Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Free-Motion Quilt Suspension System and Other Pain-Free Quilting Modifications

Yesterday, my husband helped me set up a Free-motion Quilt Suspension System, designed to reduce the drag of quilting a bed-size quilt on a domestic sewing machine.  

I just love Pinterest for all the great DIY ideas you can glean.   I came across this idea a few years ago when Chris Lynn Kirsch shared a quilt floating system on her blog, but I wasn't crazy about using chains.  Then more recently, Leah Day came up with a different take on the idea, stemming back to Caryl Bryer Fallart's Quilt Suspension Thingie (really, that's what she calls it).     Patsy Thompson talks about her hang-it-up system.

This lady even used dog grooming arms to pick up the quilt and stop the drag.   I also like her idea of using muslin clamps from the world of photography.

This lady used PVC pipe to build a frame around her work space.  Although, I didn't really have room for the frame, I liked the idea of the canvas leaders and the flexibility to clip the quilt anywhere along the lead ...

Everyone has some good ideas, and in the end, mine in a hybrid of all those, with some modifications to take advantage of the materials and tools available to me.

*  The wooden bar was the simplest and most elegant solution for my given space.   I wanted it to be more of an angle against the corner, rather that even with the window--which would have made it more like a curtain/window shade.
*  The black walnut stick was in the scrap wood stash in the basement (= FREE).
*  I've had the clamps for a while now.  I used to use them for layering and pin basting quilts ... but now I have a new and easier method (See Board Basting) for that task.  So the clamps were re-purposed (=FREE).
*  The only thing I purchased was the bungee cords -- 6 of them in a bundle for $7 in varying lengths.

Such a cheap solution, which makes me wonder why I haven't done this sooner.   I guess I should wait to say that until I've tried it out ...

I currently have 2 quilts waiting to be free-motion quilted.  A few years ago, my husband made me a sewing table custom-built for my sewing machine and the space I have to work with.  It made the job of quilting a whole quilt much easier.  That was when I started doing them at home, and not taking those projects to Quilt Camp or renting time on a long-arm.

Here's another tip that should improve the process yet again (Thank you, Pinterest):
Using a teflon oven sheet to help the quilt slide more easily under the needle.  It covers a lot of space and $8 is such a reasonable price, too!     I taped it down with blue painter's tape, and cut a small hole for the needle and thread to pass through. 

Now the hardest part is deciding just what to quilt into these quilts ...


Vicki W said...

Great ideas!

The Idaho Beauty said...

That is so cool! The advantages of having a handy husband, although I know there are women out there who could pull something like this together too. I first saw this sort of floater system around 2000 in conjunction with one of those first sit-down long arm machines set in a table. (The brand notorious for catching on fire). As I hopefully get around to tackling that lap quilt that has been pinned ready to go for months, I'll be thinking of this and envying you. :-)

Michele Matucheski said...

If my husband wasn't around, or able to help, I'd probably just ask my friend, Vicki. She moonlights in a hardware store because she likes to fix things and DIY. Very handy--and she has her own tools, and she knows what to do with them, too!