Thursday, February 28, 2013

Detecting Foot Problems.

To those who regularly read my this blog know that I have had a love/hate relationship with my Pfaff Quilters Expression 4.0. It likes to break and shred thread when I FMQ. It has been driving me crazy. So I have taken it to the shop and have the exact same machine on loan. The first night I got the loaner machine I played around on a scrap quilt sandwich and nary a skipped stitch. Hope was springing that they could find and fix the problem with my machine. Last night I decided to do a sample quilt sandwich for my Elephant quilt.
Long skipped stitch while going backwards

Skipped stitches in almost the identical spot on the next time around the flower.
What did I change from the previous night??? The FOOT!
The closed toe foot is the standard foot that comes with the machine. The open toe is optional.
 The first night I had left on the standard closed toe foot. Last night, I wanted to be more precise in my stitches, I put on the open toe. That's when the problems started.
 While the closed toe foot is better, because it doesn't seem to skip stitches, the visibility with foot is not great.
The open toe offers great visibility, but skipped stitches. I can't seem to win! When I purchased this machine, the closed toe was a deal breaker. Then they told me about the open toe, I was sold. I think this may be a piece of POOR German engineering. Maybe there is a fix. I would sure love it if there was.

I did have a little fun FMQ last night.

Color Me Quilty!



  1. Do you have a straight stitch plate? (only one tiny hole for the needle to go thru) I don't know this machine so I don't know. But if you have one -or can get one, that may solve your problem. The wide "zigzag" area where the needle goes down seems to cause that problem on some machines. I can't figure out why, but it does.

  2. I cannot believe you are having all these problems with this machine. As you may remember, I have the same machine and have none of these problems. I did get the open toe foot after I had seen it on your blog...I think it is alright but I had a few issues with it, in particular the stitching on the spot when it takes off which makes stops and starts a nuisance. I went back to the Spring-loaded foot...I am used to it and I feel it gives better control. Have you tried one of those on this machine? It might be the solution...I know this machine can have temperament but not to the extent that you describe...this must be so annoying and it is a pity that this has not been fixed as yet.

  3. I have two different Pfaff machines and both are great at free motion quilting--the foot that I use is an open toed one, but doesn't look anything like the one you have here. It's so annoying when you keep having problems like you are--I'm so sorry!

  4. If you're willing to potentially ruin a closed toe foot as an experiment, you could try clipping off the front? Leah has a video on how to modify your FMQ foot. I've also had good luck in minimizing skips by using a bigger needle (90/14) on my Kenmore. Hope you're able to find a solution and get back to the zen of FMQ!

  5. Your quilting looks great other than the skipped stitches, Pat. I have only ever used and open toe (have the same machine). Thread and batting seems to make a difference too. It sure can be frustrating. I just know you will figure it out!

  6. I agree with MC; you may be able to modify the closed foot so that it is not as severely open as the open-toed foot. Leave the part of the foot that "comes around" to the front and just open up an area in front so you can see the needle. You could check the price of a replacement before you try it, just in case ; ) (And for the record, I found a pair of toenail clippers clipped through my plastic foot very well, and a nail file smoothed out the rough edges left.)

    I have a feeling Gene's suggestion is also correct and helpful, though I don't have experience with that kind of plate (I don't have one). If I try to quilt small pieces, like a coaster I did recently for my sister for Valentine's Day, I can get into trouble. They kind of get pulled into the needle plate and a giant nest results underneath.