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LESSON 3. USING STITCH REGULATOR MODE - PRECISION QUILTING.

Begin by doing the daily maintenance and warm up. Read this lesson whilst the machine is warming up then get the machine threaded and ready to sew. Put your extended base on your machine, if it is not already on. During this lesson advance your practice piece as necessary.

What is precision quilting mode and when should you use it? It should be used when you are moving the machine more slowly when you are doing careful work, such as stitch in the ditch, quilting closely around applique or using templates. You may also like to use precision quilting mode when you are using the S stitch length to do very small stippling. In this mode, the needle moves more smoothly. You will not use precision quilting mode for patterns with lots of sharp changes in direction.

Compare precision quilting mode to high speed. Work at the front of your machine.

Bring up your bobbin thread and secure the ends. Set your dial to 10 SPI.

Arm your machine - hold down the button until you see the run light come on, then release it. Sew a meandering line for about 12 inches. Pause and disarm your machine. Now arm it again but this time hold down the button until you hear a beep after the run light comes on. You are now in precision quilting mode.

Sew some more meandering. Do you notice the difference in the way the needle moves? If not, then disarm your machine and go back into high speed mode. Stitch some more in the two different regulated modes.

Note - You are in high speed mode when you arm the machine and only wait to see the run light come on before releasing the button.

You are in precision quilting mode when you arm the machine and hold down the button until you hear a beep after the run light has come on before releasing it.

Sewing in PQ (precision quilting) mode.

Set your dial to 10 SPI. Arm the machine in PQ mode. Sew some medium sized meandering. Do not move the machine too fast. What happens if you do? Try moving the machine faster and faster to find out. Try doing this with all the different stitch lengths.

Remember, when starting off, move the machine slowly and smoothly, gradually increasing your speed. What will happen if you move off quickly? What does the flash of the fail light and the beep mean? You will find that you cannot move the machine as quickly as you did in high speed mode. You will out-run the regulator more easily.

Glance at your run light as you sew - notice it is flashing slowly. Why is it doing that?

Now you will sew some designs with sharp changes in direction. You cannot move through these changes quickly in PQ mode.

Start at the left edge of your practice piece, arm your machine in PQ mode with a stithch length of 10 SPI and sew this design. Make each straight line about 4 inches long, so you will go 4 inches across, 4 up, 4 across, 4 down and continue to the right hand side of your practice piece. As you approach each corner, you need to slow down and pause momentarily at the corner before changing direction. Remember to move off gradually. If you move off too quickly, what will happen?

Sew another row if you feel you need more practice at this technique of slowing down into and gradually pulling out of changes in direction while in PQ mode.

Now draw a simple flower like this with a pencil on your practice piece. Make it about 6 inches across.

You are going to sew on your drawn lines as closely as possible so you will move your machine quite slowly. Don't worry if you wander off the lines - staying on the lines is not the important part of this exercise. Start at the point where two petals meet. Bring your bobbin thread up and secure the ends. Put your needle down (remember which button to press?) Set your stitch length to 12 SPI. Arm your machine in PQ mode. Wait for the needle to pull up before moving your machine.

Sew one petal - when you get down close to the end of that petal gradually slow down until you are almost not moving, then slowly accelerate out as you sew the next petal. If you prefer you can pause at the point.

When you get back to the beginning continue into the center and make a small spiral for the center of the flower. Disarm your machine. What did the needle do? Why? Raise the needle (use the button ) and tie off your threads. What will happen if you try to secure your threads, using the single stitch button, with the needle down?

Draw, then sew more flowers until you feel more comfortable moving through the changes in direction while in PQ mode. This technique does take some practice and it may take you longer than the time spent doing these lessons to master it.

Now you will need your small I/S guide. You are going to sew this zig-zag design across the width of your practice piece. Secure your thread ends then start with the needle down. Place the guide next to the machine's foot. If you have not used a guide before, just hold it gently and don't press it hard against the foot or the extended base - it is just a guide to stop your machine form wandering away from the diagonal. Sew up as far as you can along the length of the guide then pause. Now reposition the guide and sew down the next leg. Continue across your practice piece. Sew a second row.

 

Get your pencil again and draw a simple star like this. Make it a bit bigger than your flowers.

Start at one of the points with the needle down and use your guide to help you sew on your drawn lines. Remember to use PQ mode.When you get back to the starting point disarm your machine but do not tie off your threads. Change your stitch length to S. Arm your machine again in PQ mode and do a very small stipple all around the outside of your star. Do some more, if you want.

This time, draw that simple flower again but not the spiral center. Imagine this is an applique. You are going to sew on or next to your line very carefully. Staying on the line is important this time because you are pretending that you are sewing in the ditch around an applique. If you have a stitch in the ditch guide, use it to help you guide your machine. Remember, you can pause as necessary and move as slowly as you want to. There is no need to keep the machine moving all the time or have your finger ready to stop it - but you should be used to this by now.

If you do not have a SID guide, you can use your I/S guide to help you sew around curves. Hold it gently against your foot and reposition it as necessary as you sew - there is no need to stop moving the machine every time you need to reposition it, just slide it gently to a new position to help you control the movement as you sew.

Draw some different shapes to simulate applique and practice sewing round them. You could draw different leaves, a simple animal or a house, for example.

Finally, if you have some circle templates or other shapes, use the PQ mode to sew around them. Notice how you can relax as you quilt and only need to pause, not disarm the machine, to reposition your hand. If you are good at moving off slowly after a pause, you will not be able to tell where you paused when you look at your finished shape.

A Summary of the Main Points in Lesson 3.

Use precision quilting mode for careful work such as stitch in the ditch, outlining applique and any time you need to move the machine slowly. Also use PQ mode for very tiny stippling at the S length.

Do not move the machine too fast when in PQ mode. It is easier to outrun the regulator.

When in PQ mode, move through sharp changes in direction by slowing down as you approach them and gradually accelerating away from them. If you move out too quickly, you will get long stitches. You cannot move through sharp changes in direction quickly in PQ mode.


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