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Thread: When machine quilting, what size stitch should I use?

  1. #26
    Senior Member barbrdunn's Avatar
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    I usually start with a 1.0 backstitch for about 10-12 stitches, then sew over that with the 3 or 3.5. End the same way with a 1.0 backstitch.

  2. #27
    Super Member JAGSD's Avatar
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    This summer I transcribed for a judge at a local fair and I asked her what the stitching for quilting should be, she said with a longarm she likes to see them about a 10 and a regular machine 2.5
    I have been curious about this also, do different quilt judges do differently?

  3. #28
    LadybugPam's Avatar
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    yup, something larger than your seam stitch. I even use that length to sew on my bindings - don't want puckers.

  4. #29
    Super Member quiltmaker's Avatar
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    I use 2.5 stitch length and it works for me.

  5. #30
    Senior Member Moon Holiday's Avatar
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    The size stitch I use depends on the batting I use and which sewing machine I use. Regardless of what they say, there is a difference because of preset thread tension. I always do a sample of the type of stitch I want...and check both on front and back of the sample to see which one I like the look of best. It usually ends up between 2.5 and 3.

  6. #31
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    Alabama!!!! Yea. Alabama is my home: Guntersville

  7. #32
    Senior Member quiltingmimipj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moon Holiday
    The size stitch I use depends on the batting I use and which sewing machine I use. Regardless of what they say, there is a difference because of preset thread tension. I always do a sample of the type of stitch I want...and check both on front and back of the sample to see which one I like the look of best. It usually ends up between 2.5 and 3.
    I agree with you. My 2.5 and your 2.5 may not necessarily be the same. Make a sample. Use the setting you like.

  8. #33
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    If you are talking when using the walking foot, it's a personal choice, what size looks good to you. Sometimes I use 2.0 up to a 3.0. Don't usually go any bigger than that. If you are talking free motion quilting, you are in total control of the stitch size because you dropped the feed dogs, and they are what pull the fabric through and make the stitch size what you have set on your machine. So with free motion and no feed dogs, it's up to your speed of moving the fabric and the speed of the machine. Believe me, it's easier to keep your stitches more regular and looking good if you will sew faster. Always have a practice sandwich made up and let yourself warm up before starting on that special project. I've found that some days I do a good job at quilting and some days it's just better to not do it and go do some other job. I've also read that if you practice about 15 minutes a day you will be suprised how much better the learning curve will be.

  9. #34
    Super Member klgreene's Avatar
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    I use 2 to sew the seams together, but a 4 for quilting. I try a sample piece first which always comes out exactly like what I want. But when I put the quilt in, my stitches come out smaller. Don't know if I'm using the wrong size needle. But samples come out just fine.

  10. #35
    Super Member patdesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amandasgramma
    2.0 to 2.6. BUT, I haven't taken the time to figure out how many stitches per inch that is. Eleanor Burns always says "15 stitches to the inch"....so.....what setting IS that?
    If you don't know how many stitches to the inch that your machine settings represent then start with the largest number and stitch about 2 inches, then count the number of stitches in the 1 inch. I recommend this to all my sewing students with new machines because we should be sewing between 10 and 15 stitches to the inch to get a good seam. I prefer between 12 and 15 for quilting and I use a walking foot with a little bit looser presser foot pressure. All my machines except my Brother Innovis are older and to me easier.

  11. #36
    Super Member patdesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelbie
    I like the look of larger stitches, so I always use 4.5 or even 5. I find that this stitch is small enough to hold all layers securely and if you have to rip, it is not impossible to remove. I also find that the Janome walking foot tends to automatically use smaller stitches over thicker areas. Perhaps if I had the thread regulator option, this wouldn't be an issue. Experiment and see what works for you. No one is coming to measure your stitches and complain!
    Just remember that larger stitches are easier to get caught on things and snag and break thats why they are easier to remove. I personally prefer 12 to 15 stitches to the inch with a looser tension and less presser foot pressure and a walking foot, but you really do have to do the test strips first because it depends on the fabric, the batting, and YOUR machine.

  12. #37
    Junior Member mimistutz's Avatar
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    I use a 2.5. A few months ago in class, I believe they said it's your preference, try a couple on a scrap square. I thought 2 was too small and I could go up to 3, but I didn't like it any more than 3. And yes different machines may be slightly different, so just try a few samples.

  13. #38
    Super Member btiny36's Avatar
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    So I have a question kinda related to this...I have always been confused about this...but when a pattern says stitch 12 stitches to the inch or 15 stitches to the inch ect., what is our machine set to example is 12 stitches to the inch set at 2.0...most common stitches to the inch is 12 or 15 so what number is set on the machine for these stitches?

  14. #39
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    I have learned a somewhat different technique (and consequently, I think, a much better look) for machine quilting:

    First of all, use a TOPSTITCH NEEDLE. Schmetz labels "Topstitch" right on the cards holding packets of needles. They come in different sizes. I use a 12. The difference is that the topstitch needles have a larger hole which is made to accommodate a bit heavier thread --- it's that heavier thread which also makes the difference. They are also very sharp and penetrate the several layers quite nicely.

    The THREAD is often sold as just that, "Topstitch", but technically, it (at least the Coats & Clark that I use) is labeled "HEAVY," but there is no gauge shown. It is similar to hand quilting weight thread but without the stiffness of the glace/wax. It is 100% polyester and as with most threads, comes in gorgeous colors. PLEASE NOTE: IT IS NOT THE "HEAVY" ONE THINKS OF FOR BUTTONHOLES, ETC. --- the buttonhole thread is so labeled. I usually use regular weight thread in the bobbin, but the heavy could be used as well (it just would wind less on the bobbin because of its thickness).

    Next, when starting/stopping a line of quilting, I hold back on the fabric so that I get a double or triple stitch in one place which is a good lock without the forward/back overstitch look. The length of stitch I use is pretty close to 10-12 per inch and gives a nice look while still being very secure. (Run a line of stitching on a scrap and count stitches until you find your machine number which yields the correct number per inch. With a walking foot, the stitches should remain about the same, but adjust if needed.)

    Summarily: A topstitch needle and heavy thread stitching out at 10-12 stitches per inch.

    Hope this helps.

  15. #40
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    I see you posted a picture of your little quilter with his/her own sewing machine. Love it!

  16. #41
    Junior Member Sharoni's Avatar
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    Never Make the stitch length smaller than your seam ripper!!LOL

  17. #42
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharoni
    Never Make the stitch length smaller than your seam ripper!!LOL
    Now THAT's some good advice!

  18. #43
    Magdalena's Avatar
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    This is a great question, with a lot of helpful answers.

  19. #44
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    if you have your feed dogs down, you just judge the stitch yourself - not too tiny, but remain consistent. If you are doing in the ditch, don't make the stitches so big that they could easily catch on things and be snagged or pulled out.I have seen some excellent 'primitive' stitches that were quiie large on a gypsy style quilt. Sashiko is quite large as well.I don't think you should be so rigid in accepting any variety that enhances the quilt.I think chain stitch looks good as well.

  20. #45
    Junior Member Cathleen Colson's Avatar
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    Thread should be considered, too. I think King Tut and Signature 40 wt. thread looks very nice with a larger stitch - 3.0 or so.

  21. #46
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    I like a 2.5 myself.

  22. #47
    Super Member missgigglewings's Avatar
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    I have always use 3.0 on quilts. FMQ or SID. It works for me!

  23. #48
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    What is SID and how does it work

  24. #49

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    Most of the time, I also use a 3.0. It looks more like handquilting.

  25. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by New knee
    If you are thinking of quilting in the ditch (which I hate to do), and your machine has different stitches, use a serpentine stitch and that way you don't have to stay strictly in the ditch because the stitches move from side to side of the ditch.
    Sorry but I am new to quilting what is serpentine stitching?Is there a link where I can view it?THANKS :thumbup:

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