"Batzbelow" ~ Detail of bat that appeared in hand dyed fabric.....
Some tweaks to my previous two posts about moving the quilt in a home sewing machine while free motion quilting are needed. There are always exceptions and "what ifs" and extra info to any topic, so today I will add a little more.
Some feet can be purchased for brands of machines that themselves can be adjusted so there is less pressure on the foot, and a bit more clearance. Investigate your brand, explore their website, blog, forum, join a forum for your brand so you can ask other owners questions.
Take everything you hear with a grain of salt, you are the final decision maker in how you quilt. But do have an open mind. Don't say, well, this is the way I always do something, or this is the foot I have used forever. Perhaps there is a better way and you are not aware.
The Bernina BSR (stitch regulator) foot has three soleplates so you can choose which one works best for the task. It lifts and "hops" as you quilt, and it can be used with several modes. Whenever I have worked with this foot on students' machines who do use it there have been animated discussions among them as to which mode works best. It is different for everyone.
Although I don't need to use the BSR, when I demo it for classes I like to remove the foot control and use the mode that is based solely on my hand movements. That way I don't get confused and keep pressing pointlessly on the foot control to make it go faster. It will only run if I move my hands. My brain can handle this and doesn't get it confused with normal FMQ when I control the speed with my foot and the quilt movement with my hands and have them balanced for even stitches.
The BSR doesn't care about your hand movements; it keeps up with you, slow or fast, and makes pre-set stitches at a length you set on the machine. However, it works best if your hand movements are even, controlled, not too fast (it will beep at you) or not too slow and jerky. It does teach you how to move your hands and that will allow you to progress to quilting without it and get great results flying solo.
If you've never done FMQ, the BSR is easy to learn. If you are trained to FMQ without this device, it takes some getting used to and trying all the modes to find what works best for you, but in the end, it does give you very even stitches. Even, consistent stitches create beautiful designs.
Be aware there is a number setting on the touchscreen you adjust for how much pressure is on the foot when you do FMQ with the Bernina BSR. Check owner's manual for guidance in using this, but in class we have lowered that number quite a bit to quilt easily over seam allowances, etc.
Oliver investigates my first Bernina for FMQ
My first machine for free motion quilting was a Bernina 1030, above, and I quilted for some time with the #9 darning foot. There was never enough clearance to quilt over seams, trapunto, etc. And there was no auto needle down; I had to tap the foot control with my heel, which I still do at times now. I like manual control.
Now I am so used to "auto needle down" that I have on my newer electronic machines that sometimes when I sew on the 1030 I sit and wait for the needle to go down, forgetting I must tap the foot control to make this happen.
It is a great foot. However, at the time, when used on some of the electronic Bernina models, skipped stitches occurred. It was actually sitting a bit too high, and later Bernina came out with the plastic #29 foot to solve that problem for those machines. But the original metal one worked great for me on my mechanical model.
Check with your brand of machine to see all the options. Many times all you need is a better FMQ foot, or a way to increase clearance under one.
Manufacturers make new feet for machines after they introduce the machine model, so always ask or check online to see if new feet are available, and give one a test drive at your dealer.
Next time.....Batting and more.
Keep quilting, it gets easier and better.