DIY Quilting Gift

I became aware of the John Flynn Quilting Frame this spring. It was designed to work with your home sewing machine and eliminates the need for basting before quilting! I was even more intrigued after I watched a demonstration video, but I wasn’t convinced I would love it/use it enough to justify the cost.

After reading several reviews, I knew there are many people who buy these at quilt shows and never even assemble them once they get home, so I started watching on eBay to see if I could snag a bargain. It looks like the current model goes for almost the same amount there as when getting it directly from John Flynn. The only way to pay less would be to buy the older model, which comes with clunky square wooden rods. Ugh. Sigh.

I kept poking around on the web looking for other sewing machine quilt frame options and continued to come across references to the John Flynn frame.  When I came across a discussion about this DIY version of the frame, I got rather excited!! I knew I had found  a solution.

Flash forward 8 months and a recent visit to Home Depot. We now have this pile of parts, plus two 24″ pieces of 4″ pvc, and three 5′ pieces of 1″ pvc (shopping list found here).

My DH has spent a few hours cleaning and reorganizing the woodworking area of our unheated garage, so he can get to his table saw. I am glad for the unusually mild 50° days we’ve had recently. They may mean I won’t have much longer to wait, but I’ll be quite happy if my quilting frame is finished by my birthday in April.

It is my intention to use it for making charity baby quilts and kids’ sized throws in the beginning. To make larger quilts with it, I’ll only have to get longer pieces of the 1″ pvc  and arrange a larger quilting work space.

There’s a machine quilters’ expo, MQX, in Rhode Island this April. It looks like lots of fun. I was hoping John Flynn would be there because I would like to see him demonstrating how to use the frame in person.

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2 Responses to DIY Quilting Gift

  1. Suzanne B says:

    Hey there?
    Did you ever get the DIY Flynn frame made? Did you use it? Have any pix, tips etc? I have a super squeaky budget so this REALLY intrigued me. I saw a photo in an quilt mag years ago when he was first making them at home. They were very basic and looked simple to make. As we know looks can be deceiving so if you have tips that would be great. Thanks, Linda. From Suzanne in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada.

    • Hi Suzanne ~

      I understand a squeaky budget. John sells them for $150 now; that’s alot to pay for a nonessential item like a quilting frame. It would be Great if you could find a good deal on a used one, maybe through Canada’s version of craigslist or at a tag sale! They come up for sale on eBay quite often too.

      As for the DIY version – it didn’t take my hubby very long at all to make one once he finally got around to it, so I’d say it really is as simple as it seems. But by then, about a year and a half after I wrote the blog post, my interest in quiltmaking had waned, so I haven’t used it. 😦
      I’m sure my interest will swing back to quilting eventually, it’s just that right now I’m all excited about weaving!

      Anyway, I do remember that by the time I’d watched John Flynn’s demo video a couple of times (at, read through all 10 pages of the Quilting Board conversation about the DIY frame and examined each of its photos closely, I’d decided that DIY would work for me.

      The 4″ limit on the height of its quilting area will definitely take some getting used to, but there’s always a learning curve when you get a new toy, right?

      Sorry that I don’t have more answers for you.
      Best wishes in your hunt for a low-cost frame!


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