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Thread: FMQ uneven stitch length

  1. #1
    Junior Member evelyn5269's Avatar
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    FMQ uneven stitch length

    I practice a lot and on small pieces it is fine. My stitches are fine except that some are really long and some are really short. Should I be going slower, faster. I have a Juki TL2010 Q and absolutely love it. Sews like a dream but it is me cause I had same issue on my Hsqvarna SapphireQ. I know it could probably be a lot of things, how I drape the quilt etc but if you have any things for me to try I am open.
    Thank you
    Evelyn

  2. #2
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    It's necessary to maintain an even speed and keeping your fabric moving, but not too fast or slow. I can "hear" when I am in the right zone, but it takes lots of practice to maintain the consistency. Some days I just can't hit that sweet spot.

  3. #3
    Super Member Raggiemom's Avatar
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    Moving your hands and the fabric at a steady consistent speed is key. And I don't always achieve that!
    Heather

  4. #4
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Agree with the others, it's all about maintaining a constant balance between machine and hand speed.


    1) Relax your shoulders. Tensing them makes it more difficult to maintain a constant speed.
    2) Hopefully you have the machine set into the table for a broad flat surface, and the height of the machine is at your proper ergonomic height (roughly at height of elbow).
    3) If you have a speed control and on/off button on your machine (as opposed to using the foot pedal), try that to maintain a constant speed on your machine.
    4) Keep practicing!! Don't worry about the design you are trying to stitch, just concentrate on maintaining the stitch length.

    Lastly ... it doesn't have to be perfect. It's not unusual to have a slightly smaller stitch length around tighter curves.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  5. #5
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Good points DHMom and I'll add to your list ....
    5) Be aware of how you are moving the quilt as you stitch. I have caught myself letting it somewhat jump and thus creating that longer stitch. Is your table top smooth/slippery? I clean and polish it up good before I start FMQing, and if it is a longer project, repeat as needed.
    6) Check is it a "long" stitch" or one being caused by the top/bottom threads not meeting/catching. Might be time for a new needle. Or it could be you need a different size and/or type of needle.
    7) Drag can be created not just by the quilt hanging off the edge of the table, but also, with how you have it sitting or puddled on the table top. Watch you aren't catching it on the corner or even with the way it flops over the front towards you.
    8) Echoing DHMom's #1)+#2), for me I find I need to sit a little higher when FMQing than when I am piecing. A good adjustable chair is worth the extra cost.

    And as we all, already know ...... practice practice practice!
    And if you are like me ... I hate that word ... I want perfection immediately! So instead of outright practice toss aways, one of the things I have done is to make squares for my practice pieces that will eventually become QAYG quilt. Some make dozens of placemats ... and there are lots more possibilities!

    Keep at it ... you're probably doing better than you give yourself credit for.
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  6. #6
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    For even stitches, you must learn how to hit a certain speed on your DSM and be able to move the fabric at the same rate as your DSM moves it. Some quilters find at a higher speed that their curves are smoother. I have always found looking at where you are wanting to go rather than looking at where your needle is may help improve your stitches. One on one class instructions at your LQS may help you get over the hump. We all didn't learn how to drive a car in a few days. Hang in there and keep practicing because it will suddenly all just click together.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  7. #7
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    Everyone has given you good advice, I can't really add to it but I will say that I don't worry so much about my stitches looking perfect. I'm happy if I don't have skipped stitches or eyelashes. I know I'm not making a show quilt and the recipients of my quilts don't care if the stitches aren't perfectly even. We are always our own worst critic. Once I relaxed and gave up my quest for perfection, deciding that done is better than perfect, my quilting actually got much better.

    Cari

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cari-in-Oly View Post
    Everyone has given you good advice, I can't really add to it but I will say that I don't worry so much about my stitches looking perfect. I'm happy if I don't have skipped stitches or eyelashes. I know I'm not making a show quilt and the recipients of my quilts don't care if the stitches aren't perfectly even. We are always our own worst critic. Once I relaxed and gave up my quest for perfection, deciding that done is better than perfect, my quilting actually got much better.

    Cari
    I know, same here. If it doesn't jam and the stitches are for the most part, distinct on the back, I am ok for the most part..

  9. #9
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    It is hard to get perfect stitches, even long arm quilts I've studied have varied stitch length. I do a fairly good job since I got my Bernina with the stitch regulator. That was one of the main reasons I got it. I didn't have many long stitches but I did have what I call "micro" stitches. So tiny and close together they were hard to remove. My BSR has fixed that.

  10. #10
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    This is a good thread!! I was just searching for tips on stitch length!!

  11. #11
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    What I have found valuable is to find the "perfect" speed of hand and foot pedal that works for you and then set my foot pedal to that speed, if you have that feature on your machine.
    That way I can put my foot all the way down and just concentrate on my hands and I know the speed isn't going to vary and suddenly zoom away from me, but I can always let up and go slower.

    Watson

  12. #12
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    the quilt cannot hang or drag think about getting more support on the quilt so there is no drag

  13. #13
    Senior Member stitch678's Avatar
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    I teach fmq on a domestic.... here's what l find helps. On a fresh practice sandwich, put on your walking foot, ( feed dogs up), set the stitch length to 10 st./ in. ( arond " 2.5 to 3 on digital), and sew a winding lazy s path, going a " mediun" speed.Listen & pay attention while sewing this. Listen for the tempo of the machine .Drop dogs, put on quilting foot, and go 1/4" next to your previous path doing fmq...trying your best to get the same foot pressure and tempo of sound while moving sandwich at as close a rate as you just saw walking foot do. Compare. I'll bet you just did a whole lot better. Traing wheels, lol...do this every day before your quilting session on a real project. For some, putting on soft listening music, or humming " the skaters' walz, eg.helps.You WILL improve vastly after a week of daily practice like this!

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