Sunday, January 20, 2013
Thing One and Thing Two, Viking Diamond and Free Motion
Back to my resolution about free motion quilting. Not stippling, I know that, but the other pretty things.
I'm remembering taking a college math class as an adult. That means that I paid attention, really paid attention. And what the professor said was, "If you're just learning how to solve a problem, do it again and again." Not the same problem, but one like it. The whole page full. And then, what none of us wanted to hear, "There are no short cuts."
Same for free motion. If you want to learn it, do your new pattern again and again. And, like those math problems, there are no short cuts. That's thing one.
Now for thing two. Thread. A couple of years ago (I told you I recycled this resolution) I was taking a free motion workshop from a teacher I really admire. I looked forward to that workshop, and I happily bought the recommended 50-wt cotton thread. I could just imagine having a whole box of new thread, because who doesn't like new thread.
But, here's the thing. My machine didn't behave well that day. The tension was off, my stitches weren't pretty, and I wasn't happy. The woman beside me had a Viking also, a Sapphire, which is a computerized machine like mine but sewing only. Her machine stitched beautifully. Why wouldn't mine?
I went home and worked some more with the same results. I stewed. And, finally, what I remembered was this: my machine is an embroidery machine as well as a sewing machine.
And, I think, that when the feed teeth are down, the machine expects rayon thread in the top, very smooth thread, just like it gets when I embroider. That's what it's made for, that's how it's calibrated. Since that time, I've used rayon for the top thread for free motion, along with a prewound polyester bobbin, and things were instantly better. Tension is wonderful.
The plain blue is the top and the pattern is the bottom. There are no skipped threads, no eyelashes. No blue thread showing on the bottom, no white thread showing on the top. The things that can be improved are in my own stitching. I can be happy. I won't get the joy of buying all those new threads, but I'll have pretty quilting with a nice, soft shine. Once I do all the practicing. I love my machine.