As I posted previously, I am enjoying learning more and more about Julio, my Juki Sit-Down long arm machine.
My first attempts at free-motion quilting were to get the FEEL of the machine but now it is time to start working on precision….and I am going to need a lot of work!!
Firstly, I need to learn how to go slow. You can adjust the speed of the machine, but it is still super hard to just take one or two slow stitches. I use this technique constantly when I need to move the quilt just a little bit!! I could probably fix this problem by putting a stitch-regulator on the machine, but I really don’t want to do that!!
I also found that when I stopped and re-positioned the fabric, it was easy for the fabric to shift just a bit when I started back again. I need to practice holding the fabric well and taking one stitch in the same place before I start moving the fabric.
This machine really notices when the fabric drags so it became quickly apparent that I needed to add something to the table to help that problem. The machine table sits up against my other machine so there is a table on the left side, but I needed something to support the right side as well. I added a fold-up table and that seemed to do the trick…..
I was doing all ruler quilting for this piece and Julio schooled me in a few other practices as well!!
First of all, I needed to make sure that the fabric wasn’t bunched up under the ruler but was instead laying flat. This was especially important when I was doing designs that needed to meet in exactly the same place each time.
I also learned not to look at the needle when I was using a ruler. Instead, I looked at the line on the ruler that I was using for registration. This meant that I wasn’t as likely to let the ruler slide as I quilted.
Finally, I learned about ruler heights!! These are the two rulers that I was using for straight lines. The one on the left is an Angela Walters ruler and the one on the right is from Westalee. You can see that there is a significant difference in their height.
Once I had raised the foot high enough to cruise over all of the seams (see previous post), it was too high for the Westalee ruler. I used it for a few lines but realized that it would sometimes slip under the presser foot and that was not good.
The problem that I had with the Walters ruler is that, when I am holding the ruler directly behind the foot, it is too tall to completely butt up against the ruler foot!!
I never did come up with a perfect solution to this problem but did find ways to re-position the ruler so that it was never DIRECTLY behind the foot.
All in all, I am pleased with my purchase!! I recognize that most of these “problems” can be fixed with attention to detail and with lots of practice.
So, it’s off to design more quilt tops so that I have more to quilt!!!