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Any quilters here? Help! Machine quilting a big quilt on a domestic...

(23 Posts)
AntiqueSinger Thu 28-Jan-16 19:13:13

Sewing machine. So I've taken two years in between massive amounts of procrastination, to make a queen sized quilt. It is intended as a gift for some dear friends of mine. It does have a few mistakes, but on the whole it is finally done! It is pin basted ready to go. Yippee, I thought, the end is in sight. But now I have been sitting here looking at it for weeks and weeks. I have no idea how to proceed. I am fairly a novice quilter, self taught and previously to this have only made a couple of large baby quilts. I stippled those on my domestic and that was hard enough, plus there were annoying mistakes (not that the recipients cared, but I did). Trying to manoneuver this monster in the throat space of my machine is a nightmare. Much harder than I anticpated. I cannot afford to send it away to be long-armed. I can't do straight rows of stitching because it has lots of stars set at an angle and I think long rows of straight stitching would ruin it. I tried hand stitching. I can't get the hang of that either. My frustration is climbing to the point that I feel like unpinning it and giving them just the top, or putting it away forevet and making something much smaller. I'm dying to move onto a new project and this is keeping me back in inbetween-project-limbo. If you quilt at home, how do you manage big quilts? ANY suggestions will be welcome!

Icouldbeknitting Thu 28-Jan-16 20:36:14

Roll it up and swear a lot? It's a big jump from a baby quilt to a queen size so don't beat yourself up over it, there are skills in rolling it up and supporting the weight so that it doesn't drag. If you have the time, can you do a quick single bed sized quilt because that would lead you in gently? Have a search on "machine quilting big quilts", you need the weight supported behind the machine, to the side and you'll be supporting the weight at the front (I put the rolled quilt over my shoulder)

It's not easy but it does get easier with each one that you do.

AntiqueSinger Thu 28-Jan-16 22:25:36

Icouldbeknitting Roll it up and swear a lotsmile. Thank you. Been doing the swearing part plenty. I have tried to roll it up, its so bloody long it's pretty hard with my floor space, I had to move half the furniture in living room into the kitchen just to bast it. I think once I roll it I need something to keep it rolled until I've finished with a section. I'm spreading the quilt on my table, but half of it drags off the edges and my sewing machine isn't flush with the table top. I tried stabilising the blocks by stitching in the ditch but, pivoting is a nightmare! This is when I do regret not being part of a quilting group. Sometimes you just need to have someone directing you and helping. I'm going to try your advice and see if I can add a few chairs to help spread the weight. I still don't see how I'll manage to turn the thing. Oh I just wish it was finished. I want to try the farmers wife next. I really am close to done with it!

Icouldbeknitting Fri 29-Jan-16 03:53:34

I have no floor space big enough to baste a bed sized quilt, I usually end up doing part of it at a time on the kitchen floor rather than move the settee.

The roll has to be supported so it doesn't drag, the ironing board will do at the side or the back depending where the problem is. You can make a flat surface in front of the needle with a few books, just stack them up until they are roughly the right height. Cookery books are often big and heavy so work well. I used to use cycle clips (the U shaped metal springy ones) to hold the roll together.

Your mantra here is "finished is better than perfect". Is there any way you can quilt it that avoids the need to pivot?

AntiqueSinger Fri 29-Jan-16 08:12:51

Icouldbe thanks again for your advice. Yes, you're right, at this point finished is better than perfect. I do find that difficult, especially having put so much time into the top. Honestly if I had any spare cash I would send it off to the longarmer. I need to repeat this mantra in my head and just get it done. I don't know why I didn't consider the ironing board myself. Great idea as are the books and the bicycle clips. You're so clever, I have loads of books and it wouldn't have occurred to me to use them to level the space. I'm off to uni (irony here is I really ought to be studying my statistics module, not quilting!). So I doubt I'll get anything accomplished today, probably tomorrow. I need this done and over, it's a huge distraction from other things! I'll see if I can post a picture, so you'll see my dilemma with how to go about quilting it. Thanks!flowers

Icouldbeknitting Fri 29-Jan-16 08:20:41

When I was quilting back in the early 90's there were no long arm quilters here - there was no easy way out. Fortunately it was a struggle for everyone (no big throat domestic sewing machines then either) so there were lots of books and magazine articles on the subject.

A photo would be lovely when you have the time, the quilt will wait and coursework won't.

I have a habit of sitting in the middle of the table - it goes without saying that you want to be sitting on the right hand side so the whole of the left of the table can support the quilt roll.

Atomiksnowflake Fri 29-Jan-16 08:32:40

Can you rig somekind of pullysystem to your celing ,and hang up the quilt.It take alot of the weight off and wrangling is easyer.i
I have quilted 2 kingsize quilt on my pfaff,its a lot of wrangling and swearing but it is possible☺

Atomiksnowflake Fri 29-Jan-16 08:34:11

And get some latex coated gloves ,it make holding and feeding into the maschine so much easier

AntiqueSinger Fri 29-Jan-16 18:12:10

Atomik A king size! My hubby is already struggling to contain himself because I have a small dining table with both flaps up taking up a quarter of the living room space, and all my sewing paraphernalia , plus the quilt out! I can just imagine his reaction to my politely suggesting that we drill into the ceiling and attach hooks and pulleys just make my quilting obsession easier. It would not go down well!

How did you quilt the king-size? Did you stipple or use templates?

Atomiksnowflake Fri 29-Jan-16 19:33:26

I quilted it stich in the ditch,other wise i would have gone mad with wrangling.
I have a sewing room ,but i still end up in the living room ,never enough space☺

AntiqueSinger Fri 29-Jan-16 21:45:03

Atomik So you quilted it stitch I the ditch. How did you manage the pivoting because I would SITD too if
I felt I cope with the turning. I will try to upload a picture tomorrow.

patchworkchick Sun 31-Jan-16 11:34:08

make sure pined at lease hand span distance, why not try freemotion quilting? This was the first quilt I machined using free motion and was easier than straight line quilting.

AntiqueSinger Sun 31-Jan-16 20:13:30

Wow Patchwork that quilt is gorgeous! Love the backing too. Your free motion quilting looks really good, much better than my stippling turned out when I did it on my baby quilts. Hmm, maybe I should do it in bits between blocks rather than all over? Yours has turned out really good, I'd be happy to accomplish half that! Err do you want to do it for me??

patchworkchick Wed 03-Feb-16 23:20:31

thanks Antique Singer, don't forget your not looking close up! I went for a mad zig zag and kept going, gloves help with grip too - also none slip drawer liners.

AntiqueSinger Thu 04-Feb-16 18:31:17

Here's a couple of pictures of the quilt, including my tiny sewing corner. It is quite wrinkly from all my wranglings. I have now placed books behind and to the left side of the sewing machine and this has made a massive difference to the feeling of drag in the space between the throat plate and the table. So thanks for that advice!

I tried rolling it but actually found it heavier to move around, so I'm just being ruthless and scrunching it up. I got permission from a lovely person who has made the same quilt to use her design for quilting the blocks, which looks easier. I may or may not try it. I may just do straight cross hatch. Depends which I find easiest. I just want it done now.

Thanks everyone for all your advice. You gave me the confidence to persist with it!

crockydoodle Thu 04-Feb-16 22:01:13

I find scrunching up easier than rolling the quilt. Interesting that you mention farmers wife. I just started it a few weeks ago and now have completed 9 blocks. Paper piecing was new to me but I'm getting the hang of it now.

AntiqueSinger Fri 05-Feb-16 07:32:50

Oooohh crockydoodle how's it going? Do share pictures, pleeease! Some of the pieces for the blocks are so small. I would love to do a farmers wife quilt-a-long, but I'd probably end up finishing last. Which FW book are you using book 1 or 2?

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sat 06-Feb-16 00:06:33

Love, love, love your quilt. Stunning!

AntiqueSinger Sat 06-Feb-16 17:16:42

Thank you Countess! I will struggle to give it to the intended recipients as I've put so much into it. I did entertain keeping it cannot wait to pass it on and move onto another project! will shed tears for at least a week

crockydoodle Fri 26-Feb-16 15:31:34

Sorry, forgot to come back to this thread. I'm doing the 1930s farmers wife quilt and am now up to block 23 (out of 99). Because the blocks are different it doesn't get boring. The first couple I made took about 4 hours each! I'm aiming for 2 a week, however, last week I made 6.

AntiqueSinger Sun 28-Feb-16 19:53:04

Wow I'm impressed crockydoodle You're tearing through it! I need more self discipline so I can get my projects done in a more timely fashion. Do please post the finished blocks when you've done them all. Will you be doing civil war type fabrics, or using selections from your stash? I am tempted to go with the civil war look as it seems more authentic to the time (but have seen plenty pretty modern versions online). I have farmers wife book 2, but want to buy book 1 and try that version first. I really love the letters. Need to pull a leaf from your book and try and do a couple a week. You've inspired mesmile

Jenijena Sun 28-Feb-16 19:58:52

I have a pieced together quilt that I have been ignoring for five years under my stairs as a) it was my first big project b) I don't really get quilting, I just like the patchwork bit at the top c) every time I even see it I feel like a failure and d) I went for thick wadding (stupid person). so well done! Just starting on an easier smaller one now and tempted to send it off to a long arm quilter...

AntiqueSinger Sun 28-Feb-16 21:42:18

Jenijena I feel your pain! I'd say send off the large unfinished to the long armers (unstitch if necessary). It will be worth it to have it finished, rather than staring at you with accusing patchwork "Maker, why have you abandoned me?" eyes! Blow it and replace the thick wadding. Buy a thinner wadding for it and pretend you'll use it requisition it for another project - stuffed cushion or quilted pillows or chair pads? Of course none of that is cheap, but worth it if you can do so!

Practice on a scrap sandwich before quilting your new one. I was going well with mine until I turned over the back and realised I had a field of puckers. I now will spend two days unstitching. I grit teeth and say it will be worth it in the end!! Like you I much prefer the patchwork part!

And you're NOT a failure, you're a forward thinking quilter. You plan quilt projects way ahead of timewink

Do upload pictures of your quilts!

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