certainly came true for me over the weekend. While buzzing around YouTube learning about my machine, I saw this video on the sidebar and thought, "What does he have to say about the topic?"

Now, while I do dust out the bobbin area on my machine between every new bobbin and brush out the bobbin case as well with each new bobbin, it never occurred to me that lint might catch under the tension arm on the case! And when you watch how he tests the tension by hanging the bobbin case from the thread? This part was what I had learned last week (after 7 years, mind you). How gratifying it is to know that despite what the manual said, the tension I achieved (finally) resembled what this man says more than the manufacturer.

If you have a long-arm, modified or one of the really big guys, and have struggled with tension issues, I urge you watch this video (twice). I learned a few more things about tension and control and where to locate the 'hook' in the batting. VERY GOOD INFORMATION!!!!

Now, those who do like to play with the free-motion quilting and are willing but intimidated by feathering or curls would learn a lot from his other videos as well. Here he explains how he sets up and stitches feathers.

Karen Hansen has another splendid video explaining What To Quilt On Your Quilt that is worth the hour invested in the watching. I really like that she says, "DO what you CAN". I think those are words to live by.....

With all of this good information comes the added obvious final word: Practice.

Practice should be fun not stressful, and with more practice it becomes more fun. Before you know it, you will be doodling feathers and curls on scraps of paper, the backs of envelopes and the shower door.

Our own Mary Green teaches basic Machine Quilting on Saturdays every other month or so and is teeming with experience, ideas and lessons to get you started on the road to machine quilting. If you would like to learn more and when her next class will be offered, drop us a line or give us a call.



No comments: