Thursday, January 3, 2013

Feather & thoughts of FMQ feet

All of last week I was itching to get started on the quilting.  But holiday visiting and having my aunt as a house guest for two nights (in my sewing room) didn't make it possible.  Then the day my aunt left I got a terrible neck and shoulder ache, that persists almost a week later.  I was in too much pain to even think about quilting for a couple of days.  I got a massage, which was painful, but helped.  Finally got started quilting earlier this week, despite a constant ache in my shoulder and neck.  Luckily though my husband has this whole week off and has been entertaining the toddler (near preschooler!), so I've gotten a lot done!

The quilting as of last night.

Yesterday we drove 2+ hours to visit some grandparents, and I spent about half the time twisted in my seat trying to console the over tired, hungry and teething baby in the back seat.  That combined with the amount of time sitting in the car brought my neck and shoulder ache back to constantly painful.

Since the kids passed out early last night, I decided to do some quilting.  Before long I noticed the free motion foot was dragging (it wasn't "hopping"), which was causing excessive wrinkles and folds as I quilted.  I couldn't figure out why!  It was so frustrating!  It seemed to be working fine, except that it wasn't hopping.  Then I tested out the little bar that makes it hop and it broke off without very much pressure.

Old one on the left with a broken bar-thingy.

 I think I've made around 14 quilts with the old foot, so I guess it's had a good run.  Still it made me grumpy for the rest of the evening.  But this morning I was able to go get a new foot (and more thread, and a new seam ripper), and continue without any more issue.

This is my third free motion foot.  The first one I kept as-is for a long time, I didn't think about it being different or better.  Then I got my new machine and it came with an open-toe foot, which I've used ever since.  Since I had two, I decided to "break" my old one, as per Leah Day at The Free Motion Quilting Project.  I tried using it on a bunch of different quilts and came to this conclusion:

-Open-toe free motion feet are much better than closed-toe!  I really like being able to see around the needle and it's an easy fix for a plastic one.

My new foot, which I cut open and then I used an old nail file to smooth the sharp edges. 

-A none-hopping foot works extremely well (and it so much quieter) for whole cloth quilts, or quilts that have very few seams.  Even with adjusting the rubber band (hair tie) on mine, it is hard to get the height just right to smoothly go over every seam, and having it occasionally snag on a seam is very frustrating!  Also, every quilt and every batting requires you to adjust the height.

Overall I really like having a standard-hopping foot and a fixed height foot for all the various quilting projects I do.  Have you tried "breaking" your free motion quilt?  Do you have a preference for hopping vs non-hopping feet?


  1. Beautiful quilting Renee! Love the pattern and the colors too!

  2. So sorry to hear about your foot breaking. That has to be frustrating and really break the flow for your evening's work. I have a Bernina 730 and use a variety of different feet for my FMQ. The one foot I don't use is their Stitch regulator, which is supposed to make your quilting stitches more regular by electronically sensing you moving the fabric. Actually I use the foot, since it has an open toe, but I don't hook it up to the sensor. I like the idea of cutting open one of the plastic feet!

  3. Feel Better!!!

    No, I've never broken a free motion foot. I got several with my current machine and it doesn't need breaking. When I lower my feed dogs, the machine (a Baby Lock) adjusts the foot to match the fabric under it. I have one that doesn't hop at all, and is a small closed circle. And a second that might hop and is a metal open toe. Works very well.

    Your feathers are beautiful. I'm very impressed.

  4. I love your quilt design. The negative space is wonderful for all that gorgeous quilting - it's very modern!

  5. Sorry about the foot. Your quilt design is beautiful

  6. I have a hopping open toe and a "broken" one. I'm not bothered by hopping but wanted to give the Leah Day special a try. I didn't like the elastic adjustment but I did come up with something I like better....I use the rubber rings from eating plug jewelry. I just slice the tiny o-ring in one spot and slip it in the shaft. I can stack as many as I like to adjust height. Give that a try! If you don't have any, you can go to a local shop and buy them for pennies a piece or if you don't have any local, bring you FMQ foot to a hardware store and buy some prongs that fit (they are a little more but not by much at that size).

    1. Good idea! Thanks for the suggestion, it's sounds like something I would like better than the elastic too!

  7. My foot broke about 2 months ago and the one for my machine is very expensive so I gave in and just used it as is with no hop. I love it so much more without the hop. It is just high enough to not get caught and the pressure is pretty light so it will go up easily when I push the fabric through. It is an open foot which I can't live without!

  8. Your quilting looks very pretty! I'm sorry you've been feeling not too well lately. Hope next week is easier on you! ♥

  9. Oh those feathers look gorgeous AND accurately! Well done!
    Get well soon, I remember having a constant neck ache when I was nursing my little one so I know how it hurts. Yoga and a hot bath may help :o)