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! 

12 comments:

QuiltinLibraryLady said...

I used to call that method of arranging the quilt for DSM quilting the "Stuff & Fluff" method. :) It worked, but I'm so grateful to have my Gammill Premier now.

~Joan said...

I love that you mentioned the type of needle AND thread that you use. I enjoy learning from other experienced quilters.

I, too, found that when quilting on a DSM (mine is identical to yours, you know) it is easier not to roll, band. whatever the quilt. Just push it out of the way. Having a table behind or beside the sewing machine helps keep the weight of the quilt from pulling it while it's under the needle, too.

Eager to see this finished.

Janet O. said...

That is a big quilt and I applaud you for doing it on your DSM. I really like that design from Patsy Thompson. I have practiced it, but never used it on anything "real".

Valerie the Pumpkin Patch Quilter said...

I love Patsy Thompson! I quilted everything on a teeny little Brother SQ 9050 before purchasing my long arm. :) Beautiful job!

Purple Pam said...

Wow! Moving that large a quilt around is difficult. You make it look easy.

Our Guilds said...

You are a brave women. I say thank you every day for my longarm. Of course, in order to get it I had to go into business, but it has been a good 23 years so far.

gardenpat said...

I have the same DSM and just finished quilting my Sunny Lanes quilt that I saw on your blog on it! One thing I love to use is 505 temporary basting spray! By using that, I haven't needed to pin or baste even a huge queen size quilt that I took a couple weeks to completely quilt!

Since I'm apparently an Elaine Adair "stalker", er.. "Fan", I'm interested to know where you've found quilting patterns you enjoy?

Ruth said...

I think you are one of the first bloggers that I saw was quilting on their DSM and it really encouraged me to do it also! I quilted 2 king size quilts so far this year, and a bunch of other quilts. It really gives me a sense of accomplishment!

Bonnie said...

Wow! That is one big quilt and one small harp! You go girl. It will be beautiful. I'll have to look in to the Patsy Thompson designs. Thanks for the info.

Carol E. said...

I have also quilted blocks and stray bits onto the backs of quilts. I'm glad you mentioned it, because I was feeling klutzy for having done it. I should have known.. anything can and does happen in the quilty world.

Villas to Rent in France said...

I just want to say that these quilts are looking fantastic thanks for the sharing.

Leslie said...

Wow, I have the same machine, had it for seven years too, without a hiccup. I use the same needles as well. Love the microtex for piecing and mq. I've mq'ed a King or two on my dsm, and agree about the large, flat space helping with the 'stuff and fluff' method. I also end up stacking wips and ufos on the table; there's never enough room in the sewing room! Thanks for this great post.