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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Modified machine foot



I've been reading Amy's Free Motion Adventures for a while now. She has some wonderful tutorials for free motion quilting, but she also has a wonderful foot for her sewing machine. It's just like the ones you see on long arm machines, but it fits her domestic machine and makes using rulers on that machine much easier. You see, the problem with using rulers on most domestic machines is that the free motion foot will slide far too easily under the ruler, leaving the operator subject to broken needles, machine timing problems, and even injury. Unfortunately, much as I love my Bernina, no similar long arm-style foot is available for it. I've tried doing some ruler work anyway, and it was very stressful as I tightened up all of my muscles in the attempt to keep everything safe and working correctly.  Ouch!

A recent post to a Yahoo group, however, got my mind working. What if I found something I could attach somehow to my #9 foot, which is the one that I'd most likely want to modify? A trip to my local home improvement stores netted me what I hoped would work. I already had a #9 foot, of course. But I bought some rubber O-rings and some Super Glue and then came home and pondered whether I really thought it would work. That took several days. ;)

Finally, though, I decided I'd give it a try. I put a thin ring of glue around the top of the foot and used a wooden skewer to nudge and tap the O-ring into position, letting it dry for about 30 minutes to be very sure it was secure. Hmmm. Not tall enough. I added another O-ring and let that dry. See the result? The angle of the photo makes it look like the O-rings are skewed, but they really aren't, I promise.

Okay, now that it looked to be the right thickness, all that was left was to give it a try with the curved cross-hatching ruler I'd tried to use previously. The ruler is from this site, and I think I will have to get another — straight this time — from them.

I need lots more practice, obviously, but I really think the modified foot is going to be very helpful! I did a quick trial on a diagonal half of the drawn square here, and the added height on the foot really made a difference in how relaxed I was as I stitched.


Here is a series of photos to show the progress on the triangular area:
Doing the first angle of curves


The second angle

Finished — mistakes and all! LOL!
I'm so pleased with the foot I've modified that I'm not even upset at having a bit of Super Glue on a couple of fingertips! ;)

NOTE: Please see another option I found and showed here. This is even better!

15 comments:

  1. Yay! Gotta love quilter ingenuity! I'm eager to see how you progress!

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  2. Hi Sandy, Saw your post on the Yahoo group. Thanks for sharing how you modified your foot. I want to give it a try because I'd love to get some of those rulers. Thanks also for pointing out Amy's blog -- I love her Zentangle block and it looks like she's got a lot of great lessons over there!

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    1. Thanks for looking and posting, Diane! Amy has some very good videos demonstrating how she does her FM quilting. :)

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  3. Sandy, I saw a post, demo on Leah Day's blog for modifying her quilting foot. (she does not have a bernina)your modification looks a little more simple. I only piece for now, and have done some simple straight line quilting. That looks Great to me.

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    1. Gwen, I love to do FM, but it does take practice. Different brands of machine have different feet available, and the Bernina doesn't (yet?) have a "tall" FM foot, which is why I was interested in trying a modification. Good luck with your entry into FM quilting! Just remember to relax and have fun. :)

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  4. Wonderful - thanks for sharing! I too have wanted to use rulers and feared what might happen. Your solution is brilliant.

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    1. Thanks, Lynn! I wish I could take credit, but someone else suggested using washers the same way, and that's what got me started looking for something I could use. :) I wish I knew who to thank for giving me the idea.

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  5. I am going to have to try this!! Thanks for leading the way. :) Now I can surely get the rulers..right???

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    1. Of course, CJ! This is the perfect reason. ;)

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  6. Just wondering if you have tried any rulers besides the thin line rulers? I have seen all of Amy's videos and know on one of them, she is using a regular long arm ruler. I am wanting to try using regular long arm as they have lots more to choose from. I tried yesterday with just a regular rotary ruler and went real slow and gave me an idea of how it works. thanks, Pat

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    1. I haven't tried any others yet, Pat, but I plan to. I'll be going to the Houston show in November, and I want to look at more there before I actually buy any. :) The biggest consideration, I think, in using a ruler on a domestic machine instead of a longarm might be whether it would be more difficult to hold it in place as we work. That's why I want to look before I make a final decision on what to get. I do know the thin line rulers work very well; that little strip of hook/loop tape really grabs the fabric.

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  7. I forgot, also wanted to know about yahoo group mentioned. is it for ruler work? whats the name?

    Pat

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    1. It's a Bernina sewing machine group, Pat. It's the 430_440_630_640_730 group, otherwise known as the 30-somethings group. It's open to all models of Bernina, no matter that they're not all in the name. ;)

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  8. this is a great idea. I'm gonna try this and hope it'll work

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