Machine Quilting Set-Up: More Adjustments

This is my new Gidget II  sewing table; it’s very cool in that it’s light and portable, and it has a drop in the middle so the sewing machine sits at table height, instead of on-top-of-table-height.

An acrylic template cut the same size of the sewing machine keeps the machine flush with the tabletop; these templates are all made special order from the local Bernina shop that sells the Gidget:

While setting up my new ergonomic sewing/quilting area in my studio, I solved the very annoying problem I’ve had with my new Juki 2010TLQ: the machine quilting feet sold with the machine are TERRIBLE.

Here’s one of the quilting feet that came with my machine; as you can see, the giant clunking thing attaches to the machine with a screw through a fixed hole in the foot. This means the foot is stuck in one vertical position; and the default position is very close to the machine top, almost touching, which means that any quilt under this particular quilting foot gets tightly squashed, making quilting impossible.

I was so annoyed when I tried to do any free motion quilting. When I called the store where I got my Juki, Ed Raichert’s, (see my enthusiastic post here), and told Jason I thought my machine wasn’t working because I couldn’t machine quilt, he was of very little help. I was surprised he didn’t know he was selling a machine that couldn’t quilt right out of the box; not because the machine is bad–quite the contrary, it’s amazing–but because the accessories are awful.  Call me crazy, but I actually expected my machine to come with a functioning machine quilting foot. I was very disappointed in the service.

I did some searching online, and I remembered that Sharon Schamber has a machine quilting foot she sells, it looks like this–and check it out, it’s about 1/5 the size of the foot that came with the machine:

I borrowed a Sharon Schamber machine quilting foot from a friend from my quilt group. I really like it and it WORKS. Unlike the other foot, this one has a U-shaped area where you attach it to the machine, letting you customize the height of the foot for quilting!

I should mention that I also borrowed a Leah Day quilting foot, and I didn’t like it as much; that said, someone else might find it useful, and her website is full of great advice, especially this bit on different machine quilting feet.

Being not very smart at times, it took me a while to figure out why my old Riccar, along with it’s custom-cut acrylic insert–didn’t fit in the new table; see how it seems kind of warped?

I actually went back to the store to ask why. I was told I needed to adjust the height of the drop, which can be done by removing the screw attached to the chain on either side–see below–of the drop, and either shortening or lengthening the chain.

So that’s my new project tomorrow, to adjust the drop so my Riccar can sit flush with it’s insert. I’ll probably cut a few layers of cardboard to put in my drop to raise my Juki when I sew with that, so it won’t be too low.

I’m very excited about my new ergonomic set up!

2 thoughts on “Machine Quilting Set-Up: More Adjustments

  1. okay so I have to say I LOVE this kind of stuff…innovative I tell ya. It’s how any inventor begins…they want something better than the current design. Good work! I really like the whole idea of a sewing machine being flush with the table, it’s bound to save time and ease frustration during the creation process. You have the art of feng shui in your mind’s eye cousin!

    • Innovation is key. Call me stupid or naive, but when I buy things new like a quilting machine or a commuter bike, I expect them to work….and yet both require quite a bit of problem solving to get them right. A bike is something that you really do have to have patience with and customize, so maybe the analogy isn’t that great…..I didn’t expect to have those problems with my Juki, though. So happy I figured it out with the foot. An ergonomic setup is a must for me; I can’t sew or quilt anymore without it…..so until I just got this setup last week, I haven’t done any sewing since last summer. Can’t wait to get back into it. Will be in touch soon. 🙂

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