Tuesday 7 June 2016

Free Motion Woos!

My new machine a Pfaff 4.5 and I have been going through a love hate relationship. A lot of not so nice FMQing was happening over here. I wanted to do some ruler work with her and I'm sure at this point she was taunting me with 'You want to do what!' ' I don't think so'.  Shredded thread, broken thread and as if that wasn't enough skipped stitches. This all started on Thursday.
My granddaughter has been asking every time she's here is 'Pinky' done can I take her home yet. Let me introduce 'Pinky' to you.

'Pinky' as named by my granddaughter

I needed help! First line of action call my dealer. She gave me some suggestions, so I sat down at my machine and made adjustments. Little did I know these were to be the first of many and many hours involved in all the adjusting to come. Her suggestions of a different size needle, thread tension adjustment didn't bring much relieve. Next suggestion bring the machine and samples. So off I went I took my favourite thread Superior's So Fine along too. Three yes that is three hours later, I left her place things were better but still not right, she sent her own personal  machine along as her machine was stitching  better than mine, not perfect but better.

skipped stitches

By late Saturday I was still not getting consistently good results. I kept adjusting thread tension, re-threading the machine and bobbins. Pulled out some Aurifil thread to see if my machine liked it better. I can say this much she didn't like one brand better than the other. The worst of the shredding thread and skipped stitches happened when I had it set for Spring Foot free motion quilting. I needed this setting for my Westalee Ruler Toe Foot.


There was a lot of testing going on. I was back at it Sunday most of the day, this machine was not going to get the best of me, at least I was hoping not.

By Sunday night I was googling Juki machines I was almost at my wits end and was out of ideas. Maybe sleeping on it another night would help.

Monday morning I decided enough of this there must be help out there. Somebody must have some other ideas. I belong to a facebook group 'Free Motion Quilt Along with Ren'  maybe just maybe I could get some help. Within a half an hour I had more suggestions and HOPE.  Why oh why didn't I think of this sooner. I spent enough time googling for possible solutions and getting no where. Oh and the  Pfaff manual isn't worth a plug nickel. My dealer had calls into tech support both in Canada and the US.

more stitch testing

Adjust thread tension again, use a sharp but smaller needle. I was using a 90 as that was doing the best, I changed it to a quilting 75 that helped some. 

thread tension
Lower the pressure foot. But the best suggestion of all use a Single Hole Plate. Sent an email to my dealer she had one in stock, just in case you were wondering she is a 25 minute drive from me. 

Picked it up on the way to hubby's cardiac rehab. I was hoping this was the answer.

and more testing
Sandra of mmm!quilts sent along some effin FMQ fairies. Thread tension compensation one more adjustment added to the ever growing list.

more adjustments
Ohhhh I was in FMQ heaven a combination of everything worked. I was afraid to shut the machine down for the night.

FMQ bliss!!

Tuesday she is still working no shredded thread, no broken thread, no skipped stitches. YES!!! Pinky might actually be finished and have a chance of being loved by a sweet little girl. The FMQ fairies did their job!

My hubby says I can be a little stubborn. He may be right, don't tell him I said that.


  1. There is nothing more frustrating than having issues with the machine while FMQing! Here's what I have found with mine (Janome), the FMQing setting - sucks! I don't use it ever. When I tried it, I had the same exact issues you are describing. I also have a single hole plate - my machine likes it for some threads, not so much for others. I also do not drop my feeddogs. A major no no according to the manual. I guess all of this to say, machines like what they like. . . and we just have to be stubborn (or tenacious) enough to slog through all of the potential problems.

    So glad to hear you have found the sweet spot! Can't wait to see your ruler work!

  2. Wow. Sounds painful... I am glad you found the right combination.

  3. I agree that FMQing can be very painful to get adjusted for each machine - but once you know the secrets... it can be sweet, sweet fun. Hooray for all the help you received and I hope that quilting Pinky, and many quilts to come, is a joy from here on out.

  4. I have been having the same issues with my Viking. My solution was to give up and move on to something else for a bit. Maybe I should look at getting a Single Hole Plate?

  5. I have started messing with my machine settings. I finally realized it wasn't me making those mistakes. :) I have to stick a note on the side of my machine to remember my settings for FMQ because I seem to forget every time.
    That single hole plate is a good idea. Maybe I'll try that too!

  6. What perseverance you have Cindy! (See, I didn't say stubbornness) You hung in there far longer than I would have.
    I don't know anything fancy about free-motion quilting, let alone ruler work. I'm afraid of the steep learning curve on the fancier sewing machines, but finally bought one. So far (knock on wood) I just have to change three settings on my Janome and hope for the best. One of which is to slide the straight stitch plate into position.

    Pinky is a beautiful quilt and your little granddaughter is going to be so happy when she ca take it home.... so it's all worth it!

  7. Ten out of ten for perseverance! I hoped my Pfaff, with idt, would solve all the issues I have with puckering, no such luck but weirdly it doesn't object to fmq (feed dogs up, stitch length zero).

  8. SO SEW glad the effin fairies and the Facebook group helped! I will have to talk to you about your Westalee ruler foot. I nearly bought one this winter for the Bernina (I was floored that Bernina doesn't make a ruler foot) and then thought na, I'll just do ruler work on the Avanté and FMQ on the Bernina. Still... Pinky looks so perfect for a sweet little girl, and I cannot wait to see you do your magic on her, now that the ffff-Pfaff (lololol, just saw that now) is humming along beautifully.

  9. Hi Cindy, I have had my husband help me try to figure this no reply blogger fix out. Can you now see my email and contact me?
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

  10. I have been having exactly the same trouble and not managed to succeed yet, although it sewed for a while on Thursday it would not quilt at all on Friday!
    I'm going to research a single hole plate, thanks for that suggestion.

    1. I'm sorry it's the first time I've used it and I have no idea how to change it.

    2. send me an email. My email address is in my profile top right side.


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