Quilting Workspace

Old 06-11-2019, 06:44 PM
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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!
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:04 PM
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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?
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:00 AM
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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."
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:51 AM
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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.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:56 AM
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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?
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:57 AM
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Yes it does. I’m in an apartment but I love your improvisation!
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:01 AM
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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.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:29 AM
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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.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:34 PM
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Thank you for the recommendation. I’ll look for both!
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:50 PM
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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.
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