help---loading quilt

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I am loading a queen size quilt, I have several questions. When I load the top, is it suppose to be tight on the roller? The quilt has tons of seams, and it doesn't want to roll up very smooth. I am afraid of pulling on it too much I will over stretch it. The border is not rolling up smooth either. It will be wavy when I get to the bottom it hangs loose. 

When I start quilting it should I keep easing the border in right at the beginning, so when I get to the bottom I don't have tons of border left?

The quilt is Triangle Spectacular, I had to make strip sets and cut into triangles. It did not want to fit like it was suppose to. It caused problems and was not fun to piece,hopefully I can get it quilted to look decent. I plan on doing

a meander, really wanted to do a panto but I need to quilt this from the front to be able to watch it.

I need some advice




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Hi Lizbeth. Here are some tips to help with your problems.


** You might want to try floating the top, especially if it has multiple fullness issues. Floating allows you to make every seam in every stitching field as straight as possible. Pin all seams straight and use your channel locks as a guide to check any suspect seam. As you advance, each full area is treated separately.


**If you stretched the triangles when you seamed them, unload the top and try the starch-and-steam method. Working in one area at a time, starch the top and then hold the iron over the fabric and hit it with steam. As the fabric gets hot, press up and down, coaxing the full areas to shrink back. This will take a bit of time, but the starch holds the re-shaped parts so they can be quilted.


** You can try the starch-and-steam on the wavy border, but if it doesn't help enough, the next step is to remove and re-apply the border. If the opposite sides are not the same length, you'll need to choose whether you want a flat top or a square top. I'd opt for flat rather than square, especially if the quilt is larger. A bit of wonky won't show on a bed. So leave the border if you want it square and re-do it if you want it flat.


** If you want to leave it as-is and try to quilt it, curves are your friends and the smaller the better. A paisley or petal-shaped overall will help suck up a lot of fullness. Where there is a lot of fullness, divide and conquer. Mark a circle around a bad area and work your overall from the outside in. This isolates the fullness and keeps the hopping foot from pushing fullness down the top and adding to the problem. Stitch the edges until the center is enclosed and then work across to make two areas of fullness. Then manipulate the fabric as you complete the inside so you control tucks. And if you have a few tucks? Not the end of the world!  ;)


** Any fullness needs to be attended to within each stitching field. Don't make adjustments until necessary. You'll take care of the rest as you get to it. This will keep you from distorting the rest of the top as you try to make other areas line up.


** Fullness in a border is the perfect candidate for piano keys. Pin like a porcupine all along the edge, distributing the fullness as you get to it. I've pinned a quarter inch apart on a border to distribute lots of fullness and had good results. Piano keys will keep the fullness isolated in each "key" and be flattened out when you apply the binding. If you want to continue your overall in the full border, carefully make your way and stitch towards the pins, removing then at the last.


Good luck and I hope you can solve your problems.

Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

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Hi....Linda is our expert on this and gives you good advice.....I am a fairly new quilter and I have also learned never to pull a border smooth.....if there is some fullness in it....I just gently pat it outward from the center of the quilt and pin along the edges letting the fullness be there...if I tryed to smooth it flat by patting it down from the top towards me....I would just end up with more ripples and maybe even a little "flag" at the last corner of the quilt....I float my tops too...and if I do have a full area....I just stitch a bit closer pattern to suck up some of that fullness.....I just do free motion not pantos or computer.....good luck and remember that no matter how the quilt turns out in you eye....someone will love it....we are our worst critics.....Lin

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