I like to experiment with different stitches, both decorative and utility, to see what kind of effects I can get to add that little touch of “unique” to my projects. One of the ways I can change stitches on my machines is to use the “alternatives” feature whenever it appears. The “alternatives” feature is present on many Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff machines and allows you to change the position of a stitch, the density of a stitch or the elongation of a stitch. This feature is used for the decorative or satin stitches on the machine. If you have an older Pfaff, the “alternatives” button might be on the machine front and have a symbol of a stitch veering off a straight path (as on the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2) or may be found as the letters ALT on the older Husqvarna Vikings (as on my Designer Diamond Royale). If you have a newer machine, either a Husqvarna Viking or a Pfaff, you will find a triangle or dot on the length or width icon indicating you have more options for that icon than what is currently showing. If it’s unclear to you whether or not your machine has this feature, check your owner’s manual. This feature is one where the machine decides whether or not it will be available. Not all stitches can be changed by the “alternatives” feature. The changes you can make are also decided upon by the machine. Sometimes the machine will make a change to the stitch, but only after you change the width of the stitch first, as in the case of stitch positioning. For example, if you lessen the width of a satin stitch, you are suddenly able to change that stitch’s positioning, to the left or right of the center needle position. Density changes can be made to a stitch, allowing the stitch to appear more or less dense. Elongation of a stitch makes the stitch longer without affecting its density. It adds more stitches to the pattern to create a longer stitch pattern and uses fewer stitches to create a shorter stitch pattern. The satin stitch remains the same density, but gets either longer or shorter. This works out really well when working with borders that need to be a certain size, as in the case of decorative stitches being used in conjunction with the circular attachment. As you get closer to the starting point of your circle, you may want to change the elongation of your stitch to meet the beginning and the ending stitches perfectly. Once you experiment with this feature, you will find many uses for it that you didn’t even know you had! Happy Sewing!