Recently I returned to machine quilting because I had a baby quilt to do. Not only did I not have the time to send it to a long-arm quilting, but (and let's be honest here) I did not want to go to the added expense.
So I tried my hand at machine quilting, yet again. Of course it had been some time since I last tried machine quilting myself. There was a lot to remember - feed dogs, walking foots... and then of course the quilting design.
I did it. I finished it. But oh it was slow going and hard to do. Mainly because I felt the quilt was just not moving very easily in the machine.
Of course about 3 weeks after I finished my baby quilt - both Patty and Cheryl come in saying how they just completed their small quilts (one was a wall hanging, the other was a baby quilt) - teaching themselves new machine quilting techniques-- how easy it was and what they learned from it all. I was amazed and asked them, how could it be easy. Isn't it just hard moving the quilt around "free motion" style - how can their designs be so consistent.
They both said - for starters, it's all about "the glide." They both use The Supreme Slider. I also know Carol uses it as well.
What I've since found out is your quilt needs to be able to glide smoothly. You don't want to experience that dreaded drag. That friction or drag is caused in 2 ways.
- If your quilt top slips over the edge of your table surface, well that becomes additional weight and can pull your fabric enough to cause problems such as flexing the needle and slow things down. What you need to do here is create a big enough and as flat enough surface so that your quilt is not draping downwards. Don't worry, you can feed the quilt through and have it drag below the needle - but as it moves towards and through the needle - you want the quilt to remain as flat as possible over a much larger surface in order to displace the flex and drag.
- The top of your surface on which your fabric moves through must be extremely slippery. Therefore it is recommended to first thoroughly clean the table top surface your quilt will be on. Then you could spray that surface with a furniture or car polish or fabric-safe silicone upholstery spray. (Remember always test these products on a fabric sample first.)
Another tip, is spray starch your backing, so that it becomes stiff making the glide oh so much easier.
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