In this case the ‘waste’ was waste of time.  I was in a hurry to get Vera’s quilt done and thinking to speed up the ‘mounting quilt on the frame’ time, I thought I’d try something I’ve heard other frame quilters do, at least this is what I thought I understood.  Instead of putting each layer on the frame independently, you baste the three layers on the beginning edge and then just attach that to the take-up roller.  It didn’t work for me.  I could tell by about 10″ of basting with the lightest pressure on the foot so it wouldn’t create a ‘wave’, that this was a lost cause.  So, I left it pinned (to save that time already spent) and pinned it that way onto the take-up roller.  That didn’t work either.  The quilt top is not stretched the way it should be but I couldn’t really tell that until I’d done a couple of passes.  Huge sigh.  It wasn’t bad enough to undo the stitching so I proceeded.  Then the thread kept breaking and stitches were skipping.  Again not badly but I am fond of ‘perfect’.  I changed the needle.  That worked for a while and the thread started breaking again.  I changed the thread.  Then the machine started making cricket noises so I oiled.  That worked for a while too.  As you can see in the pic, I’m almost done but I’m exhausted from fighting the ‘forces’.

If you’re interested in my setup on the top shelf of the frame you’ll see the rice bags I made to hold the stitching pattern down so that it won’t move easily.  The pattern has been hanging with its pattern friends (on the left side of the frame) so there was a bulge/round fold.  The metal ruler is holding that down.  I did a lot of picking out stitches.  That happens when threads break and for mistakes so the scissors that usually hang around my neck are lying on the top shelf too.  The front edge of the pattern shelf has three red marks.  The one on the left is a pattern alignment mark.  Each pattern has 2-3  different versions of the pattern on it so you move the paper pattern after each pass.  That way each row is different from the last.  The other two red marks show the ‘babump’ spots.  The sewing machine sits on a table that rolls on wheels.  The bars that these wheels roll on came 5′ long, so that: 1. you can set the frame up to be 5′ long (right now, it’s 10′ long) 2. shipping wouldn’t cost so much.  When the wheels get to these joins, there’s a little babump.  If you know where that comes, you can: 1. move parts of the design that you don’t want spanning that babump 2. speed up to get over the babump better.  DH tells me that he can make the join a little smoother but that has yet to happen.  It’s not a big problem or I would complain.  Look again closely on the pattern shelf.  See the coins?  That’s me moving the designs to miss the babumps.

This will be useful to those of you just setting up your quilting frame.  You know who you are! :)


2 Comments on even the thought of haste makes waste

  1. joyce says:

    I have the same set up as you but I took the shelf off because I never do pantos and it made for better visibility. I miss it when I’m pinning though. I tried floating the quilt once too and it just didn’t work as well as when I roll both the backing and the top. I do float the batting though.
    Do you have the cruise control? Mine is not working as well as it used to. Maybe the wheels are dirty or need replacing.

    • Rita says:

      Yes, I was reading when you were having trouble installing the cruise control. I have the Quilter’s Cruise Control and sometimes it tends to rush eventhough I haven’t moved faster – certainly not as much faster as the machine is suddenly stitching. When that happens, I adjust the governor (the “don’t stitch faster than this” slider) on the Pfaff down a little and that fixes it. I’ve only been at machine quilting since March last year and there still seem to be so many variables that it’s sometimes hard to tell why something is happening. One thing the lady who I bought the frame from told me: I guess she was having some trouble with the cruise control not responding well, perhaps it was lagging. She hung a hex nut from each of the arms that have the wheels that the cruise control reads its movement from. If yours is rushing or lagging, these things might help.

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