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Dear all,

Someone brought me a quilt that was already basted. I unbasted it and tried to put it on the machine. The quiltbacking however is not precisely square and it is not large enough to trim it in shape.

As I understand if you float a quilt you pin the backing to the backing roller and the pickup roller. The top and the batting are only attached to the pickup roller. But is it also possible to attach the three layers only to the pickup roller?

And would it solve my problem?

Anne Que

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I probably do things the hard way...but if I were doing this quilt I would square up the current back and then sew border fabric around the edges to make it large enough to quilt. Then if you want to float it, I would pin the backing to the leaders and then to do a full float lay the top and batting on and just baste across the top. For a partial float, pin the quilt top to the leader for the top, and then just baste across the top.

Then be sure to charge the customer for all the extra work you did to get this quilt to the quiltable stage.

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I only do partial floats. I pin the backing on, then pin the top onto the leader, slide the batting in then pin the backing and batting to the take up roller then float the top. I use a basting stitch so that I have a line to follow to pin the top on and keep it straight. I like having more control of the top so I can keep it taught and smooth all the way.

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Thank you for the advice. But I'm afraid I can't charge the lady, she is so old, she probably didn't know. I should have mentioned it before to her that I want the quilts delivered in three seperate layers. I added it immediatly in my website though! What I tried is only pinned the three layers to the pickup roller. Whith al lot of pinning and pulling and jerking it fortunately turned out alright. I don't know what that is called - double floating? It is kind of handy though, also if you do have a square backing and a large enough one.

I'm not very good in the businesspart, that is because I have just started and I think I can't be too prententious yet. I will try to be more stern in the future!

Anne

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I have been in business for a while as well...and I have done my fair share of "fixing" customers problems. My advice to you is that it is never too early to set the rules on how you want the quilt tops, backs and battings brought to you.

I put everything in writing on my website and I also have a disclaimer on my order forms (which they have to sign when dropping off a quilt). and if the backing or batting is too small or needs to be squared, pieced or pressed I tell them they need to fix that or I will charge for that. I also am no longer shy about pointing out if the quilt top has issues as well such as wavy borders or extra fullness in the top...I explain to them that these issues can not be quilted out and even in some instenses they may even cause tucks or pleats. If that is not ok with them than they take it back and fix their own problems.

Now when it comes to my MIL I just keep my mouth shut and do the best that I can. It keeps peace in the family ;)

Like Mary Beth said this is your business and you are the boss, if the quilt is going to be too much trouble inform the customer, then either fix it for a fee, reject the quilt out right, or tell the customer to fix the problems and bring it back when it is more acceptable.

Good luck...BTW if the backing is so out of whack that if you do square it up it causes it to be too small...before you do anything to her backing call her and suggest to her that she can either replace the backing with something more suitable, or that she needs to pick it up and fix it (square it up and then add the added strips neccessary to get the width/ length that is needed). Good luck :)

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Hi Anne,

I full float all my quilts. I get some wonky ones and this works best for me.

Like Mary Beth said, the backing has to be square enough that you can pin it straight onto the take-up and backing roller. If the backing is 90" long on the left side and 100 inches long on the right side, you will have the left side nice and tight and the right side, with the 10-inches difference will look like a parachute. The edges of the backing that get pinned must be straight or you will have problems with puckers and tucks as you roll the quilt.

The sides can be a bit wonky. I get lots of horizontal seams on the backings from customers. They don't always even those up and that's OK. I'm just going to clamp whatever is on the sides of the backing, it's OK if they are not perfectly straight. You do need to mark (chalk or pin) the centers of the backing and the center of the quilt top.

#1 pin the backing to the take-up and backing rollers lining up the center marks with the center marks on the canvas leaders. Roll up the backing onto the backing roller until it is taut across the top.

#2 Lay the batting on top of the taut backing on the frame. I do not pin the batt to any canvase leader. Some folks pin or stitch baste the batt to the backing. I like to lay my batt so it overlaps where the backing is pinned to the take-up roller. It just protects my fingers a bit.

#3 Lay the quilt top over the batting being careful to line up your center mark on the quilt top with the center mark on the canvas. The quilt top does not get pinned to any canvas. The quilt top gets pin-basted from the top, thru the batt to the backing. I use about 5 pins on a lap size quilt. Then I stitch baste across the top near the edge of the top canvas catching all 3 layers (top, batt, backing). Remove the 5 basting pins. I also stitch-base the left side of my quilts to keep them from migrating to the left. I pin baste the right side. Then as I quilt, I can make small adjustment to the quilt top because it is loose at the bottom.

Your batt and quilt top will be dragging on the floor. I just give them a gentle kick under the machine.

The only thing that I would caution you about is that your floor needs to be clean and free of stray threads which can be pulled up into the quilt sandwich.

This is how I float. I used to pin the quilt top to the quilt top roller but found that as I quilted and the quilt shrunk in on the sides, the bottom corners still pinned to a canvas were not able to "quilt in" like the rest of hte quilt. This made my bottom corners look like bunny ears. That's when I started floating my quilts.

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Just an FYI---if the pin-basted quilt was flat enough, there is no reason you cannot load it already basted. Just load the whole thing to the backer leaders and it actually works great. Pam Clarke has an assistant who pin-bastes every top and loads it this way. No stabilizing needed and the pins are removed from each area as you get to it. Then the assistant gets the pleasure of stabilizing those D-cups or wavey borders and Pam gets to quilt away!!

My first quilt for my LQS was a gigantic Thimbleberries BOM for the club and had been pin-stabilized. The only time you may have a problem is if the top is pinned unevenly.

I also have loaded a quilted a top that was hand-quilted in and around applique--a beautiful Baltimore Album that the customer knew she would never be able to finish because of arthritic hands. Not one problem--she had thread-basted very carefully and that quilt was a joy to work on.

I am too tender-hearted to ever point out a customer's errors. I would be mortified to be treated that way and probably never take another quilt to that person--either out of shame or anger. I have never sent a quilt back unquilted but I have called for a different backer if it is too small.

I will say that for longarmers who do this as their main source of income--time IS money and any bump in the road that eats away your time will need to be compensated for. If you re-attach wonky borders by all means charge for the time--which could be used on the next top so you cannot do it for free. Seaming backers is one thing I try not to do. I send the backer fabric home with the customer and let her know her place in line will be held as long as she gets the backer back by a certain date. I quilt for people, I don't piece for people!

Ah, if only I had time to piece for myself. Next year for sure!!

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Ok, Handquilter here! I've never had a quilt machine quilted, BUT, if I did, and it had issues that would cause problems with the quilting I would want my longarmer to tell me so that I could fix it myself. If I want to make quilts then I want to do it right all the way. Even with handquilting there are things in the construction of a quilt that can cause problems in the quilting. And sloppy piecing always shows one way or the other. I would want to be educated, then do the fixing myself and take it back to the same person (unless they were ugly about it in the first place), and find out if I'd done it right. Do not cut me any slck, tell me the truth so I don't have this problem in the future. I know everyone is not like me but I think it the approach is right that almost anyone would want to know. When I do get my machine I will not fix the problems, and probably won't do bindings. It's their quilt they need to be the one making it, not me. Of course using decernment I might just give it back and tell them no thanks! :D

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that is beautiful Linda!! what did you use for the background fill? I can't quite see it well enough to see what it is. But it is gorgeous. If only my Baltimore was ready to quilt, I have about 15 blocks in a box. No borders and my itch to hand applique has been scratched sufficiently enough that I don't think I will ever want to do that much hand applique again. So now what do I machine applique the borders and mix the two techniques? It might be the only way to finish it. jeanne

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Thanks everybody for your kind attention. It is interesting to hear different opinions about doing business especially if the question was - how do I float a quilt? It is obvious that for many of you sloppy quilts are a problem and I can see that each of you solves it in her own way. I live in the Netherlands and although there are quilters (I wouldn't know how many) it is not as common as in the USA. The average age of quilters is between 45 and 65. Is that so in the USA? Everybody in your country knows what a quilt is. Here I have to explain to nine out of ten what it is I do. There are not many quiltservices in Holland, maybe less than ten.

A quiltservice here is looked upon as an exaggerated hobby and certainly not as a means of livelihood. But I agree with Linda Rech, if people bring their quilt they are so proud of it and I don't have the hart to slash it. I do agree that I have to be more clear about certain conditions and I made adjustments in my website right away.

These forums of APQS are so helpful, I do like to look at all the websites as well.

Thanks again and until next time!

Anne Que

www.qlaq.nl

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Hello everyone - I am in the midst of that giant learning curve that entails finding every quilt top I never finished, putting it on the machine and practicing every technique I have ever read about.....I think I am understanding Linda Card's previous description but just to help me clarify.......

So am in the middle of following LInda Taylors technique for loading and stablizing a quilt - which so far seems to be NOT working so well - I am practising ruler work and feel like I am "locking in" areas of my quilt which lead me to these forum on floating a quilt.

For some reason I am unable to find your links for photos of floating a quilt and since I am visual.....is the following true?

1. When I float a quilt - I only need to pin/stitch/anchor my top to the already loaded backing and batting?

2. The rest of the top "floats" under my now unnecessary "quilt top" bar and the quilt is now hanging towards the floor.

3. I can now start at the top and work my way down the quilt - basting the left side - pinning the right side (until that section is complete and then I baste the right side removing the pins) And while I am working down the quilt I can SID, do background and what ever I want until I need to roll futher down the quilt.

4. Can floating be done with a Panto?

Thanks very much and this is really a great place to learn.

Dianne

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