Quilting Bar Attachment

on Nov 10, 2006 in Quilting | 17 comments

Thanks for all the nice comments on the quilt! I finished the quilting and started on the binding. I’m totally in love with the project. Maybe a big one for myself? A lot of you seemed interested in that little bar so I thought I’d talk some about my experience.

First, to respond to Courtney‘s question on my machine. I’ve been holding out. I purchased a Janome 6600P in August at the APNQ. I agonized over this purchase for months. Partly because I had spent a good sum on my Husqvarna Viking Lily which I was never very happy with. My other issue was I had my heart set on a Bernina. I spent the summer going to look at the machines but always came away disappointed. One feature kept delaying a decision. I really wanted an auto thread cutter. That feature is only available on the upper end Bernina, not the Aurora models, the ones in my range of financial feasibility. Both those things made it easy to just not do anything.

After posting about my Viking issues I got some very thoughtful e-mails from women who LOVED their Janome 6600s. I took that to heart and started researching the machine. This machine is $1,500 (some of you even got it cheaper, I’m taking you gals to the car lot with me). I realize that’s a lot of money but it’s an extreme value given the features it boasts (one being an auto-thread cutter!). The price actually made me a little suspicious. I can tell you after sewing with it for two months (clothes, quilts and crafts) I’m a total convert. I’ve been wanting to write a complete post about the machine and all its features which I will do at some point. I know, don’t hold your breath, I really do have the best intentions.

Now, back to that little bar. It pushes into a small opening located right behind the walking foot. It was very stable so I didn’t have wiggle issues. It was disorienting to look at the bar following the previous sewing line instead of the foot and needle. After a few rows it got easier. My only complaint would be the concept itself. As you follow the previous stitching line, by definition you are also following any waviness in that stitching line. By the time you’re at line 10 you’re following all waviness introduced in the prior 9 lines. I found it difficult to correct anything on the fly. I was surprised that the waves didn’t seem more pronounced when the whole quilt was completed. I can see them but in general the lines look relatively balanced. A huge timesaver over marking the whole top.

I have one critique of the design. It goes to the right of the walking foot. Taking this to its logical end, by the time you get to the last line your entire quilt is inside the machine to the right of the foot. To avoid this I inserted the bar backwards from the other side. It worked well enough although the bar lifted a little every few inches until it ended all the way up. At this point I was using the shadow created by the machine light over the bar to line up with the sewing line. Funky, but it worked.

My biggest challenge was the cross hatch pattern pulling on the bias grain of the quilt top. My Dear Santa letter will have one thing on it this year: a sewing table where the machine recesses.

I give the painter’s tape a thumbs down. When I began manipulating the quilt to start stitching the tape didn’t have enough tack to keep it in place. Next time I will just mark the beginning lines. I purchased some 1 inch wood moulding to make quilt hangers out of. It occurred to me I could lay this 10 foot piece of wood down on my quilt and use it as a super big ruler.

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A comment on comments. I like answering individual questions. I think it’s fun. I realize sometimes people ask me questions and even though I’ve responded to that one person no one else got to see the answer. I’m really bad about this. I’m going to try and start answering questions either in the comments or in a subsequent post (probably my favorite method because then you don’t have to keep checking to see if I answered, or remember to check, my personal issue.)

Also, I like saying hi. Sometimes I have time to do that and sometimes I don’t. Please don’t ever be offended if I say hi one time but not another. The latter means I’ve been in the classroom volunteering all day, I spent the day at Girl Scout Leader Training or the muscles from the center of my neck all the way out to the top of my right shoulder are absolutely KILLING me from too much sewing machine and computer time. All of these things have been the case this week.

Back to that binding.