Saturday, October 10, 2009

Free-Motion Quilting with Margaret

I had my free-motion, not free-form as Margaret pointed out, lesson last week with Margaret and it was just what I needed. I was a little worried that my teacher might not know about quilting but as soon as I saw Margaret I knew I was in good hands as she said "I have been quilting longer then you have been alive". It was like having a lesson with my Granny which was really nice.

When you have a lesson like this you bring your machine to work on and I had prepared a practice piece to quilt on. Now if you have not quilted before free-motion quilting is when you drop the feed dogs (little teeth like feet that move the underside of your fabric while you sew) of your machine and control the movement of your fabric on your own. This is done without turning the fabric but dancing it under the needle. When I finally figured this out with my first quilt it was a huge breakthrough but I was still having tension issues. In all of the searching I had done I really couldn't find a good description of the technique so I had no idea how to fix the problem. It took Margaret maybe 5 seconds and my problem was that I was not going fast enough which was creating a little drag. She instructed me to go faster and sometimes so fast the machine was vibrating up and down on the table. I felt like it was going to take off on me and really that was a little too fast for comfort but when I slowed a little I was still going much faster then before and just like that the tension is perfect. She also taught me a great trick to use when I am starting a stitch in the middle of the quilt which involved bringing the bobbin thread up through the top of the fabric then stitching in place three times to stay it. Finally the best thing Margaret introduced me to is...wait can you hear the trumpets and angels singing? I hear them now in my head it's the Titanium Quilting needle! My thread started to break while we were sewing and it's always good to check your needle when that is happening. Margaret was not impressed with my needle choice and pulled out one of these which we put in my machine and I couldn't believe the difference. It was like sewing through butter and they last longer then your normal needle so the price increase should balance out. If I can give you any tip when you are sewing it's keep your needle in check because an old needle can really cause a lot of trouble!

I still need to practice and remember to relax my shoulders while I sew but I am almost done with the building blocks and it will be time to quilt again, this time I have all the tools!

Creative Mom

1 comment:

Jen said...

Oh the table moving made me laugh! I have not quilted but have sewn a lot and a lot of LONG LONG hems. The pedal to the metal makes me think the feed dogs will pull the cloth, tabletop then me right in and under!