When you do a full float of a quilt top it will hang down on the floor. This might not be a problem with a smaller quilt. But what about a much larger quilt? A larger quilt might get in the way of your feet while stabilizing. Like this one is doing. Even this quilt is not nearly as large as some that I get. This is a twin size but often I get over sized king quilts which are lots of loose fabric and batting hanging in front of the machine.
I often sit to quilt. Lots of loose hanging fabric could be a big problem for me. The wheels of my chair might run over the quilt. I certainly don't want that to happen! Here's my solution to getting the floating quilt out of my way while I stabilize the area I'm working on. I have a rope permanently tied to one end of my machine. It's far back under the quilting area.
I take the loose end of the rope and run it in front of the floating quilt to the other end of the table. Loosely at first and kind of near the floor. See the rope in front of the floating quilt?
Next, I tug on the rope so it pulls the floating part up and out of the way. I tie this end of the rope to the table with a slip knot.
I have the rope placed so that it pulls the floating quilt way back out of the way of my feet or my chair wheels. I can stabilize the area without worry of getting a customer's quilt dirty from my shoes or the wheels of my chair. I will pull the slip knot to let the quilt float again before I advance the quilt.
I hang the rope on the end of the machine while I'm advancing and measuring the top. When I'm ready to do more stabilizing I use the rope again.
After the whole quilt is all stabilized, the rope is left there waiting until I start stabilizing the next one. I'm not sure where the rope will be placed on the smaller machine table just yet. I'll take photos and post those after I've gone back to the quilt shop.
Whatever type table set up you have, the rope can be used. I once experimented with using an elastic rope. Sort of like a bungee cord. It didn't work. The heavier weight of larger quilts only stretched the rope and it wouldn't stay back out of the way.
If anyone reading these hints for smaller machines has a particular question about techniques please just ask. For example if you have seen or read something done with a larger machine and want to know if it's possible with a smaller machine please ask. Either leave the question in the comments or email me. (estes anita at bellsouth dot net) I'm keeping a list of the questions for taking step by step photos while I'm at the shop. Photos speak much better than I can. (smile) The questions will eventually be answered in the form of a blog post.