Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Hang Them High

For anybody who doesn't quilt on a frame, drag is a huge issue. I'd go out on a limb and say it's the biggest issue, even more so than thread tension. Although thread tension is annoying, once I get it right it tends to stay right at least for awhile.

The solution against drag, short of getting a frame custom fit to the machine, is to take the quilt off the table just a little by suspending it. It doesn't look very pretty, and it requires quite a bit of adjustment, but it really works! I have 2 suspension setups, one on my Pfaff and one on my Handi Quilter Sweet 16. I'm against drilling things into my ceiling, so mine are both non-drill solutions.

On the left, my Pfaff is using the Jennoop frame, which was built by a quilter for quilters. I don't use it very often because I don't do free-motion on this machine, just some walking foot quilting, but when I have used it, it works fairly well. I really like how easy the clamps are to hold and release.

On the right, my Handi Quilter Sweet 16 uses these Dog Grooming Stand with clamps I purchased separately. These stands are the perfect size for clipping onto the Handi Quilter Sweet 16 tables that come with the machine. The idea is ingenious, but I can't take credit for it, it's from Katie's Quilting Corner. However, I think the clamps she uses are a bit small to hold up the quilts, and it can hurt my hand to use them as they're *very* tight. I'll probably swap these clamps out for something more like the clamps on my Jennoop frame.

Whichever system I use, the key to getting the most out of them is to suspend the quilts at just the right height so that your quilt surface extends about 6 - 8 inches on each side from the needle before it lifts off the air on the sides. I still have to roll it in the front. You'll have to experiment to find the magic number, but usually, any more and it becomes less useful as drag reenters the picture, and less means it's very hard to navigate the quilt and you start to experience drag ... from up above! Therefore, I do have to readjust often, but readjusting is easy. It is very worth trying suspension as it makes quilting larger quilts not only possible, but much easier.

Here are some more resources on quilt suspension:

Quilt Too Big? Hang It Up! - from The Free Motion Project
Take The Drag Out Of Free Motion - from Katie's Quilting Corner
Quilt Cradle - from Bryerpatch Studio

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