Today’s Topic: Four Ways to Grip Your Quilt Better
Welcome to Week Seven!
of The Better Machine Quilt-a-long based on my book 25 Days to Better Machine Quilting.
Find all of the previous Lessons HERE.
Sign up for emails of the class HERE.
Good Morning, Quilters!
Our focus this week is on creating even stitches.
In order to consistently achieve even stitches you need to move the quilt smoothly and maintain a steady needle speed.
And in order to move the quilt smoothly, you need to grip the quilt somehow.
In Week Five we introduced the proper Hand Position:
Place your hands in an upside down heart position, with your thumbs a short distance apart and your first fingers pointing slightly inward. Find a relaxed position, with your elbows down. Apply a slight amount of pressure to your finger tips and through your thumb. This is your HOME position for quilting.
The slight amount of downward pressure may be enough grip to move the quilt smoothly. This is my preferred method. I use this method to grip my quilts 90% of the time.
Quilting gloves are the most common aid for gripping quilts. While I personally don’t like to wear gloves, many quilters love them and wear them whenever they free motion quilt. Quilting gloves come with a variety of options.
A few years ago, I picked up a pair of Swan Amity Gloves at a quilt show. While I don’t like most gloves, I found these gloves very comfortable. The fabric and the cut out fingers allow your skin to breath. In addition, they provide a slight amount of compression which feels like a massage to tired hands.
If you’re ambivalent about gloves–give these a try! (Not an affiliate link!)
Small squares of shelf paper can also provide a little grip. The rubberized surface helps your fingers grip–just like it does under your dishes. Shelf paper is economical (your guild could probably share a single roll) and portable. Try cutting different sizes to see what size works best for your hands.
Quilting hoops are another great option for gripping a quilt. This is my second favorite option.
Unlike embroidery hoops which have a top hoop and bottom hoop, quilting hoops are single and sit on top of the quilt. The underside of the hoop has a “grippy” surface and allows you to move the quilt smoothly.
The Viking hoop is lightweight and what I really like is the shape of the “handles” which fit the natural, curved shape of your hands. I feel the tension in my hands relax when I use the Viking Guide Grip.
The Martelli company makes a set of pretty red, hoops for BERNINA. While I prefer the handle shape of the Viking hoop, the Martelli hoops are heavy. The weight of the hoop helps support the weight of large quilts. I use the Martelli hoops whenever I need more control on large quilts. Martelli makes a similar hoop in black HERE. These rings are a complete circle, which I generally don’t like, however, it appears there is a depression or opening so the presser foot can be moved out of the ring without knotting off. In general, I would avoid full circle rings for this reason.
Another gripping aid comes in the form of pads, paddles or discs. They come in a variety of shapes and weights with a grippy surface on one side. Just rest your hands on them to grip the quilt. I have used (and recommend) the Grip&Stitch by Clever Craft Tools.
One Size Does Not Fit All
The key is to recognize there are many options for gripping your quilt. Gloves are the most popular, but if you don’t like gloves, try something else. Or, try tailoring your gloves-like snipping off the first finger and thumb-to suit your quilting style better.
Also, try different gripping solutions for different quilts. For example, most of the time I don’t use gloves or hoops, but once in awhile I just can’t seem to get a grip. (This has happened more in 2020–I can’t imagine why!?) I like to use the lightweight hoop when my hands are tired and when I’m quilting teeny tiny motifs like pebbling. When I’m working on a large quilt, I might use one of the BERNINA weighted rings, and when I’m in a tight spot, I like the Clever Craft Tools, Grip & Stitch discs.
The Trick to Quilting
Find tools that work for you. Good quilting tools make all the difference and last a lifetime.
When YOU have fun quilting….YOUR quilts will be fun!
So get a grip!
What’s YOUR favorite gripping tool/accessory?
We’d LOVE to hear!
the Knute Rockne of Quilting…
Wait...he was the coach of the Gipper, not the Gripper!
PS…All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy Quilts and are intended for personal use only. Feel free to re-blog, pin or share with attribution to LKQ. For all other purposes, please contact me at Lori@LoriKennedyQuilts.com. Thank you!
PPS…This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you choose to purchase–at no additional cost to you–I may receive a little “pin-money”. Thank you for supporting LKQ in this small way!
PPS...More Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 has a Troubleshooting Guide on page 36
Visit my Etsy shop: LoriKennedyShop for all of my books! They are ALL bestsellers!