Friday, July 12, 2013

How to fit 100 inches into 7 inches

It seems there is never enough time and you, my friends, are often the ones ignored as things other than blogging take over my time!

This week I've spent parts of two days with those nasty things doctors want you to do -- you know, a physical and then blood work.  These are not my favorite things to do!  Besides my doctor's office is almost an hour away, so it takes far more time than the few minutes they spend with you in the examining room!  Next week, there is the last thing --  that dreaded, but necessary mammogram!

When there IS time, I've been quilting, but I can't really show you the whole thing as it will eventually be in a magazine.  Just took a few photos to let you know how I fit a 100 inch square quilt into the 7 inch harp on my Bernina.

All of my quilts are quilted on a domestic machine and while I'm not an expert at this, I have done quite a few so have learned a few tricks.

The first stitching I do on any quilt is what I call bones quilting.  Although the quilt is pin basted, it needs to be stabilized so that it won't shift during any of the free motion quilting that comes later.

Before putting it through the machine, both sides need to be rolled toward the center.  Each quilt is different, but in this case, the bones quilting was diagonal from corner to corner of the blocks for this part of the quilting.

The rolls are fairly loose because if they are too tightly rolled, the roll is stiff and hard to manage.
You can see the roll on the left side of the quilt in this photo.  The items to the left of the machine really should be removed from the desk while I'm quilting.  They tend to get knocked over or on the floor which is not a good thing! When I get to the free motion quilting, I use more of a "fluff and stuff" method to get the quilt through the harp, so that's when things really need to be moved!
My ironing board is lowered and placed behind the desk where the machine is.  The quilt would pull the quilt if it were allowed to hang over the back of the desk.
You may not be able to tell, but there is a rectangular padded board on top of a standard ironing board which really helps as it is 48" long and 16-1/2" wide. The quilt gathers up on the ironing board while I'm quilting.
So that is how a 100" quilt fits into a 7" harp on a Bernina that is quite a few years old.  In fact, I have a newer machine that was purchased primarily because it has a bigger harp, but the Bernina is still the one I enjoy machine quilting on the most.
Do you have any tips for quilting on a domestic machine?  Most of what I've learned was just learning by doing.  In fact when I started I was told by a very famous machine quilting teacher that taking a class would cut the learning curve a lot.  Unfortunately, I was in the midst of writing my Pine Tree Quilts book and had no time for a class, so it was learn by doing.  Sometimes, that's the best way to learn.  When you make mistakes, you learn not to do it that way again.
I'd love to hear if you have any brilliant tips on machine quilting on a domestic machine.
Until next time,