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Loading a quilt properly


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Dear Idahoquilter,

I was taught one way, but through trial and error have found what works for me. I pin the top to the front roller and roll it all the way onto that roller. Then I pin the backing on the backing roller and roll it up to the point where I can bring it forward and pin to the take-up roller, taking the backing under the leveling bar, of course. If it is a very large quilt or the backing has been pieced in any way, I will roll the backing back and forth between the front backing roller and the take-up roller the whole length until the backing is evenly tensioned between the rollers. I don't have an automatic feed, so it's a lot of back & forth rolling, but I find that a few minutes of this is worth it once I start quilting.

I then bring the batting up and loosely pin to the top of the backing near the canvas leader. At this point, I tighten the backing to quilting tension and put on my channel lock to run a horizontal row of thread about 1-1/2" down from the top through just the batting and the backing. I pin the top edge of the top using this thread line as a guideline. This ensures that my quilt is parallel to the bars and eliminates the need to measure.

Once again, though, I think you need to try different methods and come up with something that works for you!


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The first thing I do is square up the backing and pin the backing to the front backing roller and then pin the top of the backing to the take up roller at the back of the machine. I then roll and smooth, roll and smooth the backing. If I'm not going to float the top I then pin the bottom of the top to the front roller and roll and smooth leaving the last 18 inches loose, I flip back over the roller and then pull in the batting bewteen the two rollers and smooth the batting and then lay the top over the batting and backing, pin every few inches and then baste down starting in the center going out to each side..you're now ready to go..I baste the sides as I go along this way you can work with any fullness a little at a time.

Hope this helps,

Hester :cool:

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You can see step by step pictures of how to load the quilt on my website. I've slightly changed a few things, but this is essentially how I do it.

The picture shows the pins vertical when adding the top layer. I actually put the pins horizontally about an inch below the basting line, so I don't have to remove them until I'm finished basting.

Another change I've made is to lay the quilt backing over the take up roller, instead of the "top" roller when pinning on the first edge. This makes it easier to roll up without stretching the edges as you roll up.

Speaking of edges, require your customers to "stay-stitch" just under 1/4" from the edge around both the top & backing. This serves 2 purposes. #1, it prevents you from stretching the edges as you're mounting and #2, it prevents seams from "popping" under tension, if the backing or edge of the top are pieced.


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  • 6 months later...

Maybe Darlene would be willing to put the loading instuction photos on her webshots link. I didn't find them on the new owners site.

They were helpful to me when I started.

Hint hint

Hey Dixie, Once you zip up your backing Run Painters TAPE over the pins. This will help reduce the Pricks. It comes off without any goo on your project. I love this little trick.

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