Quilting a Big One, part 2


After I do a lot of my detail work on my small Bernina machine, I pin the quilt onto an Inspira frame and use a bigger Viking machine for the backgrounds. It’s not a long-arm. It’s only a couple of inches longer than my Bernina, but it’s a lot faster so when I go back to the Bernina, I tend to break needles because I’m in the habit of moving fast. When I first got this Viking machine last year, I thought it was too noisy and fast. I felt like I was trying to be creative with a wood-chipper or a bag of chipmunks, which is what it sounds like.

Now I’m really loving it, although still working out some of the kinks in my process. I actually move the quilt back and forth between the two machines several times before I’m done with the whole project.


These are some of my practice samples — I develop new stitch patterns for each part of the quilt. Because I match the thread to my fabrics, the effects are subtle — you have to get up close to see the different stitching motifs.


The stitch patterns can be symbolic or decorative. This one doesn’t really mean anything, I was just happened to be thinking about lassos because I had seen City Slickers the night before (not a very good movie, but a cute cow.) So I think I’ll call this pattern, Happy Cowgirl.


Happy Cowgirl works good as I move around objects and into tight places. Some of my other patterns aren’t so flexible, so I have to improvise.

There’s a different stitch on the blue background, inspired by some abstract patterns I’ve seen on 50’s furniture or fabric. I used a variegated pink and blue King Tut thread for this, and if I get my rhythm right, the pinks fade in and out in a nice way.


10 thoughts on “Quilting a Big One, part 2”

  1. I’m just catching up on your blog and am happy to find this entry, as I’m just getting my Juki set up on a frame for the first time. I like the idea of going back and forth between table and frame to accomplish the quilting that works best for the piece. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Hi,
    Just need some tips. New Viking dealer and have a Mega Quilter setup in our shop. I am feeling inept since I have much more experience as a free-motion quilter on regular sewing machines.
    What’s the best way to get good at the MQ fast?

  3. I have a similar set up with a Brother 1500. It’s super fast also. I like that I control the speed. There is no regulator and I thought I’d never get used to it, but, I think I’m finally getting it.

    Your stitches are great-nice and even. The free motion quilting feels like painting to me.

  4. you’re a thread HEAD! look at that setup. wow.
    Thanks very much for this little tutorial. It’s very interesting to someone like me, with a whole different approach. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Up close and personal! So fun and so much work. I want to be quilting but all I am doing right now is computer stuff and inventory and all that junk. Oh well, hope to have my big piece up on the long arm next week so I can get it done. This is looking good!

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