Thursday, December 3, 2015

Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen - Day 2 - First sampler

I'm linking to this blogging challenge by Cheryl Sleboda to blog daily during December. Fortunately my new Sweet Sixteen will provide material as I learn to use it. Dyeing will take a backseat this month!

Day 2: out of the box, assembled, and I even read the manual! There is a great DVD that comes with the machine. It took about an hour to watch, but it was well presented and has chapter markings so I can go back to a specific section. I miss paper manuals..I know that dates me, but you can flip between sections. On a disk you are either at point A or point B, but you can't quickly flip between the 2. On the plus side, you do see someone doing something in front of you, which a 2D experience can't always explain as well. I missed 2 threading positions using the manual, but was put right by the DVD.

My biggest problem so far is that I can't get the hopping foot off the machine. Luckily I have a lesson at the dealer's tonight. I don't want to force it, so I think I may be being a bit wimpy about the pressure I am applying to remove the foot.

Very pleased with the first stitch sampler. I plan to take this with me to the lesson for some trouble shooting advice.  

I am writing the speed and tension on the various pieces of the sample as I think that fine tuning these will be key to getting better stitches.I am using a green on the front and white on the back so I can see if the tension on top and bottom is working.

A good amount of thread buildup can be tolerated. I had some initial thread breaks in the stippling as I was trying to get the tension to work with the Isacord thread I was using. When I began to get really intense with the thread layers on the leaf though, there were no breaks.
35 stitches seems to be the most comfortable level for me so far. 
I think my pebbling felt like better stitches at 40, but that was more stressful, as there is not much time to decide where to go next! 40 on the left, 35 on the right. More practice needed with the loop stitch. Those stitches are not even at 35 or 40.
Not pleased with this at all, but it was right on the edge of the fabric sample, right where we know we shouldn't FMQ, right?

And this is what I hope to get help with tonight. The front looks mostly quite good, especially for the first attempt! But the back is u-g-l-y. Need to find out how to eliminate all those lumps and bumps and thread jams. No eyelashing though! Woo hoo!


  1. as you write your speed and tension, how do you know what
    the tension is?

  2. The tension is displayed on the monitor. Apparently there isn't a gold standard. Each machine is calibrated differently. As you turn the tension knob, you can see the numbers change on the monitor. You can therefore, through trial and error, figure out which tension on your machine is best for which thread. Hope that makes it clearer.