Posted on Leave a comment

A 4-Panel Wall-Hanging

These instructions are for the 4 cut-up panels, put into a wall-hanging.

I would suggest using a light colored fabric with as dark a thread as possible.


The pattern covers 36″ x 44″, so I cut the center area 37″ x 45″, and I use a 1/4″ seam allowance. I cut the borders 4 1/2″ wide.

Loading the quilt top:

I load the top right side up facing the pantograph side, so I’m quilting the bottom of the wall hanging first (4th panel). Before you load the quilt top onto the frame, it is wise to fold the right edge into fourths, and put a pin in the border at these 3 points. This is a reference to where the top of each panel should be.

Lining up the first panel:

1. For the first panel, put the needle at the lower right corner of the quilt, and put on the channel lock. Move the machine up and down the quilt, making sure needle will hit the center portion of the quilt, and not go back and forth onto the border. Adjust the channel lock, if needed. When it’s locked where you want it, place the needle back at the lower right corner of the quilt.

2. Place the pattern on the table, with the bottom reference line and right edge at the point where the stylus is. Put a little piece of tape there. Move the machine over 8″-12″ and with you left hand, move the pattern so that the reference line stays in line with the stylus. Hold the pattern down, move the machine back out of the way, and put a piece of tape at the top right edge of the pattern. I also like to put another piece in the center of the edge.

3. Now move the machine all the way down to the other edge, adjusting the pattern so the bottom reference line stays in line with the stylus. Put 3 pieces of tape at the left end. Then go back to the right end, and re-tape those pieces so it’s all flat.

4. Now take off the channel lock, and move the machine up to where the stylus meets the top reference line. Is the needle right next to the first pin in the border of the quilt? It should be. If it’s beyond that point, then your pattern will run into the border at the very top of the quilt. To fix it, you can try tightening the top a little. Another thing you can do is, as you quilt, don’t go clear to the top of the reference line each time it’s supposed to touch it. After 4 panels of this, you should be okay. The trick is to cut the inside of the quilt the right size, to use 1/4″ seam allowance, and to not use too fat of batting. If the needle falls short, and there’s extra space, you can do a couple of things. 1. move the stylus so there’s a little space at the bottom, and not so much at the top (of this one panel), and 2. As you quilt, exaggerate the top points that touch the reference line along the top, going beyond it. Then when you line up the next panel, it will up a little farther.

5. There’s one more thing to look at. Move the machine all the way down and put the stylus at the end of the pattern. Look at where the needle falls on the quilt. It should be near the seam. You can adjust the edges just like you did the top. If there’s a bunch of space there, you don’t want your whole quilt to be leaning near the right, with an un-quilted space along the left. In this case, I usually just move the machine to where the needle is at the edge of the quilt. Looking at the pattern, if the stylus has gone 1/2″ beyond the edge of the pattern, I move it back towards the patterns by 1/4″. So the compromise will cause it to be more centered. If it goes beyond the edge of the quilt, you can tighten your clamps to stretch it a little, or remember to fall short when you get to that end as you’re quilting.

6. This step is EXTREMELY important. Before you begin sewing, following the pattern with you finger, from start to finish, so you’ll be a little familiar with it before you actually quilt it. DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP. Trust me, I know.

Lining up successive panels:

1. Put the needle at the top edge of the area that’s already quilted and put on the channel lock. If you move the machine up and down the rails, the stylus should hit all the uppermost spots you’ve already quilted. You can adjust the channel lock until it does this.

2. With the channel lock on, move the machine down to the right end and put it at the far most right point (that’s already quilted). Now you have located the top and the right of the already-quilted section (panel 4).

3. Take your pattern and line up the reference line at the bottom, and the right edge with where the stylus is pointing. Put a little piece of tape here. Do not tape the rest of the right edge yet.

4. Move the machine (channel lock is still on) about 8″-12″ to the left, moving the pattern so that the reference line stays in line with the stylus. Move the machine back, and now you can tape the top right edge. I also put a little piece of tape in the middle.

5. Move the machine to the other end of the pattern, making sure the reference line stays in line with the stylus. When you get to the end, tape the top, bottom, and center of the left edge.

6. Now go back and re-adjust the 3 tapes on the other end. You should be ready to quilt.

7. When I’m all done quilting the inside of the quilt, I go back and stitch-in-the-ditch all around the edge of the inside. This gives it a nice, clean finish.

Clear as mud? If you need more help, give me a yell.

Posted on Leave a comment

Loading the APQS Ultimate I Quilting Machine

This method is a compilation of things I have learned from others, adapted to my own style for what works for me. I hope it will work for you too. I am not associated in any way with APQS (American Professional Quilting Systems) except that I bought my machine from them, and I like it.

You may want to print this and have it next to the machine while you work. Just out of curiosity, I’d like to know if it has helped you, so if you get time, I’d love it if you’d shoot off a quick e-mail to let me know if this has been any help. Thanks. [email protected]


Measure the lining, top, and batting, and decide which way you want each to go with each one. Write these numbers down!

You need at least one straight edge on the lining. You can find out how to do this by asking other quilters, writing me, or at the beginning or end of some magazines, they have pictures and show how to do it. Also quilting books can show this.

On the freehand side of the machine, if you lean against it, is the lining roller; the one above and behind it is the top roller, and the take-up roller is under the machine head.

Roll down the leader of the lining roller about 2-3 feet. Then whip it backwards and up over the top roller and drape it back down on top of the lining roller. Roll it until the edge comes to the edge of the roller. The top roller should be covered.

At this point, my personal favorite is using the selvedge edge of the lining. It’s usually straight, with no bias. While pinning, I pull it a LITTLE tight, as it tends to be tighter than the rest of the fabric and should be stretched out a little. You can also use the one straight edge that I mentioned before. Pinning instructions are next.

Take the lining and drape it over the take-up roller. Lay the whole straight edge smooth, matching centers if you’d like (I never do this anymore), and even with the edge of the leader. Lift both up, and holding them together in front of you, pin the center of the lining to the center of the quilt, about 1/8 to ¼ inch away from the edge. Your pins should be going into the leader first, the fabric behind it. Pin every 3” or so, down to the end, and then come back to the center, pinning the spots in between. Then do the same towards the other end. Your pins should be head-to-head.

Unroll the leader on the take-up roller until it is 1” or so above the table (I do this before I begin pinning the lining at all.) Go to the panto side, and pull the lining clear down to the floor, making it taut. Smooth it out. Then go back to the other side and slowly roll it, keeping it as straight and smooth as possible. Sometimes the take-up roller will move as well. Just do the best you can. I lean down and look under there, and when it the first spot of the lining becomes even with the take-up leader, stop rolling. Then UNroll it a little to give some slack, about 6 inches or so. You will see at this point, places where it’s not even with the leader. It’s okay. It may be because: 1. The edge of the leader(s) are not straight (if you need help with this, write me), or 2. The lining isn’t square. It’s better to have it a little long, than short. The shortest edge of the lining should be even with the leader, or a tiny bit longer.

Stand on the panto side, and with your left hand (if you are right handed, opposite if you’re left) hold the 2 edges together where they meet. Then bring them up in front of you, holding them in place, and pin. Go down about a foot and do the same, etc. all up and down the edge. Then every 6” or so. The lining edge may be jagged and askew, hanging over the edge of the leader too much. This is why you keep the 2 together when you pin, so you’ll create an even edge. Pin the whole edge, head to head.


Tighten the lining roller, then loosen 1 notch. Lay the batting (hopefully it has a straight edge) on top, touching the pinned edge. Smooth it out real nice. Using the channel lock, run a basting stitch about 1″ from the edge, all the way across the batting and lining, creating a straight edge. (This will also show you if your leader edge is straight.) It depends on how much lining you have to play with (here’s where you check your measurements), and if you (or your customer) are going to use the lining for the binding. You can baste as far from the edge as you want. Then loosen up the lining bar some more, and gently pull the batting under there. Tighten up lining bar and batting, smoothing it all out.

Quilt Top

Give the lining bar a little slack. Unroll the top bar and lay the leader over the edge of the lining bar (it will be laying on top of the batting). Drape the quilt top over the take-up bar, and lay the edge of it along the edge of the leader. Find the center and pin to the center of the leader (I also don’t do this anymore. I put it a few inches from the edge. That way you don’t have 1 foot on both sides of wasted fabric, you have 2 feet on one side that can be re-used). Measure down both sides and mark the edges, where the top should end up, with pins, into the leaders. Smooth it all down, and lay it even with the edge. Then pin the edges down, and follow the same procedure as with the lining. I begin at the center and go out. You may have to ease it in, and sometimes when I get to the end, I have to move the pin out a little, if the border is too wavy.

After it’s all pinned on, go to the panto side and drape it the same as you did the lining. Back to the freehand side. Roll it carefully. Loosen up where seams are by putting your thumb under the bar, and fingers on top (“C” shaped) and grabbing hard and pulling downwards. ( If there’s a seam in the middle of the lining going down the quilt, when you put on the lining you may have to do the same thing.) Watch the wavy edges, and try to keep the edges even. Sometimes you’ll have to “tuck” them under. When you go to quilt it, you can stretch the quilt a little to ease this in. Also as you roll it up, watch the lines on the quilt, making sure as they go under the rollers, that they’re parallel to them. Here’s where I also squeeze some down if it’s going under too fast. It takes lots of tugging and pulling here and there. I wish I could show it.

Roll it until the other edge comes over the take-up roller, and ends up at the basted edge. If you keep the top smooth as you go along, it should be easy to see where the center ends up. Unroll it, more than just a little, to give some slack, about 4 notches. Pin the center down where it falls. I don’t match it to the center of the leader. (Put all these pins in perpendicular.) Measure down both ends and see where the top should end up, marking as before. (Nowadays I don’t do any of this measuring, I just eye-ball it.) Pin the ends. Matching the edge of the top to the basting, pin as before. A little trickier here. You may have to tug in some places to get the top where you need it to be. That’s why you give some slack on the top roller. And other places you’ll have to pull back on excess fabric. This will all work out. When you’re done pinning, roll the top roller and take up the slack. Do not make it taut. Don’t worry about all the waves on the top of the quilt at this point.

Take another basting stitch, beginning at the right end, and about 1/8 from the edge. I go a little ways, then put a clamp on the edge to make it a little taut. I go over the pins, but slowly. Or you can stop at each one and move the machine over them. When you get to the end, leave the machine there, don’t cut threads. Take out the pins. Roll up the bottom and top rollers to where you like to quilt. Now that the edge is basted down, you can pull it to where you want it. Smooth it out as best you can. I put one hand under the whole quilt (it’s hard when there’s a lot of batting to deal with) and the other on top, pressing them gently together and smoothing from the center to the edge. Keep the smoothing even, you don’t want more top on the edge than lining, and visa versa. Now finish basting up the edge of the quilt, towards you, until you can’t go any further. Then baste the other end. If the edge is too far from me (I’m short), I begin at the freehand side and go backwards. Either way works (the Ult. I can quilt backwards, not all brands can do this). I don’t do this edge at the beginning because I haven’t basted the long edge and smoothed the whole quilt out yet. I trim the edges to about 3”. Put the clamps on. And begin quilting. Each time you roll it, baste the edges before trimming and clamping. With this method, you never worry about running into clamps or pins.

Basting the 4th edge

Here’s what you do when you get to the end of the quilt. If you SID (stitch-in-the-ditch), then SID around that far border. If you don’t, and your border pattern doesn’t go to the edge, go ahead and do the border. Take out some of the pins: Beginning at the right end, leave one pin, take out 2, leave 1, take out 2, etc. At the left end, take out the last pin, leaving in the second to last. Loosen the rollers just a bit, or you won’t have equal amounts of lining and top. Begin the basting stitch at the left, where you left off from basting the edge. Come up to the end, take out the pin, go down a little, then put on the clamp, real snug. Baste along there, pulling back the leader, and unpinning each pin as you get to them. Watch that the batting doesn’t bunch up (poly batt. is a little trickier all the way around) inside the 2 layers. And if you gently push down on the fabric with your left hand, on the left side of the machine, it should stay even. This especially helps when you have a wavy border. (You can also do this as you baste the other 3 sides; you’ll see what I mean when you do it.) You may want to clamp the other end to give a little tension, as well.

When you are quilting, and have a spot that’s tighter and a little skewed from the parts around it, just squeeze the bar and tug like you did before. It’s loosens it up a little and makes it more even. This is sometimes difficult at the ends where it’s pinned in. But it works well in the body of the quilt.

That’s all there is to it. I hope I didn’t leave anything out. Let me know if you want more details explained, or have any questions. I hope this is all clear to you. It’s difficult without being able to show you.