Today’s Topic: How to Stitch the Perfect Stitch Length for Quilting
Welcome to Week Seven!
of The Better Machine Quilt-a-long based on my book 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting.
Find all of the previous Lessons HERE.
Sign up for emails of the class HERE.
Good Morning, Quilters
Yesterday, we discussed what the perfect quilting stitch looks like.
Remember the equation:
Perfect Tension +Even Stitch Length = The Perfect Quilting Stitch
Today, we will focus on how to create the perfect stitch length for quilting.
Before We Begin
Start by making your sewing machine do its job–creating a well-balanced stitch. Stitch a short sample to adjust the tension.
Only after that is accomplished, can we begin working on creating even stitch length.
Creating Even Stitches
The perfect stitch length is variable and subjective. You decide what looks best to you. Stitch length can vary depending on the quilt style, thread, batting and the motif.
Instead, we will work toward creating even stitches. Learning to create even stitches requires time and practice–so be patient with yourself!
Very Important Reminder
Even stitches are only a small fraction of good machine quilting.
While you are practicing your skill and knowledge in the other areas of FMQ, the look of your quilted line will improve steadily. Consistent, even stitches is the last skill/knowledge base to be evident.
Remember, creating even stitches is only ONE of 25 quilting lessons in this book! It is not the be-all, end-all skill of free motion or long arm quilting.
Do NOT get frustrated or stressed about this component of quilting!
How to Create Even Stitches
To create even stitches, move the quilt smoothly and keep the machine at a consistent speed.
Try This Exercise
Prepare a quick quilt sandwich. Draw a two-inch grid on the fabric. Leave the presser foot up and place the quilt sandwich under the needle.
Keep your foot off the foot pedal–in other words, without stitching:
- Slide the quilt left and right and forward and back smoothly.
- Move the quilt like you are stitching clockwise and counter-clockwise circle.
- Pretend you are stitching wavy lines and Messy Spirals.
Lower the presser foot and repeat the process:
- Move the quilt left and right and forward and back.
- Slide the quilt like you are creating wavy lines and Messy Spirals. “Write” your name.
Concentrate on moving the quilt smoothly and methodically.
Once you are confident you are moving the quilt smoothly, bring up your bobbin thread, and begin stitching.
Concentrate on moving the quilt smoothly.
Next, pay attention to the sound of the sewing machine. Try to keep the motor humming at one speed.
- Sway back and forth with your stitches to create short, wavy lines to fill each square.
- Change from horizontal wavy lines to vertical wavy lines in every square.
- Add an occasional Messy Spiral for design interest.
Think of rocking a baby or dancing.
Smooth, steady, rhythm.
Continue stitching, filling all the squares. If you are ready, try squaring off the lines.
There are several factors which may interfere with smoothly moving the quilt. We will discuss each of these in greater detail in future lessons:
- Surface Friction
- Presser Foot Pressure
- Not Knowing Where You’re Going
- Quilt Size
- Gripping the Quilt
Need a Break?
Once you’ve completed your grid quilt,
And sip a smoothie while you mark another quick quilt sandwich with a 2 inch grid for later in the week!
What’s YOUR favorite smoothie?
We’d LOVE to hear!
May YOUR Quilting be smooth sailing!
PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy Quilts 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.
PPS...More Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 has a Troubleshooting Guide on page 36
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