Free Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting Feet for the Janome MC9450

Quilters are always asking me what feet and settings they should be using for free motion quilting on the Janome MC9450. It’s a good question because there are a variety of feet that are included with the Janome MC9450. Let’s take a look at the free motion quilting feet that come with the Janome MC9450 and learn what settings to use for each of them.

 
#1 FMQ Feet and Needle Plate.jpg
 

Let’s start with the most common free motion quilting foot, the PD-H foot. It’s often called the darning foot, but it works so well for free motion quilting. There are actually two of them included with the Janome MC9450 – a closed-toe foot and an open-toe foot. They both operate the same way and I like to use the open toe foot as it has great visibility. The only thing you need to be careful of when using an open-toe foot, is that you don’t get caught on only loose threads or on appliqué pieces.

 
PD-H Open-Toe Darning Foot

PD-H Open-Toe Darning Foot

 

There are three other free motion quilting feet that you can use with the Janome MC9450: the QO (free motion quilting open-toe foot), the QC (free motion quilting closed-toe foot), and the QV (free motion quilting zigzag foot). These are quite big names for such small feet! The QO and QC feet are, like the PD-H feet, the same except that one is open while the other is closed. Can you guess which is which?

 
QO Free Motion Quilting Open-Toe Foot

QO Free Motion Quilting Open-Toe Foot

 

The QV foot works really well for quilting around appliqué pieces as its saucer shape allows you to get really close to those pieces without worrying about getting snagged on them. All of these feet fit on the regular foot holder.

 
QV Free Motion Quilting Zigzag Foot

QV Free Motion Quilting Zigzag Foot

 

The last “free motion quilting” foot that comes with the Janome MC9450 is the QR, ruler foot. I never know whether to consider ruler quilting as free motion quilting, but I consider it the same as the machine is set up the same way as I would have it set up for free motion quilting. The big difference is that you will be using the QR foot with a ruler (make sure you are using one specifically for ruler quilting on your sewing machine; the quilting rulers you use for cutting will not work for this application). The QR foot is already attached to a foot holder and it is easy to distinguish with its high base.

 
QR Ruler Foot

QR Ruler Foot

 

There are certain settings to use with each of these feet and if you click on the image below, you can watch the video that explains all of the various choices.

 
 

 Give the various free motion quilting feet on the Janome MC9450 a try to see which one you like to use for various types of free motion quilting. There’s a free motion quilting foot for every application.

What free motion quilting foot do you like to use on your Janome MC9450? Leave a Comment below to let me know your preference.

 NOTE: If you have upgraded your Janome MC9400, you will also have these feet and the settings will be the same.

Creatively,

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P.S. Are you serious about improving your quilting? Do you want to connect with other committed quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

4 Tips on How to Quilt Your Quilt

The biggest problem I hear from quilters when it comes to the quilting part of their project is that they don’t know what motif to put on their quilt. They’re afraid that they’ll “ruin” their quilt, either through lack of skill or poor quilt motif choice. I’m not going to say that you can’t ruin a quilt through poor choices in these areas, but there are 4 considerations that I think will help you to avoid “ruining” your quilt. (And you can’t really ruin a quilt unless you tear it, stain it, burn it, etc. – everything else is just a learning opportunity).

This is what I like to consider before I choose a quilt motif for my quilt.

1.     What is the purpose of the quilt?

This is the first thing I consider before quilting any of my projects.

Most quilts we make are ones that we want to be used. They may be baby quilts to be dragged around the house, a lap quilt to be snuggled under when reading, or a bed quilt to keep us warm at night. These types of quilts will be used and washed repeatedly – they’re what I call “utility” quilts. These types of quilts don’t merit custom quilting. A simple pantograph or all-over design will work perfectly well for the majority of these types of quilts. Pick a quilt motif that compliments the fabric or design of the quilt and get ‘er done.

 
Pattern is Chock a Block by Chatterbox Quilts

Pattern is Chock a Block by Chatterbox Quilts

 

If the quilt top you have created is intricately pieced, it may merit custom quilting. If you would consider this an heirloom quilt to be viewed, but not used, custom or semi-custom quilting is the way to go. This might involve smaller, more complex quilting motifs or ruler quilting. You may want to use different quilt motifs in different parts of the quilt. This type of quilting takes more thought and will take longer to complete, but, if the quilt top merits it, this is the way to go.

Decide what type of quilting this particular quilt top needs and you are then ready to move onto the next consideration.

2.     What is the focus of the quilt?

When I’m looking at a quilt top, I need to decide what will be the focus or star of it: will it be the piecing or appliqué or will it be the quilting itself?

For appliqué quilts, you definitely want to emphasize the appliqué itself. The quilting should enhance or accentuate the appliqué, not compete with it. In this case, the appliqué is the star, and the quilting is the supporting actor. Keeping your quilting motif simple will work on this type of quilt.

 
Pattern is from Community Quilt Along by Chatterbox Quilts & QuiltFusion

Pattern is from Community Quilt Along by Chatterbox Quilts & QuiltFusion

 

If, on the other hand, this is a pieced quilt with lots of negative space, for example, a modern quilt, the star will be the quilting. You’ll be able to do lots of custom or semi-custom quilting in the negative space on these types of quilt. The sky is the limit here, so have fun and combine multiple quilting motifs to show off your skill.

Which brings us to the next consideration.

3.     What is your skill level?

I always say that it is better to do a simple design well than a complex design poorly. (I should have this tattooed on me!).

If you struggle to do feathers or don’t like how yours look, don’t do feathers on your quilts! If you are a master at stippling, use this on your quilts. Simple designs can look just as good as more complex ones if done well.

 
60th anniversary table runner - 1.jpg
 

Don’t think you have to do a certain quilt motif because you see it on many quilts. If you can’t do it well (yet!), stick to the designs that you have mastered. There will be lots more quilt tops just waiting for those feathers when you have mastered them.

The next thing to consider is…

4.     What is the style of the quilt?

Some quilt motifs are more appropriate on certain styles of quilts. I’m not saying that this is a rule (are there really rules in quilting?!), but it’s something to consider.

Is your quilt a traditional or modern quilt? You may want to use more traditional quilting motifs, such as feathers, crosshatching, etc. on a traditional quilt top.

If you have a more modern quilt, simple designs, such as geometric shapes, stippling, or wavy walking foot quilting, might be more appropriate.

All of these considerations are suggestions only as everyone has their own ideas as to what type of quilting they want to have on their own quilt tops, but they are a starting point to help you in making this decision.

In all cases, remember that if your quilt has busy fabrics, you won’t see the quilting well, so your beautiful custom quilting won’t be seen. If you choose to put this amount of effort into quilting a quilt with busy fabrics, don’t be disappointed when the quilting doesn’t show. The reverse is true: you will definitely see the quilting on solid fabrics, so go for that custom work.

In general, I like to use curved quilting motifs on quilt tops that have straight lines in them and straight line quilting motifs on quilt tops that have curved piecing in them. Use the opposite type of quilting motif to the quilt top to work harmoniously together.

For more information on choosing a quilt motif, click on the image below.

 These are some ideas you can use when considering the quilt motif to be used in your next quilt project. What are the things you consider when choosing a quilt motif for your quilts? Leave a comment below to let me know.

Creatively,

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P.S. Are you serious about improving your quilting? Do you want to connect with other committed quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

Learning From Gammill Quilt Artist, Sharon Blackmore

I recently had the opportunity to interview Gammill Quilt Artist and long arm quilter extraordinaire, Sharon Blackmore of Love Shack Quilts, Sharon is a local long arm quilter, specializing in custom quilting, and is the host of the Prairie Quilt Militia and How do I Quilt This? Facebook group.

 
Ki and Sharon Blackmore sitting in front of Tula Pink City Sampler quilt
 

Sharon has been free motion quilting for about 20 years and long arm quilting (always on a Gammill) for about 12 of those years. Her secret to her amazing quilting is that she quilts every day. Yes, practice definitely makes progress towards perfection!

 
Tula Pink City Sampler quilt pieced by Sharon Blackmore and quilted by Jason Blackmore using civil war reproduction prints
 

Sharon loves to challenge herself and this is also how she has improved her skills over the years. She believes that it’s important to challenge yourself and try projects outside your comfort zone to improve your quilting skills. Recently she has been quilting on leather and cork and the results are incredible!

As a Gammill Quilt Artist, Sharon has been teaching in Canada and the US on the Quilting with Confidence tour. Sharon loves teaching and appreciates the opportunity to learn from the other Gammill insructors on the tour.

 
The Rebel, designed and quilted by Sharon Blackmore

The Rebel, designed and quilted by Sharon Blackmore

 

Click on the image below to learn more about Sharon and her quilting journey.

After we filmed this interview, Sharon and I recorded several more videos where Sharon shared quilting tips and advice on free motion quilting and went in-depth on how she quilted several of her quilts. These videos are available exclusively for members of The Quilter’s Way. Not yet a member, check it out here.

Click here to learn more about the Prairie Quilt Militia and the How do I Quilt This? groups.

Creatively,

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P.S. Are you serious about improving your quilting? Do you want to connect with other committed quilters in a supportive, safe environment?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. This doesn’t cost you any more $$$, but helps me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

How to Bury Your Quilting Threads

Want to learn an invisible way to end your quilting stitches? I have a secret weapon: the self-threading needle.

If you haven’t heard of a self-threading needle, it doesn’t really thread itself, but it’s the next best thing! A self-threading needle has an open part at the top which allows you to snap the thread into it so you don’t have to struggle with getting your thread through a tiny eye. This notion comes in so handy when you want to have an invisible end to a line of quilting.

Now, in all honesty, I have to say that I don’t always bury my threads. If I’m able to start and stop my quilting stitches off of the quilt top - in the batting and backing - I’ll do this and there’s no need to lock my stitches, but, if it is a special project or show quilt, burying your threads is a must and this is where the self-threading needle comes in.

In order to have an invisible end to your quilting stitches, you need to leave additional top and bobbin thread to work with. You’ll take these threads and know them about 1/8” above the quilt top. Next you’ll take the thread tails and snap them into the top of the self-threading needle. Once they’re in, you will slide your needle back into the quilt sandwich, trying to go back in at or near the last stitch. Don’t take your needle all the way through the quilt - you just want to go into the batting. Slide your needle along inside the quilt sandwich and pop out about 2” away from where you entered it. Give a quick little pull on the thread and you should hear it “pop” into the quilt sandwich. You can now cut off your thread ends close to the quilt top.

See, I told you it was easy! For more information, click on the image below to see a video of how I bury my quilting threads.

This leaves such a nice finish to your quilting stitches, but it does take a bit of extra time. If you haven’t tried burying your quilt stitches, why not get a self-threading needle and give it a try?

Creatively,

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Note: I am an Amazon affiliate and, if you purchase items by clicking through the links in this post, I will receive a small amount of commission. You won’t pay any more $$ for these items, but it will help me to continue creating free content for you. Thanks!

P.S. Do you want to join a supportive group of quilters who are all working to improve their quilting? If you answered “yes” to this question, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!

Quilting Before You Appliqué

I like to do fusible web appliqué or raw edge appliqué. It’s easy and fast, but the part I don’t like about it is quilting it. I don’t like having to work my way around the appliqués on the project. If you are doing a design such as crosshatching, having to stop and restart your quilting around the appliqué pieces can be quite time-consuming.

Why not quilt the background first and then add your appliqués to it? There are times when this method would work very well – and other situations where it might not be appropriate.

If you are doing a small, simple project, you may want to consider quilting it first then adding the appliqué. One consideration of quilting first and appliquéing later is that you will have to put the quilted project into your sewing machine to finish the edges of the appliqué pieces. If you are working on a small project, this shouldn’t be a problem.

If your project has embellishments, such as hand embroidery on it, this probably isn’t the best choice. The hand embroidery really needs to be done on an unquilted surface – it just isn’t as effective if you are embroidering over a quilted area as the two techniques will compete with one another and detract from the overall effect.

 
 

This method of quilting first and appliquéing second wouldn't work if you were wanting to accent the appliqué. In this situation, you usually densely quilt around the appliqué, pushing down the background fabric which allows the appliqué to pop. Obviously, the appliqué would have to be on the quilt already so you could quilt the background around it.

If you are making a big project, this method might work if you are using a quilt-as-you-go method. You’ll be quilting a section at a time and adding the appliqués a section at a time as well, so again, you won’t have a large quilt to maneuver through the throat of your sit-down sewing machine. 

If you have a large project that is going to be all quilted first, this method probably isn’t your best choice either. Once you had quilted the sandwich, you would then have to add the appliqués and finish the edges which means working that large, quilted project through the machine throat. While this is difficult enough, you may find that the appliqués not yet stitched down may lift off as you move the quilt around.

 
 

If you want to try this method of quilting first and then adding your appliqué pieces, keep these situations in mind and choose the one that will work the best.

Click on the image below for more information on when it’s okay to quilt first and appliqué last.

Have you ever tried this technique? Leave me your thoughts in the Comments below.

Note: This is the last blogpost for 2018. I’ll see you in 2019 for more quilting advice and tips. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Creatively,

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P.S. Do you want to enhance your quilting and become the best quilter you can be?  If you answered “yes” to this question, you need to join The Quilter’s Way. The Quilter’s Way is the only quilting membership site that includes both training and an active, supportive online community. Don’t wait another day! Join now.

P.P.S. Did you know that you can sign up to receive emails full of FREE quilting goodness? Click here to receive FREE content directly in your email inbox every few weeks from Chatterbox Quilts. I know you'll be glad you did!