Festival of Quilts 2018, Machine Quilting frames

How to set up a Machine Quilter Frame

How to set up a Machine Quilter Frame

machine quilter frame set up

Like a Long Arm

We're going to show you just how easy it is to set up a Machine Quilter frame.  A Machine Quilter frame is like a little long arm, just easier to set up and take down.  A Machine Quilter frame gives you the same freedom of movement as a long arm for a fraction of the cost. They don't take up as much space either.  Machine Quilter frames are designed to fit into our smaller English and European homes. They simply clamp to a table.  If you're wondering about the table, follow the link to find all about how to choose the right table. My table uses 3 IKEA trestles and a B&Q interior door. It works great for a 6-foot frame.

Setting up a Machine Quilter frame.

Machine Quilter frames come in 4 parts:

  • 2 side pieces which clamp to a table
  • a set of tracks that fit between the side pieces
  • 2 carriages that ride on the tracks
  • 3 fabric poles that slip into the side pieces


Setting up is easy. First place the tracks on the table. Then place the side pieces on either end of the tracks and clamp them to the table. Next, place one carriage on the tracks and then second carriage on top of the first. Finally, drop the 3 fabric poles labelled 1, 2 and 3 into the slots on the side pieces labelled 1. 2 and 3. The pictures below say it better than words and the short video clip at the end says it best of all.

Machine Quilter frames clamp to the table
the tracks rest on the table between the side pieces
fabric poles fit in the side pieces
The amazing ratchets help to perfectly tension the layers of your quilt
The fabric poles slip into the side pieces
add the carriages

The carriages ride on top of each other and travel across the table on the tracks. The bottom carriage moves side to side. The top carriage moves front to back. Together they move like magic, allowing you to glide your sewing machine every-which-way across the top of your quilt, just like a long arm. The Juki TL QVP Mini straight stitch sewing machine simply sits on the top of the carriages.

placing the Juki TL QVP Mini on the carriages

The top carriage is fitted with a set of Nifty Grip speed control handles that replace the foot pedal. This allows me to work from my centre. I don't have to do one thing with my hands and another with my feet. The speed control handles for the Juki TL QVP Mini allow me to start and stop, adjust with speed and cut the top and bottom threads. Pretty Nifty right! I can work just like a long arm.

Setting up your Machine Quilter frame

Sometimes a moving image is best. Come visit us at the Festival of Quilts. We're at Stand A46 and we'll show you in person.