Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quilt frame challenges!

I just finished a fun scrap quilt, and now have put it up on my quilt frame. I have a hinterberg frame. Check out the website, if you have not heard of these. These frames are what I call a mid arm style quilting. You use your domestic sewing machine on the frame and drive the machine across the quilt. So quilting is like a long arm in the way it moves across the quilt, but (to be a long arm, you need a special machine that has a much larger throat opening on it giving you more quilting space.) Here is another popular frame that works the same way. Graceframe,or little Gracie II


I liked the hinterberg frame for the simple fact that I can choose the size of the frame. You see with this frame you buy simple electrical conduit for the poles. You can use them as is, (about 10 feet in length) or cut them smaller if you do not have the space for such large setup. You can even have more than one size if you want to buy extra poles. I cut mine down to 7 feet to fit in my room. (I am now considering getting the extra set of poles in the 10 foot length. I now moved my frame to the basement and have the room. I also made a quilt, that is larger than the my current poles. So it has sat in the UFO pile for almost a year now.

Back to my scrap quilt

I have not used my frame in over a year! And it took me a few tries to remember how it goes back together. Now onto loading my quilt!

Ok, loading the quilt, was more of a challenge then I wanted. It is not difficult, it just takes time, and I am just a bit impatient. After several hours, I finally had it ready to quilt. Yipee!

Then I realized I put the quilt on the rollers, before I put my machine on! Yikes. If you look at this photo from their website, you will see what I mean. As you can see in the photo, the back pole is supposed to go through the machine. So I had to loosen everything up and carefully put the pole (with my quilt still on it through the machine). Probably not the best way, but certainly the quickest way. I was not about to start over! after all it took me about 3 hours to set up the first time because I was so out of practice with setup. Normally it should take about an hour with a large quilt, at the longest!

Anyway, now came the part I hate, getting the foot pedal setup for the right speed. And of course like every other step, I had forgotten how to do this, and it took another 2 hours. This part really is better with 2 people, and well no one was home, so it was all me! All two hours with me! And I still only got about half speed. This is the most frustrating thing. I am going to the International Quilt Show in Chicago in a few weeks, and you can bet I will be visiting their booth to find out what the secret is to getting the foot pedal right.

You see I have a speed control on my machine, so I like to be able to control my quilting speed from there. Which means I need to get the rocker arm to press down on the foot pedal fully (giving me max speed) then I can set the machine to whatever speed is comfortable. But for some reason I can only get it to press half way down. Which is a bit slow, and my quilting stitches are too big if I go to fast with the movements!

If you have one of these frames, and know the secret to getting full speed, PLEASE post it here for me! (and anyone else who reads this)

Maybe after I get some practice with my quilting again on this frame I can take a few photos to share, or maybe a video to post. (well only if it is worthwhile......as I am still a beginner with quilting on the frame)

I know this was a bit of a personal rant, and not much of a lesson, (other than I need to have more patience! :-) But I hope you still enjoyed this, and will come back again to see what other quilting tid-bits I have to share with you. After all quilting is a journey, and with any journey there can be a few bumps in the road. We just need to learn how to avoid them the next time we travel down that road.

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