Thursday, March 6, 2014

My New Baby Lock Tiara

Meet the new addition to my craft room...  It is a sit down quilting machine, a Baby Lock Tiara which is basically the same thing as the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen.   I purchased it on Monday and have had so much fun playing with it for the last few days. 

For a long time I wanted to get a Bernina with a BSR.  However, when my friend Kathy of Kayak Quilting mentioned her sit down HQ 16, the wheels started turning in my head.  I realized that for what I really wanted to do the quilting machine would be so much better for me.  :)  So I test drove this machine on President's Day.  I totally loved it! 

I actually bought the floor model I test drove at my dealer (also one of my favorite local quilt shops), and I am so glad I did.  I went in the morning and purchased the machine.  Then they serviced it and got it all ready for me.  I went back in the afternoon and they taught me what I needed to know to get quilting.  It was so nice bringing home my machine already threaded with great tension.  After finishing the last three seams on my twister quilt (my mini-tutorial on how I pieced the blocks is here), I got my craft room set up and started playing with my new toy.  Sewing all the blocks of my twister together was a great way to keep busy before I could go pick up the Tiara.

This set-up does block part of my design wall, but when I need to use the whole thing (which is often) I can wheel my cabinet to the middle of the room or in front of the closets.  This little inconvenience is. so. worth. it. 

First, I finished the little sample the dealer sent home with me.  [Fabric added to stash .5 yards.]  Cheetah thought that it was so cool, that he said I should finish it.  So I did.  Here is my Modern Whole Cloth quilt. 

It was my first time ever quilting pebbles and paisleys.  I love that I will have this sample of the first thing I ever quilted after purchasing my Tiara. :)  It will be great for comparisons later. 

Mini Quilt Stats:
Name:  Modern Whole Cloth Quilt
Fabric:  Various solids
Stash Used: .75 yards
Batting:  Hobbs 80/20
Size: About 18 x 21 inches
What I learned:
  • My Tiara is totally awesome!
  • I like the stitch regulator, too.

Then I got playing with other fabric.  [Stash used 1 yard.]  Practicing quilting is a great way to use up fabric I don't want to use in a quilt.  This example is what was left from my red strings coin quilts.  I didn't want to use it in a quilt because of how much it absorbed the dye.  I also used some other ugly fabric. 

After some practice quilting, I wanted to quilt a bunch more.  But I was not ready to quilt on something I pieced as I am still learning the ins and outs of my machine.  So, I went through my stash and pulled fabric for six whole cloth quilts.  The fun thing about these six quilts is that every single one has batting which has been stitched together.  It used up all my large scraps of batting and emptied one cube of my Ikea Expedit.  I felt so thrifty.  :o)  It also made a dent in my floral fabrics and used some of my pinks (my March goal). 

Making whole cloth quilts is something I reccomend to people who are learning FMQ.  And this proves that I follow my own advice!  The six quilts range in size from 36 x 42 to 42 x 54.  I plan on donating them locally.  I hope my practice can do some good for someone else. 

Here you can see the machine in action with the sixth whole cloth quilt. Well, if I was actually sitting in the chair.  LOL.

It is wonderful having the extra room with that sixteen inch arm, but what I am enjoying the very most is the view.  I can see all around the needle without having to hunch over and look behind the machine.  Because I was used to quilting with the wall behind my machine, I am used to the quilt just pushing against something like back of the machine.  So on these baby and lap quilts my space feels unlimited on the right and left.  It seems like I gained a lot more than just the sixteen inches. 

Here it is from a different view.  You can see that I have added tables (or an ironing board) to the right and left of my sewing chair.  It is helping me hold the weight of the quilt and I am not fighting gravity at all.  The sewing cabinet to the right is also very handy for my scissors and thread catcher. 

The black knob that you see to the right of my needle is the stitch regulator.  I am getting used to moving it around every time I adjust my hands.  It is working great!  Can you tell that I am just a little bit  SUPER DUPER excited? 

Here is a close-up of the quilt you see on the on the table now. 

So after I finish this quilt and machine bind the other whole cloth quilts, I will be quilting my twister quilt.  Most likely with pointy spirals.  I will also do a post with close-ups of all the whole cloth quilts once they are all bound. 

Thanks for sharing my excitement with me!

Update January 27, 2015:

I have now been quilting with my Tiara for nearly a year, and I totally love it!  Check out this post for what it was like quilting a queen/king size quilt.  

Quilting my Modern Farmer's Wife Quilt with my Baby Lock Tiara ~ January 2015.


P.S.  I am linking up with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation, and Can I get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.  (I am totally
doing a happy dance, in case you couldn't tell.)

P.P.S.  I am thinking about naming my Tiara something cheesy like "Princess" what do you think?  I have never named one of my machines before.  I just call them my Janome or my Pfaff. 


  1. You don't know how much I enjoyed reading this post! Princess is beautiful and I can see just why you two are becoming fast friends. What a pleasure to see you putting your practice quilts to good use for charity. Thrifty and smart! Yes, naming her Princess is a great idea! Looking forward to seeing your progress!

  2. Definitely! Every machine needs a name! I would be partial to naming her after a real life princess. Like Princess Kate! That's just me! I may be a tad obsessed with the royals!

  3. How exciting! I have wondered about the sit-down machines too, so it was interesting to read your first impressions. Have fun!

  4. I am so jealous! That looks like so much fun! Now I want to come try that out! I would be so excited too. What a great way to use up more stash too.

  5. Congratulations on the new baby. I'd be finding it hard to shut her down and go to bed. Your pebbles and paisleys look amazing.

  6. Congrats! Sorry if I've been missing some posts. My brother passed away a week ago, then my mom had a heart attack. Things have been not so great. My blog and sewing will be on hold awhile. Just wanted to comment on one of many posts I've quickly skimmed through. Excited for you!

  7. Wow... I'm thrilled for you! Princess looks great and so do your sample pieces. I look forward to seeing all off the pretty projects already!

  8. I'm glad I saw this post - my mom is looking at the HandiQuilter Sweet 16 but I'll have to tell her to compare it to this, too. Happy quilting!!

  9. Congratulations!!!! How awesome! I have been looking at them. . . pondering. . . talking myself out of it . . . looking again. . . I have not let myself sit down and try it - I KNOW if I did I'd be coming home with a new toy. . . and I don't know how well that would go over LOL Your quilting looks fabulous!

  10. Jasmine your hook swirls are coming along nicely! I am smiling as I read your post as I can feel your excitement and reminded me of myself when I got my longarm :-) Were you quilting in your sleep too, LOL Yes you should name her, I named my longarm Ima as in I'm a crazy quilter, hehe

  11. I was thinking Jewel, but Princess is cute too. Anyway, I can just feel your smiles and energy come off your blog post, I would be the same way, this is what I have always wanted, good for you for making the splurge! I love how your quilting looks. I have not even tried with my domestic yet, but I am only several months into quilting too. Congratulations again,

  12. Princess is perfect! I've never named a machine either. My pistol has a name, but then she deserves one. And it's a total comic book name because we're dorks like that.

    I do love your quilting machine. After using the Gammill at my sis-in-law's house, I'm holding out for one of those. I'll be waiting a LONG time, but in the meantime I'll use hers!

  13. How exciting! Can't wait to see how the twister quilt turns out. What fun with a new machine and your practice pieces are wonderful! My first practice pieces weren't nearly as nice as yours. Congrats!!

  14. Sooooooo did you mention the price comparison to the Sweet Sixteen? Have you sewn on both? I want one!! I didn't even know about your make machine.
    Leeanna Paylor

  15. congrats on the new machine! looks like you're already putting her to great use!

    Thanks so much for sharing at Needle and Thread Thursday!

    :) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  16. I loved your post, and congratulations on your new addition! I'm saving up for a Tiara and plan to make my purchase after the Sewing Expo in the Seattle area next spring. This is when they offer some really good package deals on this machine around here. In the meantime you've given me some good ideas on how to use up some of my stash that has been stowed in boxes for a long time. I also loved that you named your machine :). Happy sewing!

  17. So how are coming with your new machine at this point? I kmow it is still pretty new but you were really working hard at getting used to it!

  18. I as well are looking about both the baby lock Tiara and the GQ sweet 16. Very difficult decision. How much price difference is there approx?

  19. I need one!! I am just about managing with my Juki but really need to go and test drive one of these beauties :)

  20. Hi there I was looking around on Google trying to find a price for these beauties with no luck and it brought me to your site. I still don't see my answer. I have watched tutorials on these I am thinking I also understand that it is only for free motion? You can't set it and forget it? I would love to see your answer. Thank you. Sherrylyn

  21. The Tiara is used for free-motion quilting by moving the quilt under the needle. There are no feed dogs, so there is no walking foot. The machine is basically the same as the Handi Quilter Sweet Sixteen, so you can check out the price for that online.

  22. That was awhile ago, hope you still like it. I just got a used one, have to arrange my room before I can set it up. Have a question: Can it be hooked to the computer for designes?

  23. I see it has been a while now since your purchase of your Princess. Do you still like it? I am almost to that place where I need to get something like that. Looking.....thank you for your insights.

  24. It's been a while since you got your machine and dubbed her "Princess". Has she been a good girl? I just came across a deal on a used Handiquilter and was wondering how many quilts you've quilted since 2014 and if you still have your Tiara. And do you still recommend it. I have an older model Professional Freehander, which is a sit down quilting machine. I have the table that I might be able to use and put the Tiara or Handiquilter in. Let me know your thoughts, as I do not think I want to stand up and use the longarm machine. Sandy P in NC

    1. I do still have my Tiara. I have quilted over 100 projects with her and love to use her. Although most of my projects are now quilted on a long arm, I do still use the Tiara occasionally. For a sit down quilting machine this one is great!


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