Juki Free Motion Couching Foot

That settles it!  I’m in love with this foot:

Yes it is not a Viking foot.  It is manufactured for Juki sewing machines but is compatible with most low shank machines.  I checked.  My Viking Ruby has a low shank. After paying an exorbitant amount for Viking’s couching feet; and spending hours, days, and  weeks trying to get Viking’s foot to work,  I purchased the Juki Free Motion couching foot from Kens Sewing Center. Currently on sale, I fear Kens may be eliminating his stock. Sadly, I was not able to find this exact foot elsewhere.

Why is it so special?  It looks amazingly like the little brother to Bernina’s couching foot. I could be wrong.  I have not examined the Bernina foot in detail because I don’t own a Bernina and I know their feet are not even remotely compatible with Viking. Look closely at the foot.  It has a very small center opening. The instructions say use 1.5-2mm cords.  The Viking foot, with even the smallest opening could not control cords of this width.  They would slop around inside the hole, I think deliberately avoiding the needle.

On the side is a little funnel.  The funnel is open on the underside except right at the outside circular edge.

The foot comes in a bubble pack, with a single page of instructions (20 languages but only 1 page), and this:

..a fine wire loop used to thread the cording first through the funnel

and then down the hole.

It does work well, but let me warn you of something.  Never lay the loop down. As soon as you do it’s gone.  I had to use similar loops to thread my first serger. No joy but better than trying to feed thin serger thread into the butt of the looper and force it through 2 inches.  I went through those wires like crazy.  Finally I learned, you screw up the threading and start over before you let go of the threader.  It goes from case, to hand, maybe to a second hand and then back to case. Never is it ever out of your hands or case (this time a plastic envelope).

Heirloom Creations had demoed the Bernina foot. At the time I thought that interesting because due to sewing company mergers, Heirloom Creations (HC)is a Viking dealer as well as a Bernina and Janome dealer.  After their first year of being a Viking dealer, HC started demoing more on the Viking than on the Bernina and seldom on the Janome. All of a sudden the Bernina was up . I believe they made the choice to do their demo’ing on the Viking because the Viking Designer Ruby is/was their best-selling machine. (The store has won awards (I’m not sure what else) due to their sales of this machine, which happens to be the brand and model  I own and purchased from them.)  I thought it odd that suddenly the Bernina was up.  In retrospect I wonder if they chose to demo with the Bernina foot because that foot truly is superior at couching cords.

I desire to free-motion Perle cotton and embroidery floss and some yarns onto my projects. These threads come in a wide array of colors and are readily available, not to mention quite beautiful. I spent hours and hours in my front of my Ruby trying to make peace with the Viking couching foot.  I don’t think any other technique has been as frustrating.  My Ruby and I bonded immediately.  It’s like they made a mistake at the factory and developed a machine that works like I do. OK, I did read and at least test the recommendations in the manual. I’ve also prefer some of Janome’s feet to the Viking engineered versions. But otherwise, everything I want to do, Ruby does it better than my Bernina 1630.  Except for free motion couching.

I should confess that I had to do some testing.

Roughly 30 minutes worth.  I started with the Perle cotton and silk cord left over from my Machine Bobbin testing. I hit the jackpot by

  • Adjusting Ruby’s Free Motion settings to floating foot at 5
  • Cranking the adjustable knob on top of the foot one full rotation to right (which lowered the foot just a bit) and
  • Setting the stitch to zig zag 3.0mm Juki recommends a straight stitch but these cords were able to avoid the needle.  Cranking the stitch width the to max possible made sure the cords would be speared errr pieced
  • Gutterman All Purpose Thread in the bobbin
  • Sulky Sliver  in the needle.  Yes big surprise to me.  I started with Gutterman all-purpose thread matching the cord.  Decided to switch to clear polyester but instead grabbed this very old Sliver.  The sliver is mostly invisible.  Periodically I do catch glints of light but it’s not bright like most of the metallics are.  Also big surprise
  • Universal Needle size 12  Usually I would insert a Metallic needle when working with Sliver.  No idea why it worked this time.  Probably a fluke that will bite me the next time.

My final couching was completed using a coral, hand- embroidery floss. Juki recommends against loosely twisted or soft cords but that’s what I want to use. I can see room for improvement in my last sample. Also, I absolutely will spend some time testing before applying couching to a real project.  But for now, I’m tickled pink. In less than hour from start to finish including scanning and taking pictures, I have gotten this under control.

Couching is applied around the woven design.
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