Sunday, November 15, 2009

On the frame

One of my New Year's resolutions at the beginning of the year was to really learn how to use my Sturdy Lite quilt frame (from Grace.) Back in January I had owned the frame for almost a year with almost no use. I was ashamed to admit that I was essentially afraid of how to use it. Not afraid of bodily harm {that's silly, but probably not improbable!} just afraid of how complicated it seemed.

The frame did not come with very clear instructions on how to even load a quilt on the frame! Other things got in the way of my goal of "quilting on the frame 3 times a week" such as: too small of a room in TN, taking it apart when I had guests {and never setting it back up}, moving, a sewing machine with a small throat space, and no clear instructions on what to do!

Eventually I got a few things that made it easier for me to use the frame. First I got a steal of a deal on a Brother PQ 1300 ($330 off eBay including shipping) {Hello 9" throat space!}


Then I purchased and e-book from Kathy Quilts that specifically goes through the process of working with a mid-arm sewing machine on a quilting frame. The book was {in my opinion} really expensive for what it is. It is a good source of information but the reality is that it is an e-book and there are no publishing fees associated with it so the price should come down to about $25 or less. It also boast to be over 100 pages, but the font used is a really big size, like a size 24! Oh and the grammar is pretty bad {my brain hurts after reading the whole thing because I really just want to correct the grammar.} In Kathy's defense they have come out with a new edited version, which I haven't read because they are not giving it to their previous purchasers for free and I'm not buying it again just to avoid bad grammar. Over all the book does have good information and it was the cheaper option rather than letting my frame sit virtually unused for yet another year.

The last thing I got that has been very helpful was a "speed control" for the Brother PQ-1300. It is NOT a stitch regulator. It merely replaces your sewing machine's foot pedal with a little knob that keeps your machine needle moving at a constant speed. It's great because I no longer have to try to reach the back of the frame to turn the fly wheel. I also don't have to use the wooden handle on the frame to "squeeze" down my foot pedal. That set up is only comfortable for about 15 minutes of sewing time. Your hands get tired from trying to squeeze the wooden handle while feeling all the vibrations of the carriage. It really tired out your hand. Now with the speed control I don't have to squeeze anything! and there is no hand fatigue. The speed control is also responsive enough that I can make the needle go up or go down a single time. I found it here for $19.99 with free shipping. They also have one for the Juki TL-98E for the same price


So I threw on this practice quilt that I had lying around for the last 3 years! It's almost done, I just need to go back and decide how to quilt my borders. It's not perfect by any means, but it will make a great picnic quilt.


1 comment:

Deborah said...

It was divine intervention that I read your blog today. I bought a Pfaff Creative 2134 machine - accoding to the users manual it is the perfect embroidery an sewing machine combination. I bought this machine almost two years ago. How much have I used it? Twice! That was for straight sewing, and I had problems even doing that! Now, I'm trying to do some free motion embroidery and cannot get the machine to work at all. Just like you, I am completely and totally intimidated by this machine. The book is no help whatsoever. I was working in Germany and bought the machine while I was there. Thought I'd have plenty of time to get training. Nope - ended up leaving three months after buying the machine. And where in the heck do I find somebody local to train me on a Pfaff embroidery machine? The book is no help whatsoever! Congratulations to you for finding help for your problem. Me? I'm still sitting here trying to figure out how to free motion my quilting when the machine keeps beeping at me to raise the feed dogs. Aaaarrrrggghhhhh!!!!

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