Free Motion Quilting Challenge

After reading over the March FMQ Challenge, I wasn't exactly sure what the stitching challenge was.  I checked SewCalGal's blog to see what others were doing, and it appears this month is a free-form practice.  I decided to try out the motif I wanted to use on the swap quilt I'm making.  In case you can't tell (and that wouldn't be surprising), these are supposed to be butterflies with some flowers connecting them.  

The small quilt sandwich I was working on was a bit constraining, but I got the general idea of how to make the butterflies, sad though they are.  After trying this out a few more times I moved on to the actual quilt I'm making, but I wisely used thread without so much contrast.  I would show you a picture, but it's too hard to see it.  When I started working on the quilt, I made the butterflies much larger to cover more territory.  It's working out okay.

I'm still having trouble with my stitch regulator . . . or maybe it's the tension . . . or something about the machine.  I can't really tell.  When I stitch over seams or areas where there are extra layers of fabric (which tends to be where the seams are), the top thread stops picking up the bobbin thread.  It drives me half crazy (because I was already half way there).  

I tried tightening the tension and that helped some, but then the bobbin thread is visible on top.  Since I'm using two different colors of thread, it is undesirable to have the bobbin thread showing on top.  Slowing down also helps some, but it doesn't get rid of the problem.  It could be that I need to use the exact same thread top and bottom, but it seems to me the machine shouldn't be that picky.

I'm beginning to think I might need to take the machine in for repair and ask the repairman if he has any suggestions.  It's disheartening as it is.

5 comments from clever and witty friends:

Needled Mom said...

I can definitely tell they are flowers and butterflies. Great job! It will be interesting to read comments on the solutions to the thread skipping.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

You really did a great job! I'm glad you figured out it was free form....giggle....maybe now I'll try something before the end of the month.

My Stitch Regulator is giving me trouble too......My hands and brain don't work together.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I use both threads top and bottom as well as lighter thread on top/heavy bottom. You could try a heavier needle (like for batiks)and do you change your needle postion? to the center? - some machines like to work in the 'default' position. My New Home(old Janome) doesn't care, but my Brother has to be in the default (left).

Teresa in Music City said...

My machine does that occasionally too and I'm not sure why. I usually change the needle to a sharper one and it helps most of the time. I'll be interested to see if anyone else has suggestions! I think you've done a great job on your FMQ! I think it's more about freedom of expression and I love the spring-like expression of your stitching!!!

Annedore said...

Yes, you're right with your opinion about fabric and cats - would love to stay in touch with you, so many similarities in our lives ! Regards, Annedore