I bought the new free motion quilting foot for my Janome 6600 sewing machine while I was making this quilt. What prompted me to buy this new foot was some bobbin tension problems I was having with my machine.
I was using one of my favorite bobbin threads, Superior Bottom Line, and I think it was too thin for my bobbin’s tension. On my Bernina and Pfaff machines I have a second bobbin case adjusted for using thinner weight thread. But with the Janome’s drop in bobbin I did not know how to adjust it. I read through the instruction book twice and found no instructions for tightening it. My dear friend and free motion quilting goddess, Frieda Anderson, has since told me how to adjust it. (There is a tiny screw on the outside of the black bobbin case, I suppose if I pulled the bobbin case out I would have seen that. Never having owned a machine with a drop in bobbin before, I didn’t realize the case came out.)
To try and solve my thread problem I called Superior threads and ordered King Tut Cotton. This was an overall improvement anyways because the heavier weight thread really made the quilting line have more definition.
About this same time I came across Gloria Hanson’s blog post about Janome’s new free-motion quilting foot, Desperate, I thought I would try it out. Janomes FMQ foot is a two part purchase; the foot and another bobbin case with a tiny blue dot on it (to differentiate it from the regular bobbin case with a tiny red dot). Together it runs about $50.
I tried out the new foot with the king Tut cotton and a top stitching needle and had my thread break about every 3 inches. Very frustrating! So I did another Google search and found that there is a Janome 6500 Yahoo group, I figured surely someone there would have an answer. I did a post search and found a couple people recommended a 90/14 quilting needle with this foot. I could not believe that changing my needle from a top stitch to a 90/14 could possibly solve the problem, but I was willing to try anything.
I put a 90/14 in and stepped on the gas, lo and behold, it worked! What a dream. This FMQ foot is wonderful, even though it has a tiny closed loop it is not too hard to see when quilting. The best part about this foot is that it does NOT bounce up and down when stitching. So quilting feels very fluid and smooth, no grabby feeling on the fabric.
I think the real negative, is that you have to unscrew the throat plate to change the bobbin case every time you switch between free motion and other kinds of stitching. It is about three steps more than I want to do when working. I probably won’t switch it all out when doing small stuff where I go back and forth with different stitches a lot, but for free motion quilting a large quilt, it’s the best.