I was pleasantly surprised to find that my Bernina 710 is more than adequate for machine quilting an enormous king-sized quilt!
After a long and winding (and painful!) journey, a 710 finally became part of my sewing machine arsenal this year. It's exactly what I had been needing!
The painful journey? Last year, I was foolish enough to think I needed to purchase an expensive APQS George with a super big throat space to handle larger quilts. But, after a long and terribly frustrating experience with it, I returned it. (It's taken me until now to be willing to admit and write about my foolishness! Maybe I'll have to courage to write some more about it later.) Whew - what a relief to unload that burden.... Then, this spring I purchased a Bernina 750 from my local dealership, but I quickly realized all didn't need all the bells and whistles it offered. Thankfully, my Bernina dealer gives you 90 days to test drive and make sure your purchased machine is the right fit for you, so I simply returned the machine for a used 710. Perfection (at a much lower price point!)! I find the 710 to be a bit of a beast for my alteration work, but I love it for machine quilting. So, I held on to my 440 and use it for my day-to-day sewing, then simply switch over to the 710 for machine quilting. The 710 is also a great back up for when my 440 is down.
What really helped with machine quilting this king-size quilt was adding a narrow card table to the side of my machine to support all the quilt bulk. It worked great - I couldn't believe what a difference it made!!
I'm so fortunate to have this sewing space that is just perfect for machine quilting. My machine sits in a dormer window alcove that is 60" wide - just enough space to sew comfortably. For the longest time I thought it was too small of a space for machine quilting (in fact, I would often machine quilt at a larger table in my basement because that's what I thought you were supposed to do),
but it finally dawned on me that the walls are exactly what I need to keep the quilt from falling off the table, resulting in all that drag and weight that machine quilters dread when working on a large quilt. (Interesting, isn't it, when what you think you need isn't what you need at all?!)
I'm terribly encouraged - a king-size quilt with a pillow tuck is as big of a quilt as I'll ever quilt, so I am good to go!!