Sunday, 27 May 2012
Free machining - any tips?
Well, I'm afraid, I probably don't! All I can do is tell you how I do things and maybe that might help?
Left is the front of a postcard I've machined this morning and underneath is the back which probably shows the stitching a little better.
First of all experiment with your machine to see what it will do. Dig out the instructions from wherever you've hidden them and see what it suggests.
As all machines are different, I won't go into different ones here. I have a Pfaff and a Bernina. I keep the Bernina (a recent purchase, an entry level, the 1008, just for free machining. The Pfaff * I keep for seams .
(*I find that I sometimes need to loosen the top tension to 2 on the Pfaff depending on the thread.)
Relax. Breathe. Put the shoulders down. Drink a glass of wine if it helps. (I don't recommend more than 1 glass though - see "slapdash" above!)
Make sure your quilt is as flat as humanly possible. I prefer to baste mine with safety pins and put lots in. Do not pull on the quilt, but keep it bunched up around the needle so it will feed through without strain.
Away you go. Take it slowly. I'm not a fan of fast and furious. If necessary do it stitch by stitch until you get the hang of it. Draw in pencil lines if you're not up to straight lines. Patterns don't need lines, but hey, no ones looking. Do what you need to do.
Practice first. Even if I've only been away from the machine for a couple of hours, I still need a few seconds for my eye and brain to get themselves together. If you don't want to use a practise piece, start somewhere where it won't matter too much - on the bit at the edge that's going to be cut off etc.
It really is just a matter of controlling the speed. The speed of the needle and the speed your hands move, control the size of the stitch. Again, relax. Go slowly.
Once you're up and moving, do as much as you can without finishing off - ie go over a line already stitched to get to somewhere else. It saves an awful lot of ends (nb much easier to finish off ends as you go rather than save them for the end)
Don't forget I always paint over my stitches so don't have to worry too much about colour changes. My stitching isn't there to be looked at in detail, but to add a layer of meaning to a quilt which is going to be painted.
at May 27, 2012