Longarm free motion quilting in manual mode + video

Since I got my longarm I’ve been using the regulated stitching mode to keep my stitches looking consistent through my learning curve – it’s a bit of a brain twist to go from free motion quilting on the sit down machine to doing it on the longarm because they are very different processes.  But recently I followed a tutorial showing examples of the differences between regulated and manual modes with ideas for when to use which one to your greatest advantage, and decided to turn off the regulator and just stitch.

Of course this kind of spontaneous stitching in wide open space is what I love most, but I wasn’t sure how it would go without regulation.  However, it was just fine and in fact I found that everything felt smoother and more free in manual mode, just as it was described.  Of course, there are times when the regulator is very helpful, especially when using rulers and having to adjust hand position without causing glitches, but I am definitely loving the feel of manual mode for free motion and will begin incorporating it immediately 🙂

Here’s a video of my trial on Friday; the big circles were done with rulers (I was testing out some new ones that morning just before I started my manual mode run) and everything else is free motion.  You’ll notice that in manual mode I’m not stopping here and there to think, which keeps my brain looking to the next idea as I go rather than slowing down and having the regulator keep my stitches even for me while I decide where to go and what to stitch! This is a cool way to free myself (a recovering perfectionist!) from any constraints, and just focus on keeping the machine moving at an even pace.  Designing on the fly isn’t uncommon for me, but keeping the machine moving at the same speed and trying not to stop anywhere so that the stitching just keeps on going is a really good exercise for the artistic part of my brain.

Thinking too much slows everything down, so I really enjoyed the free flow of this play time 🙂

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