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Taking weight off a quilt while quilting on a domestic machine

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Being a sit-down quilter, I would suggest placing your DSM (Domestic Sewing Machine) sewing table in a lefthand corner, so the quilt cannot fall off the back of the table, or off the left side of the table.  After that, fluff the quilt up so that your hand quilt area can be restriction free moved around under your hopping foot.


I                                  DSM table 

I                                       quilter 

I     Place ironing

     board here if

you need support on 

your left side.  Butt it up to your sewing table.


If the quilt sandwich falls off the table, it will jerk your quilt.  It could break a needle.  If you are trying to pull it up over the back or sides, it will make it difficult to smoothly move the area you can actually quilt around under the hopping foot.  You truly can only quit about an 8-inch area between your hands when you free motion quilt on a DSM.  

This area is the area that needs to be area that is fluffed up so you can easily and without restriction move the quilt around under the hopping foot.  The faster you move your hands, the faster you need to have the needle move up and down to keep consistent stitch spacing.  If you slow your hands down, you need to slow your needle down.  Always stop your needle in the down position  when you reposition your hands.  

Never play chicken with a stabilizing needle.  It will win.  Keep the hopping foot about an inch away from any needle.  

Quilting near where the binding will go, make sure the backing fabric does not get flipped under the quilt so you quilting it so the backside of the fabric is visible.  It no fun unsewing that kind of mistake.  You thought your frontside looked so good until you looked at the back.  You at least will have a nice set of needle holes to follow on the frontside during your next quilting session. 

A good video for DSM free motion quilting is Fluff and Stuff Machine Quilting by Paula Reid.  You can find her videos at local quilt shops or on her webpage http://www.battsintheattic.com

Here is a YouTube video from Patsy Thompson; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DmW-1L9Ua0  She shows you how to break the quilt down into quarters so the least amount of quilt is under the DSM throat at a time.

I have found clips that hold the quilt from the ceiling or up off the table are not needed.  Some quilters may say it is the only way to quilt.  Start small quilting some local quilt guild charity quilts, and learn what works best for you.  Start cheap, and use rubber coated garden gloves.  You can cut out the pointer finger and thumb tips to easily pull up your thread, and thread your needle.  If you like gloves, try some actual quilting gloves.  Don't like gloves, try the batt scoots from Paula Reid.  There are other versions out there you can find.  Some swear by quilting rings.  Every quilter is going to have an opinion what is best.  You have to try to find what works for you.  

Have fun, and do not be your worst critic.  Your quilting looks fine.  The more you free motion quilt, the better you will become.  The happier you will be with your work.

Best of luck to you.


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