Kwiltr

To Float or Not to Float...

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Hi,

So I've done a handful of small quilts since acquiring my Lenni this past fall and I've tried both a full float and a partial float on them.  The jury's still out for me as to which way I'm more comfortable.  Both ways, things have turned out ok.  I follow a lot of professional quilters online, and it looks like there are a lot of quilters that full float quilts of all sizes and clearly have great results.  Personally, it seems easier to full float the tops rather than load them on the Quilt Top Bar.  Having said that, it seems like I have more control of the outcome if I partially float (attach the bottom edge of the quilt to the Quilt Top Bar with pins).  Maybe that's just an illusion?

So I'd like to ask, what do you do and why do you do it that way?  Pros and cons sort of thing.  I've been thinking if I'm just going to float all my quilts, I'd just as soon take my quilt top bar off so I don't have to work around it.  But, I'm really new to this stuff, so I'm working with it as is.  When I see professional quilters with a top floated but the top bar all taped up, not in use, I wonder why they've chosen not to use it and when they might choose to use it.  

Thanks in advance for your insights!

 

P.S. The jury's still out on the leader grips with me too...still struggling with them to load a quilt...argggh.  


Kathy :)

2017 APQS Lucey

Janome 6600P

 

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I haven't pinned a quilt top to the quilt top bar since the 2nd or 3rd quilt I did that didn't belong to me when, after pinning to the take up bar, I could roll the top up evenly because there was so much fullness in the sides. I unpinned and floated working the side fullness in as I went. Since that worked out well for me I have continued floating the tops. I haven't removed the top take up bar however because it seems to put some tension on the layers so I don't have to use any clamps on the backing bar to hold the layers together. I also use blue painters tape on the quilt top bar to mark where the sides of the quilt should be after I roll the quilt. 

I only have the leader grips for loading the backing but in love mine. I really hated pinning. I also have the leader grip side clamps which seems to put move even side tension on the backing. 

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I have only had my Millie for half a year, so I am not an expert by far... here is what works for me: I installed a combination of zippers and leader grips. I found pictures somewhere here on the board, so thanks to whoever had that idea! I pin my own quilts to the zippers because I like to quilt a lot, and that takes time. I bought an extra set of zippers and some canvas and attached the leader grips rods to that extra set, so I can take my own quilt off and zip on the leader grips when someone else wants me to quilt for them. Works great!

As for the top, I like fully floating it. It might sound weird but I think it gives you more control as gkazee said. I use quite a few pins to make sure everything ends up where it is supposed to be. And I personally wouldn't remove the quilt top bar. I not only mark the spot where the sides of the quilt should be but also a few vertical seams, if I have any, that also helps to keep everything nice and straight.


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Thanks gkazee for your explanations!  I never thought about the quilt top bar keeping things in place by just being there.  It is a close fit brewer the rollers. The only pinning I've done is the bottom of the quilt top to the quilt top leader, as I have such difficulty getting the leader grips to snap on, I'd have my quilt top mangled if I tried to use them on my quilt top.  I use the leader grips to put the backing on, but have a heck of a time getting them on straight.

Thanks Beatrice!  I've heard several comments about zippers being easier to load a quilt and have been thinking of trying that.  I do use the quilt top bar for marking reference points as you said, so it is good for something!  


Kathy :)

2017 APQS Lucey

Janome 6600P

 

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I float all tops. This allows me to keep the top square on the frame all the way. I mark the edges of the top on the top, unused leader and hit the mark as I advance. I use lots of pins to stabilize the top, but many quilters now baste the entire quilt first. Pinning is faster and I feel I have more control. You'll find what works best for you and may do a combination of techniques on different quilts.


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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I  recently watch a YouTube called "Loading Lori's Way".  It is my new way of loading a quilt.  I've use it 5 or 6 times now and I'm happy with the results.  I do use "Red Snappers" at first I thought they were a waste of money.  The snapping was not a snap!  But I persevered and watched a few youtubes and I'm pretty happy with them now.  Plus with the new way of loading I only have to snap the backing.  

Wow I don't know how I did that !  But there you have itb0703.gif


Nancy

Gammill AKA "Gabby"

Hand Guided 

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Thank you Kathy for asking this question. I too wanted to know what the opinion was on this topic. I just purchased my Millie last month and wondered what method others used. I have been floating my tops, but have seen others using their quilt top roller. I wondered which method others preferred. I think Linda's right, it depends on what works best for you and the quilt you are working on at the time.

Happy Quilting,  


Carmen 

Stitchin Cricket Quilts

APQS Millenium with Bliss Track & Quilt Glide

 

 

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I float all mine and haven't had any more problems this way than with using the belly bar.  I took my belly bar off because its easier on my back and arms when doing a lot of customs. All I do is measure and baste down the top and make sure its square then advance down the sides as I go.  Like Linda does I pin and make adjustments as I go down. Its all what you feel comfortable with.


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I do what Linda does, I like floating as I think it gives me more space to check to be sure all is straight and I have a sling that the quilt top and batting both fall into while I am quilting so I don't step on anything.  It's just what I am used to doing and feels comfortable to me in quilting.


aedc2cc10e0045c5397509e8f6b74d4d.png

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sewmanyquiltssewlittletime/

Proud Millie Owner!

Sew Many Quilts - Sew Little Time

Custom Long Arm Quilting

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I may have been the one who posted that I sewed extra canvas to my zippers, with the rod pocket and slipped my red snappers into the rod pockets.  I also have a set of just plain zippers if I need to just pin a smaller quilt, or a quilt that I need to get the quilting completely to the edge of the top and bottom. 

I also float when necessary as well...so..i take each quilt as it is, and decide which way I'm going to go with it.


F55CA928B31BF9D50E35FB71F402EFB1.png Millennium/Circle Lord 402-450-8321 Designer of the 1/2" foot for Ult II's. 1sheributler@gmail.com

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Yep I'm a floater.  Like the others I baste the top to ensure everything is straight and square.  I baste the side as I go and use pins within quilt if there's problem areas.  I use clips or magnets to keep the layers taunt.  I also have my set-up like Sheri's.  I love my red snapper and zipper set-up.  The biggest thing is do what you are comfortable with.  Remember, no Quilt Police here. 


Connie
Port Huron, MI   48060
APQS Sales Rep and Educator
Millennium with Intelliquilter (IQ)

"Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble" Frank Tygr


sewsweetgator@aol.com
http://www.yoursite.com
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On January 17, 2017 at 0:50 PM, Primitive1 said:

I do what Linda does, I like floating as I think it gives me more space to check to be sure all is straight and I have a sling that the quilt top and batting both fall into while I am quilting so I don't step on anything.  It's just what I am used to doing and feels comfortable to me in quilting.

I like the sling idea!  Thank you for your comments!


Kathy :)

2017 APQS Lucey

Janome 6600P

 

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Thanks everyone for your feedback.  I guess I'll just keep plugging along.  I haven't had any real problems so far, but I'm not looking forward to taking the quilt I'm working on, off the frame as the only line that stayed where it started was the middle seam on the quilt top :wacko:.  This quilt has challenged me a bit from inception to now quilting it, and it's still giving me grief.  A bad quilting day today :(


Kathy :)

2017 APQS Lucey

Janome 6600P

 

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For the most part, I'm not a floater!  I have always pinned my tops to the leader and I like the control I get from pinning it on and giving it a little tension when I need to.... But that stated, I have fully floated a few quilts. I prefer partial floating. 


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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6 hours ago, SYork said:

Pepsi Girl, So do you take the basting stitches out as you get to them or after the quilt is finished?

I take them out as I get to them.   I have been very happy with this process.


Nancy

Gammill AKA "Gabby"

Hand Guided 

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PepsiGirl,

how do you do the basting stitch?  Typically I use the single stitch button on the handle to pulse the needle down and then pulse up, but that's a lot button pushing.  Do you do something different?

 

thanks,

Colette

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That bar is on that machine for a reason.  In our longarm group we have floaters and pinners.  Floaters had more problems keeping the quilt square than pinners.   The only ones I float are small quilts or ones that are horribly out of square to begin with.  Curing all piecing problems is not my job.  However,  many new quilters have floated tops and come to the bottom of the quilt and realized they have a pronounced frown to the bottom border..or they have 4 inches of extra border fabric to ease in.  It is not a technique for the inexperienced in my opinion.  Yes, floaters "can" keep the quilt square.   You need to ask yourself if you are experienced enough with "how" to keep it square during floating.  My position was the few minutes I save by not pinning is not worth the extra work required for a float.  But whatever works for you.


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Adding my 2 cents worth.  I have floated a few quilts but prefer to pin the top for the tension.  I do like to float my small wall quilts. 

I've used the Snappers and couldn't sell them fast enough.  I didn't like having to ask my customers to add another 4 inches to their backs to accommodate my system.  I discovered that my support plate ran into the snappers and would through my quilting off.  

In regards to removing the take up bar I would not do that.  It helps stabilize your frame.  If you move your long arm you may twist the frame and damage it.  I have a fairly small studio and often move the entire frame back against the wall when not in use.  Just my thoughts. 


Missy

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3 hours ago, FloridaMissy said:

Adding my 2 cents worth.  I have floated a few quilts but prefer to pin the top for the tension.  I do like to float my small wall quilts. 

I've used the Snappers and couldn't sell them fast enough.  I didn't like having to ask my customers to add another 4 inches to their backs to accommodate my system.  I discovered that my support plate ran into the snappers and would through my quilting off.  

In regards to removing the take up bar I would not do that.  It helps stabilize your frame.  If you move your long arm you may twist the frame and damage it.  I have a fairly small studio and often move the entire frame back against the wall when not in use.  Just my thoughts. 

Hi Missy!  Thanks for your comments!  It is a pill to have that extra backing available, even if it's just for one's self, but I guess something that is pretty standard in the long arming business I'm guessing, as I see it just about everywhere, so take it as a necessary evil.  But on the quilt top bar removal question, I ordered a Texas Holdem piece from APQS directly so that the clamps would stil apply correct pressure to hold he quilt roll if the bar was removed, so I don't think it's going to cause a frame integrity issue, otherwise they might have said that when I ordered it.  I still have my quilt top bar installed, and I think I'll use it at times, but I'm still trying to figure this stuff out.


Kathy :)

2017 APQS Lucey

Janome 6600P

 

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11 hours ago, Colette said:

PepsiGirl,

how do you do the basting stitch?  Typically I use the single stitch button on the handle to pulse the needle down and then pulse up, but that's a lot button pushing.  Do you do something different?

 

thanks,

Colette

Yes I do the single stitch button   But it's not that bad goes pretty quickly really!  You just put the needle up and stitch every 4 inches or so.across.


Nancy

Gammill AKA "Gabby"

Hand Guided 

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9 minutes ago, Pepsi Girl said:

Yes I do the single stitch button   But it's not that bad goes pretty quickly really!  You just put the needle up and stitch every 4 inches or so.across.

Hi Pepsi Girl, just a couple questions on your basting method... So if you were doing a custom quilting type quilt job where you would stitch in the ditch, would you still baste your entire quilt ahead of time?  Do you baste in a grid or just lines across the quilt, and what is your spacing?  I can see the benefits if you're doing an all over design, but if I ditch it ahead, it seems like the same thing, meaning I'd get the same stability, and get some quilting done.

Thanks!

Kathy


Kathy :)

2017 APQS Lucey

Janome 6600P

 

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16 hours ago, Kwiltr said:

Hi Pepsi Girl, just a couple questions on your basting method... So if you were doing a custom quilting type quilt job where you would stitch in the ditch, would you still baste your entire quilt ahead of time?  Do you baste in a grid or just lines across the quilt, and what is your spacing?  I can see the benefits if you're doing an all over design, but if I ditch it ahead, it seems like the same thing, meaning I'd get the same stability, and get some quilting done.

Thanks!

Kathy

Kathy, there is probably someone on this forum that could better answer this question, as I am a self taught with the help of this forum quilter. I don't quilt for pay so I do what I do! And that may not be right or best.  But I think it would be totally  acceptable to SID as you go.  As far as how I do it, I do not stitch in a grid.  I stitch across maybe every 4 inches or so and I stitch the sides but I stitch it much closer.  Hope this helps and that someone wiser than I would chime in.

I just went to my quilt room and it's more like every 2 to 4 inches!

 


Nancy

Gammill AKA "Gabby"

Hand Guided 

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