Puddling a Large Quilt to Free Motion Quilt It

 I thought I'd post pictures of what it looks like to "puddle" a large quilt for free motion quilting under the machine.
How to position a quilt for free motion quilting

This quilt isn't a huge quilt, but is big enough to demonstrate. See how there's only a small portion of the quilt flat around the needle of the machine? The rest of the quilt is mounded or puddles up around the machine. Not rolled or laid flat. This way I only have to move the weight of the quilt to the nearest fold of quilt, not the entire bulk. The majority of the quilt stays put.

How to position a quilt for free motion quilting

 There are a few things to watch for when moving a bigger piece:
  • Don't let the quilt fall off the table. It gets really heavy once gravity begins pulling the quilt down the side.
  • Don't pinch the quilt between your tummy and the table. (Is this only a problem for us 'fluffy' gals?)
  • Certain types of even feed systems can get hung up on the quilt or basting pins.
  • Really big quilts may need to drape over your right hand to manage the bulk under the throat of the machine.
  • Remember there's no need to have more than half of the quilt under the throat of the machine at any time. Rotate when necessary.
  • Folds from the edge can get accidentally quilted. This has happened more times than I like to admit.
  • Because the quilt is bunched up, you may think the quilting looks horrible when looking at bunched up areas. Lay the quilt flat to take a look before declaring a disaster.
Even with the caveats above, I still find this easier than any rolling up of the quilt. 

I mentioned we were in the midst of the birthday season here. Yesterday we went to the Transportation Museum in Roanokem which is mainly about trains. There's no better way to celebrate turning four years old for a little boy.

He didn't want to leave the area where they had the cab of a real train set up (above) with moveable levers and buttons and such. Once he got outside, he was so excited I couldn't move fast enough to get his picture! He's jumping up and down in the picture below!

 Now I've got to finish up that quilt above. It's turning out real nice but you should see the lint of this wool applique! Fuzz city.


  1. Wow, train museum! I guess he is still talking about that, right?
    Thanks for your tips. I quilt just like you:puddles and all. Pinning the quilt with your "fluf" even happens when you are not so fluffy anymore LOL. I tend to get as close to the machine as possible, maybe that is why. I am working on a sampler book with FMQ patterns, so all little pieces of fabric instead of a beast under the machine. I love FMQ but not the tugging and pulling on a large quilt.
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com
    ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

  2. Great tips Amy and lucky you! You have that nice sewing table your hubbie adapted for you :).
    BTW, your pictures are nice and clear!!!

  3. I've never been successful at rolling quilts! I use the puddle method too, but didnt know it had a name. :)