Sunday, July 23, 2006

Quilting Disaster

Okay, I thought I'd have to give free motion quilting a go. So, once I'd put borders on my pink and green squared top I thought that would be good to start on - I didn't care too much about it so I wasn't worried about 'ruining' it. DD is going to camp at a music festival next month so I thought she could put it in the tent. So there I was, stitching away merrily (but not very evenly - hey I'm still learning). I remembered what Anne, at Quilting Bebbs had said about starting in the middle and moving to the edges. I thought this could be like one big practice piece.

And then THIS happened. The needle broke into 3 pieces and the actual plastic part of the foot sheared off. I don't think I hit a safety pin so I have no idea why this happened. Maybe it's a cosmic message ~stick to stitching in the ditch~. So I have no idea whether it's a faulty foot or whether it was something I did wrong. Either way, the quilt will now have to wait until I can order another foot. I haven't tried the machine with another foot yet, so I hope there is no other damage to it.

One thing I did find out when I was doing the fmq - my machine always stops with the needle up and you can't set it to stop with the needle down - kind of annoying when doing this. Other than that I love my machine, it's a Brother star 230E and has lots of features that I like such as a top loading bobbin so you don't have to put it in a seperate case and pull the thread through.

And, best news yet, it's raining, what a relief!


joyce said...

Wow! I've never had that happen. You wouldn't think the needle could do that. Maybe it was a faulty foot to start with. I love the needle down position on my Pfaff. I use it contstantly. The best thing is when you push needle up it goes up right away and you don't have to take another stitch as was the case with my old machine.

Shelina said...

I've never had this happen either! You are doing a great job free motion quilting - don't give up on it. Hope you get a new foot soon, so you can get this finished off. I've heard of people who do this type of quilting without a foot at all, but I've never tried it.
Also, don't know the scale of your quilt, but on my first quilt, I found that I quilted too close together. This made the quilt very stiff - good for wall hangings but not as soft and cuddly as I wanted it to be.

anne bebbington said...

Fiona - your quilting looks fab!!!! I mean FAB!!!! - can't for the life of me think why the foot should do that - I have a bernina with a metal foot - as Shelina says some people do fmq without a foot but I can't and daren't get my hands close enough to keep the fabric flat enough down for it to work - I've had one argument with a sewing machine needle this month thank you! I have to say I find the needle down feature on my bernina THE most important function of my machine for any type of stitching - my second and third machines also berninas but less sophisticated don't have this and I really miss it if they ever have to come into service - some people say if you don't have the needle down function a quick flick on the pedal after you've stopped will put your needle down into your work - for me I'm a bit too heavy footed so I usually turn the wheel by hand because you do need the work to stay with the needle down as you rearrange the quilt to stitch a bit further or else you pull on the bobbin thread and get birds nests on the back or the machine bunged up if you're less lucky. Just keep on going it's looking really great - if it is your practice piece try signing your name on it or writing your daughters name - anything that you can almost write without having to think about it - just ignore the dots on the 'I's and cross the 'T's as you go up and down the height of the letter - GO FOR IT you're doing great :o)

Finn said...

Oh Fiona, that's terrible. I hope the new foot is speedy in coming.

I wonder if maybe the zipper foot would work, or a darning foot. They should both be fairly open.
I haven't tried free motion for just that reason. You're braver than I am..Hugs, Finn

Judy said...

Okay I have thought and thought about this and really can't say why it happened. I can only think that maybe...without anything you did...when you were moving the quilt around and the needle was down for a split second it pulled the needle over and bent it enough to catch the edge of the foot and thus hit it and whack! But it would have had to be a FREAK accident. I don't know how fast you were going, but don't be scared. I once ran my needle right THROUGH the head of a pin!! Right through the solid part! Scared the heck out of me. I shook for a while but it was fine after that. The pin snuck up on me and I didn't see it.

Hope the foot comes soon. Go slow and relax, you'll get it. Make sure your feed dogs are down and you have some room between your foot and the quilt. The foot should float above the quilt by a tiny bit. If it doesn't you might need to read your book and see if you can loosen the tension on you presser foot arm. Some machine can do that.

Now...the quilting is Fantastic so far. I love the design and you are doing a great job! So don't be discouraged. Everybody learns at the start. PLEASE do not ever sewn with no foot. I cringe at the thought of you hand slipping under that bare needle. Yikes!!

Tazzie said...

Goodness me, I've never seen anything like that happen before! I wonder if the foot had some kind of defect?
Don't give up on your free motion quilting, it takes a lot of practice, and it's really worth it. I'm still quite a beginner at it, but it doesn't take long to become more confident, and I must say that the needle down function is super helpful.
The quilting that you've done so far is just great, you should be feeling very proud of yourself.

Helen in the UK said...

FMQ is something that will develop with practice. I do all my charity quilts with meandering - I think I could do it in my sleep now. But if I'm doing something more complicated I really have to concentrate. What you've done looks great :)