Monday, July 20, 2009

Long overdue update - I have a quilting stall!

Okay, so I still haven't finished the quilt I was ranting about in February. I put it in Time Out.

Because it was being bad, because I was pissed off, because working in my sewing studio (in an un-insulated barn) is a nightmare unless the weather is perfect - lots of reasons.

A big part of the problem was my quilting frame. It's just so bloody awkward to use when you're quilting a ginormous king-sized quilt. Remember, with the Flynn frame you roll the frame back and forth from side to side as you sew. Think of a really freaking huge old fashioned typewriter carriage chugging back and forth. With a king-sized quilt, this was a king-sized pain in the ass. And neck and shoulders, from wrestling with the sheer size of the thing.

I sent my brother some YouTube videos of proper machine quilting frames in action so he could see what I wanted. Bro, being all MacGyvery in addition to being waaay experienced with building very cool stuff, worked out a means of building a tabletop to work with the quilt frame.

Here's what he came up with. It's so simple yet so genius! It's a melamine panel with supports on each end to hold the Flynn 3-rail quilt frame suspended at exactly the right height for my sewing machine to glide around. He built a tray custom fitted to hold my sewing machine, and installed these great little roller-ball casters on the bottom. Quarter-round molding around the edges prevents the tray from rolling off.

In the photo, I'm testing the maneuverability of the machine before my bro (on the left) makes the final tweaks. Using this set-up, I no longer need 18 feet of horizontal space for quilting. I need only the 8.5 feet of space this table takes up, because the frame remains stationary and the sewing machine does all the moving. (I owe my bro a new t-shirt; he ripped a hole in his while working on this project.)

After the final tweaks, we moved this into the barn and placed it on a long folding table. I knew that the height was going to be an issue. I have to quilt standing up with this system, which is fine by me so long as I'm not bending over a too-low table. DBF took care of the height issue by building a frame upon which this quilting table now rests.That's the quilt rolled onto the frame hanging from the wall above the table. This table was crafted to the perfect height for me. As luck would have it, that turned out to be the perfect height for storing double-stacked storage bins (full of fabric and yarn, natch) underneath!

DBF is proud of his work. He's very relieved to know that I won't be griping anymore about quilting, and happy that I'm no longer trying to quilt in the barn hallway. I moved everything quilty into the first stall - fabric, notions, table, patterns, iron, ironing board, cutting boards, templates, etc. There's even room in there for my dress dummy and my stand-up cardboard cut-out of Jean Luc Picard.

Now I have zero excuses not to finish this quilt and start work on the half-dozen others I have floating around in my head.


  1. Ingenious! Tell CC he did a great job!


  2. Hey, DBF he did a good job too!

    That is what I get for not reading all the way to the end of the post before replying...

  3. LOL! I'll tell them.

    I'm really excited about this. As you well know, I have a crapload of quilting stuff. We're slowly getting the barn where it's habitable more than just a few months out of the year. Bro wired the electrical (which had been done in a very BillyBob-the-jackleg-'lectrishun-at-yer-service manner), and I've got a small window AC as well as fans. Got heaters for the winter, too, although w/o insulation, it's still a challenge to get the temp tolerable when it's cold out.