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Thread: Stitch length for free motion quilting

  1. #1

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    I don't beleive I've ever read just exactly what stitch length is recommended for 'free motion quilting'. Can anyone tell me?
    I love the idea, but can't seem to get it right.

  2. #2
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I was taught to set it to 0 :D:D:D

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    I was taught to set it to 0 :D:D:D
    Thank you, I will defintely try that setting. How about tension?

  4. #4
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    The stitch length is determined by you and not the machine. With feed dogs dropped and disengaged, the machine cannot make a stitch. The length is controled by how fast you move the fabric and how fast or slow the speed of the machine. You need to practice until you find your personal balance between the two to produce an even stitch.

  5. #5
    Super Member lalaland's Avatar
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    I find if you set the length for a longer stitch, say 5, you need to FMQ quicker than you do if you set it to a shorter stitch, say 3. If you find little loops on the back of your project, you are not keeping up with your stitch length so you need to practice to see which length you are the most comfortable with and will give you a balanced stitch on the back.

  6. #6
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    If the feed dogs are down, like they're supposed to be for FMQ, does it matter what stitch length you have it set on? Isn't it the feed dogs that make or control the stitch length?

  7. #7
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    stitch length is determined by how fast/slow you are moving when freemotion quilting. it does not matter where you have the machine set, you have to coordinate your speed with the machine speed to reach the size you want...consistancy (all the stitches even) is more important than the size of the stitch....yo don't want tiny (16 to the inch) in some areas and (4 to the inch) in other areas.

  8. #8
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    I agree that the length should be set at zero...for those who haven't tried it, believe me, it makes a difference.

  9. #9
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    With my feed dogs down,the setting on the stitch length doesnt matter, it is dis engaged.Im confused,how is it free motion if your feed dogs are in play?

  10. #10
    Super Member Connie in CO's Avatar
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    I always drop my feeddogs before i free motion quilt.If you can't drop them you cover them with something.

  11. #11
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Well, it does depend on the machine you're using. With the Bernina's stitch regulator (BSR), you set the stitch length to whatever you want, and move the fabric at any speed, and you will get even stitches.

  12. #12
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    I use 0.

  13. #13
    Super Member Monika's Avatar
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    I use 0 too. I know it doesn't matter because the feed dogs are down, but it keeps the dogs from moving under the plate. :-)

  14. #14
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    originally it was said to set it at zero but now i just leave it set at what ever it was. it doesnt' matter at all really. you control the length of your stitches by your movement of the quilt under the needle. slower makes smaller stithes and faster makes longer ones.
    fairly fast foot pedal speed and slower quilt movement makes nice FMQ look.

  15. #15
    Senior Member kellen46's Avatar
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    When doing free motion remember this simple formula...your pedal to the metal you hands on Prozac. The machine sews fast your hands go slow. Find your own rhythm and practice makes perfect...if you are haveing trouble in the curves is is because we tend to speed up when sewing up...at least I do. Something to work on.

  16. #16
    michlowe's Avatar
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    Try this link for info. She is incredible!!
    http://www.daystyledesigns.com

  17. #17
    Senior Member Barbara Lee's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert in any sense on this but I have found if I set my machine at a slower sewing pace (because I find my foot pressing so hard on the peddle I lose control) this way my speed on the machine is the same no matter how "HEAVY" my foot gets.

  18. #18
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    The shop where I got my machine said to set the speed on a slower one and then mash the foot pedal so that I only have to think about the speed of my hands fluctuating.

  19. #19
    Super Member kwiltkrazy's Avatar
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    Stitch length in fm is regulated by how fast the machine is going, and how fast your hands are moving the fabric under the needle. You learn to keep your stitches the right length. It just takes practice, practice, and more practice. have fun

  20. #20
    Kas
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monika
    I use 0 too. I know it doesn't matter because the feed dogs are down, but it keeps the dogs from moving under the plate. :-)
    When the feed dogs don't move, it saves wear and tear on that part of the machine. But yes, since the dogs are down, it doesn't really matter what at what length you have the stitch set. It is really just to save the mechanism that runs the dogs.

  21. #21
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lalaland
    I find if you set the length for a longer stitch, say 5, you need to FMQ quicker than you do if you set it to a shorter stitch, say 3. If you find little loops on the back of your project, you are not keeping up with your stitch length so you need to practice to see which length you are the most comfortable with and will give you a balancted stitch on the back.
    Actually, you can set the stitch length at anything you want,because YOU are the one moving the fabric, not the machine.Even if the length is at 6, with the feed dogs down and the correct FM foot, the fabric won't move - until YOU move it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member JenelTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michlowe View Post
    Try this link for info. She is incredible!!
    http://www.daystyledesigns.com
    This is so interesting! I looked at her website FAQs after reading your post. I had seen her website before, with the FMQ tutorials. Amazing! Anyway, her FAQs said that she doesn't drop the feed dogs for FMQ, so I decided to try that out today. I couldn't see how that would work, when going side to side and every which way, but I know she moves 360 degrees in a lot of her designs. I tested it out, and I do feel like it has helped me to have a more even stitch, no matter which direction I'm going. I think it's because the feed dogs do drop briefly as part of their normal movement, and so that is somewhat regulating the speed at which I'm moving the quilt sandwich. My stitches still aren't perfectly even, but I had fewer that were so bad that I had to pull them out.
    Jenel Looney
    Assistant to Susan Mallery
    New York Times bestselling author

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    Well, it does depend on the machine you're using. With the Bernina's stitch regulator (BSR), you set the stitch length to whatever you want, and move the fabric at any speed, and you will get even stitches.
    I agree with this one. It depends on your machine and how it is designed. I have a Viking Ruby and I go in and tell it which of the two FMQ options I want to use and that's it. It sets things the way it needs to be. I took a class for it to make sure I understood since there is so much debate out there. I was impressed by my first try. The size of the stitches were all on me and if you looked at my sample you could see that depending on my speed of moving the fabric and the speed of the machine.
    Judy

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