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Thread: What is floating on a long arm machine?

  1. #1
    Super Member sewbeadit's Avatar
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    What is floating on a long arm machine?

    I have heard of floating on a long arm machine but don't really know what it is. Is it something a newby can do? Why would you float? Thank you.
    Sewbeadit
    W. Washington

  2. #2
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    I want to know too!

  3. #3
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    when a quilt is loaded to be quilted with a long arm there are bars with leaders the pieces are attached to- and (generally) the batting is (floated) in between the top and backing---meaning it is not attached to the bars- it is left loose between the 2 layers- sometimes the top will be (floated) also---not attached to the rollers- just laid over the backing/batting.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  4. #4
    Senior Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    Why would one do this? What are the reasons for loading the quilt like this? Our inquiring minds want to know! LOL

  5. #5
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    When you load the backing and the quilt top to the quilt frame the batting does not have to be "attached" to a rail. It is normally stitched along the top edge to the backing and then the quilt top is stitched to the backing and batting. This holds that edge securely. The other end of the backing and the quilt top are securely attached to the take up rails. It is not necessary to have the batting attached to a take up rail, but most quilt frames do have a 4th rail for the batting if you choose to attach it and roll it. My frame does not have a leader cloth on the batting rail or the mechanism to tighten up the batting rail. Only the backing, top and then the part that is quilted can be rolled tightly. So I usually just leave the batting hanging loose. If you are interested in more info on this do a search for "quilt loading" and you will probably find many sites that show how to do it and perhaps even say why.

  6. #6
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    Sometimes quilters do not attach, but float the quilt top. I can be laid on top of the backing and batting which can also be floated. But something has to be pinned in place. So that would be the backing.

    If you pin your backing to the leaders (both ends) you will have that to support the other 2 layers.
    I layer the batting on top of the backing and use just a few pins to hold it in place until I get the quilt top in place.
    Actually, I will pin the quilt top to the other 2 layers, until I get the first row of quilting across the top.
    After that, both the batting and quilt top hang free.

    The reason I do this is to use my batting scraps. I insert one strip of batting across the length and smooth it out.
    Then I lay the quilt top on top of the 2 layers - and smooth it into place. After I have quilted the 3 layers for the first row, I renove the pins, but I use a few pins to show me where to stop the quilting ...then lift it up and insert another strip of batting. I save what is cut off the quilt, make sure it is cut straight and then butt the next piece up against the tail end. It is easier than sewing them together on another machine and putting them on vertically. Laying the strips across the width of the frame really works well.

    This is what I call floating the quilt top . I suspect some long arm quilters do the same thing, but may not use left-over strips of batting. I make a lot of charity quilts and this is my idea of being conservative

    I would like to hear how other quilters do this.
    June in Cincinnati

  7. #7
    Senior Member DebbyT's Avatar
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    My quilt frame is good for appx 90" before I am hitting the bungies on the side so when I have a wider quilt, I turn and 'float' the quilt to do the borders. I attatch the side edge to the top leader and float the rest of the already quilted quilt over the front rails. The weight of the quilt holds it tight. When necessary, I will attach the side bungies.

  8. #8
    Junior Member tupoms's Avatar
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    I prefer to float my quilt tops because I can see the backside of the quilt much more easily & I can see my bobbin area much better also.

  9. #9
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great new massage technique to me. Where do I sign up? (sorry, couldn't resist...teehee)
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  10. #10
    Super Member GwynR's Avatar
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    What a great idea June6995! Going to try that soon!

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