CyndiC

Need advice on loading my backs

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I seem to be doing something wrong when I load my backs onto the long-arm. I have watched Angela Huffman's series on Long-arm quilting and she shows how to load the back but i always seem to struggle a iittle here. First, how do you make sure the fabric is hanging square on the grainline? I know how to do it with smaller yardages and FQ etc. I am making a whole cloth, queen size quilt for my best friend so I am not sure here what to do. Anyway, my main concern is when I get the bottom attached to the quilter, I let it drape over the top bar and hang in the center to get it square before i attach the top end like Angela shows in the video. However, the sides always seem to hang lower to the floor than the middle. Does anyone else have this problem? Anyone know what causes it or how i can fix it? Thanks in advance for all your help!


Cyndi C.

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The way I load works well for me and I've shared here many times.

I make sure the edge I load on the front roller is straight-of-grain, either by having a selvedge edge or a torn edge. No guessing, it must be straight. I pin that straight edge to the front roller and then bring the fabric under the leveler roller and over the back take-up roller. I go to the back and pull all the backer fabric tight and even, making a "table" of the backer fabric and keeping it taut, eyeballing so the sides are lined up front and back. I pool all the excess backer on the table or the floor. I go to the front and use the power advance to slowly roll the backer onto the front roller. Notice nothing is pinned except to the front. The canvas of the leader has enough "bite" to keep the fabric in line and flat. I watch to make sure the fabric coming across the back roller is straight and flat. If I get some lumps or ruffles on top of the back roller (which means it's not rolling straight) I stop, go to the back, and smooth and pull the backer tight across the top of the roller. Then back to the front for more loading. I roll, stop, smooth, roll, smooth, until the backer fabric clears the top of the table in back. You can see if the backer is square by whether the far edge is even across the length of the table top. If one side is lower, I place pins all along that are in a straight line with the table top and use those as a guide for where to pin to the back leader. I also use a piece of tape or a blue marker to mark the side edges of the leader so I can line up the sides correctly for the final pinning. Then I pin the straight edge to the leader, making sure to use the pinned line and the side marks as guides. After it's all pinned, I go to the front and roll the slack part of the backer onto the back roller and then all of it onto the front roller. This is usually enough to be ready for the next steps, but you can roll back and forth a few times to make sure all is level.

This method will also allow you to load a skewed backer without trimming it. As long as you have one perfectly straight edge, the rest will load on-grain and you can tell if the backer scrolls in and out because of bad cutting if it's a wide back. Hoping this was helpful.


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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The way I load works well for me and I've shared here many times.

I make sure the edge I load on the front roller is straight-of-grain, either by having a selvedge edge or a torn edge. No guessing, it must be straight. I pin that straight edge to the front roller and then bring the fabric under the leveler roller and over the back take-up roller. I go to the back and pull all the backer fabric tight and even, making a "table" of the backer fabric and keeping it taut, eyeballing so the sides are lined up front and back. I pool all the excess backer on the table or the floor. I go to the front and use the power advance to slowly roll the backer onto the front roller. Notice nothing is pinned except to the front. The canvas of the leader has enough "bite" to keep the fabric in line and flat. I watch to make sure the fabric coming across the back roller is straight and flat. If I get some lumps or ruffles on top of the back roller (which means it's not rolling straight) I stop, go to the back, and smooth and pull the backer tight across the top of the roller. Then back to the front for more loading. I roll, stop, smooth, roll, smooth, until the backer fabric clears the top of the table in back. You can see if the backer is square by whether the far edge is even across the length of the table top. If one side is lower, I place pins all along that are in a straight line with the table top and use those as a guide for where to pin to the back leader. I also use a piece of tape or a blue marker to mark the side edges of the leader so I can line up the sides correctly for the final pinning. Then I pin the straight edge to the leader, making sure to use the pinned line and the side marks as guides. After it's all pinned, I go to the front and roll the slack part of the backer onto the back roller and then all of it onto the front roller. This is usually enough to be ready for the next steps, but you can roll back and forth a few times to make sure all is level.

This method will also allow you to load a skewed backer without trimming it. As long as you have one perfectly straight edge, the rest will load on-grain and you can tell if the backer scrolls in and out because of bad cutting if it's a wide back. Hoping this was helpful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cyndi C.

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This is very helpful! Thanks so much! One more question, do you use the "snip and rip" technique to be sure to get a straight of grain edge to pin?


Cyndi C.

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Yes, I use that technique. If the edge is distorted from ripping I will steam it with an iron. You can rip off the selvedge but usually I leave the selvedge and pin above it onto the plain weave of the fabric so it isn't too tight along the edge. 


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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Thank you, Linda! 

 

I use Red Snappers, but I'm sure I can adapt your method to those.  I have been having some issues loading my backs squarely, even with my best efforts at making square backs, and after squaring my leaders.  Never thought of starting with the front roller, though. 

 

I will definitely try this on my next quilt!!


Betsy

quilting with Emmeline, a 2011 Freedom SR

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You might check with your local guild, and see if one of the experienced longarmers might come to your home to show you best how to load a normal and problem quilt.  Or they might let you come to their studio and they will spend some time with your showing how to fix things.  I know the ladies in my guild have been more than helpful allowing me to visit and learn from them.  Quilters are so supportive and insightful into their art.

 

Cagey


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

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Thank you Linda for the great advice! I will give all that a try! One more question, when you say

the front roller, are you standing facing the machine or are you behind the machine and using the

top roller?

Also, thank you Cagey for your help. The only problem there is, there is no local guild where I live. There

isn't even a quilt shop short of 1 1/5 hrs from me. I know, it sucks!! When I go to visit my daughter in Illinois the first thing we do is hit up all the quilt shops!


Cyndi C.

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Thank you Linda for the great advice! I will give all that a try! One more question, when you say

the front roller, are you standing facing the machine or are you behind the machine and using the

top roller?

This is done facing the machine. Pinning a straight edge to the front leader and loading all the backer fabric carefully usually assures that the backer will load straight and stay on-grain. It's worked well for me for 10 years. :P


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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