My Inexpensive Machine Quilt Frame

Waaaaaaaaay back in the spring I decided to research a quilting frame. With my ambitious king-sized quilt (which I dubbed the 2011 "Christmas Beast"), I wanted to frame it around my machine instead of try wrestle it while attempting to top-stitch. The summer is too hot for wearing a quilt while sewing - even if my craft room is housed in the cooler basement. I have already spent many hours in just creating the top that consists of hundreds of 2x2 inch finished squares and several borders (you can link to the Christmas Beast to see the top). I want to do this masterpiece justice and employ all the new techniques I have been learning through reading and various Craftsy courses.

The final "winner" was more of a home-made version that would be less expensive and that promised to store well without taking up a lot of space. I found Ken Lund and his Machine Quilt Solutions through Google and have been pleased with the price and design of his frame. I especially appreciated the time and quality of his tutorials (as found on the website).

The kids and I were excited to help hubby put it together so I could start creating with it.

The television was on while the kids helped. They got a little distracted during the process.

I don't have any photos of my own of the frame and my machine set up but if you go to Ken's website there are tutorials and many photos of the finished frame.

Overall I love how the machine worked around the frame. As I tend to make queen and king frames this really helped me see the big picture of my design better. I use a Kenmore and the neck is not very long. I'm thinking a long-arm machine will be not too far off in the future.

Some adjustments I'll need to look at for my set up include:
  1. I have a desk and a table to make up the ten-feet I need for work space. There is a "bump" when the machine goes over the seam of the two tables that I need to make smoother somehow. I opted for no tracks but perhaps for future projects I will have hubby make some. If the wheels sit on the tracks there won't be a bump as it moves over the seam.
  2. I wish there were cranks of some sort to turn the fabric when I need to rotate the material as I complete an area. With wide rods it is difficult, especially at the beginning or the end of the quilt, to roll it evenly and to get it to stay in place without shifting.
  3. The ends get a little loose when working on one side or the other because I haven't had the fabric taut enough. I used ribbons attached to the side of the frame ends with some safety pins on the fabric ends and this helped it stay firmer.
  4. While quilting I found that the front weight of the frames that held the three layers (top, batting, back) was a little tipsy. I was able to do a quick-fix with some empty Ragu jars on either end to give additional support.
  5. The table I used was too high to put the presser foot on the floor comfortably. I looked into stitch regulator but couldn't find one in time for the deadline of this project. I finally got really creative and added a strip of velcro to the handle and to the bottom of the presser foot and made my very own home-made hand-held presser foot. I'll still look for a stitch regulator but for now it works well.
As with all new techniques and tools, I know there are solutions to be found as I continue to work with projects on the frames. I am also grateful for the videos Ken has made. I plan to review them again to get more tips to improve future projects.

*Note: I was not paid or asked to review this product. I just wanted people to know it's out there because I was happy to have found it at such an affordable price.

Please let me know in the comments, was this review helpful?