“Hi Wendy, I’m one of your former Rogers Sewing Center pupils & follow your blog regularly. I’ve been working on my free-motion quilting, this is my first “feathers” on a quilt. Main body of the quilt has over-all design of flowers, leaves, few jester’s crowns, few squiggles. Outside border is diamonds of the on-point blocks plus some leaves/vines through them. Anyway, some questions— you told me once to reduce the speed of my machine when using BSR, I set it on 400 instead of default 900; do I need to go slower? [Wendy’s note: Jean uses a Bernina machine that has stitch-regulating capability <BSR>] Also I have trouble when I back track, don’t go over the previous stitches, feel like I can’t see where to back track. I’ve tried all the BSR feet, this quilt I used the big, clear plastic foot of the BSR. Do I just need more practice? I seem to get some funky plumes & not sure where to go sometimes & get funny ones. At least I’ve progressed from “in the ditch” and stippling on every quilt… Thanks for any advice.”
My answer to Jean:
To answer your questions:
1. Reducing the machine speed wouldn’t really help because the machine is not feeding the quilt anymore, you are! So try reducing the speed with which you move your quilt so that you are literally stitching one stitch at a time. That should help tremendously.
2. Re: backtracking – I will really slow down the way you move your quilt (see #1).
The other thing is to watch where your needle lands when you are stitching slowly. That will train your eye to eventually anticipate a couple of stitches ahead of your needle – that will help you know where to go, and that will help with the accuracy of your stitching path.
3. Re: quilting foot – I almost exclusively use the open toe foot because it gives me the best visibility.
4. Re: funky plumes and not sure where to go – Keep doodling on paper until you get a nicely formed feather plume, and then move the “doodling” to your quilt, except this time use the needle to doodle instead of a pen/pencil.
5: Re: more practice – Absolutely! Keep up with the quilting, and you will for sure improve!
All those 2 cents said, I think the quote of the day is Jean saying “At least I’ve progressed from “in the ditch” and stippling on every quilt…”! I absolutely LOVE the fact that Jean stepped out of her comfort zone, and did something different and brave. For that, Jean deserves a huge round of applause. We are ALL learning in this quilting world, and in life! So I say to Jean, “Keep up the good work!”.
I hope Jean’s story encouraged you today to try something new and daring, not necessarily “quilty” in nature.
Have a marvelous day!