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Thread: Was I told wrong?

  1. #1
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    This is a FMQ question. I was told by a quilting teacher that I MUST have a 'stitch regulator' in order to do free motion quilting. (the teacher also owned a quilt shop that sold sewing machines). I could not afford a new machine, so I tried to FMQ on my regular machine. The stitches were extremely uneven and I lost interest in trying, believing she was right. Now I am reading posts on the quilting board about not dropping the feeddog. Was I told wrong? Is it possible to master FMQ on a regular machine without a stitch regulator. I am getting interested in trying again. Please give me your opinion.

  2. #2
    rb.
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    I don't have a stitch regulator, and my FMQ is just fine.

  3. #3
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    While most think it is easier to learn to FMQ with a stitch regulator, it is not difficult to FMQ without one. It just takes a little more practice getting the speed and movement in synch. Most beginners are too slow with the speed. In fact, I just recently saw an old episode of Lap Quilting with Georgia Bonsteel and she was doing FMQ on her non-stitch regulated machine.

  4. #4
    Super Member oatw13's Avatar
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    You can definitely FMQ on a regular home sewing machine without a stitch regulator. :)

    But, it takes practice! I am not great, but it works for me. It is a learning process and I think it is faster or at least more interesting than stitch in the ditch. I cannot sew a straight line! lol

    Keep reading on here. There is some amazing work being done on home machines - without stitch regulators!

  5. #5
    Super Member quiltinggirl's Avatar
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    Yes, you can do FMQ without a stitch regulator. After A LOT of practice, I was able to do FMQ on my sewing machine. My first machine (Brother) I had to use a cover plate because I didn't have the "auto drop" for the feed dogs and I didn't have a stitch regulator. However, I must admit, the FMQ got a whole lot easier when I purchase the Viking Sapphire 875Q. :)

  6. #6
    Super Member MrsM's Avatar
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    I drop the feed dogs, I don't use a stitch regulator, and drop my tension to zero and go. But I am a beginer.

  7. #7
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    I don't have a stitch regulator. I can tell you that my FMQ is not perfect. I was looking at a Bernina machine, and also a Brother, and the salesperson told me that you can learn to do it without a stitch regulator, it just takes practice. Well, I scrapped the idea of a new machine, (I have a Viking that my dad brought to me a few years ago, and he told me it was for me and my girls to use. Because I do more than my girls do in the way of quilting right now, they told me to keep it at my house. Well, my mom found out and it caused a big fight. Anyway, I was going to buy a new machine to keep the peace, but decided against it). Anyway, I got off topic, but I find the more I practice the better it looks.

  8. #8
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    I don't have a stitch regulator on my machine... now, so far I've only mastered "stippling", but thats because I haven't gotten brave enough to try other patterns. I FMQ with my feed dogs down. It takes practice, start with a small project, and I recommend gloves with rubber tipped fingers, It just feels like I have better control. Takes a little to get use to wearing gloves,but now I cant FMQ with out them.

  9. #9
    Super Member fabric_fancy's Avatar
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    OMG!!!

    she is selling you false information.

    tons of people have been doing free motion quilting long before stitch regulators came on the market.

    most people still don't have one.

    you either have to buy a machine quilting frame, like a Grace, or a bernina in order have a stitch regulator.

    also many people who do machine frame quilting don't have a stitch regulator.

  10. #10
    Super Member fabric whisperer's Avatar
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    you don't need a stitch regulator... you DO need to drop the Feeddogs tho ... and practice, practice, practice... get some remnants at the store that are pretty cotton, sandwich a small square (anywhere from 12x12 to 18x18) and just jump in and go. Basically, your goal is to match your movement of the fabric with the speed of the needle strikes.

    The slip-n-go clingy thing really helps you in learning to move the fabric, too.

    You can try these:
    2 inch line. Stop. Now go another direction so you get zigzag jiggy-jaggy design...
    loops and swirls...
    write your name in thread...
    make a box, but make it go into itself (like a maze wall)...
    5 big loops to make a big flower, then the center make a round swirl

    Have fun ~ put on some relaxing music ... have a cup of your fave beverage ... take a deep breath, and remember to breathe while you're FMQ'ing!

  11. #11
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    I want to thank everybody for their replies. I am excited and ready to try again. With all these suggestions (and some percerverance) it will be an attainable task. Thanks again.

  12. #12
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Stitch regulators haven't been around THAT long. I see they are still optional on many long arm machines. They do help some quilters do a better job of FMQ. The guild members that have the regulator for their sewing machines have nothing but problems and most don't use them anymore.

    I was told you don't have to drop the feed dogs for FMQ but it will do damage to your machine after a while because setting the stitch length to 0 means the feed dogs don't move, something about that part.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    Not only do you not need a stitch regulator, you dont even need drop feed dogs. It is even possible to FMQ without a darning foot. "Can't" is a bad word at my house. No regulator=you become the regulator. Feed dogs don't drop=either cover them or set stitch lenght to 0. No darning foot, use the smallest or clear foot you have and release the pressure on the foot. There is always another way to do everything.

  14. #14
    saf
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    Quote Originally Posted by grandma pepsi
    This is a FMQ question. I was told by a quilting teacher that I MUST have a 'stitch regulator' in order to do free motion quilting. (the teacher also owned a quilt shop that sold sewing machines). I could not afford a new machine, so I tried to FMQ on my regular machine. The stitches were extremely uneven and I lost interest in trying, believing she was right. Now I am reading posts on the quilting board about not dropping the feeddog. Was I told wrong? Is it possible to master FMQ on a regular machine without a stitch regulator. I am getting interested in trying again. Please give me your opinion.
    I am a beginner with a regular machine. I have just bought Heirloom Machine Quilting by Harriet Hargrave. What a great book!
    Very detailed and clear information. ----and she doesn't mention a stitch regulator. Perhaps you could borrow this from your local library???? I didn't think that I could even try FMQ until I read this book. Sometimes I think that we are so caught up in the various gadgets that we lack the confidence in ourselves that really makes the difference. : :lol: :lol: :lol:

  15. #15
    Super Member quiltsRfun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grandma pepsi
    This is a FMQ question. I was told by a quilting teacher that I MUST have a 'stitch regulator' in order to do free motion quilting. (the teacher also owned a quilt shop that sold sewing machines).
    Sounds like she wants to sell you a machine. As others have said, it can be done without a stitch regulator. Find yourself another teacher.

  16. #16
    Kas
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    I have a BSR for my Bernina and I never use it. I used it unplugged so my DH would think I was loving it! The stitch regulator is what I thought I had to have to get better, but it only threw me off.

    As others have said, drop the feed dogs. Also, if one is available for your machine, get a straight stitch plate. It only has a small, single hole for the needle instead of a wider space for zig-zag. Your stitches will be better balanced and the thread will not get tangled and jammed. Just remember to switch to the regular zig-zag plate before doing zig-zags or decorative stitches! Just trust me on this one! LOL

  17. #17
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    Practice is the main thing with FMQ. Practice, practice. Like most anything with sewing, you learn a method that fits your style. You can overlap lines there is no FMQ police. I was told never ever cross lines, it is against the rules. But guess what, I was arrested when crossing lines.
    Just have fun, and practice.

  18. #18
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsM
    I drop the feed dogs, I don't use a stitch regulator, and drop my tension to zero and go. But I am a beginer.
    mrsm, do you drop your tension or your stitch length? you still have to have tension on the thread and the stitch length doesn't matter if you're not using your feed dogs

  19. #19
    Senior Member Sophie2's Avatar
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    I do not have a stitch regulator either. As others have said, it just takes practice. I took a class at a LQS which gave me ideas as what to use for stitches, but mainly I learned that you just drop the feed dogs and start going. I do find the gloves with rubber on the finger tips help on large quilts. I bought myself a pair of gardening gloves that I use for free motion. Works great and cheaper than "quilters gloves". Practice and enjoy!!!

  20. #20
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grandma pepsi
    This is a FMQ question. I was told by a quilting teacher that I MUST have a 'stitch regulator' in order to do free motion quilting. (the teacher also owned a quilt shop that sold sewing machines). I could not afford a new machine, so I tried to FMQ on my regular machine. The stitches were extremely uneven and I lost interest in trying, believing she was right. Now I am reading posts on the quilting board about not dropping the feeddog. Was I told wrong? Is it possible to master FMQ on a regular machine without a stitch regulator. I am getting interested in trying again. Please give me your opinion.
    Yes, you were told wrong. The only domestic machine with a stitch regulator for FMQ is the Bernina. For any other machine you have to put it on a frame to get any kind of stitch regulator.

    You can even quilt on a longarm without a stitch regulator!!

  21. #21
    Super Member grammy Dwynn's Avatar
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    another one without a regulator! When I first started FMQ, I had small stitches and jagged curves. But after much practice, I don't think my FMQ is that bad. Even to this day, before I start, I pull out my 'practice' sandwich. To get 'in the groove', before working on my quilt. :)

  22. #22
    Super Member kwhite's Avatar
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    The biggest difficulty for me was to not match my machine speed to the hand speed. Basically put your foot to the floor and move your hands in slow steady manner. We are programed when the machine is going fast so must our hands. you will get this. Try to do some cursive "C's" to look like waves across the fabric. Good quality thread is also very helpful, and a new needle. Good luck.

  23. #23
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    No you absolutely do not need a stitch regulator. You will most likely need to practice more. I do not have a stitch regulator and do all my own quilts on a regular sewing machine. Some things that made a difference for me was wearing gloves for quilting and pray bastig versus pinning. Also relax. Oh use a new 90/14 top stitch needle and good thread like aurafil or whatever your machine likes. Yes, drop the feed dogs or cover them.

  24. #24
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    A lot of us learned Free motion before the stitch regulator was invented. Yes you can do good work without it. Also, I disagree with the idea of leaving the feed dogs up. Why...unless your machine is an older one and not have this feather, then you cover them up with a piece of platic or note card.
    Drop the feed dogs, get a darning foot and practice. The secrete is to learn to balance the speed of the machine with the speed of your hands. The best way is to rev up the machine to what sounds like a comfortable pace and then start working the hands until you find the balance. AND don't try to go fast as some say. This may be for later but not at first. Start with a medium speed and work from there. I don't know how anyone learns to satisfactorily learn free motion quilting with so much preferencial information out there without explanation of why is is a preference. To me it borders on mis information. Much of this information is contrary to all the well known quilters to started us free motion quilting and are the leaders in the techinique....The only exception to this are those teachers who say you must go fast.......perhaps later but not at first.

  25. #25
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    By the way.....you can do good free motion quilting on a treadle sewing machine. Just have to accommodate the lack of technology on the newer machine.

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