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Dealing with small harp spaces
tips, suggestions?
Honeybee
Honeybee
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Date: 11/21/12 10:15 AM

My Pfaff 2134 has a harp space of about 6.75". So far I have quilted what I think would be considered a twin (maybe double) size blanket through it, but it was all thin cotton materials, so it was ok to quilt.

Currently, I am quilting a denim quilt that would had measured 84x96 if I had not decided to break up the blanket into 2 blankets (that I will connect with buttons when I am finished---this was to also aid in being able to wash the quilt at home). Well quilting just one of these 48x84 denim pieces has been a challenge at times, but doable.

SO all this made me want to ask everyone, how do y'all deal with quilting on sm's with a smaller harp space?

Sometimes I wonder that even if I had a larger harp space, I'd find it's still not enough----I'd always want more!!! Thus, maybe my 6.75" is enough....

SouthernStitch
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Date: 11/21/12 11:00 AM

I hope Isewartquilts chimes in. She quilted award winning quilts for YEARS with smaller harps. Mine is 7.5 inches but it also sits under 4 inches high - so it's very little square inches of space.
The only tip I have, after quilting a 52x52 inch, is to not roll the quilt to the right, but smoosh it accordian style to the right.

Funny you say this since we're both looking at new machines right now. I had the same thought. Since I'm probably not going to quilt much larger than 60 or so inches, and it is do-able on my machine -- why am I looking at large harp machines? One reason is that there have been times when I'm stuffing something like a stiff bag in there which doesn't smoosh easily.

I have also heard from experienced quilters that it isn't so much the harp space (though I'm sure it DOES make quilting a lot easier) -- it's just wrangling with the whole heft of the quilt. The part to your left, the back if you're against a wall, and the part in your lap isn't going to be helped by a larger harp. Neither is the drag factor going to be helped.
MANY of my ASG buddies send almost all of their quilts out now to be quilted. Of course, they are older than even me, and that may be a factor - arthiritis, the heat of having a quilt in your lap. They just don't want to be bothered anymore.

------
Bernina 780, and 530
Juki TL2010
Babylock Evolution
Singer 403a

When life gives you green velvet curtains, make a green velvet dress.

PortlandMaine
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Date: 11/21/12 11:12 AM

EVEN OLDER than YOU? No WAY!

------
Quilting up a storm!

Honeybee
Honeybee
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In reply to SouthernStitch <<


Date: 11/21/12 11:34 AM

Thanks SouthernStitch! The things you said are some things to think about! and I will!

Quote:
Neither is the drag factor going to be helped.
I think of this often----so today or tomorrow, I am going to stack up books (I have many of them!) on top of my small table to raise the surface to the level of my sm's arm to help with drag. I know I need to get an acrylic table someday for my machine to help with this problem.

I am glad that I am taking a step back instead of jumping in and buying a sm today or tomorrow---or on Black Friday for that matter!!
PortlandMaine
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Date: 11/21/12 11:37 AM

There is a class on craftsy called something like: quilting with small hard sewing machines. I think the class is like 40.00 - maybe its onsale? Any matter - its cheaper than a new machine!

------
Quilting up a storm!

PattiAnnJ
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Date: 11/21/12 11:41 AM

I dealt with this by purchasing a new machine with a larger harp.

Rolling toward center from both edges then repositioning center is hard on the body - yours, mine and anyone who is not "Houdini like".

------
"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

SouthernStitch
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In reply to PortlandMaine <<


Date: 11/21/12 3:47 PM

right back at ya! Yeah, I guess my DD has me convinced I'm just older than dirt.

------
Bernina 780, and 530
Juki TL2010
Babylock Evolution
Singer 403a

When life gives you green velvet curtains, make a green velvet dress.

Learn To Sew
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In reply to SouthernStitch <<


Date: 11/21/12 4:37 PM

My DH and I once bought my FIL a birthday card. As best I can remember after many years, it went something like this:

"On the day you were born, people all over the world were jumping up and down". He opened the card and the inside said,

Of course the earth had not cooled down yet..."

Now THAT is older than dirt!

------
Bernina 630, my much loved main machine
Bernina embroidery module
Pfaff 2036 my back up & travel machine
Babylock Molly, mechanical
Bernina 1200DA serger
Unique Sewing Cabinet 450L

Jennifer Hill
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Date: 11/21/12 6:43 PM

I quilt all my own quilts. I'm too cheap to pay someone else to do it, so that gives me lots of incentive to practice and improve.

IMO, the limiting factor for quilting large quilts is NOT the space under the arm of the machine. Rather, it is the table space available behind the machine and to the operator's left. Having the machine recessed into a cabinet or table is a huge help. Since you never need to stuff more that half the quilt under the machine, and since it is quite possible to hold half of a queen-sized quilt in the grip of one hand (try it! I have average hands and I can grip half a king if I have to), a longer arm machine will only provide marginal facility. It is the weight and bulk of managing large quilts, especially if they are dangling off the edges of a table and pulling against the needle, that makes quilting them unwieldy.

I do all my machine quilting on a 97 yo Singer treadle. It probably has an extra inch of two under the arm compared to many modern machines, but it is its large flat cabinet top that makes the most difference.

Jennifer in Calgary

aslinnd

aslinnd
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Date: 11/21/12 8:49 PM

Before I gave up and bought a handiquilter. I took a class on machine quilting with my first machine which was a Pfaff I forget the model I still have it - its the next one up from yours I think the 2150.

Anyway the most useful thing I remember was that we started in center of the quilt and worked towards one end that way there was never more than half the quilt under the harp, and you were always working with less rather than more.

Also useful was that you do the stabilising lines first - so you plan those big lines (maybe the stitch in the ditch type lines) first and go from top to bottom so you don't turn the quilt, cover as much as you can that way working vertical then horzontal, then covering smaller areas.

If you go into the quilting with a plan to have the least amount of the quilt under the harp and to turn the quilt as little as possible you can do it and turn out amazing work.

On my pfaff I remember it had an inbuilt stippling stitch which i used on the largest setting for small areas. I also found my that the stitch in the ditch foot with the IDT was pretty handy.

I was hopeless at it, I got so frustrated i gave up. I love my HQ16. But I saw the work the instructor did and it was amazing.

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