Take off the weight in machine quilting…

When I visited Caryl Bryer Fallert a few weeks ago she showed me a system she uses to help hold the weight of the quilt she's working on.


She modified the quilt cradle she bought from Carole LeRoy at Pain-free Quilting. The cradle has a 2-piece wooden part that attaches to your table. There are two screw-eyes that go into the horizontal arm of the cradle. A length of nylon cord is strung through each screw-eye and a toggle. One end of each cord is tied to a quick-release clamp.

Caryl decided that, since she never moves her machine, it was easier to suspend the clamps from the ceiling. So what you see in the photo is a piece of angle iron in Caryl's ceiling. There are two rods that have a hook in each end. A nylon cord is hanging from each of the lowest hooks. The little black 'button' is the toggle. The clamps are holding up the quilt she is working on.

Well, if it's good enough for Caryl it is very definitely good enough for me! I don't move my sewing machine either so Steve put two screw-eyes into the ceiling over my machine where I thought they would work best. I found the yellow toggles when I was in Australia and the quick-release clamps came from Lowe's.


The nylon cord I used is the same type that you buy for roman shades. The toggle squeezes the cord, holding the clamp in place. If you squeeze the toggle to release the pressure on the cord, you can raise and lower the clamp to the height you need.

Here are my quilt clamps in use. Caryl was right – lifting this weight off the table does make it easier to move the quilt around. The clamps are clean and you can decide how much pressure to put on your quilt. This style of clamp does not require much hand strength to use.


And a close up:


The quilt cradle kit offered by Pain-free Quilting is very reasonably priced and the beauty of it is that you don't have to chase down the various parts of the system – they come to you in one box.

13 thoughts on “Take off the weight in machine quilting…

  1. What a great idea, quilters certainly are ingenious. And your quilt looks very nice, love those colours.
    I am about to tackle your Aunt Millié’s Garden pattern, although I don’t know how to do needleturn applique.


  2. My quilting studio is in an attic with catheral ceilings. I have only about 12 inches of table space to the left of my machine and a bookcase 3 inches from the back edge of my sewing machine table. (Hope that’s clear). SO, I am wondering if I buy the cradle kit, can I use the parts to suspend the cradle from the downward slope of my 60-degree ceiling? This is another way of asking if the parts Caryl is using are different from Carole’s cradel parts?
    I, too, love the quilt!


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  4. Cool… A great idea… I think folks should be careful that the screws in the ceiling go all the way into the supporting 2×4’s if they just have a sheetrock ceiling! A quilt isn’t really all that heavy, but I could see possible problem over time if your screws were just secured only in the sheetrock and came loose…


  5. If theres not a beam above the sheet rock, you can use one of those butterfly toggles that are designed for sheetrock. They work and support an amazing amount of weight.


  6. I just found this post and tried to find more on the quilt cradle you mentioned here. No info out there that I can find. Could you tell me what a quilt cradle is?


  7. Hi Bonnie:
    I dont any more about a quilt cradle than I showed in the blog post. The original idea came from the lady I mentioned in the post and it looks like shes not selling them anymore – probably because this is an easy thing to do on your own. There might be something else out there, but I dont know what it would be.
    Hope this helps,


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