Welcome to the Quilting Board!

Already a member? Login above
loginabove
OR
To post questions, help other quilters and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our quilting community. It's free!

Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Free motion quilting

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    6

    Free motion quilting

    What is the best stitch length to use when FMQing? I am just beginning. I have been practicing and it seems a smaller stitch length works good but I would like some advice.

  2. #2
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    6,191
    If you are doing FMQ with the feed dogs down, you are controlling the stitch length, not the sewing machine.

  3. #3
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Emmitsburg, MD
    Posts
    1,624
    Hi KarmPD, and welcome! Yes, during FMQ you are controlling the stitch length yourself, based on how quickly you move the fabric under the needle. If your machine is sewing quickly but you take your time moving the fabric, your stitches will be smaller and, I agree, much better.

  4. #4
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    Posts
    12,676
    The above responses are correct - unless you have a stitch regulated machine, such as a Bernina with the BSR or a longarm. Stitch length is pretty much an individual choice, but you may find that you have smoother stitches around corners and when you start up if your stitch length is on the shorter side rather than really long.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    6
    And I thought the machine was responsible for the uneven stitches....oh no....who will I blame now??lol

  6. #6
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Emmitsburg, MD
    Posts
    1,624
    Oh, I blame the cat! Darned cat... LOL

  7. #7
    Super Member Knitette's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    The Granite City, Scotland
    Posts
    1,626
    I was told to set the stitch length to 0 - but I've no idea why. Hmmm......... Does anyone know why?
    Lang may yer lum reek. (I'm a knitter - hence - 'Knit-ette'. Confuses a lot of people!)

  8. #8
    Super Member TerryQuilter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Vista, CA
    Posts
    1,515
    Quote Originally Posted by Knitette View Post
    I was told to set the stitch length to 0 - but I've no idea why. Hmmm......... Does anyone know why?
    You set the stitch length to 0, then you don't have to lower your feed dogs. I used to lower the feed dogs and then I watched a couple of Lea Day tutes and she says to set the stitch length to 0. It works great, don't lower the feed dogs any more when I do FMQ.
    The Trike Riding Quilting Diva

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    332
    I am doing FMQ now for the first time. I'm thinking that there will always be uneven stitch lengths on these quilts especially for a beginner, and it obviously takes practice. I think the secret is to not be too particular especially if it is your first time trying it. If you look at the over all picture as I have I'm sure you'll find the over all look of the quilt is still good.

    I haven't tried not lowering the feed dogs. I can't understand how that would work. Doesn't it still pull the quilt backwards?

  10. #10
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,211
    Shoot! I forgot to set the stitch length to zero! I've been quilting the past two days! It's been several months since I last did it so I forgot!

    I follow Leah Day too and I have learned so much from her!

  11. #11
    Banned
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Sturbridge, Ma
    Posts
    4,014
    Some set stitch length to 0 and others dont. Some lower feed dogs and others don't.
    I prefer to lower the feed dogs then they don't scratch the back side of the quilt. I don't understand why some are so adamant about lowerig and not lowering.
    The reason some give for setting stitch length to 0 is that disengages the feed dog mechanism and less wear on that part of the machine. Quilters find different ways of doing fmq and work to find the best method for themselves.
    If you don't lower the feed dogs and leave the stitch length as set on the machine then the dogs will be pulling the fabric one way and you are pulling or pushing the quilt the other. I believe leaving them up will cause the bottom to drag and not be easy to slide under the pressure foot. So for me the safe way is to lower the feed dogs and leave the stitch length where it is set on the machine. And......either way your stitch length is determined by the speed of your machine and the speed in which you move the quilt. I try and recommend working to a stitch lenth about what the normal sewing would be or just a bit longer. I try for an even length of about what a 3 setting on your mcahine would be. I believe you need the slightly longer stitch length to accommodate the additional thicknesses the batting adds to the quilt. Tiny stitches make the quilting stiffer and hold the layers more tightly together and can cause some dimensional appearance not suitable to the design. I also find the longer stitches gives me more freedom in motion of moving the quilting around. I also find that students are more satisfied with their work and learn faster when the stitches are longer. They ask why their motifs are not smooth and even and in most cases it is because they have very tiny stitch length and when they strive for longer stitches their work improves.
    Last edited by Holice; 11-27-2012 at 01:14 PM.

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    6
    I set out again to FMQ last night and it looks lovely! Now that I realize that I do control the stitch length I am being carefule to be consistent. Thanks for the info. I do not have a cat to blame, just a husband!

  13. #13
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    NE Indiana
    Posts
    564
    Ditto what Holice said. I have a machine that I use only for FMQ, a vintage Bernina 830 Record.

    My DH and I both blame the cats for things we don't want to admit to. Heehee
    Cindy

    Curator of an 1889 Singer model 27 Fiddlebase Treadle, a 1951 Singer Centennial Featherweight, a 1956 Singer 401A, and a 1982 Bernina 830 Record.

  14. #14
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    dallas tx.
    Posts
    4,692
    Blog Entries
    3
    Poor, poor, husband!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.