October 16, 2011

Flynn Quilt Frame Review: The Sewing

As you may recall, I set up my Halloween circle quilt on the Flynn Multi-Frame back in September. Then I couldn't use it because my presser foot couldn't reach the floor. Over this past weekend, I took it back out and decided I could give the frame a try on my coffee table in the living room. It's low enough to the ground that I could turn the machine sideways and still have the foot reach the ground.

I couldn't be more disappointed. At first, I couldn't believe how cumbersome it all was jut to set up on my machine. In the instructional video, he makes it seem so easy, but there's serious a learning curve. After fighting to get it set up on my machine, I spent about 90 frustrating minutes trying to do a basic meandering pattern along the top border.

Despite the tension ribbons, which were very difficult to get in place, they didn't work as they were intended to. It was a 4" border I was working on, and I only got about an 8 inch long section of it done before I got tired of fussing with it. I took the quilt off the frame, put the frame pieces aside, and used a wash-away basting spray to hold the quilt sandwich together.

I spent the next two hours happily quilting away as I normally would without any problems. I am incredibly unsatisfied with this quilting frame. If I was a hand quilter, it wouldn't be that bad. However, it takes far too long to get the quilt pieces basted to the rods and rolled up properly. That doesn't even take into account how long it takes to prep the rods in the first place. The quilting area is very limited, which I was aware of going in, but it makes it very hard to work on larger patterns or patterns that are vertical instead of horizontal.

That limited space really restricts how much you can do. For this quilt, I wanted to quilt spider webs into the blocks, but there just isn't enough space on the frame to do that. So, even if I hadn't been having trouble with the frame in general, I couldn't have used it to do that pattern. If I was doing a small, horizontal pattern, the frame would be useable, but I wouldn't say helpful.

Considering the hours I put into setting the quilt up and trying to use it, I would not recommend this frame for larger quilting projects. This is only a lap quilt, approximately 56" by 68". I certainly will not even attempt a bigger quilt on this frame. I will definitely try something smaller on it, using smaller rods, but that's not why I bought the frame. Small projects are easy to quilt on a standard home machine. It's the large quilts that I wanted help handling.

Overall, I am unhappy with the results. I definitely will not be putting Hubby-to-be's quilt on the frame. I will probably use the basting adhesive again for that. I am not a huge fan of the basting adhesives, because they smell awful and overspray can be a big problem. But, they are certainly effective and get the job done. I might try loading up one of the twin's quilts when the time comes, but until then I am going to set the frame aside and continue quilting without it.

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