I have quilted quite a few large quilts with my domestic sewing machines and am thankful for the nice table I purchased several years ago. The sewing machine drops down so the bed of the machine is level with the table top.
Maneuvering a large quilt on the table and through the machine throat is a bit tricky but can be done. This does tend to slow down the process of quilting due to stopping and rearranging the quilt in order to move to new areas to quilt. I have heard of several ways to reduce the drag made by the quilt and recently watched a video online. Patsy Thompson Designs.com offers for sale a system using bungie cords and clamps to raise up the bulk of the quilt. According to her the system works well and makes moving the quilt under the needle easier.
The first thing I did was show the video to my husband and ask him to make one for me. He's really inventive and able to put together a lot of creative things. But as I thought about it some more, I had an idea of a way to achieve the same effect. I dug out the Dritz Quilter's Floor Frame from under the bed and "borrowed" some of the parts. I already had some clamps and binder rings. My husband gave me the small bungie cords I needed. After making the frame, which fits well on my quilt table, I added the binder rings over the cross pvc pipe. The bungie cord hooks attach to the binder rings and the opposite end hooks fit perfectly into the little holes in the clamp handles.
My test run on my FMQ practice quilt went well. Elevating the quilt really does reduce the drag and makes it easier to move the quilt around as I quilt. Re-positioning the clamps on the quilt every so often takes a little time, but so far I think its a more efficient method than rearranging the bulk of the quilt every few minutes.
The nice thing about my suspension contraption is that I can easily dismantle it and store it away when not needed.
Here's a few pics of the quilting I have been doing on this practice quilt.
I'm using yellow thread on the top and white in the bobbin. The quilting shows better on the solid back.
About this practice quilt.......I am obsessed with learning how to free-motion quilt. I watch videos almost every day. I have dozens of practice quilt sandwiches ranging in size from 6-inches square to 24-inches square.
Several years ago I made this top and, because I never really liked it, I stuck it up high on the top shelf and forgot about it. When I was looking for fabric and batting to make more practice sandwiches, I spotted this quilt. I had previously sandwiched and spray basted the batting and backing to the top so it was ready to be quilted. Now I have a very large practice piece to work on.
I am quilting this rather densely and using pebbles for filler in between the larger elements. Whenever I see a new quilt stitching design to try I have a practice piece all ready to go under the needle.
Thanks for stopping by. Happy Quilting!