Free Motion Quilting: Sewing Machine Setup
I have some questions about setting up my sewing machine for free motion quilting.
What about needle choice?
And if you are free motion quilting, isn't the stitch length controlled by you? Should I still set the stitch length as desired..or to 0?
We'll start with which needle to choose. The basic rule of thumb is to choose the needle type
according to the fabric you use and the size
according to the thread you use.
For standard quilting fabric from the quilt store all of the following types are acceptable: Universal, Microtex Sharp, Quilting, Embroidery, and Metallic. For cotton fabrics with higher thread counts like batiks, pima cottons and sateens use a Microtex Sharp.
The size you choose depends on the thickness and/or delicacy of the thread you use. For a 50 wt cotton thread like Aurifil or Masterpiece, a size 70 or 75 is good. For a 100 wt silk thread, use a size 60-70 Microtext Sharp. For a metallic thread use a Metallic needle.
My personal choices for quilting on cotton fabric are either the Microtex Sharp or the Metallic needles.
For more information on choosing sewing machine needles see:
Yes, for free motion quilting, set your stitch length to '0'. That way your feed dogs won't be moving while you're quilting because you don't need them. Less wear and tear on those parts.
The stitch length in free motion quilting is created by the combination of your hand speed (how fast you move the quilt sandwich under the needle) and the needle speed.
For more information go to Sewing Machine Quilting: How to Setup Your Machine
I hope this information has been helpful to you.
Readers, if you have other suggestions, please do join in with your comments!