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History of quilt sandwiching?

History of quilt sandwiching?

Old 08-03-2014, 10:37 AM
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Default History of quilt sandwiching?

This morning I was considering exactly how I want to sandwich my first big quilt and it got me to wondering how it was done a century or two ago. I know our ancestors didn't have tape to stick their backings down on the floor or clips to attach to tables, so how did they manage to quilt without getting any wrinkles in the fabric? I assume the basting part would have been done with needle and thread rather than safety pins or glue, but do any of you who have researched the history of quilting know any details about the sandwiching part of the process?
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:53 AM
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Quilting was often done on large frames, with many women sitting around and helping with the work. (Ever hear of quilting bees?) Or the quilt could be basted with thread by hand, then quilted by hand either with or without a hand frame. I think that wrinkles in the fabric were less an issue since there were fewer stitches per inch, and no machine pushing the fabric ahead of where it should be.
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:21 AM
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When working with a traditional hand quilting frame, the backing was secured around on 4 long boards. This large square was placed on corner stands/ saw horses or ropes from the ceiling. The batt was smoothed over the backing and the top was smoothed on top. The quilt was hand quilted and the boards were usually rolled as they proceeded to the center of the quilt.
The other method was to hand quilt in a lap frame. The quilt sandwich was usually laid out on the floor and hand basted with thread. Machine quilting has been around since the invention of the sewing machine but was usually just straight stitched in lines. I imagine it was just as hard to tackle the basting job as it is today but with few of our modern aids.
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:57 AM
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When I first started to quilt. I used a frame to pin baste my quilt on two sawhorses. Eventually, I design a work table that was almost 4' by 8'. This was in the early 80s.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:12 PM
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Using a frame makes sense, I have just never seen one in action!
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:36 PM
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I love my frame!
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:05 PM
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I have several frames. Each one is different. I like the oldest one the best, just boards and clamps. I haven't used any of them in over 20 years.
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:29 PM
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I'm having a hard time thinking that there are people out there that don't know what a quilting frame looks like. So here is mine. It's a homemade one that I bought at an auction about 10 years ago. I don't know how old it is. This picture is the quilt I made for my GGS for his graduation. I had the frame set up in the basement to work on his quilt. We've moved since then but I have the frame set up in the basement again. They take up a lot of space.

If you have a frame you don't have to sandwich the quilt. There is a piece of fabric on the roller board that you attach the backing, batting, and top to. Then you roll the quilt till you get to the other end. Then, you pin the opposite end to the piece of fabric on that board. I use pieces of elastic to pin the sides of the quilt while I'm hand quilting. Then, I have to take the side pieces off when I roll the quilt to the next spot. You don't ever have tucks on the back because there is a little tension on the fabrics keeping them straight and smooth. That's what I love about using the frame.... and I love the look of hand quilted quilts.

There are frames that have separate roller boards for the backing, batting and top. But mine is an old-fashioned one. Okay, any questions?
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:30 PM
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I quilted with our Sioux friends when we lived out in s.d. and they had the 4 boards and the c clamps. our quilts turned out very well, and we rolled them as we quilted each section. We wrapped the 4 boards with strips of fabric, then used thumb tacks all around to hold the layers together as we quilted. rolling them onto the first board as we went.NO wrinkles on backing, and the tops held so beautifully.
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:33 PM
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Here's another picture of the frame.... maybe the mechanism can be seen a little better in this picture.
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