As most of my followers know I am an enthusiastic long arm quilter and I work on my BERNINA Q20 Long Arm machine on a daily basis. Recently, I decided to try to quilt perfectly straight lines with Mechanical Channel Locks on my BERNINA Q20 Long Arm machine with some fabric for production quilting.
What are Mechanical Channel Locks:
The channel locks are 2 mechanical parts mounted directly to the quilting frame or carriage. The movement of the machine is blocked in the horizontal and/or vertical direction. Essentially, free motion quilting in a curvilinear fashion is stopped and you can only quilt straight lines with channel locks.
Why Use Channel Locks:
It’s much easier to quilt straight lines with channel locks as the machine is restricted with stoppers on the machine carriage. They are also useful in placing the quilt top straight. Simultaneously, the edges can be basted onto the batting and the quilt back.
The reason I used the channel locks is because I wanted horizontal straight lines to be quilted on about 10 meters of fabric. This fabric will be made into several tote bags for an upcoming BERNINA Q Series Long Arm event where I am teaching. I have to say, they worked so well and saved me many hours of time.
The Mechanical Channel Locks are accessories that can be purchased with the BERNINA Q20 Long Arm or purchase them later on. I am not at all mechanically inclined and I found them super easy to install. See the BERNINA video below about how to install them.
What to Quilt With Channel Locks:
I found the horizontal setting made it easy to quilt perfectly straight lines with channel locks on production quilted fabric. I will be using Channel Locks well into the future on multiple projects. Mechanical Channel Locks would also be useful for modern quilts and home decor projects like pillows where straight lines would look fantastic. Mechanical Channel locks would be perfect for a quilt that is utilitarian and needs straight line quilting.
My BERNINA Q20 machine was set up at BSR2 (BERNINA Stitch Regulation 2) and 8 stitches per inch with a BERNINA touchscreen pen. The touchscreen pen eliminates finger prints on the screen.
The Channel Locks in Action:
Some other thoughts on the Channel Locks:
- It’s so easy to go fast with the channel locks engaged unfortunately, this is not what’s best for the machine
- However, it’s important to go gently, smoothly and at moderate speed for best stitch quality results
- If you engage both channel locks the machine cannot move at all
- If you live in an old home (not level) like I do engaging the channel locks helps to keep the machine from moving when not in use
- Your installer will have set up your machine as level as possible
- Remember to disengage channel locks before resuming free motion quilting
- Mechanical Channel locks are manufactured & designed for the BERNINA Q Series long arm machines
- Channel locks are made of excellent quality materials, easy to install and operate
- Want to give channel locks a try? Need a simple tote pattern that’s very similar to this one? Look at a simple tote tutorial on my website here
I hope you found my review of Mechanical Channel Locks informative. You can quilt perfectly straight lines with channel locks. Have fun with straight line quilting!