A few weeks back I decided that I needed to give FMQ (Free Motion Quilting) a go! I have been putting this off for a while, as, being a bit of a perfectionist, I felt I would not like the results I produced. I have been watching some of the Craftsy classes for a while, and also taken a few looks at Leah Day’s website. I don’t agree with everything she says but she does make some good points.
One other thing that has delayed my start has been the lack of a free motion quilting foot for my Elna Diva – the machine I intended to start on. The main reason for this is the fact that the machine has 2 speeds so I could slow it down to begin with and learn the control.
The Diva does not have a removable ankle, meaning no normal low shank screw on foot will fit the machine. I have only found 2 free motion feet to fit. Both are rocking feet. One is a rocking foot that is a snap on foot and I could only find it on US ebay so had to get it sent over (can’t find it at the moment) – here is a link to it –
The second is the foot made by Elna for the machine. I searched for quite a few months to find a replica one (not having bought one when I bought the machine 22 years ago!) I eventually found one for sale from an estate sale in the US that was being sold on Ebay. They had no idea what they were selling and I got it for £5 plus £5 postage – this is the foot below. You can see how the ‘cut out’ shape fits around the ankle, and also how the chunk of plastic on the right hand side holds the snap on foot holder (behind the front of the foot) higher so it doesn’t drag on the fabric.
I just love this foot – it does not bounce. In the last photo above you can see the maximum height it gets above the fabric – about 1/8″, – this means I can concentrate on what I am doing without being distracted.
I have been following the Craftsy Class ‘Beyond Basic Machine Quilting’ with Ann Petersen – yes I know I have’t done the basic bit yet but just wanted to watch and enjoy it. I’m watching for the second time and decided I’d give some of the techniques a go. Here are my very first ever attempts. On the right I tried some patterns I’d watched Leah Day do, but then on the left I attempted some feathers and flowers from the ‘Beyond Basic’ class. Ignore the purple marker which has now faded!
Next I tried some of the flowers using some different threads including metallic.
Then I got ambitious and tried a few more things from the class including the dragon fly. If you look close it’s a bit of a mess, but from a distance I like it. Everything was going fine. The tension was good and I was getting a bit more control and the stitches where more or less even but of course I needed some practise.
I went to the kitchen to get a drink – came back and was sitting there looking over the results and feeling pleased with myself then – ‘poof’. I loud noise from within the machine and white smoke coming out of the casing. I couldn’t believe it. All the lights were still on, but I switched it off and unpluged the cable from the machine. I felt the casing and it was boiling hot at the back on the right side of the machine where the main motor is (this machine has 4).
I can only think a condenser or resistor has popped, maybe caused by long use of the slow speed of the machine. Once cooled I switched it all on and tested it. Every thing is working – the slow and fast speed, all the embroidery stitches, the basting stitch, the 4 memories. The timing and stitching are fine. The tension is fine. The stitches are lovely as always – but I am afraid to use the machine. I am devastated at the moment as I just love this machine.
I am hopeing when I go to get the machine checked out electrically they can fix whatever has gone, but it has actually started me looking to update my most ‘modern’ machine. It’s a shame Elna are no longer Swiss owned and producing the top of the range machines. It looks like I may end up with a Janome.
More on that in another post in the future.