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

  1. #1
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    I recently machine quilted for the first time in a long time, and I have forgotten (or maybe never knew) what size stitch to use. After starting with 2.5, I went to 3.5, but now I am thinking I should have used even a larger stitch.

    So I am asking for the next time that I machine quilt. I can't seem to find this detail anywhere, so I figured I would just "ask the experts."

    Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    Excellent question. I would like to know, too. I have a baby quilt coming up and this information would be helpful. Thanks for asking.

  3. #3

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    Are you talking about Free Motion?

    I use a walking foot and sew straight sticth at 2.5 and it does great!
    But this isn't free motion!!

  4. #4
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I set my machine to 2.0 that way the ends of the stitching doesn't come undone. I know some sew with a 3.0, but this is my preference. :D:D:D

  5. #5
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    I don't know either. I think I use 3 on my one and only that wasn't FMQ, but don't know if that was right .

  6. #6
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    No, I don't mean free motion. I haven't tried that yet. I was trying for stitch in the ditch and then I was also going diagonally from one corner of the block to the other.

    My sister has a long arm quilting machine...I can't recall what kind...and I have used that....with her guidance for my last four quilts. I have only machine quilted a baby quilt before, and sort of went by memory. When I looked at the stitches on the quilts I quilted at my sister's, it looked like a stitch much larger than 3.5.

    Now I am wondering if I used too large a stitch when I switched to 3.5? I made that quilt for a charity auction and have already given it away. I can't even go look at it to compare to my other quilts!! I hate to think that the first quilt I made to give away may be inferior. :(

    Any more experts who can add to my knowledge??

  7. #7
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I'm not an expert and don't do much SID, on the crib quilt I just did for new Great Granddaughter, I used a 2.0 stitch length, I like a small stitch and sew with a smaller stitch than most. When I use to sew clothes I started out using a small stitch, didn't want to mend clothes if the seams came out.

  8. #8
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    I use about a 3 because I believe you need to lengthen the stitch a bit from the setting for two pieces of fabric to accommodate the batting.

  9. #9
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    I read somewhere to have the stitch where you are comfortable with, just incase you have to take out the stitches.

  10. #10
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    i use a 3.0 when stitching in the ditch,or doing a cross hatch on a quilt.

    with my machine, i find if i go any smaller..i get puckers, even using a walking foot. course, it could be the foot tension.

  11. #11
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    I too use 3.0. I find that length keeps the fabric from puckering. I also use the walking foot.

  12. #12
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    I too use 3.0. I find that length keeps the fabric from puckering. I also use the walking foot.

  13. #13
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    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.

  14. #14
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    Yup! 3.0

  15. #15
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Depends on the fabric and batting , for the most part 2.5 or 3.0.

  16. #16
    Super Member grammyp's Avatar
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    I use 2 or 2.5, don't know why. I just started there and liked the way it looked, so that is what I use.

  17. #17
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    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!

  18. #18
    Super Member Deb watkins's Avatar
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    3.0 with the walking foot!

  19. #19
    Super Member May in Jersey's Avatar
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    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

  20. #20
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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 consistently for the look you like best.
    While I agree that 3.0 sounds about right, I like the idea of the stitch sampler to get an idea of what the different lengths look like, in case there comes a time to try something different. Thank you all for your very helpful advice!

  21. #21
    Super Member dungeonquilter's Avatar
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    I set my stitch to 3.0 for machine quilting. For FMQ, it doesn't matter, as I am the one moving the fabric.

  22. #22
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    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?

  23. #23
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    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.

  24. #24
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I use a 3 or 3.5 for SID work although sometimes I forget to change the settings and then I wonder why the darn thing isn't moving.

  25. #25
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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.
    i have done that before too..used a fancy stitch on a baby quilt..it turns out nice.

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