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!

With a straight stitch chosen on my Husqvarna Viking Designer Diamond Royale, there is no “alternatives” icon to be found on the screen.
When a satin stitch is chosen, the icon appears. This is telling me I have more options for this stitch.
In the case of this satin stitch, my machine will allow me to move it’s positioning from the center needle position….
…to the far right of the center needle position.
When I choose this scallop, the machine allows me to change the stitch density…
…from very dense to…
…a stitch that is much more open.
For this stitch the machine allows the elongation to change. I can have the design go from circles…
..to ovals without changing the density of the satin stitches that join the ovals. Pretty cool!
My new Pfaff has the same feature. If a straight stitch is chosen, there are no alternatives offered.
Once a satin border stitch is chosen, two circles appear under the width icon.
By decreasing the width of this satin border stitch, I can now change its position to the far right of the center needle position. Look for these features on your machine.