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Stitch length setting for quilting with a walking foot
by Barbara Tiffany
(Coronado, CA, USA)
What is the usual stitch length for machine quilting with walking foot?
It is generally suggested to use a stitch length between 2.5 to 3.0 (roughly 8 to 12 spi) for machine quilting with a walking foot with 50 wt cotton quilting threads. Then as needed, adjust the length based on your thread choice.
A thicker thread needs a longer stitch length so that it doesn't look like the thread was forced through the fabric.
A finer thread, like a 100 wt silk or monofilament thread needs a much shorter stitch length to look right. A 3.0 length using these threads will look more like basting than anything else.
If you're using a shiny rayon or a glitzy metallic thread, you may want to lengthen your stitch length a bit. The light has a bigger surface to reflect off of with the longer length. More shine, more glitz shows.
Conversely, if you're using a monofilament thread you'll likely want to reduce any shine. You want those stitches to be invisible. To reduce the shine, reduce the length, giving the light less of a surface to reflect off of.
The really great thing about quilting is that YOU get to decide how you want your quilt to look.
Guidelines for stitch length are always a good place to start. Make any needed tension adjustments to create a nice straight, non-wobbly stitch, and then do what you want to make the quilt your own.