Thursday 21 July 2011

getting to know your machine

It's been a little over three weeks since Jan came to live with me.

Last night, I had the first of my two "getting to know your machine" classes.

First, we were told about needles and threads. Ball point needles separate the threads and go between them, sharp needles just piece the threads. Did you know that it is the sharp needle pushing through your fabric, splitting the warp and weft threads that causes all that lint inside your machine?

Did you know quilters use cotton thread because it has no give? Quilts don't need to give at the seams like clothes do, which is why garments are generally sewn with polyester thread. And rayon thread is used for decorative stitches.

We were shown how to wind a bobbin and insert a bobbin correctly. All nine participants had top loading bobbins, so that made it easier for the teacher. In fact, seven of the nine participants had Janome machines (the other two were Husqvarna).

We were shown how to thread a machine and then we had to wind our own bobbins and thread our own machines. We were then encouraged to try out the stitches on our machines while the teacher came around and explained the various features of each individual machine to its owner!

After some time spent playing with stitches, the various types of foot and their purposes were explained. We were then shown how to sew a buttonhole which we had to follow up with a button hole of our own. How easy they are these days; a far cry from the four step process of my old machine!

Finally we were shown how to blind hem. Since there is little call for blind hemming on my quilts, I asked the teacher if she would show me how to attach the free motion foot correctly. I have broken one needle in three weeks (actually it was in the first forty-eight hours) by incorrectly attaching this foot.

So, while the other participants sewed blind hems - should that be blindly sewed hems? (LOL) - let's try:

So while the other participants practised sewing hems using a blind hemming stitch, I practised sewing free motion circles (not as easy as it sounds) and attempted to free motion quilt my name.

I think more practice is needed!!

Next "getting to know your machine" class - 21st September, in which I learn to use the "memory" on my machine.


  1. That sounds like a wonderful class and a very good teacher. It makes you appreciate the skill of the free motion quilters a whole lot more when you try it yourself doesn't it?

  2. I didn't know that about the sharp needle! And FMQ should definitely never be taken lightly, lol! I admire your circles - I'm still practicing FMQ and haven't even approached trying circles yet, though you've reminded me to next time!

  3. I think that this was a great class! You and Jan will be best buds in no time!

  4. the last photo, with your name, is very impressive! You learned a fair bit in that class I think!


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