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Thread: Quilting Workspace

  1. #1
    Junior Member SarahBethie's Avatar
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    Question Quilting Workspace

    A few questions for the experts please.

    Ideally, how much workspace will you need to construct a king size quilt?
    Are quilting frames useful or not?
    Any helpful tips for creating an effective workspace?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    To construct a king quilt you don't necessarily need a king sized space. You may want space to lay out your quilt while you assemble all of your blocks into the quilt top, but you need very little sewing space to actually sew it together. You may need more space to quilt it, depending on how you do it.

    It seems you are asking about hand quilting frames here. I don't hand quilt, but someone else should be able to help.

    Putting together your workspace will depend on how much space you have to work with, what you need to do in the space, and how much equipment/fabric/gadgetry you have to store. The smaller your space, the more each station will need to pull double or triple duty. If you had to, you could press, cut, and sew on the same smallish surface. Quilting on a frame, whether by hand or machine, requires another allotment of space. Can you give us some details about what you are working with?

  3. #3
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    I used my garage to baste a large quilt. I fastened it to the wall and stood in front of it to baste it. Then, I attached it to the frame with pins. As I quilted it, I rolled it on the frame to get to a fresh space. This sounds about as clear as mud, but I hope you can "get my drift."

  4. #4
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    The most important thing I think is having a large enough table to support the quilt as you quilt it. That is if you are using a regular machine.It's just too much fabric. I sandwich the quilt like ironing sheets together on my regular board. It's quite a job, I don't recommend it for the faint of heart.

  5. #5
    Junior Member SarahBethie's Avatar
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    Thank you for your input. I have a very large desk (60 x 24 inches workspace) that’s ideal for sewing. The length and width would accommodate a quilt but I’m getting rid of it. The bulk and heft make it difficult to move. I’m making a cutting table similar to this. But I’m uncertain if I’ll be comfortable sewing in that position. Putting a moveable desk in is probably the best option.

    Width wise, what would you suggest for the surface on the desk?

  6. #6
    Junior Member SarahBethie's Avatar
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    Yes it does. I’m in an apartment but I love your improvisation!

  7. #7
    Junior Member SarahBethie's Avatar
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    Your comment really settled the matter. Thanks for your honesty. I don’t want a wrestling match. It will lessen the likelihood of quilting. I’m focusing on the large table as you’ve suggested.

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SarahBethie View Post
    Your comment really settled the matter. Thanks for your honesty. I don’t want a wrestling match. It will lessen the likelihood of quilting. I’m focusing on the large table as you’ve suggested.
    Marti Michell's book Machine Quilting in Sections might be helpful to you, or her online class. (This is not the same as quilt as you go.) She explains several methods that make it much easier to quilt large quilts with a home sewing machine.

  9. #9
    Junior Member SarahBethie's Avatar
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    Thank you for the recommendation. I’ll look for both!

  10. #10
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    I have quilted two almost-king sized quilts on my vintage Bernina 830 Record. I have a sewing table for my Bernina, but it's not very big. I actually found using two 24"X48" tables worked the better than an extra banquet table. One behind my sewing table and one to the side, turned perpendicular. I only needed the table to the side when I was working with the most to the left side of the needle, typically in the middle sections of the quilt. The table behind my sewing table helped the most. Doing whatever you can to reduce drag on the quilt helps tremendously. Wrapping the table with clear vinyl worked for me. I also waxed my sewing table with Johnson's paste wax. My machine has a slick metal surface, but a plastic one might need something else such as a mylar mat.

    I found that the easiest quilting design was a wavy line with my walking foot, because it took minimal turning of the quilt. Using quilting gloves helps tremendously with gripping and making the wavy lines. Free motion quilting on a large quilt is not something I would try with the limitations of my sewing machine size.

    Bobbin access is important. I have a vintage Singer 15-91 that I actually bought just for machine quilting, but the bobbin access is from the machine bed. This requires removing the quilt to access the bobbin case each time a new bobbin is needed. I can reach my Bernina bobbin underneath the table surface fairly easily without having to remove the quilt. The presser foot lifter is another feature I only use when I'm quilting, it helps every time I need to reposition the quilt.

    I also learned to only quilt in short sessions. Handling a large quilt was very hard on my back, shoulders, and neck.
    Elizabeth

  11. #11
    Junior Member SarahBethie's Avatar
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    That’s brilliant! I have the space to have the same. The desk will be stationed in front of 3 large floor to ceiling windows. The natural light is incredible and it’s a nice spot for sewing. The side configuration would provide extra table space without clogging up the footprint. And I’d still have room for a large cutting cart with storage on wheels.

    Thank you for the suggestions. I’m starting small. I like Tilda’s designs and I think its wiser to do simple projects and lap quilts until I get the hang of it. That will aid my precision and speed which are a factor with larger pieces. My machine came with a lot of feet and a circular attachment that I’m looking forward to trying.

    I’m sorry to hear of your pain. Is it the heft or position which causes your discomfort?

  12. #12
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    My daughter made me a quilt; she did not quilt it herself (like me, she quilts by check). However, while sewing the top she did so standing up. She's not really into sewing, but wanted to make me a quilt; her table at the time was a cafe height one, so that is what she used. She said she actually liked it.

    If you are going to make one, I highly recommend putting it on a base with casters. I have one we built from Ikea Expedits and did not use a base or casters. Even with the cubes empty, we cannot move it. The top is bolted on with brackets underneath; I like how the one in your link has the top held in place rather than attached. Definitely easier for moving, should that be needed at some future point.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 06-15-2019 at 04:32 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  13. #13
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    I have a cutting table that's roughly 4'x7', before I got my sit down machine, I also used the cutting table as a quilting table, with a little help from some just the right height to bring the table up to the height of my machine and also made it about a foot wide, it was still a bear to quilt a king size quilt on it.

  14. #14
    Junior Member SarahBethie's Avatar
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    Mobility is the main reason I’m seeking input. I plan to put the desk and cutting cart on wheels. I planned to use Ikea pieces but may seek my woodworking teacher’s input and make them both instead.

    Thanks for the reminder about the top!

  15. #15
    Junior Member SarahBethie's Avatar
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    That’s why I started the thread. It’s easy to think you have enough space in the beginning. But better to setup the space with quilting in mind if you can.

  16. #16
    Junior Member SarahBethie's Avatar
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    Great news! I went to my woodworking class and we’re making the cutting cart and desk! I’m starting with the cart and will do the desk afterward.

    The cart will have a removable top to accommodate a move. I’ll have a combination of drawer units and cabinets for larger storage. And I’d like to have a sliding panel (or two) for my rulers.

    Thanks to your wonderful input I’m making the desk with a fold down table in back. I’m drawing inspiration from the Koala Artisan Pro.

    Much thanks to everyone who chimed in! I haven’t figured out every nook and cranny but we’re off to a good start. I have to report back with my size requirements. And then we’ll get to work.

  17. #17
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    We'll look forward to seeing pictures! Good luck!

  18. #18
    Junior Member SarahBethie's Avatar
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    Thank you! I went to Ikea Friday. I’ve never been and my instructor wanted me to see the pieces in person. We’ll place the order this week. I really liked the glass display cabinets. I think they’ll work well for fabric. I’ll use the extra space in the cart for tools and patterns. I’ll have quite a few in time.

  19. #19
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    Sarah Bethie, i would put locking wheels under that desk do it was easy to move. Fantastic cutting space n using to quilt with

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