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Thread: Dealing with bulk of quilt

  1. #1
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    I'm sewing my biggest project of all time - a single quilt. How do you deal with the bulk of the quilt when MQ? I roll it and slot it into the arm of the sewing machine. Just 30 mins into MQ and I'm getting backaches and shoulder aches! Any advice here?

  2. #2
    Power Poster erstan947's Avatar
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    Bunch it rather than roll it. I quit and do something else for a few minutes. Go back and quilt a little while then stop and so something else. It's worth the extra time.:)

  3. #3
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    Take Excedrin......lol No, not really. However, that is unfortunately the nature of the process. You have to set up your quilting station to minimize the results of dealing with the bulk. Make sure your machine and chair is at a comfortable height. Lots of area around the quilt to keep it from draping to the floor and pulling. Use card tables to lay the quilt on. I like the 24"x48" folding tables you can get. They are easy to store when not in use. take breaks before you get too uncomfortable. Stretch your arms and shoulders frequently.

  4. #4
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    I put one big table in front of my machine, another one on the left-hand
    side, plus my ironing table close to me to support the whole quilt. I start
    in the middle so I don't have more than half the bulk at any time. Some
    quilters put their sewing machine facing and touching the wall so that the
    bulk doesn't slide off. Oh, and don't forget to take a several breaks. :)

  5. #5
    k3n
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    Power Poster k3n's Avatar
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    Agree on the bunching. Other advice, is your chair adjustable for height? Maybe your seating position could be improved. Also, try and get some surface to your left and behind you to support the weight. I have a little chest of drawers on wheels the same height as my sewing table that I pull around when doing a biggie. And try plan the quilting so you only have half the quilt through the throat at the most. I sometimes grab a fistful of quilt with my left hand rather than doin the flat hand thing and it works fine for me, as long as the area immediately under the needle is flat it won't pucker. Hope it helps. It's a pain to have to suffer for your art and MQ is such fun! Good luck.

    Sorry to repeat some of the advice above - think we were posting at the same time! :-D

  6. #6
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    One more thing. Take the bulk that's hanging on you and throw it to the left on the table. It makes a big difference.

  7. #7
    Super Member sewingladydi's Avatar
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    I have sort of the same problem. I make space behind the machine,and to my left,but I find I get distracted by messing around with the quilt. Then I can't keep focused on the FMQ-I'm too distracted by pushing and shoving the quilt.

    Guess I'll just have to overcome that with practice.

  8. #8
    Cyn
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    Take breaks! Move around a lot!

  9. #9
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for all the great advice! I'm pretty new to MQ and had to work with this giant single quilt, which is overwhelming! LOL. And I'm only talking about sewing straight lines - doing SID. Can't imagine how I'm gonna handle my projects when I move on to FMQ in future. It's stressful just thinking about it.

    What does it mean to bunch the quilt? Meaning to fold it in sections?

    I'm sitting on a computer chair, one which has castors at the bottom. Is it better to have a chair that doesn't move?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice
    Take Excedrin......lol No, not really. However, that is unfortunately the nature of the process. You have to set up your quilting station to minimize the results of dealing with the bulk. Make sure your machine and chair is at a comfortable height. Lots of area around the quilt to keep it from draping to the floor and pulling. Use card tables to lay the quilt on. I like the 24"x48" folding tables you can get. They are easy to store when not in use. take breaks before you get too uncomfortable. Stretch your arms and shoulders frequently.
    Right on!! I bought a stool that sits high enough that my elbows are more parrallel with the machine and the difference on the shoulder strain is remarkable. You want your hands to not be reaching "up" to move your quilt--which was what my problem was.

  11. #11
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    I think what they are trying to express is that you should "puddle" the areas you are working on. I strongly suggest you check out Leah Day's videos on her site and on Youtube. She is a maestro at free motion quilting using a domestic machine . Follow the link and scroll down.

    http://www.daystyledesigns.com/articles.htm

  12. #12
    Senior Member craftyone27's Avatar
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    All the advice here is great - I would add one thing. Are you using gloves with the little nubs on them? I notice a big difference in my neck and shoulder strain - much less - when I use these. They are relatively inexpensive - can get Fons and Porters brand at JoAnn's - I have heard others recommend the Machingers brand. Try them - i think you will find they are a big help!

  13. #13
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    i'd rather bunch it too but still get sore neck and shoulder muscles. take it slow and move it often.

  14. #14
    Super Member luckylindy333's Avatar
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    Another thing that might help are some of the quilting gloves- I have not gotten any yet, but am getting ready to try FMQ on a bigger scale this Saturday. I think I will see if my LQS has some quilting gloves...

  15. #15
    Senior Member vivientan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craftyone27
    All the advice here is great - I would add one thing. Are you using gloves with the little nubs on them? I notice a big difference in my neck and shoulder strain - much less - when I use these. They are relatively inexpensive - can get Fons and Porters brand at JoAnn's - I have heard others recommend the Machingers brand. Try them - i think you will find they are a big help!
    I've heard about quilters raving about quilting gloves, but have not tried them yet. Not sure if my LQS stocks up on gloves, but will check them out.

  16. #16
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    You need to use gloves! also try to get you table and machine at the same level with a large area on the side and the back to let the quilt flow. You can either buy a expensive table to put your machine in or make one out of insulation. Google making sewing machine table out of insulation and you should find a how to. My husband made me one for about $30. Also make sure that that you hands/arms are at 90 degree angle with you table just like it should be when typing on the computer. Either raise you chair or lower you table (cut off the legs)

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