- First, I use x-large garden gloves with the little rubber bumps. They grip great and they go on/off real easy. Mine came from a local dollar store.
- I also made my own sewing machine "drop-in" about 12 years ago and it is the greatest thing for home machine quilting. You need a flat space to work with -- larger than the small sewing machine area. This is a link to the "drop-in" -- if you check it out, notice how worn out it is!
- Next, I use lots of safety pins -- all sizes (I am not a pin snob). I have a utility table (30 x 72 -- the top is about 3/4" thick) that stays at the end of my king size bed. I sandwich on the bed then my DH helps me slide the quilt over to the table.
- I clip the quilt on the table with big paper binding clips. Big enough to get around the table. I am careful to stretch the backing and always start in the middle. After pinning all around the table, I shift the pin the sides, constantly making sure the backing is very tight.
- To make the table taller (I am 5'7"), I added plumbers 10" PVC pipe on the legs.
- A BIG step ... always pass your batting through the dryer with a small wet towel and NO BOUNCE -- you WANT the static cling!!! As you sandwich on the bed, additional static will build up while you are smoothing the layers. One of my friends uses a little wisk broom to smooth the layers.
- Never roll your quilt -- always make sure it is loose on the table and able to slide around. I have also waxed the table top using spray starch. Go figure!
- I practice a LOT of doodling with pen and paper. Junk mail has a purpose in my house.
- Start small -- we have 2 cats, so I have made several 30 x 30 quilts for them to sleep on. I change them out constantly and throw them in the washer/dryer often. As your confidence builds, so will the size of your quilts.
- Don't worry if you have a few tucks in the beginning. Keep a ripper close by and check the back often to catch the tucks as soon as possible. If you need to, re-position the safety pins after smoothing. When I first started, I also stitched in the ditch to hold everything together about 10 - 12" apart -- for example, around the big blocks, then went back and doodled all over the place.
- Try and keep your stitches even. In the beginning, it will be hard -- but try this: Keep the "pace" in your head with counting techniques. 1-2-3, 1-2-3 -- like learning to dance. The rhythmic counting helps to stay focused. Also watch out for those curves. When you are driving a car and coming around a curve, you tend to slow down on the approach, then speed up going around (especially when you are familiar with the road -- admit it -- you do!).
- Keep a sketch book of favorite doodles. I have also taken pictures of beautiful wall paper for inspiration. My I-phone is full.
- My way is not the only way. Different does not mean wrong -- just different.
- Can I do anything a long-armer can do? Probably not, but I like to try.
- Do I want a mid or long-arm -- you betcha! One Day!
- Now go have Fun!
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Quilting with Home Machine - My Way
Above is my Indigo Monochromatic top being quilted. For this design, I doodled on scrap paper, cut a template for a curve and used a medicine bottle cap for tracing a circle. I only traced the circle, the square in the middle and the curve -- all the feathers are free-hand.