Have you tried quilting on your regular sewing machine? How do you choose the batting weight? Since the harp is relatively small on a regular machine, it's pretty difficult to maneuver all that buik through that area. Any tips or tricks? Also, should the whole quilt be supported, or can small widths hang over the cabinet surface? I'm trying to figure out how to set up a flat surface to support the quilt and will appreciate any thoughts you'd like to share. Thanks so much!

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I haven't quilted anything too large, but I've noticed that winners at AQS shows have quilted on regular sewing machines.

I took a Craftsy class that offered several ways to do it, Quilting Big Projects on a Small Machine, with Ann Petersen. Her lessons include how to split the batting and how to quilt blocks as you go and sew them together.

Harriet Hargrave's book Heirloom Machine Quilting has an entire chapter on how to handle a large quilt in a small machine. She offers lots of advice for folding, clipping and supporting the quilt.

Even though my  machine is set in a large cabinet that offers a lot of support, I stop often to adjust the quilt.

I will be looking for a copy of Heirloom Machine Quilting. If I can't find it in a used book store, I will search online. I haven't tried quilt as you go yet, but it might be a good option as a lot of my quilts are made with scrappy blocks from all the scraps I have been given. I think I didn't have my quilt rolled tightly enough and that caused some of the buik. Also, since I was recycling batting, it was much too lofty for the project. Thanks for the tips. I'll try them on the next little quilt I'm ready to sandwich.

there is a group here...


the hostess "mysewcalgal" has a great website also with tips and links to on-line classes. this group is off and on active. lots of great tips and ideas already posted from last couple of years. comments still being made now & again. great group as an information and help resource

i, personally have been quilting on my home machine from the beginning. i learned machine quilting before i learned to hand quilt. i was gifted w the first book by harriet hargraves on machine quilting. longarm quilting was only being done by commercial business doing quilts for motels etc. harriet taught herself to use her home machine. there are updated versions available new or from amazon etc. excellent book still after all these years. she has a series out to now written in partner w her daughter.

what i do..

i hand baste my quilts in 3-4" quadrants. i am trying spray baste...working well with flannel backed quilts. holds the flannel better than any kind of basting i have tried with flannel.
i set up on the kitchen counter, an island, or isthmus if it was new jersey :)). i have a large sewing table that was perfect in my last home, to support the whole quilt as i worked...but it doesn't fit in this house.
i roll the side of the quilt that will be in the harp area fairly tight. i have tried all the clips etc over the years ...just a mess and more work. and don't work very well anyway.

i start in the middle of the quilt and work my way out toward edges, going side to sided, top to bottom alternating - snipping basting threads as i go.

i have quilted full sized, lap & wall sized quilts and one mini...don't know why on that one :)). i never machine quilt minis! lol anyway, it can be done and tho obviously not as easy as on long arm machine...it is doable and i habe gotten very nice/happy feedback from recipients of my quilts over the years.

Thanks for the tips. I haven't had time to check the website, but definitely will before I quilt my next upcoming project. I've only tried the spray glue once, but I liked it. I had already taped the backing to the floor so I didn't undo it and spray it. It would have held better if I had. I also probably didn't use quite enough spray since it was my first try. I will try it again and if it works at least as well as the first round, I'll be hooked. Sure beats crawling around on the floor pinning and basting. These old knees PROTEST when I do that! LOL!  Still trying to figure out how to supplement my cutting table so I can work standing. Maybe I'll have to buy a second one? Hee, hee! By the way, was looking back at comments and pics and I loved your chicken quilt. I also think the black border turned out great!

thanks for the compliment on the chicken quilt. alas, it is not yet finished as it is the project where my janome started doing nasties. took it in for repairs and am back on my old necchi. like going back to your old jetta after having a new sports car. oh well. so i unpicked all the stitching and am starting again today. the binding will be black...and i do agree w carla et all, there should be some white to emphasize the little white daisies. so very narrow white flange then black binding. should be very nice.

i will tell you my method for basting sometime. my knees have been bad since i was a teen...so crawling on floor not an option. :))

watch the spray glue it can gum up your machine. I use really big safety pins to baste, hate straight pins(ouch). I used an pold dinning room table with the extra leafs in, It's nics and wide and long. I use lowloft batting, it's not as thick and makes it some easier to quilt.

i am new to the spray glue. read on other forums about gumming the machine. on one of those forums it was determined that the individual with the problem had sprayed too heavily. others spoke of their similar experiences. ergo - my first try i went light, was afraid i went too light, but it held well on heavy sandwich of novelty fleece batt & pieced flannel top. have done three quilts this way now...no problems. none.
that is the only drawback to quilting on a domestic machine as opposed to a long or midarm machine. frequent adjustment. harriet started on regular home sewing machine.

tekla - look on ebay, you should find her books there. should find all of them as she has been such a popular quilt author for so many years. you could also do ebay seach for machine quilting. there is a series of books by singer...one of them is on machine quilting. but several other authors have jumped into the subject authoring more books on machine quilting on a domestic machine. longarm quilting is such an entirely different way of machine quiltingg - because of the way that load the quilt, the stitch setup etc. and books for that style of quilting will have "longarm" in the title. i was having tension issues the other day. was looking on-line for help, had already done everything i found suggested...been quilting on my little nechhi for 25 years or more, but i came across lea day's website. it is organized by subject per page. lots of how to & trouble shooting pages.


every page also has a short demo from videos she sells for each subject. i have read so much about her here and other quilt forums, but never looked her up, never been to her website before. she also offers classes on etsy which are very popular w quilters here on mqp and other quilt forums. i am not one to sit and watch videos, don't have a tv to play them on where i sew. i prefer books to learn from. i want it laying there so i can go back and forth w/o fooling w rewind and fast forward to find what i wanted to re-check. but videos seem to be a lot of people like to learn. so i am not dissin' the video method and why i mention her etsy class on fmq. she uses a really sweet looking vintage bernina to fmq on. just had to say...i love old machines and thought so cool that she was using a vintage to fmq on.

anyway..for books..search ebay, they vary in price from cheap used to close to full price for new.
lea day site, or her classes on etsy.

and the best way to learn is to relax. even now i make practice pieces to test stitch before starting a project. since i have spent the last several years digging ditches instead of sewing...am so out of practice on swirls etc. so am going to make a muslin sandwich to practice on. then on lea's site i read where she is doing a black fabric demo for a clss she is planning..with different style quilting in each block.

also...practice practice practic...esp between projects. nothing happens ..no talent or ability developes in a day or a week.

and be sure to visit the places her links on that link above has on first page. karen mctavish has taken harriet hargrave fmq to a whole new level - i also have all of her books. so follow the link and check her out.

I have to say that Leah Day does fmq on her domestic sewing machine and gives classes all over the States (I am from Canada) and she is really, really good at it.  She is definitely my inspiration and I have started to do some fmq on my sewing machine - I have a Janome 7700 which allows me 11" of throat space which is quite a lot.  Leah uses this machine as well and she does not only beautiful but amazing quilt tops.  On advise from Leah, I quarter my quilt top to bottom  by first doing my design up and down and then from side to side starting from the middle - I then quilt each quarter.  I had my son-in-law make me a sewing table which incorporated my sewing machine and table - he just added an 8 ft x 1 inch MDF sheet to it and configurated my table into it.    I added some industrial clear plastic on top and I have the best sewing space ever.  My quilt just slides all over with very little effort.   Nothing should hang over your quilting table, that makes for pulling and bad stitches.  I have recently fmq a quilt for a silent auction and the guy who won it got immediate offers  - unbelievably he did not accept any offers.  If you want to check out what Leah Day has to offer, just google her name you will come up with a lot of choices to check her out. I hope this helps you out somewhat....Good Luck!

Amazon has the updated book here for paperback, comb binding and Kindle.


They also have the original book availabe as used 


I quilt on a regular machine.  I pin baste - if you lay your hand on the quilt and you don't touch pins, they are not close enough.  I have quilted up to a queen sized quilt.  Getting ready to quilt one that is 104" x 104".

I usually start quilting in the middle and work out towards the edges (but not always).  I do both free motion and straight line quilting.  If straight line quillting, use a walking foot.

I'm not  a fan of rolling the excess quilt - I just "puddle" it off to the side or in my lap.  Always wear machine quilting gloves.  You can set up a folding table behind your sewing machine to catch the overflow of the quilt.

Use a 90/14 needle or top stitching needle.  Sew as fast as you can go - it will give you the most even stitch length.  Use a single hole stitch plate - less "wobble" on the needle, so more uniform stitches, especially on curves.

I made a practice piece - about 1 yard square and played with it before I started my first quilt.  If you make a practice piece, don't make it too small - you won't get the right "feel". A lot of people start with smaller quilts first, my first was about 72 x 98.  Baby quilts are good to practice on and always make great gifts - buy a preprinted panel, add 2 or 3 borders, fast and easy to learn on.

Good luck!



Some excellent tips! Thanks. Have class this afternoon and am trying to finish the queen top. Just the side and bottom borders. Will miter the two lower corners (my first try) so I'm a bit worried, but it will be good practice. The top border is narrower than the side and bottom borders, so it won't be mitered.

Once that's done, I can set up and practice the quilting. Have a walking foot, but this will be the first time I've used it. Wish me luck!


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