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LESSON 6. COMPARING STITCH REGULATOR MODE TO CONSTANT SPEED MODE.

This final lesson will help you to decide how you will use all the features of the IntelliStitch.

Every quilter has their own style - some will use the stitch regulator all the time, others may find that they like to quilt certain designs very fast and so constant speed will be best for those. At the other extreme, some quilters may find that they only use the stitch regulator when they are doing careful work where they need control when moving the machine slowly. The way you choose to use the I/S is entirely up to you. Its many modes of operation allow you the freedom to quilt without stress.

Prepare your machine to sew. If you have not done the warm up today, go through that routine first. Remember to glance at your control panel every time before you start quilting to make sure the dial is set where you want it to be and to check whether it is armed. This is especially important when you move from one side of the machine to the other.

Before you begin sewing, take a pencil and mark lines about 12 inches apart and about 6 inches long across the width of your practice piece like this:

Secure your threads at the left hand edge of your practice piece. Set your machine in regulated mode at a stitch length you like. You will sew a straight line across your quilt. (Engage the channel lock if you want to sew a perfectly straight line.) As you sew across the piece, pause at each line. Continue sewing and pausing all the way across. Tie off your threads and go back to the left ready to start again. This time set the machine to constant speed, choosing a speed higher than 10, and do the same thing - stopping at each line. (Remember that starting with the needle down gives you a little time after you arm the machine in constant speed before you have to move off as you have to wait for the machine to lift the needle out of the fabric) Finally set the machine in motion detector mode and sew and pause again across the full width of your piece.

Tie off your threads and look at the three lines of stitching. Can you see by looking at the stitches where you paused when in stitch regulator mode? How about when in constant speed or constant speed with motion detector?

If you are already very good at moving off gradually, you should not be able to tell where you paused in stitch regulator mode. This is a big advantage when you are quilting and need to keep pausing to re-adjust a guide or move yourself to a new position in front of the machine. When your bobbin thread runs out, the eveness of the regulated stitches make the break unnoticeable. Stops and starts become less visible.

This time sew a line of loops like this at a speed you would normally use when quilting.

Sew four rows, one in high speed stitch regulator mode, one in precision quilting mode, one in constant speed with motion detector and one in constant speed without motion detector. No need to keep pausing this time.

When you have completed the three rows, look at your stitches. How do the three rows compare? Which mode was the best for you? Did you move the machine too fast for the stitch regulator? Was precision quilting mode good for this design or was it better sewn in high speed regulated mode? Were your stitches even when using the stitch regulator but varied in size when in constant speed?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions - they are simply helping you understand how you will ultimately use the different features of the I/S.

Now sew four rows of this zig-zag in the same way. Use a guide to keep the lines straight.

How did you like sewing this in each mode? Was it easier when using either of the stitch regulated modes? Look at your stitches - which row looks the best and has even stitches? Notice how you had to keep pressing the stop/start button every time you changed direction when using constant speed.

Repeat the exercise again but this time sew one of your favorite pantographs. If you do not usually sew pantograph patterns, do four rows of feathers.

Stop before completeing a row if you find any of the modes completely unsuitable.

Summary

These four exercises are enough to give you some idea of how you will use the IntelliStitch when working on a quilt. You should now have a basic understanding of how it will work for you and which mode to choose for each type of quilting. However, your choice may change from quilt to quilt and from day to day and will certainly change as your experience and skill in using the IntelliStitch grows.

These lessons have given you a good start in using your I/S but don't base your future use of the different modes entirely on this limited time. Right now you might prefer constant speed just because that is what you are most familiar with. However, you should use the stitch regulated modes every time you quilt and for all your quilting when you start working on quilts. If you find that you cannot get even stitches at a start or are having trouble moving through changes in direction, then change to constant speed to save frustration that day, but the next time you sew, use the regulated modes again. By doing this you will also be sure that if you choose to use constant speed for a particular design or type of quilting, your decision is based on experience in trying to use the regulated modes many times. Persevere and eventually you will realize that you do not have to think about how you are quilting or which mode to use. You will be quilting without worry - in charge of your machine and using every feature to its best advantage.

A Final Test of Your Knowledge

If you can answer all these questions without referring to your User Guide or any of the lessons, congratulations!
You have learned a lot!

1. What will your machine do when you power up?

2. How do you know when the motion detector is enabled? How do you disable the motion detector feature of constant speed?

3. How do you get into the precision quilting mode? What will you use it for? When you are sewing, how do you know you are in precision quilting mode?

4. What does the number 1 on the stitches per second side of the dial mean?

5. What does S stand for and when would you use that setting?

6. How can you sew repeated single stitches?

7. What does your CTRL button do, if you have one?

8. How do you make the laser light brighter? How do you make the dot of light bigger?

9. When in stitch regulator mode, what does the machine do after 8 seconds of no movement?

10. What does it mean when the fail light flashes and you hear a beep at the same time while you are quilting?


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