Wednesday, May 22, 2013
How much throat space is needed for Machine Quilting on a DSM?
Today, I basted!!! Had to bring the 2 large tables in the house -- too cold outside! I have PVC legs to put on the table legs to bring up the surface to my height - no bending over!!! But the job is done, all mess put away, and I am ready to MQ this MOUNTAIN of Jamestown Landing (my way)! I say "My Way" because I didn't make the strings for the HSTs, just used large blue triangles instead. Thank you Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville.com for her continued inspiration!
I machine quilt on my domestic sewing machine (DSM), a Janome MC6500. This machine has never had a problem with thread - I've NEVER fussed with tension other than the transition from regular sewing to machine quilting. It has been a workhorse. It is 7 years old with not one bit of trouble and I've never had it serviced.
How much space does a person need to MQ this one? There is a fuzzy photo, you might see that I have 8 7/8 inch from the housing to the needle, and my quilt is 87" x 104". This is the largest I've quilted - it will work, with some fiddling, and patience needed near the center. I will work perhaps 2 hours a day, not longer because I don't want to strain neck and shoulder muscles.
Below is my favorite quilting pattern, a kind of paisley I learned from PatsyThompsonDesigns.com. I now use Schmetz Microtex needles for quilting, but Schmetz regular quilting needles are good as well. The Microtex seem to last longer and I use them for regular sewing well beyond one quilt. The thread I'm using is variegated cotton (YLI) with soft shades of pastels which add some sparkle to the mostly all-blue quilt. I feel brilliant with this choice of the subtle added color, AND I alrelady HAD some on hand!
I have also learned that setting my machine to a certain speed - not too fast, not too slow, and then flooring the foot pedal gives me the best control and most even stitches. I use my left foot on the foot pedal and my right knee on the knee lift - so glad I learned that efficient technique!
I pile my quilt around the needle - definitely NO ROLLING - and keep adjusting, futzing, moving, plumping. My sewing table/surface is flat, and opens up wide. However, having that extra space means I have a tendency to pile UFOs, etc., on the surface. Bad me! Occasionally, I've quilted a stray block or bits of fabric onto the back of my quilting project! One time I quilted my Machinger onto the back. Duhhhh!