Did you find a mat to anchor your foot pedal? I’m still getting used to the fact that my foot pedal stays in one spot. I’m very happy about that!
Today, I’m exploring another feature on the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q and that is the FIX function. I’m going to show you when to use it and why to use it. Let’s get started.
The FIX function is conviently located on the front of the Opal 690Q in the function panel. A small light is illuminated to indicate the function is activated. You can temporarily deactivate the function by pushing the FIX function.
The FIX function will lock the stitches at the beginning of a row of stitches or whenever you manually activate it. The FIX function will always be activated when you select a new stitch, but you have the option to deactivate it temporarily by pressing the FIX function.
The FIX function is automatically activated when the STOP function has been selected. This works beautifully when you’re using the decorative stitches. The STOP function will end the sewing at the end of the stitch sequence and the FIX will anchor the row of stitching.
Depending on what type of stitching you’re doing, you may want to keep the FIX function deactivated which is simple to do in the SET menu. The FIX function can also be programmed into a sequence of stitches.
Should I anchor (backstitch) my quilting seams?
I get asked this question frequently, especially if the quilter used to sew garments. When sewing a garment, it’s important to anchor the beginning and the end of the seam. If you’re sewing garments, the FIX function is fabulous. No more having to backstitch to anchor the seam. Simply activate the FIX function, it will tie a knot at the beginning of the seam to anchor the stitches and repeat that process at the end of the seam.
In quilting however, it’s next to impossible to anchor a seam and there isn’t the same need either. I highly recommend that you lower the stitch length to 2.0 as this helps to keep the stitches from pulling out at the beginning and the end of a seam.
Let’s explore a typical quilting seam.
In the example below, I’ve stitched two strips of fabric together. I haven’t anchored the beginning or the end.
This is a small strip set and I’m going to cut it apart. It wouldn’t make sense to anchor the beginning and the end, as you can see in the photo below that I’ve cut off the beginning of the strip set when I trimmed it up and after cutting the required pieces, there’s a small scrap at the end. Even if I had anchored the beginning and the end, I wouldn’t know where to anchor the strip when I’m going to cut it apart.
Here’s a tip when you’re cutting those strip sets apart. Using your ruler and rotary cutter, trim up one end, ensuring the end is at a 90 degree angle to the center seam or at least one of the seams if there are more than one. Essentially, I use a line on the ruler as a guide on the seam line to trim the first edge and all the remaining pieces. The seam is what will show in your quilt block. If you use the edges of the strip set as a guide, that middle seam may be on an angle and it’ll be pretty visible. So use the seams as a guide. If the strip set is longer, you may need to re trim that edge with a 90 degree angle to the seams in order to keep the seams straight.
If you look carefully in the photo below, you can see that the raw edge along the top and bottom are just slightly skewed to the lines on the ruler. But that center seam is lined up nice and square with the cut edge on the left. If I had used the top and bottom as a guide, that center seam would have a slight angle. It’s important to keep the visual seams as straight as possible and hide the flaws in the seam allowances.
You can see in this example, that even when I gently pull the seam apart, the stitches don’t come open. That’s because I used a shorter stitch length. Not having to anchor the beginning and ends of the seams means we can sew faster and that’s a good thing!
Also, if I’m going to chain piece, I would be greatly slowed down if I had to backstitch at each beginning and end of the seams.
In the photo below, the vertical lines of stitching have further anchored the horizonital lines of stitching, I can’t stress it enough that this process of not backstitching only works or works much better if you decrease your stitch length to 2.0. If you decrease your stitch length to less than 2.0, you’re just slowing down the entire sewing process without any real gain.
Tension is also important to the process of not having the seams come apart. Here’s where the Opal 690Q shines. I’ve sewn with all kinds of needles and thread combinations and I haven’t had to adjust the tension. The stitches don’t show from the front, the seams don’t come apart. The Opal 690Q is a fabulous work horse that performs extremely well.
In the instance of a mitered corner or a Y seam, you’ll have three separate seams coming together at an intersection. None of the seams will intersect, they’ll just slightly touch each other meaning they’ll not be anchoring each other.
Here’s a perfect example of where the FIX function plays a very important role. Yes, you could backstitch, but it’s nowhere near as accurate or neat as using the FIX function.
I’m going to walk you through sewing a mitered corner so you can see what I mean. This isn’t a full tutorial on how to add a mitered seam. I’m just going to show you how the FIX makes it easy to actually sew the mitered corner.
You’ll start by anchoring the seam ¼” away from the edge of the corner. You must leave that seam allowance free in order to do the miter. When you start the seam, you simply make sure the FIX function is activated and the Opal 690Q does all the work.
In the photo below, you can see the seam is starting ¼” away from the end of the purple fabric. There’s a tiny little thread end which makes it look like I started closer to the edge, but trust me, the seam starts ¼” from the edge.
When you add the adjacent border, stitch to ¼” from the end of the quilt (the purple fabric). In this case, you’re stitching just until you reach the previous line of stitching. The ends of these two seems should be touching, but not overlapping. The end of each seam will be anchored with the FIX function.
In the photo below, you can see how the ends of the two seams are just touching each other. Neither of the seams are overlapping and the seam allowance has been left free at the ends of both seams.
To finish off the third and last seam of the mitered corner, take the purple fabric and fold it diagonally so the two border strips you’ve just added are lying on top of each other.
Place the 45-degree line of a ruler along the bottom edge of the border and slide the ruler so the diagonal edge just kisses the end of the seam line.
Using a pencil, draw a stitching line.
Starting at the inner part of the seam and anchoring the end using the FIX function, stitch the diagonal seam to complete the mitered corner. Notice that seam allowance has been left free of stitching.
And there’s the beautifully mitered corner. Notice that you can’t see the black thread that I used for the stitching. That’s because the tension on the Opal 690Q is so well balanced that the stitches don’t show on the top side of the work.
Anchoring quilting stitches
If the FIX function works so well with the Y seams, will it work for quilting?
The answer is YES. It makes quick work of starting and stopping your quilting stitches, especially if you’re using your walking foot.
The Opal 690Q will tie a small knot on the back of your work, anchoring the beginning and the end of the quilt stitches. I made two samples and you can’t see the anchored stitch in the first and you can barely see it in the second example.
What does this tell you? Using the FIX function for quilting is going to save huge amounts of time and the work on both the top and the back look fabulous. No more tiny little stitches, no more adjusting the stitch length – the FIX function takes all that work away.
It really doesn’t get any easier than that!
The FIX function is truly a remarkable feature that can be used in a variety of ways that saves time and adds neatness to your work.
This is one of the great features on the Husqvarna Viking Opal 690Q. Tomorrow, I’m going to provide some tips on achieving accuracy when piecing.
Have a great day!