There was a bit of a wait as a Medium Shank foot was needed for the Pfaff QE 4.2
If you do not know what I am talking about, head over to Westalee Design for their information on doing Freemotion ruler work on domestic machines.
The package arrived a few weeks ago and contained the following:
Pamphlet on how to attach it
Tape for making the ruler stick better to the surface (if you want)
black placement guide
Went back the other day to have a play and same thing happened...skipped stitches galore. In the end I emailed Westalee Design and finally spoke to Bill West and his wife, Leonie on the phone. Lovely people...had a good talk about Pfaff machines in general and this model in particular. After checking out that I understood the instructions in the pamphlet, Leonie pointed out that I was probably dealing with a tension issue. Now this was interesting...definitely had not considered this and had set the machine to the setting that I normally do my FMQ on. She suggested that I might have to get an additional bobbin case to play around with the bobbin tension (or, if you are game enough to try it on your current bobbin, which I would not advise). I have in the past played around with bobbin tension, particularly on my first Pfaff machine and remember the pain, however in the machines that followed, definitely never had to touch the bobbin, probably because my FMQ skills have improved over time. However, this could be an option, I thought, if I got a second bobbin case.
Anyway, went back that afternoon to try out the foot again, this time focusing in on tension. Started with the preset tension (5.2 on the FMQ setting for the Pfaff, which is very high). Never mind...I thought I would go systematically through the motions. Also paid more attention on how I attached the foot, i.e. placed my fabric sandwich underneath and loosely tightened the screw so it was just above it when the foot was lowered. Then double checked with the little black placement guide. Yep, looking good...then started sewing with that enormously high tension. Needless to say, the thread did not like it and started shredding after a little while, however I noticed that I was actually forming ok looking stitches. I think I adjusted the foot a tiny bit, tightened it and then started going down in tension, increment by increment to see what the machine was doing. Still had the occasional skipped stitch and followed Leonie's advice and put a different needle in (had started off with 80/12 and went to a 90/14). I was now stitching perfectly towards me but still had problems going backwards...I then lowered the pivot height in increments and that seemed to fix that problem.
My settings were:
Spring Freemotion setting mode
Tension: 4.0 with an Aurifil 50/2 thread
Pivot: -3 (the batting in my sample is very flat)
The ruler is great and works very well. What I like about it is that you can flick it in any direction (for example for the little star above)...stitch a line towards you, then flick it sideways, place it behind the foot...very handy indeed.
Now this would have been handy the other day when I had to use my walking foot to stitch out a series of grids.
Will let you know how I go next time when I use a different batting etc...I am hoping that I 'got' it on how to adjust this.