Today’s Topic: Free Motion Quilting Speed Control
Welcome to the Better Machine Quilt-a-long based on my book 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting.
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Good Morning, Quilters!
I am extremely inspired by all the doodling and quilting shared in the Quilting with LKQ Facebook page!
I LOVE your doodles and your quilts. Most of all, I love reading the encouraging comments. May I suggest–when reviewing your own work, be as kind to yourself as you would be to another quilter!
One of the conversations I found very interesting is the topic of free motion quilting speed control. Let’s discuss together…
Free Motion Quilting-The Gas Pedal
Free motion quilting is like driving a car. You must coordinate your speed with your steering. You must also learn to make tiny speed adjustments. For example, when you are driving, you slow down before a turn, and speed up within the turn. Likewise, when free motion quilting, you speed up slightly on long curvy lines, but slow down slightly when stitching pebbles. Overall you are trying to stitch at one consistent speed, but you will need to make small adjustments depending on where you are going.
Setting a Speed Control
On many machines, you can adjust the maximum speed. Some quilt instructors recommend setting that speed at 50% or some other number, and then “flooring” the gas pedal. This allows you to forget about the foot speed and concentrate on hand speed only.
I am not sure about this. I certainly understand the theory.
However, I would rather see you struggle with the foot speed for awhile. Most quilters in my workshops don’t struggle very long. And if you have committed to doing this quilt-a-long, which indicates you are serious about learning free motion quilting, then I think it is best to learn to control your hand and foot speed together–just like you did in driver’s training. This a more nuanced approach to free motion quilting and will serve you better over the long term.
The foot pedals on modern sewing machines are very precise-they allow stitch by stitch control. For best control-remove your shoe! Your foot will give tactile clues and allow for more precise adjustments when you are shoeless. (I can’t tell you how often I’m caught running around my house with one shoe on–or how many times my lost shoe is under my sewing machine!)
Listening to the sound of your quilting helps too. You should hear a steady whir of the motor–not revving and slowing. Review the video of Flower Power.
Listen to the sound of the motor as I sew. You will hear the steady sound–but also notice that as the flower petals get larger, I stitch just a bit faster. This nuanced speed-which takes time and practice to learn, allows for smooth and consistent stitching.
YOUR Learning Style
There are several thousand people currently participating in our 25 week quilt-a-long. This means there are probably several thousand learning styles. While I recommend one method (YOU control the foot pedal speed) if it really isn’t working for you right now, try the limited speed method. Just remember–the speed limit method is a bit of a crutch and eventually (sooner rather than later) it is best to remove that crutch.
Meet the Mighty BERNINA Foot Control by Sylvain Bergeron–Excellent article–so many things I never knew about the foot control. Even if you don’t have a BERNINA, many of the features may apply to your foot control. (Sylvain recommends using your left foot on the control–but I don’t think I can change after years of right foot quilting!)
Shoeless Joe Jackson Biography of an American baseball player with blistered feet.
What about YOU?
How is your quilt practice proceeding?
How many quilt sandwiches have YOU filled?
Do YOU drive fast or slow? Do YOU quilt fast or slow?
We’d LOVE to hear!
Your Barefoot Quilter,
PPS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of LoriKennedyQuilts and are intended for personal use only. Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to LKQ. For all other purposes, please contact me at Lori@LoriKennedyQuilts.com. Thanks!You might also enjoy my motif books: Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 and More Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3