Wednesday, 4 June 2014

FMQ on the Pfaff 4.2

I have been exploring the 3 FMQ modes (Spring freemotion, Sensormatic freemotion and Dynamic spring foot 6D) of the machine. As you may have read, I had run into some difficulties. Apologies to non-Pfaff owners, as this will probably bore you to tears. However, there is very little around on the net about this and the manual is of no great help on this issue, so I thought this might be of use.

Springloaded foot
Open Sensormatic foot





Dynamic 6D foot
 My Springloaded foot as well as the open Sensormatic FMQ foot were giving me trouble on the new machine. I had the machine since January and have been mainly using the new Dynamic 6D foot for FMQ which is fantastic. I have quilted two quilts with that and experienced no problems whatsoever.










As this came as a bit of a surprise,  I booked myself into a session at my local sewing shop. When I rang, the owner asked whether I had kept my sample of trying these modes...of course, I had not. So, I sat down one evening and produced another sample, this time going methodically through the FMQ modes of the machine. This was interesting as the owner of the shop had already hinted that the opening of the open toe feet might be the issue.

Sample stitched with Aurifil 50/2 using a Microtex Sharp 70/10
From left to right: The Springloaded foot did not perform, even when I changed the pivot setting gradually down to -5 to hold the fabric in place. Had skipped stitches and thread breakage. Then did the closed Sensormatic foot (pivot height setting 0)... worked absolutely fine. Next came the open Sensormatic foot...did not work at all on a pivot of 0, but worked well on a pivot setting of -3. Did the Springloaded foot again on the Spring FMQ mode...this time at the slowest speed possible and pivot of -5. Worked ok, but there was the occasional skipped stitch. Very different to how this foot had performed on the previous Pfaff 4.0.
Close up of Springloaded foot at pivot -5

Then got carried away again with the Dynamic 6D spring foot, which of course, was fine. Back to the open Sensormatic foot on a pivot of -3...again (not shown), no hassles. Changed over one more time to the closed Sensormatic foot on a pivot of 0 and this continued to produce a good result. This was a most valuable exercise...

When at the shop, the technician confirmed that the openness of the Springloaded foot was the most likely cause of the problem, not holding the fabric down well enough with each stitch to catch the thread underneath. We talked about batting as my sample was stitched on a fairly thin batting (mixture of polyester and cotton, I believe). He also suggested to use the Dynamic spring foot 6D mode for this open foot...I did, and the problem of skipping stitches and thread breakage disappeared at the shop...mind you, there I used a sample of wool batting.



So, in order to use the Springloaded foot in the Spring foot freemotion setting I will have to reduce the pivot height to -5 and go very, very slow, or use the Dynamic spring foot 6D mode with that foot.


Hope this made sense.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts

Karin

17 comments:

  1. Goodmorning from Sweden... Thankyou for a most informative blogpost...have enjoyed reading it...got my machine back from service yesterday ...so now I will tackle my freehand quilting again... And I have ordered Aurifil thread to play with... Since ..well I know my 4.2 is very precise on thread and needle choice... Saw that you use a microtex needle...and just a size 70.. That's interesting...since all the advices I have got is to go on a higher number as much as 100/110 on a top stitch needle...and I haven't liked the large hole it makes ... My machine do not like coloured thread...mostly grey and white Gutermann thread have worked... Karin you don't know how happy I am to have found some that can enlighten all this!! Have ordered myself a dynamic foot..so this will be interesting to try out!! Thanks for a most wonderful post!!

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  2. Hi Karin,
    Thank you for a great exercise in the options of free motion stitching on the 4.2. I have held off ordering the extra feet for free motion as I wanted to have a play with the feet that came with my machine. It is interesting that the open toe causes such a difference in stitching.
    I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new Pfaff, I collect it on the 20th June . If my free motion stitching is half as good as yours I will be very happy. Wendy.

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  3. I just came here to look at your pretty FMQ! wow! Wish I could FMQ like that :) guess I just need more practice ;)

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  4. Karin...did you see this week is quilting DESIGNS...please do stop by and share this under our design theme at Tuesday Archives as I think people would be inspired as you share the process of learning and "exercising" our FMQ brain...LOL!!

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  5. Karin, while I do not own a Pfaff, this post was still interesting as I do use an open toe foot for greater visibility, but never thought about some problems caused by fabric not being held down by the foot enough. Thanks for posting!

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  6. I only briefly tried free motion on my new machine once. And it was not good. Glad you posted about this, Karin. It has given me hope that if I try doing some experimenting... I may be able to conquer the beast! Thank you!

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  7. I purchased a used (8 months) Pfaff Expression 4.2 from a gal in town. I have not had good luck. It has been back to the factory twice for repair! I have been sewing for 45 years and feel comfortable around a machine (albeit a mechanical bernina). I could not get the dynamic 6D onto the shaft of the machine. I found the open toe was not good for FMQ. I am just learning, but am anxious to try. I am almost ready to give up on this very complicated machine.

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  8. Thank you for this; I have this problem with my brand-new QE 4.2 (bought only a couple of days ago) with both the sensormatic and spring-loaded FMQ feet; I shall try your solutions and see if they help. I love how the machine manages piecing and straight-line quilting, but the FMQ has been a huge disappointment so far, especially given the cost of this beast! (PS: Apologies if I'm double-posting, I already wrote one comment but I think I hit Preview instead of Publish and the damn thing ate what I'd written. <_<)

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  9. Quick update: This seems to work, thanks! The open-toe spring-loaded foot behaves very nicely under Dynamic 6D mode, and the sensormatic cooperated when set to a pivot height of -2. I am greatly relieved!

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  10. Have just found this, albeit a year later!!. I have found it very informative. I have a new 4.2 and am struggling with missed stitches, breaking thread and even more bizarrely, the bobbin thread pulls tons of top thread down underneath. It looks like a rats nest! I am using the sensormatic foot that came with the machine but am contemplating getting the dynamic foot. I am very confused.

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  11. Have just found this, albeit a year later!!. I have found it very informative. I have a new 4.2 and am struggling with missed stitches, breaking thread and even more bizarrely, the bobbin thread pulls tons of top thread down underneath. It looks like a rats nest! I am using the sensormatic foot that came with the machine but am contemplating getting the dynamic foot. I am very confused.

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    Replies
    1. Hi...you are a no reply blogger. Can you please provide an email address.

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  13. Thank you so much for this informative post - and many others on the Pfaff 4.2. I have this machine too and wanted to throw it out the window yesterday - I am getting reasonable results in FMQ on practice sandwiches but when I start quilting the real deal I am getting skipped stitches, thread pulling to the back and shredded thread. I just don't understand why this machine seems to have so many problems with FMQ - everything else is wonderful! I am going to try out the pivot point settings today and on Thursday I plan to go to the dealer to see if I can get some help. I had the machine at the dealer and it was sent to the factory to be repaired in August - this was my first time with FMQ after the 'repair'. Maybe it's as simple at the foot height adjustment? I ended up getting out the 50+ year old Husqvarna from my mother to complete the small amount of stippling that I wanted to get done on my project! At least I can get FMQ to work on that machine!

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  14. Thank you so much for this brilliant post. It is amazing how after an hour or so of battling with my FMQ feet ,getting skipped stitches and broken thread, a change of needle and pivot height has made all the difference. With a new and smaller needle I got the sensormatic foot and the Spring foot working well. Then I could not get my new echo quilting foot to work at all. Changing the pivot height to -5 , immediately resolved the problem.

    After a very old Bernina, I am finding the Pfaff machine challenging. It is certainly not as forgiving. However, when I religiously follow its preferences, I am delighted with the results.

    Reading your blog has given me the confidence to persevere.

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    1. Hi...you are a No Reply blogger, hence my response here! Don't give up on the machine...it is a very good machine for FMQ once you get the feel for how this machine behaves. Please email with any questions.

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