My Inexpensive Machine Quilt Frame

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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 2×2 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?

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Elizabeth Ruth

Elizabeth is a children's book author and designer of knit and crochet character hats under the brand The Ruthless Crafter. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, spend time with her family, and swim. She lives a full, happy life in Kitchener, Ontario with her husband and their two children.

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  1. yes!! this used to happen to me all the time!
    When I quilt, and went to purchase the backing i used to think 'surely i wont need that much'! and i would get a little less. Then when it came time to quilt it, i would H-A-T-E my stingee-ness!! I have sinced learned my lesson. but not before i did it at least half a dozen times ha ha

    1. Hello, can you tell me more about outgrowing it? I don’t have the space for a floor-standing frame so need this one (whatever I buy, whether Ken’s or another) to do the trick indefinitely. There are lots of hacks online for Ken’s frames; I’m wondering if it makes sense to buy his and then totally rebuild it! (IG: letospassion)

      1. I would say that this system would require a lot of space. Perhaps consider a sit-down version with a larger throat depth and neck height than a standard sewing machine would have.
        Here are the results of a quick Google image search I did for what the frame looks like to explain why I think it would take space.

  2. I am also looking at the Ken Lund Frame. Chickadee Sue please add me to your blog I would like to see what you think about the quilt frame.

    More then Mom….what did you do with your Ken Lund frame? is it for sale or long gone?

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About Elizabeth

Hi! I'm Elizabeth

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