Friday, February 12, 2016

Featherweight Quilting Skill Series - Quilter Foot and Space Guide

Thank you for coming to my Featherweight Quilting Skill Series! There are thousands of us who love our little 221s but need or want a little more "know-how" on using them to their fullest potential. I hope my posts and videos will help you get more know-how and confidence in using your beautiful Featherweight. Enjoy the classes!

Class #2 - Quilter Foot and Space Guide

Class supply list:
Your fully threaded sewing machine, the Quilter Foot and Space Guide, several practice pieces of fabric or a current piecing project, batting and backing fabric that are a little larger than the practice piece of fabric. 

Once you have your piecing done, it's time to quilt it! Your Featherweight is up for the challenge! In order to get a feel for the foot, let's start out with sewing straight seams and then cross hatching.

Let's get sewing!

Machine and fabric set up:
Tension settings - no adjustments; get a balanced setting between upper and lower tension. (See Featherweight Skill Series lesson 2 that talks about threading the machine and tension)

Bring the stitch length down to a baste stitch length. 
(See Featherweight Skill Series lesson 3 on stitch length settings)

Typically, the foot pressure is tightened down for thicker fabrics but with this foot, you want to lighten the pressure on the foot so the fabric layers move together more evenly. Turn the screw counterclockwise to lessen the foot pressure. 
(See Featherweight Skill Series lesson 4 on pressure foot control)

Get your quilt sandwich together. 
Mine is a rectangular piece with batting and a backing piece, held together with some pins. Baste in whatever method you prefer. Since my sandwich is small, I just used some straight pins. I like practicing on a smaller block to get a good feel of the sewing process and for easier control of the fabric. 

Set your needle at the edge and sew a straight line. 
I stitched along the the area where red and white seams meet. You can see some of my white thread stitches in the red fabric. This is refered to as stitch in the ditch.

You will notice that this foot doesn't grab the fabric with the feed dogs very much because it is so short. You can move the sandwich around quite easily while sewing. Use your hands to help guide the fabric towards the needle. 
Doing this will hold your sandwich together as it is sewn, almost in place of a walking foot or the way you would hadle the sandwich during free motion sewing.

Travel stitch along the edge to an adjacent area and sew another straight line running parallel to your original line. Try to estimate the distance between lines and keep them evenly spaced.
This exercise will help your accuracy in eyeballing distances between lines as you sew them. In narrow areas, like the red strip, it is easier to estimate the placement of the lines. Larger open areas are a bit trickier to estimate but can be done with practice. If marking helps you at first, go ahead and draw in some guide lines.

Keep sewing parallel lines across your sandwich until it is filled with lines. This is called piano key stitching. 
Sit back and admire your work! Love it!

Now let's try some cross hatch!

I want my white squares to have some cross hatching. Start at a corner and stitch straight over to the opposite corner. You may want to mark the first line to make sure it's straight!
I didn't mark it first. I placed the square on a diagonal and stitched across from point to point. 

Travel stitch a small distance away from the original line along the edge of the sandwich. My cross hatch spacing is going to be 5/8" between lines.

Now we can use our space guide!

Tip: There are some marks on the arm but they are hard to see on mine. I tied a string on the arm of the guide 1/2" from the edge. The distance from the center of the foot to the side of the foot is about 1/4", giving me a distance of 5/8" from the center of the foot to the edge of the guide.
If you choose to do this, you can use yarn or painter's tape or a twist tie or whatever you want to help you with ease of placement. Just remember that it has to be removeable so don't use something that bonds really well or is hard to get off! I found thread works well for me. This tip is optional so do what works best for you!

Set the space guide in the holder on the foot. I set my thread stopper snugged right up along the side of the foot.
Place the space guide over the line and use it to guide your next stitch line across the sandwich. I'm a little too far over to the right in the pic. I back stitched my needle for placement to better line up the space guide with the stitching.

Sew parallel to the last stitch line using the space guide to run over the stitching.

Looking good back there!

You can slide the space guide out of its holder to switch it from the left side of the needle to the right side. Very useful during cross hatch work!
Having the thread tied on helps with the accurately repositioning from side to side.

Keep adding lines until your area is filled with as much cross hatching as you want!

Next, I matched up the other side! Love it more!

Your turn! 

Homework: Take your fabric top, batting and backing and quilt them with the Quilter Foot. Sew parallel lines, or piano keys, on an area, and then sew cross hatching with the assistance of the space guide. 

I hope you have been encouraged to use your amazing sewing machine accessories. Please share your pics on our Facebook group page, Featherweight Skill Series, so we can see your creations! 

If you like the series, share the link with your friends, pin it to Pinterest, join my Facebook group... Most importantly, "Let's get sewing!"

See you next time for part two with the Quilter Foot.

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