Before I jump into this week’s “topic”, I just have to share an email I received from Peg:
“This is a great post. I do have a question. Can’t you simply measure the diagonal of the raw edge blocks, average them, and cut your squares that size plus 1 1/2?”
My response? – I wish I’d thought of that!!! So, instead of laying out 2 blocks and measuring the space between their points (as in last week’s post):
you’ll get the same results by simply measuring the diagonal of an unfinished block:
Either way the result is 8 1/2″ for these 9 patch blocks and 1 1/2″ can be added to that, resulting in 10″ squares that will be cut on both diagonals! Thanks Peg!
And now for this week’s topic!
A number of quilters have recently asked about my Quilt Float system. It’s not a medieval torture device, but rather a great way to make quilting a large quilt less stressful.
The time to revisit this topic has arrived! I wrote my original post back in 2012. Many of you weren’t reading my blog back then, so this is for you 😊 – or for anyone who’d like a refresher.
The idea behind this contraption is to “lift” the weight of the quilt so that it doesn’t pull and drag as we quilt large projects. It works with any sit down machine. My studio is finished so I can’t hang things from the ceiling, but if you sew in an unfinished basement, you could easily hang the chains from nails in the rafters and avoid the support structure altogether.
To “build” your Quilt Float I’m reposting portions from that first post in 2012 here, along with some updated photos. It begins with helpful set up hints for quilting large projects:
“Before we get to the actual frame, there’s a few tips I’d like to share. If your sewing machine is in a cabinet – great. It is also helpful to have some support to the left of the machine. If you don’t have any, placing an adjustable ironing board there is a good solution.
If you don’t have a cabinet you will want to find a way to avoid “sewing on a mountain”, ie: with the machine perched on top of a table or desk. Even table extenders don’t solve this problem with a large quilt because pins and folds of quilt get caught on the edges. My best suggestion is to place a card table in an “L” against your kitchen table or a banquet table. Then set the machine on a tv tray in the inside corner with enough magazines to make the bed of the machine flush with the tables.
Now you’re ready to float the quilt. All of these supplies can be purchased at your local hardware store.”
2 Lengths of Chain (approximately 18” long – links should be 1 ½” long)
2 Bull Nose Clips (1”) These can be found with office supplies. They are inexpensive and will clip and unclip the chain together very easily to adjust the height of the floating quilt.
2 Spring Clamps (6” long) These are plastic, fairly inexpensive and have holes in the handle ends for attaching the chains. They squeeze to open.
2 Slide Clamps (36” long) Both the old fashioned “C” clamps that screw to tighten or the deluxe new ones that pump tight will work.
Choose the best quality clamps you can afford. I took my husband shopping and thus I own the Cadillac of clamps, but I did wait until they were on sale. They are very easy to use! It’s important to have a hole in the bar at the non-clamp end for a rod or bolt to go through.
1 Top bar – you’ll want the “Quilt Float” positioned about 1 ½ feet behind the sewing machine. Depending upon your space, you’ll need to choose a “top bar” option:
1. If your table/cabinet is less than 6’ wide and more than 1½’ deep you’ll want to place the clamps on the sides (as in the clamp photo above). For this arrangement you’ll need: 2 bolts and 2 wing nuts that will fit through the holes at the ends of the Slide Clamps, and a length of aluminum slat that measures at least a foot longer than the width of your table/cabinet, with holes at even intervals along the length (mine had no holes so my husband drilled them to fit my table – he also painted it black 😊).
2. If your table/cabinet is more than 60” wide and less than 2 feet deep, you’ll want to place the clamps along the back of the table. For this arrangement you’ll need to buy a ¼” diameter Steel Rod (4’ long). This is the arrangement I used at retreat:
The rod will slide through the hole in the end of the long clamps.
And that’s it! Attach your support frame to the table, place your quilt under the machine, reach back and grab a handful of quilt with the spring clamp (as in the photo at the top of this post. Voila – your quilt is floating and the process of quilting will be much more enjoyable. I guarantee it!
And here’s some information for Wisconsin quilters!
The Wisconsin State Fair is hosting 2 fun challenges. Click here for all the details!