Today: How to Create a Smooth Glide For Machine Quilting
Good Morning, Quilters!
Welcome to Week Nine 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.
Today’s Topic: A Smooth Glide
In order to create a smooth stitching line, you need to be able to move your quilt smoothly. However, free motion quilting has two archenemies: Gravity and his sidekick, Friction.
Gravity wants to tug your quilt onto the floor and Friction doesn’t want you to move the quilt at all!
In order to move your quilt to create smooth stitching lines, you will need to minimize the effects of both of these quilting villains.
Gravity has one goal–to pull your quilt out from under your machine and onto the floor where your dog can use it more comfortably! (Yes, YOUR dog is on the side of THE Enemy!) The best way to minimize the force of Gravity is to support the quilt on as large a surface as possible. The ideal is to have your machine in a set in cabinet. This provides the largest possible surface to support the quilt. Place an ironing board or other table to the left of your machine and at the the same height, to provide even more support.
To keep the quilt from falling off the back of your table, place your machine against a wall. Even better–thwart Gravity by placing your machine table in the corner against two walls!
If your machine is not in a set-in cabinet, I highly recommend a Sew-Steady or similar extension table. The custom fit tables are much larger than the standard table that come with sewing machines. The extra space provides better support for the quilt and more free space to place your hands while you quilt.
BE CREATIVE–Fight gravity in your own way! Look around your house and use boxes, foam board, books or other supports to create the largest possible work surface to support your quilt. Add inexpensive banquet tables behind and to the left of your sewing machine to support the quilt. I’ve seen a lot of MacGyvered sewing set ups that worked quite well–use your creativity to find a solution!
Friction is a more subtle foe. It provides slight but steady resistance to moving the quilt.
To combat Friction, I recommend using a Supreme Slider by Lapierre Studios. The quilting mat adheres to your sewing machine and reduces friction. (I don’t recommend a lot of tools for free motion quilting, but the Supreme Slider is one thing that I think really helps create a smooth glide.) The mat comes in two sizes Small and Large. Buy the largest one that will fit your work surface.
Another option is to spray your work surface with a silicone spray like Sullivans.
This is a tip I received from several students. I have not tried this myself…so I’d LOVE to hear if any of YOU have tried this technique.
Whenever you can, avoid textured backing fabrics–they increase friction and make quilting more challenging!
Another way to fight our nemesis, Friction--spray the backing fabric with spray starch and press before quilting. Be sure everything is dry before quilting–a wet surface increases Friction!
Evaluate your sewing area.
Would rearranging your space allow you to fight Gravity better?
Is there a corner where you can place your sewing table?
What items in your house can you use right now to create a larger quilting surface? Amazon boxes, books, cases of soda?
Do you have a card or banquet table you can use to support your quilt?
Do you have spray starch or Best Press? We will use it tomorrow!
What About YOU?
Have YOU ever used a Supreme Slider?
Do YOU use silicone spray?
How have you MacGyvered your sewing area?
We’d LOVE to hear!
YOUR Quilting Superhero (can you tell I have five grandsons?)
Fighting Gravity and Friction daily,
The Free Motion Phantom
(Can anyone help me with my Avenger name?!)
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...More Free Motion Machine Quilting 1-2-3 has a Troubleshooting Guide on page 36
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