Fun with free-motion quilting on the PFAFF performance icon!

What a fun week spent quilting! It’s hard for me to express in words what a difference quilting with the PFAFF performance icon has done for my confidence. In yesterday’s post, I quilted a placemat using a curvy built-in stippling stitch. This stitch reminded me how much fun I can have completing a project. Each time I finished a placemat, I felt the desire to continue having finishes rather than just starts – maybe you know what I mean? Today, I’m excited to do some free-motion quilting on the last of the four placemats.

Placemat with extension tray on PFAFF performance icon

There are so many options when free-motion quilting with the PFAFF performance icon it can be a bit overwhelming, but the machine is set up to make it comfortable and easy, and you just have to start.

The presser foot I chose for today’s quilting requires the Straight Stitch Needle Plate included with the machine. Changing out the needle plate is quick and easy using the mini screwdriver included in the machine. With the needle removed and the bobbin out, simply put the screwdriver under the front right side of the plate to lift it up. The plate will release, and you can lift it the rest of the way off.

Removing the needle plate

There’s convenient storage for the second needle plate included with the performance icon in the bottom of the accessory tray. Pull the tray out and switch plates. Carefully secure the back edge of the needle plate’s notches into the grooves and push down to click the plate into place.

Accessory tray storage for second needle plate

I’m using a free-motion foot for today’s project. The Open Toe Free-Motion Foot attaches to the presser foot ankle. The packaging includes an enlarged diagram to show which screws and parts to remove and where to attach the foot. Trust me, it’s easier than it looks and if you find yourself pushing with no movement, try again. The foot normally attaches quite smoothly, so it shouldn’t be a difficult fit.

Open Toe Free-motion foot attached to the presser foot ankle

There’s some angling to be done, so if it doesn’t seem to be attaching smoothly, relax and try again! You’ll note it not only attaches with the screw, but clips on as well.

Side view of the Open Toe Free-motion foot attached to the performance icon

The Open Toe Free-Motion Foot uses the Spring Foot Free-Motion option on the Free-Motion menu, as indicated on its packaging. This means the feed dogs are lowered and you’ll be in charge of moving the placemat as the machine stitches. I found synchronizing the moving and stitching easy to do with this foot.

Spring Foot Free-Motion option selected.

Now, I won’t say I was perfect, but I tried to mimic the flowers in the focus fabric by stitching a larger flower over them. I used a green thread that blended into the background of the focus fabric, so I wasn’t too concerned about what my stitches looked like. However, the more I stitched, the more I got the hang of the speed I needed to move the fabric to get the stitches to look nice and even.

Free-motion stitched flower on the focus fabric square

I quilted in the green squares before changing my thread to match the background fabric. For the squares, I free-motion stitched lines going up and down across one and left to right on the other. At this point, I noticed that I’m better at moving one direction with a steadier speed than the other.

I surprised myself as I practiced more with the Open Toe Free-Motion Foot – I could see the improvement in my quilting. It was easy to see what I was doing with the clear open space, and the foot didn’t interfere with my view of the placemat I was working on. The foot stayed above the fabric and, as long as my speed was consistent, the tension in the stitches stayed consistent too.

I decided to quilt large circles in the background fabric, and quickly realized I was creating stitches that looked a lot like pebble quilting!

Large pebble and zigzag stitching on placemat

I can honestly say I would try free-motion quilting a quilt after my experience with the Open Toe Free-Motion Foot – which is saying a lot! I’m so glad I challenged myself to try out different modern quilting styles using the PFAFF performance icon this week. I hope you’ve been inspired too!

Free-motion quilted placemat

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: Quilting made easy with a stipple stitch

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