Nesting with the Quilt Magician

Posted by on August 19, 2015


  1. Audition Your Quilt: Before placing the quilt onto the frame consider which pattern you would like to use. Measure the length and width in order to determine how many repeats will give you the desired effect (both horizontally and vertically).
  2. Create the first Pattern Box: Using the information from auditioning your quilt, create the first pattern box. Mark the first point (left most point of the baseline) and the second point (right point of the baseline) with calk or other removable marker. This will save time in the next steps.
  3. Add a Pattern: Now you have created your pattern box choose a pattern. Choosing a panto style pattern will be easier to learn nesting, but any pattern will do. (Pantograph patterns begin and end on the same plane making it easier to have a continuous stich if you are repeating a pattern, creating an edge to edge design.)
  4. Edit, repeat, scale: Repeat, edit, rotate, scale, space your pattern as desired. It is best if you see only one start and one stop if you have repeated your pattern to eliminate multiple tie offs or jump stitches.
  5. Stitch out the first pattern: If all looks right stitch out this pattern following the prompts on the screen. When the pattern is finished, tie off, bring up the bobbin thread and cut.
  6. Touch the Tablet icon on the upper left of the screen: Choose NEST from the drop-down menu.
  7. Move the machine and MARK: IF YOU ARE GOING TO ROLL THE QUILT move the machine to the lower left of the quilt area. Mark this point with chalk. (At the prompt “Mark” the machine will not be able to be moved. As soon as you touch OK it will be released.) Move to the bottom right of the quilt area and mark this point. The Quilt Magician will tell you to roll the quilt. MAKE SURE WHEN YOU ROLL YOUR QUILT YOU LEAVE THE MARKS VISIBLE AND FAR ENOUGH AWAY FROM THE TAKE-UP RAIL THAT YOU ARE ABLE TO PLACE THE NEEDLE OVER THE MARK. IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO ROLL THE QUILT move the machine to the left mark of your pattern box from step #2. Touch OK. Move the machine to the right mark from step #2 and touch OK. Your machine must be on these marks when you touch OK. (If you make a mistake start over from step #6.)
  8. Choose a nesting point: Notice there is now a blue cross bar visible on the screen near your pattern. The Quilt Magician needs to have a reference point with which to know where to adjust the placement of your next row. Putting the cross bar over the highest point works well. Press ok.
  9. Position your new pattern: There are now two patterns visible on the screen. One is the pattern that has already been stitched. The other is the new pattern to be stitched. You are able to move the new pattern around to your liking. When you have the pattern looking as you desire, press okay. The screen now shows only the new pattern ready to stitch out.
  10. Keep in Mind:
    • If you are planning to stagger the nesting rows you will need to create the initial pattern box larger than your quilt width. This requires that the batting and backing be large enough to accommodate this larger pattern box. Your pattern will stitch off the edge of the quilt top. If not, there will be a gap with no stitching on each row as the pattern is staggered.
    • When the pattern box is larger than the quilt top the presser foot often will catch the edge of the quilt and turn it back as it stitches. Basting the quilt edges as close to the edge as possible helps. Also, you may use a stiletto or bamboo skewer to hold the edge down while the machine is stitching in that area.
    • When repeating patterns sometimes there are multiple stops and starts. This is not desirable for convenience sake. This may be resolved by using the spacing feature under the Edit icon and then in the Repeat option. Move the patterns closer or farther apart until the unwanted stop and starts disappear. This will not resolve the issue if the pattern’s stop and starts are not place to the left or right of the design, but centered etc.
    • If the start and stops are positioned such that a continuous pattern can’t be stitched you may simply touch the OK button when the prompt says to bring up the bobbin thread and the machine will drag the thread to the next start position creating a jump stitch that can be trimmed later.
    • It may be desirable to mark the approximate location of each pattern box on your quilt before it is loaded onto the frame. In this way the stitch out can be monitored more closely.

Filed under: Blog,Quilt Magician,TinLizzie18 Quilting Tips

Leave a Comment


  1. There should be a webinar on nesting.

    • Myrl Breinholt says:

      That is a great idea! We have it on our list and should be scheduled for the Fall. Thank you for your suggestions.

  2. Andrea says:

    After a few perfect rows of nested patterns, I noticed my panto design is slowly starting to angle, such that it’s outside of the pattern box. It is now too low on the left, causing a y axis error, and too high on the right, hitting my previously stitched row. I am guessing this could be related to a crookedly loaded top, however, I levelled it with my v lock and basted in place. Please help!

    • kelleyn says:

      Hi Andrea,

      When nesting patterns start to “wander” there are a few issues to consider. 1-First is to note before putting the quilt onto the frame if the quilt is square and if the borders lay flat. If borders are stretched or not attached appropriately they will be “wavy” and cause problems rolling the quilt evenly. 2-Second, after the quilt backing is pinned onto the leaders roll the entire quilt back onto the take-up rail so that the leader is extended completely out. Roll the backing back onto the lower rail until the other leader is extended out. This makes sure that the leaders are rolled evenly and not causing your quilt to roll unevenly. I sometimes have to do this two or three times to get everything even. 3-Next make sure that the top and bottom centers of the quilt are matched with the center of the leaders. This will help with keeping the quilt square on the frame. 4-When basting the quilt top onto the batting and backing make sure that it is perpendicular with the take up rail and not crooked. I highly recommend basting the sides of the quilt when you are nesting. (You will baste the sides as you roll.) This secures the quilt and helps to tame any wavy borders. Baste sides with a long stitch about 1 stitch per inch. 5-Now everything is square and secure check the cables. The Y axis cable bracket likes to slip because of the powder coating. When the bracket is not level with the carriage it will cause a Y error or cause the pattern to stitch out incorrectly. Roughing the bracket up with fine steel wool will make it less slippery and it will stay in place better. 6- It is best to get out of the habit of leaning on the quilting frame or quilt while it is on the frame. Leaning will change the position of the pattern box and pattern. I hope this is helpful. Happy quilting!

      • Andrea says:

        Thank you SO MUCH for the tips! I think the culprit was my backing. I used snuggles for the first time on my Longarm. My quilt was 60″ wide, as was the backing. I added an 8 ” strip to one side. The backing was cut straight and all squared up on the frame initially. However, when I took it off the frame, I discovered that the 8″ strip I had attached was all puckered and stretched such that the backing would have been uneven. I’ve worked with fireside and never had that issue but the snuggles is just so stretchy!

  3. Cindy Starowesk says:

    Can you give nesting instructions for the Shirley StitcherII. I have been to the Atlanta store for a class and also asked for the info at quilt shows. They couldn’t get it to work at the Atlanta store. I just asked at the Orlando show and was told there were youtube videos on nesting which I could not find. Please help.

  4. Linda Eakins says:

    My question is: If you want to stagger a pattern when nesting; instead of starting off the quilt at the left; could you just select a start point in the right side of the pattern box on the left side of the quilt top

    • kelleyn says:

      Hi Linda,

      When staggering rows using the nesting feature the initial pattern box needs to be larger than the width of the quilt top. If not, there will be an unquilted area as the row is staggered. The quilting needs to be monitored as the machine passes over the quilt edge to keep the hopping foot from folding the fabric edge over. I like to use a stylus made from a bamboo skewer. That will keep your fingers away from the needle and the bamboo skewer is easily replaced if there is a mishap. The point on the skewer can fit under the hopping foot easily and can stay out of the way of the needle.

  5. Linda says:

    Would be nice if this could be posted in a .pdf file so that it could be printed out. I always need to reference something several times before it sinks in.

  6. Donna Peckham says:

    How do you move the pattern around or move the blue bar when nesting?

    • kelleyn says:

      Hi Donna! I am excited to help you with your questions. You asked how to move a pattern. If you are wanting to move the pattern within the pattern box, go to the Edit menu option on the far right of the Quilt Magician Screen. From the drop-down menu choose move. Now you have the ability to nudge the pattern where you want it with the arrows or simply drag it with the stylus. When it is where you want the pattern, touch the check mark indicating you are finished.

      Another option is “Move Start Point.” This moves where the pattern will begin stitching. Please read our recent blog posts on Nesting and Properties, which includes Move Start Point.

      Please let us know if you have further questions. Thank you so much!

  7. Alex Whitelock says:

    thank you!!! I posted my question about this on the TL discussion group (Yahoo) and someone who had taken one of your classes requested this be posted. THANK YOU. Someday I will fly out for one.

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