Wednesday, August 15, 2012

FMQ on a treadle

If you treadle and you want to find out more about free motion quilting on your machine, check out this tutorial. I followed a lot the advice and did some free motion quilting on my old Singer 27.  I was having some trouble with threads breaking so instead of a flowing design I decided to do a bunch of spirals.  That way the spiral would just end when the thread broke.  However, today I switched from cotton to polyester thread and that helped a lot.  The poly thread seems stronger and I was able to make bigger spirals that I knotted off instead of just allowing the thread to break.

Behold my work!

It's not pretty by any means - I can't do those beautiful, little, even stitches that other quilters do when free motion quilting.  But I know I'll only get better with practice, and really, it was easier to do FMQ on a treadle than on my electric.  I guess I have an easier time treadling and moving my hands at the same speed than I do controlling my foot pedal and moving my hands.

It's not great, but I did it!  On a treadle machine!  And a machine with a vibrating shuttle, too!

That's what's underneath my machine instead of a round bobbin.  Strange, huh?  This machine was my first treadle and I was shocked when I opened those slide plates and found that weird little bullet instead of a round bobbin.  At first I thought it might be some hidden evidence of a century-old murder, but no, it was just what they had for bobbins a hundred years ago.

Unfortunately, just as I was really going my needle snapped and the tip lodged itself in the feed dogs.  The screw holding that plate is stuck tight so I'll have to wait until tomorrow and try to get my husband to help it along.  Figures.  But I was having a lot of fun before then, so I'm looking forward to trying it again tomorrow.


  1. Congratulations! Hope you have a lot more FMQ fun tomorrow.
    Part of the difference could be the difference in thread path, but I'm also wondering if the the top tension and the tension on the shuttle thread are balanced. Do you get even stitches when you just stitch a straight line?

    1. Yeah, when I go in a straight line the stitches are all the same length. Even when I FMQ the stitches appear to be locking in the middle of the's just that some are longer and some are shorter. I think I have trouble moving the quilt at an even speed. I suppose that comes with practice.

  2. Dear Christine Carey,

    May I know, did you lower down the feed dog while doing the FMQ? I cant make a good FMQ even a simple like yours when I tried to do it on my 28. Hope you can help me