Sunday, May 6, 2012

May Free Motion Quilt Challenge with Leah Day

I have been learning so much from the Free Motion Quilt Challenge sponsored by SewCalGirl.   Each month I have picked up some tips.  I was a little late posting about the April lesson and it was my last post, but when I looked at the video for Leah Day's lesson I really could not wait to try some of her suggestions.  I was particularly interested in her suggestion to NOT drop the feed dogs, but to bring the stitch length to zero and try your free motion quilting with the feed dogs still up.  Her reason for this is that free motion quilting is somewhat hard on the home machine and they are not really designed to sew in this fashion, something I have been told by my local sewing machine dealer.  She feels dropping the feed dogs also disengages something else in the machine that is necessary for balanced stitching.

 I gave it a try with sample two, the railroad track pattern, and really could not tell that much difference.  I think my bottom line is going to be if I am having trouble with balanced stitches in my machine quilting for whatever reason, thread, humid weather, dry weather...whatever, I am going to try leaving the feed dogs up and see if that helps on that particular quilt.  She also described a little product I have not ever heard of, Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washers.  I did not have access to these but would be very interested if anyone has used them in a Bernina and if they thought it reduced bobbin thread problems such as bird's nest.

Leah Day's website is wonderful, she also is sponsoring a free motion quilt project or quilt along that gives machine quilters of any level of experience lots of practice.
Happy Stitching!


  1. You're going well on the FMQ, I used to not drop feed dogs once upon a time and it does give more control too. Pam Holland does all her quilting like that.

  2. I don't think my Bernina would actually allow me to function with the feed dogs up, but I will give it a try. My SewSlip covers the dogs anyway.

    I put a bobbin washer in, but I do not detect any particular difference. I know my Janome 6600 did not seem to do well with it, and I took the Genie out after a trial. I keep the latter machine set up for piecing and do FMQ on the Bernina (also set up permanently in another room.)

  3. I'm going to purchase Isacord thread and a Supreme Slider before beginning my project - thank you for your inspirational post!

  4. your project is awesome, I have not made mine yet, but will try to get to it today. I am going to try the double foundation method that I saw on ones post. It makes the rr tracks look great.

  5. I had never heard of those washers until I read about them in your post. I will be on the lookout for them. I know on our Berninas there is a little "thing" that sticks out on the bobbin case where we can thread the bobbin thread through before sewing, but I have never tried that either to see if it helps. Your machine quilting looks great!

  6. Really lovely FMQ.


  7. Your sample projects look really good.
    My Pfaff has much better tension in FMQ with the feed dogs up. I haven't tried the bobbin washers. Haven't felt like I needed them. Once I left my feed dogs in place I didn't have problems.