Sunday, December 23, 2012

Do You Use a Stitch Regulator?

Are you as behind the times as I am?  It has been brought to my attention that I don't use a stitch regulator when machine quilting my quilt tops. When I learned to do free-motion work back in the previous century, they didn't have them on machines. (My current machine is a Janome 6500.) And now I find I can't operate a machine that has stitch regulation. It's like battling with a leashed dog after a rabbit.  Do you use a stitch regulator? Do you like it?

23 comments:

Jessim said...

I do not use a stitch regulator. I have been FMQing for about a year and a half, and bought my new machine about a year ago. It is one of the lower end Bernina's that can use the BSR, but doesn't come with one. At the time, I went back and forth about it (being such a new quilter) but decided against it because the cost was so high. I really feel like even as a new quilter, I didn't need regulation, I needed practice.

My quilting is not perfect, but I think it is very good, and it gets better all the time. I am happy with my decision, as saving the money allowed me to buy a lot of fabric, thread, and other feet. (By now, the money is no longer 'saved'- haha)

I've used it a few times, and I think I am too fast for it (even though I don't pedal to the medal at all), it beeps at me and feels jerky. I prefer the organic hum I get from finding the perfect flow with my machine on my own. (Or as my husband would say 'it was probably sour and I wouldn't want it other way'- but I really don't think it is sour grapes that I couldn't afford it. I do well without it.)

I tried the Sweet 16 sit down machine and preferred it without the regulator too. Since it is attached to the quilt, not the foot, it means you have to keep moving it, and again, I felt like the movement was jerky. That machine is out of my budget as well though, so I'll have to keep using my primary sewing machine as my quilting machine too.

Gene Black said...

I did a test drive on the bernina 830 when it first came out. It had a stitch regulator and I couldn't seem to work with it. My stitches looked worse with it.
I will stick with my BabyLock and little Janome for FMQ. Although I would love to have a Janome Horizon (the red one) to replace them both. LOL

patchouli moon studio said...

Nope never even tried a stitch regulator. I FMQ on my semi-industrial Brother, which is only a straight stitch machine. The stitches on it are as good as the fancy Bernina's with the regulator. My friend who owns a high end Bernina with a stitch regulator even told me my stitches looked better than hers with the regulator.

I personally think less is better. All those bells and whistles you pay for on the high end machines not only do you rarely use, but there is more to go wrong with them too. Most of my friends who own those type machines only piece (straight stitch) and pay to have their quilts quilted anyhow. So why spend that much on a machine if you only piece? I have another machine with various stitches, but I bought a lower-mid end one, so both machines cost way less that the top end machines do.

As I get older, I don't want to learn a new machine with so many features. I can't stand it when there are new prgrams or updates on my PC as I have to learn how to use and understand it.

So Laura, stick with what you know and feel comfortable with. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Your work is fabulous without a stitch regulator.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

shilsenbeck said...

I too have test driven the BSR, but do not have one, and so do not use it. In classes that I've taken I could hear who had a BSR and who didn't -- the nonBSR's sounded even with a reasonably constant speed, the BSR's sounded very uneven, revving up to high speed and slowing down.

I've heard that the regulation (including on long arms) does better on larger motifs and does not work so well for fine precision work, where you need to stop in a specific spot. That makes sense -- if the regulator is trying to make the stitches a certain length and you need a half stitch it won't put it in the right spot.

Aside -- I also have a Janome 6500. My only complaint was 'not enough light' but then that is a complaint with nearly all machines. Since I can't make myself younger to see better, I've added a BRITE light, AND a little strip of LED lights that I got at Houston this year. The sticky back strip attaches under the head just to the right of the needle etc, VOILA -- let there be light.

Aliceart said...

I have a BSR, but am just starting to fiddle with it because just having some type of speed control on my new machine was such a big help.

Diane J. Evans said...

I, too, Laura, learned to machine quilt while the Earth was cooling and have never used a stitch regulator. Being a control freak from birth, I really like the feeling of manipulating that stitch length all by myself. Keep in mind, however, that I used to fold my own diapers and put them in the drawer, says my mother.

Always love reading your blog -- you bring a smile to my day.

Diane

Cornwoman said...

The machine that I have (a Pfaff 2144) does not have a stitch regular, though you can buy this big table like thing with a hole in it and a thingie that you plug in. I bought it about 6 or 7 years ago, but it never worked right and was more frustrating than it was worth. It sits on the highest closet shelf in my studio.

I recently went to my local Bernina dealer and test drove a new machine with the BSR, as I was really certain that I "needed" (aka wanted) a machine with the BSR. In test driving it, and asking a ton of questions, I found out that if you go too fast or too slow, you will still get stitches that are too short or too long, though it will try valiantly to give an even stitch. I decided that I could do that myself if I practiced.

Until this year, I was not able to do FMQ, but I signed up for the 2012 FMQ Challenge on SewCalGal's blog. I'm thrilled to say that I can now do FMQ and don't really need a stitch regulator anyway!! lol All I need is to keep practicing. I must be from the stone age too...and I think that I kind of like that!!

Lisa said...

Like you, I don't have one, but I have used one on a couple of other machines. They are handy little things but I don't really like them. I think that if you just practice enough you can find the speed and motion that work best and do it all free style with the bsr.

Karen Wheeler said...

YES, I have an APQS Millennium 2009 with all the bells and whistles. So I use them. I find the machine is quite good for my quilting and stops when I do. I also liike the way it makes sharp points and smooth gliding along the table. I free motion and learned to quilt without marking and with a stitch regulated machine. I own the Bernina 830 with its BSR and embroidery but do not use it much. I have it set up for embroidery. The sewing or piecing is done on one of my Pfaffs. I love hand applique and wool applique. I enjoy regular embroidery and ribbon embroidery. Lately, I have been making needle cases and pincushions. Karen Wheeler

Karen Wheeler said...

YES, I have an APQS Millennium 2009 with all the bells and whistles. So I use them. I find the machine is quite good for my quilting and stops when I do. I also liike the way it makes sharp points and smooth gliding along the table. I free motion and learned to quilt without marking and with a stitch regulated machine. I own the Bernina 830 with its BSR and embroidery but do not use it much. I have it set up for embroidery. The sewing or piecing is done on one of my Pfaffs. I love hand applique and wool applique. I enjoy regular embroidery and ribbon embroidery. Lately, I have been making needle cases and pincushions. Karen Wheeler

Connie said...

I have never used a stitch regulator as I do all my free motion quilting on a vintage 1951 Singer sewing machine. I think it would be fun to try one but like you.....don't know if it would work for me.

Amanda said...

I found that using the Bernina stitch regulator foot really helped increase my confidence and hand/eye co-ordination but now I'm happier quilting without it. However, I don't think I would have bothered with the BSR if I was already a competent quilter.

morgaine said...

I've a stitchregulator, tried it several times but it works better for me do it without. I thought it would be helpful, but I'm not able to come in a free flowing motion with BSR.

Mary Ellen said...

I do not have a BSR, but was seriously thinking of buying one shortly after they first became available. In talking with the store rep, I found out that the warranty on the BSR unit itself was considerably shorter than that for the sewing machine. The BSR is considered to be a computerized accessory and as such, it only had a one year warranty, if memory serves. That backed me way off because I could just see setting a magnetized something-or-other down next to it and ruining the device. Plus they were untested and new then and there was no info about the longevity of such an expensive "accessory." I have learned to free motion quilt without it. Again by watching Leah Day on SoCalGal.

dagmar.eu said...

I am trying to get my BSR to work for me and have found that too slow/too fast moving doesn't work neither does it work well on high contrast striped fabric or fabric with metallic print (can you tell I am quilting Christmas stuff). It works best when I have paper on top of the quilt sandwich with my design printed on it.
I started thread painting in the day when we used a special needle with a spring! No foot at all. So I have not been used to do regular stitch length hence the BSR attempts (included with my machine in 2006) but I would never had paid the money it costs because it is quite frankly more BGRrrrr than BSR. I am stubborn like a cantankerous old mule so keep trying but maybe I should just give up on it and learn how to freemotion properly.

WoolenSails said...

I have not tried it yet, but would like to. Not sure if it will improve my stitch quality, but I shall see.

Debbie

Nancy said...

I do both. The BSR was helpful when I was just beginning (like training wheels). And I liked it. But now I go back and forth between using it and not.

Lisa Quintana said...

I have it...and I hate it..although I'm not sure if it is because my Bernina 440 is a lemon or not. Mine skips stitches and I can do a far better job if I do it without the stitch regulator...in addition to being able to quilt more quickly with it gone.

I regret selling my 153...I've give my eye teeth to have that back and it doesn't have a stitch regulator.

For people starting out, it may be helpful, but nothing is better than practice....and I think we tend to lean on it as a crutch. I am putting mine in a box never to be seen again until the danged machine goes to machine heaven or a new owner. BAH!

Janice PD said...

no, no, no...I love having the freedom to go as fast or slow as I want without depending on something electronic. I know they are supposed to be responsive to changes in speed. I tried one on a sit down HQ16 and didn't like it. I really think it takes the 'maker's hand' out of the picture the same as a programmed quilting pattern does. Just my opinion.

Madalene Axford Murphy said...

I thought somehow I was deficient because I have a Bernina 440 and I never could get comfortable with the stitch regulator. My FMQ has improved over the years but that has come through practice, not technology. Glad to hear others have not found the stitch regulator helpful.

Purl Buttons said...

Aw, heck. I don't even know what it is. All I know is drop the feed dogs and set it to zero.

irenemacwilliam said...

I tried it out and found I could not come to terms with it. The demonstrator of course was producing beautiful work with it but I found it interuppted the flow of my work and I was concentrating on trying to work with it rather than being able to work freely.
Happy Christmas and all the best for 2013. Keep blogging.

Maggie Szafranski said...

I have the Bernina Stitch Regulator, but only do it for some things. Generally I do my FMQ on my Handiquilter SweetSixteen which I did not purchase the stitch regulator for as I like the whole Zen thing of being one with the machine, from my feet, hands, and brain (what there is of it sometimes!)