Wow! There is so much to learn about machine quilting besides the super fun part of the free motion movement. I bought a length of Ricky Tim's Oodles of Doodles to make a simple lap quilt for my mother who has.... a love for what she calls 'contrasting colors'. We definitely have differences in color preference, though I'm getting more fond of brighter colors as I age. I made a poor choice of backing once you figure in thread color. I was trying to give her a choice of something more subtle for the back and am quilting the doodles (tracing in essence) in white thread. That showed every mistake! I switched to a dark blue, which was impossible to get the tensions perfect enough. Below is a test swatch on the edge of my project; you can see the dark blue on the right. The direction in which I move the fabric seems to affect the tensions. Anyone else have this problem? So I switched to a light blue color for the bobbin. You can just barely make it out on the left echoing the attempt at a feather.
See the doodles? I thought they'd make great practice work. And they do, but I miss the freedom of doing my own thing. And that pink floral at the bottom? Don't worry, it's part of my test swatch.
And there's another tip from me, this one is my original thought: Using a loop of painter's tape to hold all my loose thready bits! It really works for me! Especially since my dry rough hands like to hang onto the threads.