Free motion treadleing

I really will be posting hand quilting updates soon, but I am in the process of finishing the snowball quilt ( done all on the treadle machine)

I am doing free motion feathered wreaths in the snowball.    Since I am not good at it yet I marked them first.     I found an alternative to a darning foot and it works pretty good.    A spring needle….which was an idea from a reader.  I found it on-line and it is a Schmetz.   You quilt without any foot just the needle with the spring. ( be careful not to sew your finger because there is no foot to protect you )


The spring puts enough pressure on the fabric when it goes down into the quilt so that the needle will catch the bobbin thread on the back and make a stitch.      It also makes it very easy to see where I am going with no foot in the way.

It is a learning process and I am getting better as I go.   Here are a few pictures (click to enlarge)

Teddy says HI


There is a bone in his mouth here but it is hidden on each side by his newly groomed beard.

Happy Quilting


44 thoughts on “Free motion treadleing

  1. Jaydee Price says:

    Beautiful quilting and Teddy is such a dapper guy. Thank you.

  2. Ginney Camden says:

    It looks great and definitely doesn’t look like you’re a beginner at it.

  3. Nerida Duncan says:

    Its looking fabulous Tim. Thanks for the info re the spring needle will be off searching for myself now. Hi Teddy.

  4. Suzette Shoulders says:

    I am so impressed that you can do free-motion quilting with that old machine, Tim! Wow! And it looks great, too! I had heard at some point that the spring needle was a good thing to use for free motion, and I am thinking that you have ultimate control with a treadle, as fast or as slow as you wish to make it go! Quilt happy, Suzette

  5. Teresa says:

    How do you like working with the treadle machine vs. electric for the free-motion work? I’m curious about this as I have a treadle machine, too, which I haven’t used in decades. I learned how to sew on it when I was a little girl. It was an antique when we got it — my mother saved it from going to the town garbage dump — and not in good shape, but mom found a place to order parts and we got it working. I don’t know how she managed to find the needles and bobbins because no Internet in those days (the 1960s)! She had an electric machine that she did all her sewing with; she fixed up the treadle and let me use it.

    • timquilts says:

      I have not done free-motion on an electric…..more than just a few test pieces….I didn’t care for the electric at all, the treadle machine has so much more throat space and I can control the speed so much better that I can actually do it pretty well.

  6. Vicky Ferguson says:

    Hi Tim and Teddy, that machine quilting looks great! You just have to look at it from across the room, not 4 inches from your face, and you’ll see that it’s fine!

  7. katechiconi says:

    Those old machines must be great for machine quilting – look at the amount of space you have there!

  8. Nancy says:

    And I still haven’t found that spring I mentioned! It hooks somehow at the top of the needle. I used it on both an old Elna and an old Singer. Oh by golly! That’s just the visual I needed. Hurried off just now and there it was with the Elna and in it’s original package. Called brass Machine Embroidery Spring and came from Osage County Quilt Factory.

    AND, the Schmetz spring needle also rang a bell now. It’s pictured in the Schmetz pocket guide. As soon as I saw it on your machine, I knew I had seen that too. The ole mind just needs a shove sometimes!

    You are certainly a BIG inspiration to us all. THANK YOU Tim and hi Teddy!

  9. kemosabaycampground says:

    You are doing an amazing job. I am making a quilt on my treadle but I don’t know if I would attempt to actually do the quilting with it. I may get one of those needles and try though.

  10. Rose in Vt says:

    I’m fascinated with this spring needle and will have to go hunting for that one. Teddy looks most dapper, as always.

    • timquilts says:

      I think they made one a long time ago for singer 221 machines that you could attach to the needle arm ……. and change the needle as needed….these the spring is attached to the needle and if it bends or breaks it is done

  11. Mrs. Tanveer says:

    Thanks for this idea. Can I do this with normal stitching machine by finding this kind of needle. I have singer stitching machine. So there is no need of quilting machine?

  12. Francisca says:

    Amazing!! Beautiful work.
    Hi Teddy, you look so smart now!

  13. I thought Teddy was looking especially dapper! Rosie (Sheltie) needs constant brushing to stay in shape. I resorted to clipping some mats from behind her ears tonight. Off to be groomed before the end of the month!

  14. Good job with the free motion on the treadle! It’s looking great!

  15. judysew4th says:

    The quilting looks beautiful. The spring needle is a new one for me. Very interesting. Teddy looks as handsome as ever. Dougal ( Jack Russel) likes Teddy’s neckwear assortment.

  16. Lorij says:

    The machine does nice stitches.Are you hooping what you are quilting or doing it with out a hoop?
    Do you think you are going to prefer this to hand quilting? I know that it takes less time to do but there is nothing more beautiful than a hand quilted quilt
    Teddy looks so happy.

  17. Pam G. says:

    Incredible Tim! You are so creative with find alternate ways to do things. The quilt is looking awesome! And sweet Teddy… enjoy your bone.

  18. Chrisanna says:

    You’re doing an amazing job with thisTim! Just wanted to give you a thumbs up..your handwork and posts are always a great encouragement to me.👍🏼👍🏼❤️😊👏🏼👏🏼

  19. beautiful quilting! what did you use to mark the design on the top? Frixon pen/chalk/something else? I’d like to try FMQ with a design like that.

    • timquilts says:

      I use crayola washable markers…….the kind designed for kids……I always wash quilts when I finish anyway and these was out beautifully and are really inexpensive. I wont use frixon pens…..they never ever was how….even after the ink “disappears” it is still there and over many years it may damage the fabric. The Pilot pen company who makes them has stated they they were not designed for fabric and should not be used on fabric. They were designed for paper and the friction of an eraser causes heat and makes the ink invisible, but still there. I find that chalk rubs of before I get to it and I spend a lot of time re-marking and it is often hard to see. My eyes arent as good as I would like and the crayola markers are dark and easy to see.


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