How to quilt a large quilt

I have been doing a lot of quilting recently. (I don’t mean making quilts, I mean quilting quilts.)  One of these is for a magazine and its finished size is 90 x 90″ (229 x 229cm), which is a quite a large piece. This post is about how I went about it, in the hopes that it might be useful for you too.

I have my studio on a mezzanine in the house. It’s an unusual house that used once to be a Salvation Army hall. The first section of the building is open-plan, with my landing studio floating above it.  On the mezzanine I have a huge, long table-top (made from an up-cycled door!) which is usually great for cutting out, sewing or designing.


However, for this big quilt, I moved down to the kitchen table. Actually it’s the table, since our kitchen, dining room and sitting room are all rolled into one! I sat on a chair on one long side of the table and to the right-hand end of that side. This meant using an extension lead to go from the wall to the sewing machine plug. I was therefore also able to let the lead go off to the right of the machine and drop onto the floor, well away from the quilt.

I chose the side of the table which would provide daylight coming from behind me onto the quilt. All my necessary sewing tools, such as embroidery scissors, un-picker (well, everyone needs one sometimes) were kept just in front of the right-hand side of the machine, so the quilt had all the remaining space on the table to slide about as I needed it to. I kept it in soft folds, re-grouping every 6 – 8″ (15-20cm)or so, as required.


In order not to put too much strain on my body while quilting such a big quilt. I put an extra cushion on the dining room chair, to sit on, and another one again in the curve of my back to encourage me to sit up straight, rather than hunch over my machine. I used my foot pedal with bare feet for greater control (mostly using  my left foot, but sometimes my right) and I quite often used quilting gloves to help my hands to control the quilt (although not when the photo was taken – it’s been very warm recently!)  Each time I stopped, I got up and did a proper stretch (upwards and outwards) and shook my hands to relax my fingers.

There are long lead times for magazines, so it will be about four months until this particular quilt reaches the news-stands. I’ll let you know!

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