Today’s Topic: The Perfect Stitch Length for FMQ
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!
Can you believe we are already in our seventh week of the LKQ Quilt-a-long!? I continue to be extremely inspired by the quilts I’ve seen in the Facebook group, Quilting with LKQ.!!! Please keep posting your photos, comments and questions here and in the Facebook group. Your photos and comments help me tailor my posts to YOUR quilting needs and it helps other quilters who have similar machines and similar problems. And of course, it inspires all of us! (Photos can only be posted on Facebook–not here at LKQ.)
Today, we will discuss The Perfect Stitch Length for Quilting.
It is THE THING every new quilter gets tied in knots about!
However, notice how I didn’t even get around to it until chapter seven!
Achieving the perfect stitch length is only a small part of good machine quilting.
The Perfect Quilting Stitch
The perfect quilting stitch is a combination of The Perfect Stitch Length and Perfect Tension.
Perfect Stitch Length + Perfect Tension = The Perfect Quilting Stitch
In my opinion, stitch length is less important than stitch tension in achieving The Perfect Quilting Stitch.
In other words, don’t fret if it takes you a long time to achieve your desired stitch length. (And it will likely take a long time to create even stitches consistently.)
What is the Perfect Stitch Length?
There is no magic number–as in stitches per inch-for the perfect stitch length. Batting, thread, motif and quilt style influence the perfect stitch length.
The heavier the batting the larger the stitch length should be. Likewise, heavy weight thread looks better when the stitch length is a slightly longer. On the other hand, tiny motifs, like pebbling, require smaller stitches. Finally, stitch length can be used to create character within a quilt (think extra long stitches in primitive-style quilts.)
Even Stitches is the Goal
The real goal is not a stitches-per-inch measurement, but rather creating fairly EVEN stitching.
This week and beyond, our goal will be to focus on creating even stitches. I will provide tips, techniques and exercises to help you create even stitches.
Develop YOUR Eye for Perfect Quilting Stitch
One of the most important lessons of this quilt-a-long is YOU should develop YOUR own eye for what good quilting looks like.
Look at the quilts you’ve made so far.
Do YOU like the look of the stitching?
Why or why not?
Is the tension correct?
Are the stitches too long? Too short? Uneven?
Be sure to look for areas that you do like–and don’t just look at the “bad” areas (students tend to be overly critical-LOL)
I like to see individual stitches. In other words, the stitch is long enough to be visible and the tension is loose enough to sit on top of the fabric. When I have used a stitch regulator, I usually set the stitch length between 8-10–which is on the long side.
YOUR preference may be different! There is no right or wrong when it comes to stitch length.
Take Home Message
The important things to remember this week and as we proceed:
Like any skill, achieving even stitches takes time and practice.
Achieving even stitches is only a small part of good machine quilting, so don’t be overly stressed about it.
It is important to develop your eye and your preference for what a good stitch looks like.
And–at the risk of repeating myself—
Doodling will help you create smooth, even stitches!!!
- Grid Quilting Lines and Spirals
- Fast/Slow Exercise for Developing Rhythm
- Smooth Stitching at the Start of the Quilting Line
- Tips for Quilting Messy Spirals
Happy Stress-Free Quilting!
YOUR Unwavering Quilting Friend,
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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