Thursday, January 15, 2009


It's 12° F here and the pond has frozen. I am staying in and wearing a hat.

The goldfinches are flocking to the feeder and we hide behind our paperwhites so they can't see us. Every now and then one flies into the window. Thud. They only do that once.


And now a few words about the point of this Free Motion Machine Quilting Book

Machine quilting is easy IF you put some time into it.

Sit a little higher at the machine, use contrasting thread and plain fabric so you can SEE WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

Spend a good three hours doodling with the designs in the book and you will continue to improve. Don't pay attention to the back at first, this will look awful. But after you are more relaxed and have spent the necessary hours the back will look fabulous.

Machine quilting requires an unbalanced thread tension. Looser needle thread and tighter bobbin thread. Don't dink around with the bobbin tension, just loosen the top thread.

A. Little. Bit.

Do the designs in the book, one page at a time, until your stitches look just like the book stitches. These are actual photocopies of the piece of quilting I made. Aim for that size design, stitch length etc. Some of these designs you will never use, but are for practice to achieve the points, straight lines etc.

Keep a few extra quilt sandwiches handy to warm up before you quilt your good quilt. It can't hurt.

Good Luck.
PS. I can't send anything to you unless you email me. I can't reply to the comments if there is no email address. You know who you are. I don't.

This is my machine. Janome 6500. It is good but not magic. You will still have to practice.


  1. Hi Melody,
    Thanks for your blog; I follow it regularly. Your quilts and use of colour are fabulous.

    We live just outside of Winnipeg and currently, it's -28 degrees celius (that's minus 18.4 degrees Fahrenheit)... and we have lots and lots of snow; so much, that the deer are trying to find food at the bird feeder.

    Could you please send me your document on machine quilting and can you let me know what kind of sewing machine you are using. I may have to invest in a better one as the one I bought (very cheap) is so light that I push it all over the table when I try to feed the quilt through it. I'm hoping that you have lots of tips.

    Love, love, love you blog; it always makes my day a little bit brighter (pun intended).

  2. You are still 30 degrees warmer than we are this morning, yes -18 when I got up.

  3. Melody - yes, I would love a copy of your instructions.
    Thank you for sharing your expertise. Your blog is great and your quilting wonderful. So colorful and joyful.


  4. I would love a copy of that document if you don't mind. Thanks!

  5. Hi Mel....I've been trying for 2 days to get that doc but it's always busy or something :) Would you please send me a copy?:



  6. bonnie10:57 AM

    Thanks for the info on machine quilting. Please send the doc to my e-mail address

  7. Kathy Mallory11:04 AM

    I too have been having trouble with the Google Doc. Please send me a copy of your Free Motion Book. Thanks so much. Kathy

  8. Anonymous5:46 PM

    Thanks for the booklet. I have several friends I'm referring to it.

    I can't believe how cold it is for you!

  9. What foot do you use Mel, I have a Janome 6600. Thanks Deb

    ps your weather is balmy compared to the cold we are having

  10. Deb, I use the darning foot.

  11. Thanks for putting this book together. It is really kind of you to share your hard work.

  12. it is -11 in Chicago, aren't you glad you moved south?

  13. You are an absolute treasure, Melody. I have been wracking my brains and poring over my books to find quilting design ideas for two small pieces. Now for the practice, practice, practice part. . .and the drink. THANK YOU!

  14. Thanks so much for sharing those quilting designs, AND the tips on tension in your blog! I did take your class at the last Quilting by the Sound conference in Port Townsend, but lost my sandwich samples, so your book is terrific to have:)

  15. Melody,
    Thank you for the machine quilting book. I can quilt on the longarm, but not on my DSM. Your book will help change that for me. :)
    By the way, it was -7F here this morning.

  16. josie mott4:17 PM

    Your work and your blog and site are wonderful. Thank you from another bright-color-quilter in Tennessee. I'm sick with my second severe cold since Christmas so finding you has been wonderful. I've been quilting three years, and hate machine quilting but am finding it necessary to do it and get good at it so your info is ever so helpful. I like to print my photos, usually altered in some manner, and/or combined with other computer generated stuff. I have previously made mostly huge quilts in my learning process so I'm seriously looking forward to just doing my art quilts -- always my goal. I have the same machine you do and a 6600 and a Bernina 730 with the stitch regulator. I hate the Bernina hence the other two. I have every possible knick knack and gew gaw for the Bernina but find it so far (and that's pretty far) just too testy for me. I got the second Janome when the 1st one had to go in the shop (routine) and I couldn't get along without it. I am never satisfied with anything I do and want to get really good a one small aspect of this medium. I do feel the need for some creative satisfaction. I'm afraid I am complicating it by combining it with a computer and a camera. I wish there were no machines involved at all but my hands are severely damaged by work, overuse, knitting, polymer clay, etc. And then there's the brain, damaged by age, and .....

    Anyhoo, enough. I wanted to try to respond to you to see if I can. Having had only dial-up internet until a few months ago I am somewhat blog-challenged. Wish me luck. I plan to keep up with you and maybe take a class from you or see you at a guild or something.


So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com