Quilting a large quilt on a home sewing machine

Since the last post, I finished piecing, made a quilt sandwich and started quilting a king size quilt with Mariner’s compass in the middle. And still quilting happily! I have sort of daily up date on Instagram.
Then the other day I saw Leah Day’s blog post about quilting a large quilt on a home sewing machine. Interesting timing! I would like show how I do too.
My machine’s throat or harp space is 9″ which is twice bigger than so called home sewing machines. Mine is actually a semi-industrial straight stitch only machine since I just wanted good sewing machine to do piecing and quilting. Anyway, it has a bigger space but bed size quilts are 60″ wide and more and my current project is 102″ wide and they fit easily under my machine.
As Leah says, I have made my sewing table to fit the machine to sit in so the surface is flat(thanks to my husband’s friends). My sewing table itself is not so big so when I quilt something larger than 40″ I bring other two tables to extend the table.
table settingIt’s quite big table surface like above but not bigger than a quilt clearly!
quilt on a tableYou need to keep the quilt on the table as much as possible to avoid gravity to drag it away from the machine. The best idea might be to put tables against walls on two sides in order to avoid quilt sliding down. But due to the space, I can’t do it!
I shift and move the quilt to keep it on the table as I quilt. When I feel slight drag or need extra push to move the quilt, I know the quilt is off the table or caught on something and stop quilting to fix it. Otherwise I will have crocked quilting line and very sore shoulders.
The other thing is, how to put the quilt on the table. I scrunch it up like waves.
scrunched quiltNo part of quilt sitting on the other part of quilt, like below.
folded quiltWhen it happens, the weight of quilt sitting on top of each other makes it quite heavy to move. It’s a subtle difference but affects hugely!
When the quilt bunches up against machine and you have no space to move the quilt for quilting, shift it somewhere rather than force to go through.
If you feel the slight extra weight to move the quilt, something is stuck. Fix it rather than use muscle power.
If you come to the heap of seam allowance, slow down like stitch by stitch until you go over the hump.
And hopefully, your free motion quilting gets easier for you.
quilting on the corner





Julie Fukuda
October 17, 2015 12:07 am

I love your space. Having made 12 huge drapes on an ordinary machine, pearched on a round dining table where everything hangs off the side, I fond your advice right on.

October 19, 2015 2:34 pm

Great advice, i like to squish my quilts too – I tried rolling but the weight was too much over my shoulder and I didn’t feel at all comfy moving my arms!

October 19, 2015 2:43 pm

I am envious of your big table!