One of the things you need to look at carefully when you do a lot of quilting is just how comfortably you are sitting. Handi-quilter, the maker of long-arm sewing machines, gives ten rules for comfortable quilting. You can get a copy from the Handi-quilter website.
What they say is most relevant to heavy duty quilting machines. Or is it? If you aren’t sitting comfortably you will find quilting a chore rather than a pleasure.
I have re-written this for someone quilting on a domestic sewing machine. And after the amount of machine quilting I have been doing recently I know the trickiest bit is getting the machine (and you) at the right height for one another.
- The correct height of you sewing table is essential for both posture and comfort while quilting.
- Make sure to get a chair that is the right height for proper hand and elbow position. It must be comfortable and easy to move.
- When in front of the machine, your elbows should be at a right angle with your hands resting comfortably on the quilt top.
- You must relax while quilting. Don’t grab the fabric too hard and try to keep your movements fluid.
- Stop between sections and vary the pace at which you quilt.
- Take breaks, drink and stretch. Stand up from time to time to admire your work at a distance.
- Try to work close to your machine — not at arm’s length. And if you’re using a foot control try varying the foot you use.
- A quality, supportive mat on the floor helps protect your feet, legs, and hips if you spend long periods quilting. It makes it easier to retrieve dropped spools etc. (Memo to self — that worn carpet really won’t do!)
- Poor lighting causes eye strain. Think about additional lighting options if necessary.
- Blink often. Plus, every twenty minutes or so, stop and focus on a distant object for 10 to 15 seconds to stretch your eyes. (Second memo to self — I need a timer so that get up out of my chair at regular intervals and stretch and blink.)