When folks ask me about quilting on their home machine, my go-to answer has always been: You’ll probably be OK with anything up to a twin size quilt. After that, it just gets unmanageable.
And, overall, I stand by that recommendation.
However, I’d like to add an amendment. As long as you are not attempting to do some really advanced level quilting, go ahead and try a large quilt on your home machine. (This one was 90 x 90.) But here are a few tips:
- Surround yourself with supportive tables and ideally a sewing machine cabinet designed for quilting.
As you can see above. I have a fairly large quilt table to support the weight of the quilt as it gets moved around. It doesn’t hurt to have a a cabinet that allows your machine to sink down level with the table.
2. I always use gloves. And this has a lot to do with personal preference. Some people get too hot in their hands, and I can understand that. But I love Machingers, as they are lightweight, fit my hands, and are machine washable.
3. Do 1/4 of the quilt at a time. This way, you’ll never have more than half the quilt shoved up against the machine at one time. And I do mean shoved.
4. Avoid rolling your quilt. It’s simply impossible to do any type of freeform quilting with a giant roll on your right. Any good quilter will tell you to just bunch it up and straighten as you go.
5. Quilt from the center to the outside, always moving fabric away from your machine. Even as I type this, I recognize that there are times when you are moving up or down on the quilt and even occasionally in the wrong direction. That’s fine. As long as OVERALL, your are moving from middle to your right edge. That’s the beauty of working on a quarter of the quilt at one time. Once a quarter is done, spin your quilt 90 degrees (a quarter of a revolution), allowing you to work on the next quarter. Does that make sense?
6. Keep your quilting simple. Save the gorgeous, ornate, custom, refined work for the longarm. Or make yourself an expert on this with LOTS of practice. I don’t consider myself an expert yet on quilting a large quilt. It’s an awful lot of heft to shift around elegantly. I’d rather use machine embroidery for a more complicated design. But remember this: you are only working on about a dinner plate size area at any given time. After that is done, you need to shift your hands and the quilt.
As always with this hobby, if you’re not enjoying yourself, or are afraid to ruin something, then it is just advisable to pay someone to do your quilting. If, though, like me, you prefer to have a quilt that’s all “your own”, then don’t be afraid to try some things.
On the queen size quilt above, I knew that once it was washed, all I really wanted was that old-fashioned scrunchy, quilty look. I did some small/medium-sized stippling, with straight line quilting on the outer border of half square triangles. I threw it in the washing machine and all sins were forgiven. All that’s left to do is the label, which I’m hoping to squeeze in before the end of 2018, so I can declare this one FINISHED.
And as we all know, finished is better than perfect….though I am loving the way this came out, and my teenage son has already claimed it.
Have a Happy New Year and a wonderful and productive 2019! My next project is much more carefree and colorful. Here’s a sneak peak.
Happy Stitching–a sewing machine, a glass of champagne and a bit of chocolate would be a perfect way to start the new year.