quilting frame

Many quilters use their sewing machine to create quilts from start to finish, meaning the sewing machine is also used as a quilting machine.

If you have been considering (or wishing for) a machine dedicated solely to quilting, you may be interested in a short-arm quilting machine.

In today’s article, I’ll explain what a short-arm quilting machine is and what to look for when making a purchase:


Happy Quilting!


Beginner hand quilters are often confused about quilting frames and hoops – what the difference is and whether you even need one.

Basically, the purpose of a quilting frame or hoop is to hold the layers of your quilt together as you hand quilt. A hoop or frame also acts as a kind of stretcher, and helps prevent puckers and tucks in your fabric as you quilt.

Surprisingly, even when hand quilting, it is possible to stitch in puckers or tucks, especially on the backside of your quilt. So, having your quilt secured in a hoop or frame will help prevent surprises when you turn your quilt over.

The type of device you choose depends on you and your preferences.

A quilting frame is rather large, and is great when you have many quilters quilting the quilt at the same time – a quilting bee. A hoop is something you would use as an individual quilter and can be either a lap hoop or a hoop on a stand.

A lap frame for hand quilting

As you can imagine, a hoop on a stand would be very convenient for quilting, especially if you don’t want the quilt in your lap. Plus you would be stitching in many different directions in order to complete your quilting design, since the hoop would stay in the same place.

A lap hoop will allow you to turn the quilt around in your lap in order to stitch in the same direction all of the time.

Most hoops on stands are round, while lap hoops come in several different sizes and shapes. My favorite hoop is about 15 inches wide and is square with rounded corners.

The major differences in quilting frames have to do with how the quilt is held in the frame – whether it is on rollers, or attached to the sides of the frames (usually with clamps or pins).

You’ll find pictures of the various frames and hoops when you visit:


Happy Quilting!


If you’ve ever tried hand quilting, you know that when you’re first beginning, it is very difficult to get short stitches. But many hand quilters will tell you that it is more important to get stitches the same size than to get them really short.

Either way, it takes practice – and a few techniques.

A few years ago, we had Deirdre McElroy as a guest for an Eavesdrop on a Telephone Conversation. Deirdre is a professional quilter who has made a study of hand quilting and all of the various tools and techniques you can use to create beautiful and (as she calls them) “perfect” stitches.

Not that I plan to get to “perfect” at all – I’d be happy with “good!” Knowing the techniques taught by an expert go a long way toward getting better hand quilting stitches, which may lead to some really “good” stitches some day.

As with so many other tasks, it helps to have the right tools, and once you do, the position you hold the needle and where you place your hands can make all the difference in the world in your hand quilting stitches:


Happy Quilting!


Once your quilt top is finished, layered and basted, it’s time to quilt! And, securing the layers in a quilt frame makes the quilting much easier, and prevents those dreaded puckers and tucks on the back of the quilt.

There are several different types of frames for you to choose from.

Some quilt frames are designed to hold the quilt in your lap. Other quilt frames are much larger and will allow several quilters to work at the same time. These floor quilt stands also keep larger areas of the quilt under tension, and are even more likely to prevent puckers in the quilt.

The drawback is that the distance between the side of the quilt and the center, where you might want to put quilting stitches, can be further than is comfortable to work on.

While it’s a little awkward, it isn’t much of a problem. Just move it closer to the side when you are finished quilting the spaces that are easy to reach.

A while back a quilter wrote in asking how to set up a quilt on a quilting frame. There are a few tricks to ensure that you get the right tension on the quilt without putting holes in your quilt in the process.

You’ll find tips when you visit:


Happy Quilting!



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