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  1. #1
    Batting Beauty

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    Default Free Motion Quilting

    Dear Friends,

    I have an older machine that does not have a stitch regulator. So when I try to quilt on it, the stitch length gets bigger the faster I move the fabric under the needle. Do I have to practice moving the fabric slowly? Any suggestions?

    Thanks much to all.

  2. #2
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Free Motion Quilting

    Make a bunch of quilt sandwiches. You need to practice controlling how hard you press the foot control and how fast/slow you move the fabric. Start with simple shapes like lower case l and lower case s. Then try hearts and circles.

    Everybody is different, but it does take practice. You will learn how fast to go to get the right stitch length.
    Vonnie

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  4. #3
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Free Motion Quilting

    DSMs don't have stitch regulators. YOU are the stitch regulator by how fast or slow you move the quilt sandwich under the needle & your machine speed. I suggest you practice - practice - practice until you get your stitching to look satisfactory to you. When I used to FMQ on my DSM I would set the speed on medium. It might be helpful if you watch some of the FMQ videos on YouTube.

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  6. #4
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Free Motion Quilting

    Yes the answer is practice, practice, and more practice. You need to coordinate your hand speed with your foot speed. I personally have to go a little built faster for curves (but not above medium speed). I realize all those practice quilt sandwiches can get expensive. Here are some alternatives to practice on. Start with an old needle, unthreaded, and 8.5" x 11" paper. The paper is stiff and easy to move around. You can see from the holes punched in the paper what your stitch length is doing. Once the paper is looking good, start practicing on felt squares. They are much cheaper than practice quilt sandwiches. Now you can work on tension issues and skipped stitches (sorry but skipped stitches are going to happen while you are learning.) Next practice sandwiches with scrap pieces of batting and some fabric you don't like anymore. Than a small quilt. By then you will be an expert.

    This is totally doable if you take it in small steps.
    Stash Treasure Acquisitions Beyond Life Expectancy. My stash keeps me STABLE, oh yeah.... and dark chocolate.

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  8. #5
    The Guild President

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    Default Re: Free Motion Quilting

    I have a stitch regulator on my Bernina and it works nicely, however, I also have a Juki 2010q that does not have one. After much, very much practice I sort of have control of it. Believe it or not I prefer to not use a regulator because it slows me down. I heard Angela Walters say that too.

  9. #6
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Free Motion Quilting

    Practice is the key. You'll learn to coordinate the speed of your hands and the pressure on the pedal, it is just like driving.
    Practice sandwiches don't need to be expensive. I dismanteled an old fleece robe and used the pieces as batting between two layers of scraps from old stained sheets and tablecloths. It is for practicing the movements, it doesn't need to look pretty. One of these mats is now under the turtle tank so the table underneath doesn't get scratched. Some others I sewed together as cushions for my cat.

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  11. #7
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Free Motion Quilting

    I am another quilter who does FMQ without a stitch regulator. The advice of practice, practice, practice is correct. You are looking to regulate your stitches and the tension. The practice develops body memory, for your hands and foot to coordinate together. When I started to get 'okay' with my FMQ, I used my practice pieces to make mug rugs and little mats for my personal use. Now, when I am going to FMQ a quilt of a set of place mats, I make sure I have some extra fabric and batting from the project. I use that extra for a warm up session. It usually only takes a few minutes, but it really helps to get hands and foot coordinated and allows me to check tension with the materials from the project.
    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss

  12. #8
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Free Motion Quilting

    Iíve stitched over the same muslin sandwich several times using a different colored thread each time. I also do this for my warmup sandwich. Some of my first practice pieces were fat quarters that I then made into zipper pouches and gifted to family. They loved them.
    Last edited by quiltsRfun; September 11th, 2018 at 04:34 PM.

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