Thursday, November 23, 2006

The long & the short of it

Thankfully the temperatures are cooler today as I wrestle with quilting a queen size quilt on my Bernina 150QE - the machine I use for all of my quilts including bed quilts such as Synchronicity (pattern available here):

I am often asked how I manage with such big quilts and a domestic sewing machine with a smallish throat. My short answer goes something like this:
  • practice and build confidence with smaller quilts;
  • create a flat sewing area to support the quilt - in my case, I stack plastic fabric bins to the left of my SewEzi table;
  • make sure the quilt is securely basted. I usually spray or fuse baste. Lisa Call offers an instructive basting tutorial but personally I've never had much success with pin basting. The pins are not compatible with my basting surfaces (polished hardwood floors or the dining table David made) and, too often, the pins wrangle with my free motion foot because I get too carried away quilting and forget to stop and pull the pins out;
  • work from the centre of the quilt outwards;
  • don't roll the quilt - turning your quilt into a telegraph pole is not the answer! instead pile your quilt wherever you can so that you have a flat area around the needle. Women with larger boobs often find their chests make a useful resting area but I have to throw the quilt over my shoulder; and
  • stretch beforehand and take regular breaks.

I have friends with long arm machines but I've developed a good working relationship with my everyday machine. Find what works for you.


Blogger Ali Honey said...

That looks great . I particularly like the colours in the red family in that top piece.

I do hope the fires keep well away from you.( And friends inland fron Sydney)

November 23, 2006 7:05 pm  
Blogger Helen Conway said...

Do you also use those quilter's gloves with the little plastic stipples on them??I find I have to otherwise either the quilt drags or I get terrible aches in my wrists from the pressure of making sure it doesn't.

November 23, 2006 10:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I resemble the remark about 'larger boobs' as that is exactly what I do. LOL!

November 24, 2006 1:12 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Brenda, lovely samples of your quilting, and the hints go well too as I have just begun trying to free motion quilt and it has to be on my domestic machine, I was discourage but realize it's like everything, practice, practice, practice.

November 24, 2006 2:47 pm  
Blogger Caitlin said...

Brenda, what do you mean by "Fuse basting"? I can't imagine how stiff a quilt would become if I fused the whole thing - do you cut little squares of fusible or something?

November 24, 2006 4:58 pm  
Blogger Brenda said...

In response to Caitlin - yes I do use fusible webbing to baste some of my smaller quilts. Sometimes I use whole sheets, other times I use up those odd shaped leftovers to dab here and there to hold the layers together. I've never had any problem with stiffness even when I don't quilt heavily.

Also, Hobbs Heirloom offer a fusible, repositionable 20/80 polycotton batting which works pretty well although I prefer the higher loft of wool batting.

November 24, 2006 5:34 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home