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I ‘d appreciate any leads/advice anyone may have regarding the best options for eliminating the Velcro clamp bump, obtaining the largest flattest rulerwork surface, and a base that results in the least amount of drag on my machine movement. Perhaps there is no one perfect base.

I’ve had my Millie for 5 years now and despite using rods to lift the Velcro clamps up on the sides of the quilt, I have at times dealt with ruined stitching when the clamp bumps into the original base (with bobbin thread cutter) and Hartley extended base.

After searching the APQS chat history and doing some research on-line, correct me if I’m wrong, but it looks like these are the current options out there. Donita Reeve’s beveled base eliminates clamp bumping, but is there a problem with it not being wide enough for all ruler work (why is Sherry working in an extended base for it?) Off the Edge base looks to be wider – does this large of a base drag on the bottom of the quilt when doing free-motion work? I’ve seen some mention of side trays in past memos, but the links to those don’t work any longer, so I can’t check those out.

Thanks for your thoughts!

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My suggestion for a solution is a bit lazy, but I\'ve never bothered with gadgets or "lifters" for the clamps. The method I describe below eliminates the need for a different type of base expander (at least for bumping purposes). You can still look for an expander with a larger surface area, and not worry about clamps. Here\'s how:

If the backing fabric is narrow and I run the risk of bumping the clamps, I abandon the Velcro clamps. Instead, I use an old-fashioned way to clamp, just like Grandma did on her hand quilting frame.

Tear a couple of long selvedge strips from a length of fabric (about 70 inches or more) and loop one end around your frame. Use a safety pin to secure it to itself; leave the loop loose so you can slide it left and right along the frame.

Bring the other end over to the quilt, and pin it right to the quilt backing. (I pin-baste my quilt edges, so I only need to put the "clamp" on the backing fabric). Repeat with the other fabric strip. These hold the quilt edges firmly without providing ANY weight or anything to bump in to. Add two more strips to the other end of the quilting frame.

They are especially handy for small quilts mounted in the center of a large frame, where the clamps really weigh the quilt edges down and distort them.

For quilters who have the newer elastic clamps instead of Velcro, simply "reverse" the clamp. Loosen the buckle on the frame and pull the loose end of elastic until the clamp itself is resting next to the buckle. Then take the elastic\'s free tail over to the quilt sandwich and pin it to the backing. This works essentially the same as the selvedge strips.

Hope this helps!

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LadyLake, I made side leaders.. I use a 1/4"dowel and encase it in one side of the leader and pin the other side to the quilt.. one set is narrow, about 5"wide finished, for smaller quilts with plenty of side room before the extended bases get to the clamps. The other set is about 12" wide, for larger quilts with less room, they too are pinned on and then the clamps are put over the dowel so they won\'t slip off. This works for me, and I think it\'s Sharon Shamber who recommended it and uses them, too. I make them just a couple inches shorter than the distance from the top roller to the leveler roller.


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