A Sewing Studio Addition!

Bernina 820 Quilter's Edition

I’m thrilled to report there’s a new tool in my workshop—a Bernina 820 Quilter’s Edition!  We are still getting to know each other, but I think we may be a “match made in heaven!”

Bernina 820, Quilt Doodle, Free Motion Quilted Sewing Machine Motif

We met on an online dating site:  Bernina.com  –and when I read about the extra-large harp space—I knew I was in love…(Think about all those queen and king size quilt tops just waiting to be quilted…. )

Free Motion Quilted spools of thread, Long Arm motif

The bobbin is huge!  The light is so bright!

Bernina 820-Quilter's Edition

It has a clock…and a stitch counter…and a threader that works….It knots and cuts off threads with one push of the button!

Free Motion Quilting Fonts, Lettering with Free motion Quilting

I think we are going to be very happy together!

So many Works in Progress…and a little sewing machine Love!

Free Motion Quilting Circles–Tuesday Tutorial

Welcome to all the new followers of The Inbox Jaunt!   We are delighted that you have found our little circle of quilters!  In order to celebrate our ever-expanding ring of friends and followers, today we have free motion quilted circles!  We will be working on two types of circles:  The first circle is the One-Pass Circle and the second is called the Two-Pass Circle.  

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

Last week we stitched the Fabulous Flower and a table runner that included the Fabulous Flower and rows of One-Pass Circles. (See the table runner here.)  The Fabulous Flower looks complicated, but it is quite easy.  Circles look easy, but are a little more difficult to stitch—(Don’t fear-YOU CAN do it!).  Like most very “simple” patterns, circles require more precision.  They require both doodling and stitched practice, but they are WORTH the EFFORT!  There are oo-oodles of circle motifs.  So, let’s get started!

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

Start with two drawn lines or “rails” to help keep the circles in a row.  Starting in the middle, stitch an entire circle-returning to your middle point (In the photo below there is a faintly drawn “X” where I began the left-most circle.)   After you return to your starting point, stitch over your previous stitches and sew another half circle…(You are actually stitching a circle and a half for every pattern…)  In the image below, I stitched a bit off the first line of stitching so you would be able to see the second row of stitching, but  normally, I try to stitch directly on top of my previous line of stitching.

Each circle is actually a circle and a half.  Between each circle, you may want to add a straight line…or you may begin your next circle right that point…

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

The Two-Pass Circle is sewn in halves:  The first “pass” is the top of the circle, while the second “pass” is the lower half of the circle…

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

Begin your row of stitching in the middle of your “rails”…Stitch the upper half of the circle…

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

Then stitch the lower half of the circle…

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

When you are finished, it should look like  better than this!

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

I usually stitch the One-Pass Circle–as I find it easier to create symmetric circles…but both circles are worth learning…

Once you have “The Circle” in your free motion quilting repertoire–I know you will find zillions of ways to put it to use!

Free Motion Quilting Circles Tutorial

Thank you for all the messages–I love to hear from you!  Also, if you have any questions about free motion quilting or any aspect of quilting, please don’t hesitate to ask…No question is too small…

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

It usually takes about 5 minutes to prepare my sewing machine for free motion quilting…I follow these seven steps:

1.  Clean and Oil-Take apart the bobbin case and use a soft paint brush to remove lint and threads.   Oil your machine regularly–it seems to need more oil for free motion quilting than for regular stitching…but always consult your owner’s manual (do you know where it is?)

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

2.  Insert a single-hole throat plate.  Improves stitch quality.  Not absolutely necessary, but I think it makes a difference.

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

3.  Tape down a Supreme SliderThe Supreme Slider–I always use a Supreme Slider.  It is a teflon sheet that helps the fabric slide while stitching.  It is essential!  It comes in two sizes now–I have the small one and would consider the larger one if I ever needed to replace mine.  The down side -it would require more tape.  The product description claims that the Supreme Slider is self sticking—mine does not stick anymore– so I tape it down with 3M painter’s tape.

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

The photo below:  My Supreme Slider with enlarged cut out opening– The self sticking didn’t work and I stitched the teflon sheet  onto the back of a quilt!  —Hence, the taping!

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

4.  Insert a new needle–(More about needles in an upcoming post.)

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

5.  Attach the darning foot–My favorite is Bernina’s off-set darning foot #24.  I believe other sewing machines have a similar foot.  Any darning foot will work.  (You can even free motion quilt without a foot–but it’s a bit more tricky.)

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

6.  Machine Adjustments:  Lower the Feed Dogs and Set Needle Down Position–In normal stitching (feed dogs up or engaged), the feed dogs advance the fabric.  For free motion quilting, the feed dogs are lowered (disengaged)  and the quilter controls the movement of the fabric.  Some quilters set the stitch length to zero and leave the feed dogs engaged–give that a try.  For my machine…my stitches are better with the feed dogs lowered.

Many sewing machines now have the option to set the position of the needle when stitching stops.  In older machines, whenever stitching ended, the needle returned to the “up” position–the needle was out of the fabric.  In free motion quilting, it is preferable for the needle to stop in the “down” position–with the needle in the fabric.  In that way, the quilt can be repositioned and when quilting resumes, the stitch line remains fluid  (at least that is the goal).

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

7.  Adjust the top tension–I usually need to lower my top tension.  Stitch a sample and adjust the tension every time you start a new project.  The tension is affected by thread, fabric, needle, and batting.  I think it may also be affected by humidity.  I usually leave a wide border on my projects so that I can do the test stitches right in the margin of the project.

Seven Steps to Free Motion Quilting

The Seven Steps:

  1. Clean and Oil
  2. Single Hole Throat Plate
  3. Tape down Supreme Slider
  4. Insert a new needle and thread machine
  5. Attach Darning Foot
  6. Lower Feed dogs, Needle Down
  7. Make tension adjustments

Voila!  You are ready to take your trusty sewing machine for a little twirl–or if you prefer, try a spiral or a curl, or a Greek Key or…..check out the “Quilt” Tab above for tons of free motion quilt patterns to try…

My Craftsy video Divide and Conquer 50% off (until May13, 2017)  discount applied at check out….

Craftsy Title Card

Or Creative Free Motion Techniques:  50% until May 13, 2017  (discount at check out)Doodle to Design, Craftsy, Lori Kennedy