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

  1. #51
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    i use a 2.5 that is what my sewing book for my machine suggested and ive been happy with it

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berta48
    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:

    curvy or wavy
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #53
    Super Member patdesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodles
    What is SID and how does it work
    Stitch in the ditch means stitching in the previously made seam line which is referred to as a ditch. There are feet sold that have a guide that ride along the groove of the seam line and keep your needle on track, which is a real help since stitch in the ditch is hard to to for some of us.

  4. #54
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    Thanks PatDesign for the info. I have a lot too learn too say the least. I am never gonna get any sewing done cause I keep reading the boards and trying too learn stuff

  5. #55
    Senior Member Jamiestitcher62's Avatar
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    Yea, 3.0 sounds about right to me, sometimes I do 3.5 or 4.0 for actual topstitching. I like my FMQ stitches to be really tight and close together not the 1/8" they tell you. Maybe it's a question of me not being good enough to get the 1/8" and I'm settling for the tighter stitches, LOL that's probably closer to the truth.

  6. #56
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    I'm currently quilting a lap quilt. I like the longer stitch look, and set it to 3.5 for the straight stitching. However, my FMQ part is much tinier (not on purpose, I'm just bad at it) so there is inconsistency.

  7. #57
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    Jo, do you use the same thread on the bobbin?

    Thanks for all this great information!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Belmont
    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.

  8. #58
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by newestnana
    Jo, do you use the same thread on the bobbin?

    Thanks for all this great information!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jo Belmont
    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.
    As to which thread I use in the bobbin, it depends on what I want the back to look like. Often, I will indeed use the heavier thread in the bobbin, but be aware that it will need to be reloaded more often (not as much on the bobbin as it's heavier). However, many backings lend themselves to a neutral color regular weight thread while the top looks better with the heavier application. It's great fun to try the different approaches.

    Live outside the box; it's a great adventure!

  9. #59
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    If it is fmq you are talking about, I was told to put the stitch on 0, and that is what I have been doing. God bless.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by May in Jersey
    When stitching in the ditch I use a larger stitch size, usually 3.5 or 4. First I make a little sample quilt with some scraps, about 4" x 12", to check out stitch size and also thread color before I begin quilting. I find that the larger stitch doesn't pucker the fabric.

    I leave thread tails where I begin stitching and where I end stitching. I later go back and bring front threads to the back, tie the front and back threads together and bury them in the quilt sandwhich. This is a pain in the butt but I do it because I tried beginning and ending with 0 stitch length but it doesn't always look as nice as I would like it to.

    My Pfaff has a built in walking foot so that helps a lot.
    May in Jersey
    I agree with you about starting and ending with the O stitch. My machine has an auto-lock feature. It does leave a little knub on the back, but I feel like that's the price I pay for not having to pull top threads to the back and tying. I usually use a 3.0 on the Janome and the largest stitch on the New Home.

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl
    as with most things 'quilty' it really is a personal choice on the look you want. some people like itty-bitty stitches and quilt with something like 20 stitches to the inch, some think 12 stitches is great and then there are those who like the 'big-stitch' look and quilt at about 4-5 stitches to the inch. make yourself a little 'stitch-sampler' make a 12" block, sandwich it and stitch a line down it at the different settings, marking at the beginning of each line the setting #'s so then you have a reference and you can look at it, decide you want (this -stitch for this project) and you can set your machine consistantly for the look you like best.
    I too like to use a bigger stitch length but I thought you had to, to make it look like hand stitching. When I stipple quilt I shorten the stitch length and DO NOT drop the feed dogs. I gives me a more uniform stitch and I can manoeuvre and control it better. It is really up to you what you like the look of.

  12. #62
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    I hear you all speak of raising or dropping the feed dogs. Now I think I know what the feed dogs are but how do you drop or raise them? I have been looking on my machine and mine doesn't do anything except move when I turn the wheel. I told wall I didn't understand nothing. I can sew pretty good if it is not too complecated but I don't know a lot about all the things you all talk about. I guess I am just a sew forward leave needle in and turn material if need be person. I am so glad too have yall teaching each of us different things/

  13. #63
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodles
    I hear you all speak of raising or dropping the feed dogs. Now I think I know what the feed dogs are but how do you drop or raise them? I have been looking on my machine and mine doesn't do anything except move when I turn the wheel. I told wall I didn't understand nothing. I can sew pretty good if it is not too complecated but I don't know a lot about all the things you all talk about. I guess I am just a sew forward leave needle in and turn material if need be person. I am so glad too have yall teaching each of us different things/
    The best case would be if you have the sewing manual for your machine, and the fastest way to see if you have a lever or knob (usually in the bottom back of a machine) for that purpose is to look at the early pictures in the manual where they name the parts. There are some machines on which the feed dogs do not drop, but most of them do.

    Sometimes they even put the page number in the manual where a particular part is further discussed.

    Absenting that, there are places online where you can get a manual for your machine in most cases, but give a try here first by letting us know what kind (and model?) machine you have.

    In the meantime, check around the back of your machine and if you see a lever type knob that goes back and forth, move it. Then (because you usually won't see anything happen simply by moving the lever), turn the wheel slightly - you should see the feed dogs drop ever so slightly below the plane of the foot. Reverse the action to re-engage them.

    Let us know how you do.

  14. #64
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    Thanks for the info. Unfortunately I have no manual. I called the Singer place and she said Good Lord that book is 34.95 and I wouldn't pay that for the manual. She told me if I would bring it over too the shop she would show me some things and how too operate it. Unfortunately since I am physically challenged and the machine is heavy, I can't carry that over there. I can figure most of the workings of the machine but trial and error so I will check out what you told me. Thanks again for your time

  15. #65
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodles
    Thanks for the info. Unfortunately I have no manual. I called the Singer place and she said Good Lord that book is 34.95 and I wouldn't pay that for the manual. She told me if I would bring it over too the shop she would show me some things and how too operate it. Unfortunately since I am physically challenged and the machine is heavy, I can't carry that over there. I can figure most of the workings of the machine but trial and error so I will check out what you told me. Thanks again for your time
    Okay, let's not give up though. Can you find a model number anywhere on it? There's usually a small metal plate somewhere inconspicuous; might even be on the bottom. If so, let us know and we'll bird dog it some more.

  16. #66
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    Don't feel bad. I quit working for mental health years ago and the first thing I did was teach myself how to quilt. I had one pattern and I went to a fabric store and bought 10 yards of three kinds of fabric, thinking surely that would be enough. I believe that was 30 something years ago, maybe closer to 40 now. Today I am a pretty good quilter because I am pretty much a perfectionest (I wouldn't recommend being one). My feed dog control is beside my bobbin case. I have an old pfaff machine and a new something or the other machine. I forget. Everytime I take the Pfaff off my table she cries. ha ha. Enjoy quilting, every part of it. It is your quilt, do it your way. One of these day you will look at the one in your hand that you are working on and say "Goodness Gracious, I do believe this quilt doesn't have any boo boos"! You want believe it at first! ENJOY!

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodles
    Thanks for the info. Unfortunately I have no manual. I called the Singer place and she said Good Lord that book is 34.95 and I wouldn't pay that for the manual. She told me if I would bring it over too the shop she would show me some things and how too operate it. Unfortunately since I am physically challenged and the machine is heavy, I can't carry that over there. I can figure most of the workings of the machine but trial and error so I will check out what you told me. Thanks again for your time
    I was wondering if one of our members have a manual--could you scan the pages into the computer and send them to Poodles, She can print them out. It may take a few emails but then she will have a copy for free instead of paying such a price for new one. Just put the pages into a folder so then she can refer to it any time she wants. the other idea is get Poodles address and post the copies directly to her.

  18. #68
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annya
    Quote Originally Posted by Poodles
    Thanks for the info. Unfortunately I have no manual. I called the Singer place and she said Good Lord that book is 34.95 and I wouldn't pay that for the manual. She told me if I would bring it over too the shop she would show me some things and how too operate it. Unfortunately since I am physically challenged and the machine is heavy, I can't carry that over there. I can figure most of the workings of the machine but trial and error so I will check out what you told me. Thanks again for your time
    I was wondering if one of our members have a manual--could you scan the pages into the computer and send them to Poodles, She can print them out. It may take a few emails but then she will have a copy for free instead of paying such a price for new one. Just put the pages into a folder so then she can refer to it any time she wants. the other idea is get Poodles address and post the copies directly to her.
    I would be happy to do that, but I need to know the model number.

  19. #69
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    Its a Singer Fashion Mate model 239. Hope you can help. I don't know how old this machine is but looks good. Also have two other singers and one New Home without manuals.

  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poodles
    Its a Singer Fashion Mate model 239. Hope you can help. I don't know how old this machine is but looks good. Also have two other singers and one New Home without manuals.
    check the singer web site to see if they have the manual there. Maybe you can call their customer service and they can help. My singer that was about 10 yrs old could not drop the feed dogs but there was a thin plate that could go over the dogs to keep them from moving the material. Maybe you have the plate or can buy it at a store. Try a Joann's that does not have a Viking sewing center. They will carry accessories for Singers that are cheaper than the Viking Center.

  21. #71
    Senior Member Jo Belmont's Avatar
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    Here you go. This link will give you immediate access to a PDF of the manual which you can print for $5.95. If you want them to mail you a hard copy, it will be $12.95 including shipping.

    http://www.sewconsult.com/singer/sin...anual_239.html

    By the way, they have manuals for any number and brands of machines. A great resource.

    Hope this helps and you should be able to get your answer as to whether the feed dogs drop and any other info you need.

    Good luck and let us know how you do.

  22. #72
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    Thanks Jo and I will check it out!

  23. #73
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    Poodles, I also use a sewing website www.patternreview.com
    There is a tab on that site for members to write sewing machine reviews. One member has a Fashion Mate 239, she posts that this machine was made in Italy as early as 1935. It would be my guess that a machine that was made during that time period does not have drop feed dogs. I read on this board somewhere that if the feed dogs don't drop you can still do free motion quilting by using masking tape and taping a thin piece of cardboard over the feed dogs. Hope this is some help. Looking at the picture on the other website, you have a beautiful vintage machine.

  24. #74
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    Thanks quiltnmom for that info. I know when I asked the Singer store here about that machine, she said oh that thing is probably 150 years old. I just said well I don't know much about it.

  25. #75
    Senior Member quiltnmom's Avatar
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    Poodles,
    Was looking on ebay and there are several posts of Fashion Mate 239 manuals. They aren't a ridiculous price either. Here's the link. Good luck.

    http://shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=fas....c0.m270.l1313

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