Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2 - Progress Report

It has been some 8 months since I exchanged my Pfaff Expression 4.0 for the newer version, the Pfaff 4.2. I talked about my first impression of the machine HERE. Be warned that this is a long blog post.

Several readers have in between emailed me and asked questioned or just inquired how it is going, so I thought it might be useful to give an update. Please be aware that these are my personal views on the machine and as I had said to one reader I am probably a bit biased as I only ever had Pfaff machines. However, I hope that people in the market for a new machine doing their research find this of interest.

As reported before, the main difference in the two machines were the new 3 LED lights, the Start/Stop button, the Dynamic Freemotion mode and an improved feed system (Optimised Box feed).

I have completed several projects since I had this machine.

The Whole Cloth: the new LED lights were an absolute eye saver as I had an enormous area to microstipple
Was very happy with this...for once I could actually see where I was going which is important if you are stitching with a blend in thread.

The Windmill quilt: used the new Dynamic Spring foot 6D (optional extra) in the Dynamic Spring foot freemotion mode for this and quilted my heart out with Wendy Sheppard's Jester Hat design.
Dynamic Spring foot 6D
I love this foot...it is round and the visibility is very good which was important in trying a new design because I had to stop and look ahead a number of times as I was not that familiar with it. I read a comment somewhere that the foot was particularly fiddly to attach. Yes, true...it has this little groove in the part that attaches and I struggled initially as well, but it is really just a matter of getting used to putting it on. Bit hard to explain but once you know how it attaches, it goes on as easy as any other.


Dresden Plate: Excellent feed when sewing the small spokes together on the bias. This is actually the piece where I really noticed the improvement of the feed system. No veering off to the side at all. The individual pieces were 4.5" and the machine stitched them together like a dream.

Stitched around the Dresden Plate with Monafilament thread first and then echoed with beige thread. Not sure whether I am imagining things but I felt that this machine handles my Monafilament thread a bit better (maybe because they attached this little black rubber thingy on the lever that goes up and down when you stitch, holding the thread in place?).





The Chicken Quilt: Used both the IDT for straight line stitching and one of the decorative stitches for the center of the quilt. The decorative stitches (254 of them) is something I have to use more often. The machine comes with a number of quilting stitches that can be used in sashings or blocks. As I am so used to FMQ I hardly use them, but if you want a quick and no fuss finish this is very handy and looks great.
I posted about a selection of decorative stitches HERE  just to give you an idea.

More FMQ: I did mainly do feathers since I acquired this machine and there were some adjustments that I had to make. Please see the post FMQ on the Pfaff 4.2

I am used to stitching my feathers with the Springloaded foot on the Springfoot freemotion mode. I did find that the open foot created some issues on this setting, i.e. it did not perform the way the Pfaff 4.0 had performed...I had thread breakage and skipped stitches (unheard of!)...after further exploration and a talk to the technician at the shop I was able to solve this by using the Springloaded foot in the Dynamic freemotion mode (depending on batting, one of those Genie Bobbin washers was also helpful). As for the Springfoot freemotion mode I found that it is best to use a closed foot for this to work properly. Since that I have not had any issues whatsoever...it seems that this new machine is just ever so slightly adjusted differently to the previous model...once you figure this out and adjust your habits accordingly there should not be any issues.
I have stitched with various threads and needles...Aurifil 50/2 (needle 70/10) and Aurifil 40/2 (needle 80/12), Signature thread 40/2 (needle 90/14) and Rasant Ployester thread (needle 75/11).

Which FMQ foot to use for what? Different designs will need a different foot. For anything that has to go a bit faster I now use the Dynamic 6D foot and the corresponding FMQ mode. For slower work like feathers I use my trusted Springloaded open foot, however now on the Dynamic freemotion mode. I do not use the Sensormatic FMQ foot a lot other than for quickly trying something out or using the Echo FMQ foot which is used with that mode. My main complaint with that setting is that when you stop and take off again, it forces you to make one more stitch into where you stopped. I find that quite irritating. Also, I rely a lot on listening to the machine stitch when FMQ...this foot lowers and raises with each stitch making quite a distinctive sound and then when you gather speed it floats across the surface. Don't mind the floating for a fast design, however the sound on the slower speed is irritating. Mind you this might just be me.

And yes, I have started to use more of the functions again on the machine (got a bit lazy with the other machine)
- definitely using the tie off again (On Pfaff 4.0 this did not work that well)
- using the programmable function, saving particular stitches and sequences of stitches and functions
- using Stitch Restart a fair bit
- Stop/Start button: have used this while chain piecing, but also recently tried this out for FMQ. For FMQ you definitely need to be able to do the design in your sleep as even on the lowest setting I feel it is a tad fast. Nevertheless, this was a lot of fun and I could use this for stippling allover...noticed that I was able to stitch the design much larger as I only had to concentrate on the moving of the fabric. As the machine rattled away at a constant speed I had to keep my movements fairly wide and open when stippling resulting in a larger scale design. This could be useful.

Also, some people find the Bobbin Empty Alert irritating...when the bobbin gets low the Alert will sound and the machine will stop. There seems to be the assumption that you have to stop and change the bobbin...I do not do this, but keep on sewing until it is finished, as sometimes there is a bit of thread left.

So, all in all I am very happy with the machine and did not expect any different as it is very close to the Pfaff 4.0 which I had for some years. For me the improvements delivered and made this machine perfect for the sorts of things that I sew and quilt.

Karin

2 comments:

  1. As always....excited to read about your thoughts and ponderings over this gorgeous machine... Keep on having fun and enjoy sewing and quilting...I am always keen to know what you are up to...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have the 4.2 quilt expression.I can't regulate the tension I been from low to high and nothing make it work.My bobbin thread comes on the top I adjust number by number to see what is the best setting and nothing does the trick.i order a new bobbin case to see if that will make it to balance the tension.Any tips you can suggest .Thank you.

    ReplyDelete

Hi...thanks for stopping by and commenting. Very much appreciated! I will endeavour to answer all comments via email. Please check that you are not a no-reply blogger as there is no way of responding to you (other than by reply on the blog). If you need help with this issue, please head for Tutorials for a link on how to fix this issue.