Homemade Machine Quilting Grippers

I am a HandiQuilter Ambassador and now use an HQ Sweet 16 sit down model  to machine quilt my quilts. I have SO MANY quilt tops as the result of making samples for my classes. Let me show you my ingenious take on expensive MQ grippers.

When a quilt is larger than a small table topper, it becomes quite a chore to push it around under any machine's needle. I have used gloves. I have used the tips of rubber gloves (these are my favorite). I regularly spit on my bare finger tips. But I needed something with a little weight, the right size and some serious gripping power.

Here is my solution:

I asked my husband for some scrap wood about the size of my hands. He cut off the ends of an old wooden fence post he had in the garage. They're a different shape, but who cares? That's what we came up with.
Small pieces of scrap lumber
Notice that blue stuff. I bought it as the Dollar Store for - wait for it - a dollar! It is the rubber gripper stuff you put under your carpets to keep them from slipping on your wood or tile floor. I needed some tape . . .

Double sided tape

I cut a piece of the blue rubber to wrap around the square piece of wood and used the double sided tape to secure it.
First MQ hand gripper
Then I traced the shape of the odd sized piece of wood onto the blue rubber and cut two out.

Trace, cut and secure with tape
Second hand gripper
Now, do they work? They sure do!

My two hand grippers with my Stacked Hearts table topper
I will be sharing a few of my recent quilt finishes in the next week, including this Stacked Hearts quilt. I got brave and used stencils to mark a design and then quilted it. Very much like what I did a few months ago with this hexagon mat. This is a class sample for when I teach Free Motion Quilting. Those marks are made with Washable Crayola Markers. They gave me the boundaries I needed to create my free motion designs.

17" sample marked and stitched
Markings washed out after I finished quilting
I'm trying to work myself up to stitching this New York Beauty quilt that has been in the works for about 6 years. I'm determined to find just the right stencil for the center.

New York Beauty

Stay tuned for more on my venture into quilting on this amazing machine with 16" of open space for my work.


  1. great idea...I always liked you after you gave a great talk a few years back in Charlotte, NC..thx for your easy tutes and down home style

  2. what a good idea, I used the rubber on its own and since I put some under the foot peddle it stays in place on the floor and no longer goes on the wander

  3. Debby what you just made quilting with the hexagons and the crayola pens and all the quilting around it, I think it would look beautiful in the centre of your blue quilt that your looking for a centre piece for. That's my opinion anyways...

  4. GM, Debby, Love the homemade machine quilting grippers!! Let's use the simple, right? I think these would work well when sewing long seams to keep things moving smoothly. Sometimes my left hand is just too slippery! Angeliasue

  5. Hi, Debby,
    Such fun with the HQ16! I used one in a class at the Cleveland Expo but would have would to displace my husband from his office/studio to make room; just a bit extreme!
    I like the grippers! My version is from a pack of round "jar openers" of similar materials I bought a few years ago. They do double duty as pedal grippers and glove substitutes when needed.
    Re your project waiting for the right quilt stencil: it feels good to not be alone. I have a few tops waiting for quilting inspiration. It will come someday! Thanks for everything! (janeherbst at roadrunner dot com)

  6. I will have to try that, thanks

  7. After wearing out two pairs of quilters gloves, well wearing out the first, and getting the second pair really grubby, I settled on gardening gloves with the textured rubber palms and fingers. Work great. And I'm drooling for one of those 16" HQs.

  8. Sebby, I hope you don't mind, but I shared your idea with the HQ Sweet Sixteen Quilters Facebook group. Thank you for a great idea!

  9. I love the hexagon flower, so I really look forward to seeing what you do on the New York Beauty. You are one ingenious woman! We used that blue stuff in our RV to keep dishes and things from sliding around when we were on the road. It's amazing stuff! I love your solution to grippers and using crayons for markers.


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Thanks for stopping by Debby Kratovil Quilts! If you had a question and don't get an answer from me, please feel free to email me at: kratovil@his.com