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Thread: Does anyone else have difficulty using Red Snappers to load a quilt on the frame?

  1. #1
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Does anyone else have difficulty using Red Snappers to load a quilt on the frame?

    Did they ever loosen up enough for you to use? I installed these thinking they would help me, but find I cannot force the clips over the rods. Aside from not having enough strength in my hands, my frame leaders are not long enough to allow me to do the clipping on the board in the back of the frame (plus that board is not really strong enough to take a lot of weight).

    Right now I need to have my husband see if he can do it for me for each quilt (he is very strong, so likely will find it easy). This will work for awhile, but I prefer being entirely independent. If I won't eventually be able to use the Red Snappers by myself, I am thinking perhaps I should go back to using a zipper system or try a velcro system. I really do not want to pin. I liked my zipper system, but did not at all like having to baste the quilt top and backing to the zippers on my domestic machine. Aside from being directionally challenged (sewing a zipper tape to the wrong edge at times), I didn't like the way the fabric stretched while being sewn.

    If you use velcro, do you have to sew the velcro to the quilt top and backing? I don't relish the idea of machine basting, but at least it would be less directionally challenging than zippers. Wondering though if the fabric stretches when sewn to velcro the way it stretched for me on the zipper tapes.

  2. #2
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I have the red snappers and like them. How thick is your leader fabric? I had them on my previous machine and the leaders were made of a very heavy fabric. Almost like canvas. It was difficult to put them on this system. My new machine came with leaders which are much thinner fabric and make the snappers easier to use. The other thing I noticed is that if your system is in a cold area and the clamp parts get cold they are stiffer. See if you can put them in a sunny location to warm them up a bit.
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  3. #3
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    I have never used the Red Snappers so I can't comment on them. I use these Leader Grips. I do not have a lot of strength in my hands either but I am usually able to install these easily.
    I saw them at a quilt show in Syracuse and I asked several long arm quilters at the show and they all recommended these.

    http://www.whateversquilted.com/leader-grips
    I don't want to brag but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.

  4. #4
    Senior Member AudreyB's Avatar
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    I have the Red Snappers and I absolutely love them! They did loosen up a tad over time. I have strong hands so it isn't a problem for me. I find that what works for me is to put my fingers on top of the snapper and use my thumb to push the rod into the other part.

    I don't understand the part about clipping on the board in the back of the frame. My rods all go on the cloth leaders through a casing on the edge of the leader. I'm not sure that makes sense. It's like a wide hem with openings on both sides so that the rod can slip through the hem.

    I probably confused you more than I helped, but I hope it was of some help.
    AudreyB
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  5. #5
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    If you find the Red Snappers are too tight, you can try clamping them onto a slightly larger diameter piece of dowelling - this will stretch them a little and make them easier to put on. I bought a 48 inch piece and left one piece of the snapper on it for a week or so to stretch it out a bit, switched to another piece etc until I had three or four stretched pieced. Then they were much easier to clamp on.
    I did this with my Leadergrips - and it made a big difference, so it would likely work for the Red Snappers as I think they're similar.

  6. #6
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I use the Red Snappers, love them, and don't have a problem attaching them, but my hands are pretty strong. I do think my Snappers have loosened up over time. My leaders came with my machine, and I think they are cotton duck, pretty substantial fabric. I attach the top of the backing first, by extending the leader all the way to the table (which apparently you can't do because your leader is too short) and then I get "inside" the frame and snap the Snappers on. Renae's video show her just bending over the frame, which I have done occasionally, but I'm a bit rounder than Renae and I find it easier to get inside. I attach the bottom of the backing by rolling the leader so that the Snapper is on the top of the pole, and I can press against the pole with the top of my hand. I float the top, so don't use the Snappers for that. It is a lot easier to load the Snappers if you start at one end and work your way along, rather than trying to press down in the middle. Gemrm's advice to stretch your Snappers is worth a try.

  7. #7
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks so much! I will bring one of the small clamps to the hardware store tomorrow and try the dowel for stretching.

  8. #8
    Super Member soccertxi's Avatar
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    I have Red Snappers and yes they do loosen up over time. I think I also learned how to use them so it does not hurt my hands. I have had less and less strength in my hands and have noticed no problems with putting the snappers on. I use the heel of my hand to push them down....basically putting one hand under the belly bar with the snapper on the top of that bar and sandwiching it with the heel of my hand. I don't need to use my fingers at all. Hope this helps. If a video would be better, I can have my husband take a short one while I load.
    Beth in AZ
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    I use red snappers and found in the beginning when they were tighter but I use the method Renae shows in the video named New Red Snapper Clamps. If you go to the web site www.quiltsonthecorner.com then click on Training, then on Red Snappers. I think it is about the 5th one down on the page. Bending them really helped.

  10. #10
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I tried the method Renae shows in her video, but I still couldn't do it. Also tried using the heel of my hand. Guess I am just a weakling!!! I am hopeful that the dowels will loosen them up enough for me to master them. If there were a fingers-crossed emoticon, it would be placed right here.

  11. #11
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    I got the Red Snappers, but had so much trouble using them, just too hard on my hands, plus had the devil of the time trying to get them and the quilt straight on the bars at the same time. Gave up and went back to pinning, I know it takes a little longer to load the stuff, but am much happier.

  12. #12
    Senior Member jcrilley's Avatar
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    Try lifting the unfastened end as you are pressing the snapper. I have found this helps too. Hope I made this clear???

  13. #13
    Super Member Snooze2978's Avatar
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    Prism99, my Innova came with the red snappers and at 1st I used them in leiu of pinning. Found them to get in the way right at the beginning unless I advanced far enough they would pass my deadbar. So I made up some extra leaders to attach to the original leaders and then back to pinning my backing to them at the back of the frame. Also my leaders were attached by the installer wonky so I drew a line using a magic markers across the original leader so I could attach the new ones straight. Of course I realize now if I planned my quilting just right I could avoid the hitting of the red snappers with the deadbar but sometimes I'm just plain slow in the thinking process. I do still use them to attach the backing to the belly bar though. I even purchased some extras/different sizes too.

    As to getting them to go onto the other half, if you bend them backwards a little, that should open the slit in them to go over the part on your leader.........at least that's what I do and I'm in a cold, cold basement. And yes, in time they will loosen up for you as they did for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcrilley View Post
    Try lifting the unfastened end as you are pressing the snapper. I have found this helps too. Hope I made this clear???
    This is what I do and I have no problem

  15. #15
    Super Member duckydo's Avatar
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    At first they are stiff and a little difficult to get on. If you will start in the center of your quilt and snap the left in right in the center then with your right hand bend the snapper up toward the ceiling and then use the heel of your left hand to snap them down it will help. It just takes using them a few times to get them loosened up. Don't give up I think you will like them once you get used to them. They are time savers

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    I have Leadergrips, not red Snappers, and have no trouble with them. I press them on with the fabric ends and rods against and on top of the metal bars of my frame.

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    I purchase the Leader Grips before I found the Red Snapper. The only thing I do not like is that was use put the Leader Grips together you cannot take them apart due to the fact that have you heat the connectors so they melt to the poles. Will buy the Red Snapper when I can afford. I use the bar to snap covers on. Love not pinning

  18. #18
    Super Member ppquilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltstringz View Post
    I use red snappers and found in the beginning when they were tighter but I use the method Renae shows in the video named New Red Snapper Clamps. If you go to the web site www.quiltsonthecorner.com then click on Training, then on Red Snappers. I think it is about the 5th one down on the page. Bending them really helped.
    Wow it looks very easy if you do have the strength in your hands!
    Born to Quilt, Forced to work.

  19. #19
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    I stretched mine out by putting them on the frame bars over a full quilt sandwich and leaving them for a few days. It was a battle getting them on but now they are so much easier to put on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    I tried the method Renae shows in her video, but I still couldn't do it. Also tried using the heel of my hand. Guess I am just a weakling!!! I am hopeful that the dowels will loosen them up enough for me to master them. If there were a fingers-crossed emoticon, it would be placed right here.

  20. #20
    Super Member nstitches4u's Avatar
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    My husband has to put them on for me. I don't have enough strength in my hands.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Well, we have some of the "clamps" soaking in the bath tub in hot water. My husband says they will loosen up more quickly by doing that. After they are warmed up, we are going to dry them off and slip them onto 7/8" dowels that we bought at the hardware store. I brought one of the clamps with me to the store, and we found that the 3/4" dowels fit pretty easily; my dh could get the 7/8" dowel inside, but it was more difficult. So, I am hoping once we do all this the clamps will become loose enough for me to be able to get onto the rods.

    Not sure exactly when I will get a chance to try this out as I have a practice quilt in the frame at the moment. I will post an update after all this to let everyone know if I am able to load a quilt by myself afterwards. Based on previous posts, I am very hopeful this will work.

  22. #22
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    I had problems in the beginning and my husband had to help or my daughter but by now hundreds of quilts have been done and it loosened some. My DH also showed me how to have the red snapper on top, put my hands on top of that and then use my weight to snap them on. I can now do all sizes. I have joint/bone issues and osteoarthritis in my hands. I do not like pinning either but would absolutely dislike having to sew a zipper or velcro on every time. I hope the snappers will work over time or else just let that nice big strong guy do it. I think my man misses helping the "little" lady.
    Anna Quilts

  23. #23
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustAbitCrazy View Post
    I have Leadergrips, not red Snappers, and have no trouble with them. I press them on with the fabric ends and rods against and on top of the metal bars of my frame.
    This sounds like the method I use too. I'm quickly losing strength in my hands and find it the only way that works for me. It's the way Matt Sparrow demonstrates in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzGyf_lO4nE

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