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Thread: I hate free motion quilting! can you advise how to get longer stitches?

  1. #1
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    I hate free motion quilting! can you advise how to get longer stitches?

    Although I have had class instruction and practiced a lot, I cannot seem to lenghten my stitches. I avoid FMQ like the plague but often there a project that just cries for it. Is there some trick that I can use to get my stitches longer than about a 2 or 2.5?

  2. #2
    Super Member Val in IN's Avatar
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    I think that you are either running the machine too fast, or you are moving your hands too slow. Your movement needs to be in sync with the speed of your machine. If your machine is new and has a variable speed selector, try turning it down so that even if you press the peddle down all the way it will only go as fast as the speed you selected. If your machine doesn't have that function, you may just have to adjust the pressure you put on the peddle by easing up on it bit by bit till you find the perfect speed to match your hand speed. Adjusting your stitch length on the machine will have no effect since you are either dropping the feed dogs, covering them up, or setting your stitch lenth to "0". The length of the FMQ stitches are determined by the syncopation of the machine and the hands. Hope this helps
    "I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane!"
    Valarie

  3. #3
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    For me, it's all a matter of getting the machine speed and hand speed coordinated. If your stitches are too small, slow down your machine. At first, I thought I needed the machine to go fast. That really doesn't work for me. The machine needs to go a medium speed and my hands need to go more slowly. I'm no champion by any means but can at least do a passable meander or loop-de-loop.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I like smaller stitches and some days/nights I can do it to my satisfaction, others not so much.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Tashana's Avatar
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    You are the one who controls the length. Slow speed and regular movement will give you longer stitches.

  6. #6
    Super Member MaryMo's Avatar
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    I'm still practicing with FMQ too but I had a quilting teacher tell me to put on some favorite mellow music, get your hands and fabric moving to the music while laying them on the machine (no motor yet). At a separate time practice running your sewing machine in time to the music, then put both together. It's helping. I've only done this a couple of times in the last few days, but I can see some improvement already. I think I'm getting the hang of it ........
    Make it a scrappy happy day!

  7. #7
    Senior Member luana's Avatar
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    I have taken two FMQ classes from Crafty, and in both classes the instructors are taking stitches much smaller than I thought mine should be. I think I had the notion that my machine stitches would kind of look like hand quilting. Doesn't work that way. I find that the longer my stitches, the more problems I have with tension and looping. You may be too hard on yourself. Give yourself a break and have a good time FMGing.

  8. #8
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    yes your moving the quilt slowly. the slower you go, the smaller the stitches. fast food pedal speed, slower quilt movement should do the trick. but not toooo slow. good luck.

  9. #9
    Super Member grammysharon's Avatar
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    Are you lowering the feed dogs?? If so you control the stitch length by how fast you move your project and run your machine!!!
    A quilt is a blanket of love. Sharon

  10. #10
    Super Member leatheflea's Avatar
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    Paper! Try using a sheet of paper, no thread and no bobbin. The paper slides easier and allows you to see your holes that would be stitches. Its the cheepest no waste method to learn.

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