Today’s Topic: Stitch Regulators, Quilting Gloves and other FAQs from Week One
Good Morning, Quilters!
It’s certainly been a busy week and I’m inspired by the enthusiastic response to our quilt-a-long, 25 Weeks to Better Machine Quilting based on my new book, 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting!
Should I Use a Stitch Regulator?
A little more than 10 years ago, BERNINA developed an attachable stitch regulator for domestic sewing machines. The BSR (BERNINA Stitch Regulator) senses the movement of the quilt and controls the stitch timing to maintain a pre-set stitch length. Since then, several other machine companies have created stitch regulators for their domestic sewing machine lines.
I have mixed emotions about stitch regulators. Because BSRs were not available when I started quilting, I practiced and developed my own sense of timing to control stitch length. My internal timing became second nature to me. (And will be to you, too by the end of this QAL) Later, when I tried the BSR, I found it difficult to use. It interfered with my own timing and was constantly beeping at me. (The BSR beeps when you stitch too fast.) In some ways it was like trying to ride a bike with training wheels attached. Once you ride a two-wheeler, you never go back!
Stitch regulators are great for quilters who quilt infrequently and haven’t developed their own timing.
If you have one, give it a try! But also try quilting without it, you might find it holds you back or throws off your internal timing. (NOTE-if you don’t have a quilting foot, unplug the BSR and use it as your quilting foot.)
Another thing to note, you can not use an attached stitch regulator for ruler work. If you plan to learn ruler work, you must develop your own timing.
In my 2-Day and 5-Day workshops, I strongly suggest quilters turn off or not use stitch regulators. After a few hours of practice, almost all of the students are very happy with the freedom of quilting without it.
Built-In Stitch Regulators
Most long arm and mid-arm quilting machines (I have a BERNINA Q20), have built-in stitch regulators. In my experience, built-in stitch regulators work better than the attachable versions. Built-in regulators stitch faster and don’t alarm (beep! beep!) if you stitch too quickly, like the attached type do.
I often use the regulator on my BERNINA Q20…but not always. Often, I still prefer to quilt “free” and with less noise. The motor for the stitch regulator is somewhat louder than the steady hum of my unregulated stitching…
Should I Wear Quilting Gloves?
Many of you have noticed that I don’t wear quilting gloves when I quilt. When I started quilting, I always wore gloves like Machingers.
But I never liked the feel of them. Besides, every time I put them on it seemed I would get an itch. Off again, on again, off again, on again. They drove me crazy. One day, I started quilting and realized I wasn’t wearing gloves…That was the end of gloves for me.
Sometimes, I do use a gripping aid. We will discuss a variety of options in a future lesson.
For now, if you have gloves, use them, but try quilting without one or both of them- you might be surprised!
Can I Do This on My Long Arm?
Emphatically, YES! Almost all of the lessons in the quilt-a-long and my book, 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting, apply to all types of machine quilting: domestic FMQ, mid-arm and long arm quilting. Almost all of the chapters like: perfecting your stitch, doodling, thread, quilt design, as well as all of the projects can be completed on any sewing or quilting machine.
From treadle to long arm quilting machine and everything in between, you will be a better quilter in 25 weeks-promise!!!
Felt Instead of Quick Quilt Sandwiches?
A few quilters have said they plan to use felt in place of quick quilt sandwiches. Again, something I have mixed emotions about. I certainly understand the desire to be economical with our resources. However, as you quilt with quilt sandwiches, you will learn more than just the motifs. You learn about how the quilt feels, how your sewing machine feels and sounds and how tension and thread look on a quilt. A great deal of information is consciously and subconsciously learned by working on the materials you will use in the final product–your quilts. Furthermore, the little practice quilts can easily be turned into pin cushions, computer cases, book covers and so much more.
If you decide to use felt for practice, spend a least some time each week on a quick quilt sandwich.
I Can’t Doodle!?
YES YOU CAN!
Everyone can doodle. When you say you can’t doodle, are you really saying “I don’t like how my doodles look?”
If so, just know I hate most of my doodles. I only show you the ones I like… But all of them are necessary! The good and the bad doodles help your brain develop muscle memory, an eye for spacing and more.
We will spend an entire week dedicated to doodling. Until then (week 4), here are two tips:
Change your pen. Try a variety of colors and types. This often turns a drab doodle into a mini-work of art.
Cut out the doodles you like and throw the rest away! Save the “good” doodles in a box or glue them into a notebook.
What About YOU?
Do you prefer to stitch free or with a regulator? Have you tried both?
Gloves or no gloves?
Have you marked your sewing machine manual?
Do you have a drawer or box dedicated to machine quilting supplies?
How many quick quilt sandwiches have YOU made?
How many sheets of paper have you filled with doodles?
Are YOU ready to quilt?
Your Joyful Quilter,
PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori@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!