I'm back with a much requested blog post about our SureStitch Stitch Regulator! I have received lots of questions about this great gadget, and so I'm going to give a you the basics here. If you still have some questions after this post, please leave them here in a comment, and I'll get back to answer them.
First, let's take a look at what a stitch regulator is, and how it is different from a speed control.
Here is the Grace Speed Control that comes with all of our frames.
It works like the foot pedal on your machine, and only takes the place of your foot pedal. You have to turn the dial to make your machine stitch at a faster or slower speed.
A stitch regulator on the other hand,
will automatically adjust your machine to speed up and slow down with you as you quilt. This means that as you make fast, long curves, or slow down to take your time on some fine, detailed stitching, your machine will speed up and slow down with you to make all of your stitches the same length. Something really neat about the SureStitch is that it has a stitch regulator mode and a speed control mode! It's like two tools in one!
Now let's see how it works and how to use it.
The SureStitch comes with detailed instructions, but here are the basics of how it works.
These are what we call "encoders". They sit on the wheels of your carriage and sense how fast or slow you are moving. There are two encoders, one for the wheels going left to right and one for the wheels going back and forth. Make sure the encoders are tilted up as much as possible without hitting the carriage or preventing the wheels from turning properly. Make sure the bottom one is not rubbing against the top pf the carriage. Also make sure that as they roll back and forth and sideways, that the wheels roll smoothly without getting caught or stopping. Some carriages require you to switch out the wheels on the encoders or get a separate adaptor.
Here you see that the SureStitch plugs into the foot pedal jack on your machine, so that it can control the sewing speed. Before starting, you want to make sure that the sewing speed directly on your machine is already set at the fastest it can go.
This makes sure that SureStitch can use the full range of you machine's speed. Now here are the buttons and what they do.
The "On/Off" button starts and stops your machine. Once you push it, your machine will start stitching and won't stop until you push it again. The "Stitch Length" buttons make your stitches longer or shorter. The number display shows a scale from 1-10, 1 being the longest stitch length and 10 being the shortest. The numbers don't measure stitches per inch or anything, they are only meant as a reference scale from shortest to longest. When you start stitching a green indicator light will come on. This light will turn red to warn you if are going to fast for your machine.
If you are moving faster than your machine can sew, your stitches will not be the same length. When you are doing continuous or very small detailed work, treat your machine like driving a car, when you come to a red light, slow down gradually instead of slamming on the breaks. This will keep your machine and stitching from being jerky. Also start up your stitching gradually. This gets your machine and the stitch regulator to work together, so that you aren't starting out with a great big stitch at the beginning.
And last but not least, is the "Pulse" button. When you hold down the Pulse button, the SureStitch goes from Stitch Regulation mode to Speed Control mode. This makes it so your machine won't speed up and slow down, but instead, stay at the same constant speed. In Speed Control mode (with the Pulse button held down) you can set the speed yourself using the "Stitch Length" buttons. Also in Speed Control mode, the number display shows a scale of how fast you're going, 1 being the slowest and 10 the fastest. For most projects you'll want to use the normal Stitch Regulator mode, but some people like to hold down the Pulse button for Speed Control mode when they are doing really small work like small stippling.
I like to do my stippling or very detailed work in Speed Control mode with the speed set from 2-4. If you click the Pulse button once without holding it down, it also does a handy a tie-off stitch.
Well, that's it for this post. I hope this helps give a better understanding of this wonderful quilting tool. As I said before, feel free to post any questions or comments here, and I will get to them as soon as I can! Thank you and keep quilting!
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