Friday, August 10, 2012

Bernina 930 fmq - Jesters' Hats

This month's teacher is Wendy SheppardHer tutorial is on free motion quilting jesters' hats as a unique filler design.  I started doodling jester hats.  At first, it was really hard to fill the entire page without getting stuck in the middle somewhere.
Practice, practice and more practice.
Big gaps of empty spaces.
Back to the drawing paper!
Three pointed hats were easier to draw then two.
How about a little loop at the end of the points, would this look like bells?  In total I drew 40 pages of jesters' hats before free motion quilting the design.
Starting to get the flow of this, now I'm able to draw the hat in all directions.
 This is fun!
In June 2012, I got this email:
Good afternoon! I came across your blog today and saw that you fmq with your 930. I am new to my 930 (LOVE it!), but am not sure of the ins and outs of fmq with it. My machine did not come with any special feet. I would love it if you could explain what foot you use, and what settings you use on the 930 when you fmq. Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to answer my email. I hope I can perfect fmq soon!

I did my practice piece using my Bernina 930 Record. 
The Bernina has a high and low speed.  I set it to low speed.
The stitch length (bottom dial) is set to zero.
 The feed dogs are dropped.
I started my practice piece with neon orange thread in the top and plain orange in the bottom, only because that was the thread in the machine from my last project.  The top thread was Marathon 100% polyester trilobal embroidery thread, I don't know what was in the bobbin.  I used a new universal Schmetz 90/14 needle.
My practice sandwich is dark blue denim top side and pieced dark denim with recycled jeans to make the back side the same size as the front.  The batting is Warm and Natural cotton. 
I used 505 spray glue to baste the sandwich together and then an Avery micro basting gun to tack around the edges.
I always free motion quilt with my needle in the down position.  I didn't take a photo of it but every time I re-thread my machine or change the needle I sew a practice scrap of a few inches to ensure the machine is sewing smooth stitches on the top and bottom side.
First pull the bottom thread up to the top side and micro stitch the ends in place.
For me, this design was easier to fill the space completely by starting in a corner rather than the middle of the quilting space.
 The little white dots are the plastic tacks from the basting gun.
 Free motion quilting making jesters' hats....
this is tons of fun!
 Filling in the spaces.
Ooops!! Ran out of bobbin thread.
This is a great time to check the stitch quality on the back side.
Running out of bobbin thread was a bonus, I switched thread colours.  Neon yellow in the needle and lime green in the bobbin, both colours are Marathon 100% polyester trilobal embroidery thread.
 The join would be less noticeable if I had stuck with the same thread colour.
Look at that pretty thread....I was going for visibility.  I think this design would be harder to quilt when the thread matches the fabric.

I use a Bernina number 29 large darning foot.

Back side view.
They say a picture says a thousand words, obviously, I had lots to say about this free motion quilting design.  Below is jesters' hats on my free motion challege sample quilt which I blogged about here.
As always your comments are really appreciated.  Have a super duper weekend all.


  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing. I have been doodling for days, time to try it on fabric, and you are so right...practice, practice, practice. I find the three pointed one easier too.

  2. I'm still practicing on paper. This design is difficult! It looks easy but it's not. I'm going to have to eventually get some courage and try it on the machine. I'll keep drawing on paper for a bit! Yours looks good. I hope mine looks half as good as yours!!

  3. Very made it very interesting to read and see what you were doing. Great job on the quilting too.

  4. Great work Tammy. I like the smooth flow you have now in your quilting. Loved reading your very detailed explanation!! Well done!

  5. Wow -- FORTY pages of doodling? I doodled, but not forty pages' worth. And my sample did not turn out nearly as nicely as yours. I have one of those tacking guns that I used to use for drapery projects; I never thought of using it for quilt basting. Also, you raise a good point about contrasting thread -- I used a variegated thread for my sample that sort of disappeared into my batik fabric, and I had a really difficult time traveling with the design, figuring out where to go next and seeing what I was doing. I think I'll try a bolder contrasting thread color the next time I'm trying to learn a new design.

  6. All of your practice really paid off! Your quilting looks great! ~Jeanne

  7. A good amount of the battle to freeform quilt is to wrap your brain around the pattern and how it fits into itself or repeats. Good on you for gritting your teeth with this design and learning it!

  8. I also ended up with difficult to fill gaps quilting this design, but your practice paid off. I love the finished look of your bright thread on denim sample!

  9. You certainly have the handle on this design. Looks great, I haven't started yet YIKES!


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