Quilt ADD in therapy

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Colorado, United States
Other than my family, the passion of my life is quilting. An eclectic, I love a wide variety of styles and techniques encompassing both machine and hand work. I am a longarm quilter who can work for you. I enjoy any style, from pantographs to all-over to full custom, ranging from traditional to modern. I love bringing vintage tops to life and am willing to work with a challenging quilt top. Instagram: lyncc_quilts

Friday, January 31, 2014

January Reports & TIPS for quilting a king on a domestic

Here is my end-of-month wrap-up for January:

Something Old/Something New -

For my something old, See my comments below in my NewFO report about my long-time owned "Faceted Jewels" kit.

My something new: "25th, Baby!" Just yesterday I put in the last of the ditch work on my double wedding ring king-size anniversary quilt!! It took 22 hours and 5 minutes.  I'm keeping track of all that stuff on this one. 7 bobbins so far.

It was very new to me to work with such a gigantic quilt, as I only have a table-top domestic machine.  

Tips I've picked up from Leah Day and others about FMQ'ing about support for the entire quilt and puddling were ESSENTIAL.  You cannot work with any fine control at all if a quilt of this size is pulling down on the front, side, or back of the work surface, or sitting stretched out making dead weight along the table. I'm adding in the tip from two commenters to use your ironing board set to your table's height, set along your left side for temporary added tablespace - brilliant!

Do what you have to do to keep the quilt from flowing over the desk edges. I do have to let a wee bit hang just to my left, but I always shift things so that's only the furthest part from my working portion and it makes zero drag on my puddle. Also, at this size you really do want that large Supreme Glider underneath, or as I've seen others do, use a yard of slick clear vinyl.

That puddle will make or break your FMQ success!!  See how much I have it bunched forward in front of me so that you reach down in and frame a little portion of working space at the bottom of that lake bed?  This keeps your work space unimpeded by the weight and bulk of the quilt so you can get smooth stitches. It's a bit awkward, yes, so don't expect to do this for 3 hours at a stretch without good breaks!

Tips of my own that I will pass on:

1)  There is no way on earth that spray basting will be sufficient at this size or for the amount of squishy manipulation you have to do! Thread- or pin-baste.  I placed my pins just under 2" apart along each arc, one in the center of each connecting diamond, and then 4 inside each ring center "square" to support the curvy corners. That was perfect. Didn't get any slipping of the layers, so everything is perfectly flat without ripples. So embrace the process of this kind of basting and watch a movie (or two - it took three of us 2.5 hours to pin baste this sucker!~).  And use the curved quilter's safety pins along with the pin tool.

I had to use every pin I own on this quilt, and then move some center pins from outer rings to inner rings for about 11 sets as I worked. That bin weighs maybe 5 or 6 pounds!

2)  Don't be afraid of using a decent loft for a king size. I'm using Tuscany washable wool batt, and find it very malleable in this situation - it doesn't impede the squishing or moving at all. I don't know if I would want to work with a doubled batt at this size, such as wool on top of 80/20, but a cotton, 80/20, bamboo, or silk batt would be fine. I wouldn't want to work with a thicker poly batt, either - too little drape to squish and manipulate easily enough for the center work - but a super thin poly would likely work just fine.

3)  Order of work will help you!  To put the ditch work or stabilizing lines in, work from the outside moving inward in a spiral fashion. Start on one edge. Turn and do the second side, turn and do the third, turn and do the fourth - turn and start a second pass along the first, etc. (On a DWR, it worked perfectly to work in ring sets. On a "regular" quilt, I'd probably work in passes about a foot wide.)   This is so you can remove the pins as you get stretches finished and then all that extra bulk/weight will be out of your way as you squish more and more width into that little harp area.

(When you do the "real" quilting, work in the opposite direction, spiraling from the inside toward the outer edges - this is so you can avoid having to squish the less-drapable heavier-quilted parts into the harp.)

4). Specific to quilting a double wedding ring:

     *If you are using different thread colors, it works better to stabilize all the connecting diamonds first, and then do the stabilizing of the melons and centers.

Don't be afraid of quilting a very large quilt yourself! If I can do it, you can, too!  Just remember to puddle that baby and provide support for *all* the quilt's weight, and you won't be crying like little Navarre.  ;D   (Who actually was complaining that I wouldn't leave the quilt still for him to play with.)

For February, my something old will be a fat-quarter set of pinks that I've never touched in the 4 or so years that I've owned them. I want to work up a plan on how to use them and maybe get it cut out and kitted for later sewing. Something new - figuring out how to execute the intricate "real" quilting I want to do on this DWR!!

NewFO Report for January

Holy smokes! What a great month this was, and super unexpectedly - my thesis work leaves me one hour each morning for the DWR and maybe an hour in the later evening, a couple hours on Sat/Sun depending on family activities.   But I got THREE NewFO's on board!

First I put together my String of Pearls. I intend to use the quilting on this as a learning tool for a motif I want to use on my Dear Jane.

Then, a couple of Saturdays ago I whipped up this super-easy kit - my Bohemia quilt.  It's just a flimsy, pinned on another finished quilt so I could see it up there for a while. I wish I had more of the green and blue batiks on that back-quilt's outer border, because don't they look great as last borders on this flimsy?  ;D This won't be quilted for ages.

Love the animal panels


And, as a time-filler while I had to babysit cat meals so the senior gal and the kitten each ate their own food, I washed, ironed, and cut out the batik "Faceted Jewels" kit that's been in my storage for 4 or 5 years. The cutting is way less complicated than you'd think.  It'll look like this when it grows up, but for now it's in an Amazon box on my ready-to-sew shelf in deep storage.

We'll see what February brings - it's amazing what you can accomplish when you consistently put in wee bits of time (and when you can have work areas where you can leave things waiting for your return).

Let's Book It!  Report -

I am working my way slowly through my "Affairs of the Heart" book. I got three blocks finished up during our dinner-hour TV time!   

I don't think much will happen here next month, as that time has been shunted to tying and tucking ends on my DWR quilting work.  We'll see!

So, there are my January reports - go check the link-ups out for some great eye-candy, tips from other quilters, and very good support groups to help you get your work finished.


  1. That's so cool! I love it when people manage those massive quilts on home sized machines. It is empowering! As much as I'd like to have a long arm - it aint happening so I just have to make it work!

  2. I find it helps to set up my ironing board on my left side at the same height as the table to help hold the quilt up. You've gotten so much done with such little time! You've inspired me to not waste little bits of time that I have here and there this month! Thanks :-)

  3. Wow, you have had a great month Lyn! Great tips you have shared too. As I try larger quilts, I will think more about spiraling - I have trouble thinking the whole plan out ahead of time;-)

  4. Wow! I mean it! It is amazing how much you can get done in small increments!!!!! Your wedding ring quilt is so amazing and I cannot even imagine quilting such a large quilt on a domestic sewing machine...I think you must go into quilting sainthood when you do that! I read Leah Day's blog and I find it an incredible inspiration...so are you! Loved getting to see Navarre. Very fun to see everything on this post!

  5. You have been a work horse. Great tips on quilting a large quilt, but still find it easier to hand off anything over a twin size to my long armer. Thank you for joining Book It and love the piece you are working on.

  6. I am in love with your Wedding Ring Quilt!!! My friend and I took a class on machine quilting class from Paula Reid (www.batsintheattic.com). Her specialty is home machine quilting large quilts. You hit all of her major points!!!!

  7. Whew!!! You've been BUSY girlfriend!!! Your DWR is amazing and I can't wait to see the "real" quilting you do on it :) I have the Affairs of the Heart book too and SO want to work on those, but I think it may be next year before I can get to it :( Hope February proves just as productive for you as January did!

  8. You have been very, very productive. Beautiful job quilting Faceted Jewels. Happy quilting.

  9. You take on the most amazing projects! Daunting and yet you make them all seem effortless. What a great month!

  10. Fabulous projects! I do all of my own FMQ as well and until last year all of it on my DSM. Now I have an HQ Sweet 16 sit-down and truly enjoy quilting without quite so much puddling and smushing. I've learned to keep the ironing board set at the same height of the table I'm quilting on and use it to catch the excess quilt as I maneuver. It helps! Looking forward to seeing what you start next month.

  11. Awesome quilt you have quilted. I really like it. Also super impressed with what you have achieved in such a small amount of time. I have been wanting to make a String of Pearls quilt for ages. It is there somewhere on my to do list.

  12. Oh and thanks for all those tips on quilting!

  13. Great tips! I've been thinking about making a quilt for our bed (gasp), but the thought of quilting it leaves me cold. Love seeing Navarre, is he still crazy?

  14. Wow! Look at you go! How much more time do you estimate for your thesis? I'm grateful my master's program didn't require a thesis; rather, we had a two-year internship, which was a little like a part-time job, but it was more fun. We did our share of writing, but nothing as lengthy as a thesis. Anyway...beautiful work. I'm amazed at how much you get done with your busy life.

  15. Such a great post, Lyn! Good info here, from your point of view, about domestic machine quilting, and how to manipulate your quilt. Just today I had a couple beginner students asking me about that. I answered their questions, but have also forwarded your blog post. Thanks very much for sharing your talent! Your DWR is looking great.


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