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Thread: Free-motion quilting

  1. #1
    Junior Member momski's Avatar
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    My machine (Brother NX-450Q) does not have a stitch regulator. When I attempt to free-motion, I get irregular length stitches because I haven't quite figured out how to feed the fabric at the right speed.

    Are there any tricks you use that would help me master this skill?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    Practice, practice, practice.

    For me, it takes a fast machine and slow hands. My curves still get funky, but I keep plugging away.

  3. #3
    Super Member earlylace's Avatar
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    yep,practice

  4. #4

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    I have the same machine :) For me using the gloves and using the stop/start button seem to help, so I don't have to worry about varying speed. Practice is best :)

  5. #5
    Super Member mimom's Avatar
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    fast machine, slow hands. Its tough listening to your machine go like mad and not move your hands fast, but with practice it gets better

  6. #6
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    After trying every trick and product under the sun for free motion quilting, I finally realized (with much sadness! ;) ) that nothing substitutes for practice. Darn it!

    You can shortcut the process a bit if you start with one design - say feathers - and draw feathers on a Dry Erase board (or even a sketch pad) until you can draw feathers in your sleep. Draw feathers in circles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, long skinny rectangles, short fat rectangles, ovals and diamonds. Draw feathers until you're sick of feathers. Draw them until you don't even have to think about where you're going next while you're drawing.

    When you sit down to the machine to sew feathers, you will have to work at coordinating machine speed to your hand movements, but at least you won't have to wonder where you're going next. You will see a shape to fill with feathers and your mind will tell your hands what to do automatically.

    And don't be too critical of yourself, either. Don't compare your quilting to that done on a stitch-regulated or computer-controlled machine. ;) Go for "good enough" and you'll be happy with your progress. :)

    My stitch length is still not very consistent, but as long as I don't let the stitches get too big to lose their ability to hold the quilt together or so small that they're cutting the fabric, I don't really care about perfect consistency.

    I try for 11-12 stitches per inch, but if they're somewhere between 9 and 15 stitches per inch, that's good enough. I don't plan to enter any shows and nobody but a judge would see the inconsistencies.

    I'm a lot happier with the way the quilting looks now than I was a few years ago and progress is good enough for me. :)

  7. #7
    Super Member Connie in CO's Avatar
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    My quilting i have long stitches and short,but what ever it's quilted.I just finished my daughter's birthday quilt.She will tickled pink witch ever way it's quilted.Almost done with pillowcase. Connie in CO

  8. #8
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    All of the above and more practice, practice, practice. I'm not an expert, but my dinky Walmart variety Brother does a respectable job. If you use the search function above, I think there are a number of threads on free motion quilting. Have fun with it!!

  9. #9
    Junior Member momski's Avatar
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    Thanks for the encouragement and reality check ladies. I will be practicing like a madwoman for awhile then.

  10. #10
    Super Member gzuslivz's Avatar
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    I have just started free motion quilting myself. I heard somewhere to do it to music. It helps you get a rhythm going for smoother quilting. Does anyone do this?

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