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Free Motion Quilting….

September 16, 2009


I love learning something new.  I have a habit (good? …bad?…sometimes it’s debatable!) of jumping into a new something whole heartedly.  No hesitations… just get what I need and go for it.  It’s how I learned to sew…. it’s how I learned to crochet…. embroider… grinding my own wheat and baking breads… it’s just how I learn.  Anyone else out there like that?  Or are you more of planner?  Or class-taker?

I LOVE my Bernina 1630 sewing  machine.  I bought it from a nice woman that had kept it stored for 10 years and NEVER used it.  Seriously, she had never even threaded the machine.  Along with a Horn sewing cabinet , chair and Bernina serger, I bought the sewing machine for a heck of a deal two years ago.  And I couldn’t be happier!  However, it didn’t come with a walking foot.  And to quilt, you apparently NEED a walking foot.  Well, I just haven’t been able to part with the $150 it costs for one of those fancy feet.  My 1630 did come with the darning foot however. And that, I learned, can be used for free motion quilting.  So yesterday, after watching a few tutorials like this, this and this…  I just jumped right in.  And you know, it’s not as hard as I thought it would be.  I need a LOT more practice moderating and smoothing out my speed of feeding the fabric thru, but it’s so cool!  I may just even give it a shot on that baby quilt……  maybe… 

Anyone out there free motion quilt?  Any pointers or tips?  I tried stippling ( I think that’s what it’s called, although my stiches were too far apart) and the pepple stitch (those crude circles you see above and below) .  Any suggestions on an easy design to start with?  The options are endless!!


8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2009 8:57 am

    I’m so jealous of your terrific machine buys. How lucky can you get? I’m a lot like you.. I love to jump in and go.. what’s the worst that can happen? It’s just sewing, right? And.. I like patterns but I LOVE making things up as I go.. It’s far more rewarding. I wish I had advice on free motion.. No such luck..I have my foot but have yet to put in on my machine. Good luck on your adventure..looks to me like you’re doing just fine.

  2. September 16, 2009 9:39 am

    Looks like you’re figuring it out just fine! 🙂 I’ve dabbled in free motion but looking forward to more so thanks for the inspiration! I have some luscious orange-yellow cotton batik I keep looking at, thinking it would be pretty as a vest or bag with free motion stitching. I’m a hybrid of what you’re talking about – I dive in if I have most of the stuff I need already. When I’m not sure I go ahead & take a class first before buying stuff. Good deal on your machine! Happy Day, Georgia in northern California

  3. September 16, 2009 10:54 am

    I love that look, I’ve been seeing it around lately. Do I do it? Oh no, I can never even remember how to thread a bobbin 🙂

  4. September 16, 2009 9:27 pm

    Oh, that looks like so much fun! I’m just teaching myself the ins and outs of sewing (on a cheap Brother machine– if your lady has any more nice machines lurking in her basement….;)– I’m definitely more of a jump right in kinda girl. In fact, I’ve had to take to using an “idea book” to write down all the things I want to jump right into, because with three little ones, I was taking on too much to keep up– even with myself! I wrote about it yesterday– probably just because I had to make a bag to put my idea book in:)

  5. September 18, 2009 8:24 am

    I have been doing loads of nesting this past week as well……changed the furniture in my living room…new table cloths, pillows, a new wool rug, took down the screens…..ahhhh, preparing for winter, I do love to pitter around the house.

  6. September 18, 2009 10:13 pm

    It looks like you’re doing great. One way to hide less than perfect quilting is with thin thread(superior makes several). Another way is to match your thread color to your fabric and go one shade lighter in thread rather than darker.
    Spool some thread out or cut a bunch of “sprinkles” to see how it will look on your fabric. do not hold a spool next to fabric to audition. Lastly, audition as many threads as you can you will be surprised what works.

    I think under/over loop de loops is the easiest to start as you can make them any size and it teaches basic skills. Then to Loop-de loop you can in a leaf or heart and
    your skill building to feathers.
    you can practice your skills with pen and paper. use a pen and get graph/grid paper to start. Fill the page with a single line. Doing this repeatedly will help build skills and you can see progress from one page to the next..

    So that’s it: practice and careful thread choice. That’s my advise. It looks like you are well on your way. 🙂

    • minivanlife permalink*
      September 20, 2009 11:39 am

      Oh, goodness, thank you so much for the help! I’ll definitely put those suggestions into actions. Thanks again Rachel!

  7. angel permalink
    February 27, 2012 3:06 pm

    Hi, I inherited a 1630 and no one around me knows how to use the stitch designer. Do you? ANY HELP would be appreciated (Local dealer hasn’t been selling Bernina long enough)!

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