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Thread: Pros & Cons of floating a top!

  1. #1
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    Pros & Cons of floating a top!

    I started out pinning the back and rolling it , adding the batting and then pinning the top and rolling it. Later I saw someone floating the top, I did it and liked it better.

    I told the person that taught me that I now float my tops and she was in disbelieve that I would do that. Some times I find that it is easier to work in a top that is not too square... What do you LAers do??

  2. #2
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    Could you please explain the floating process? Anything that could make life easier with a domestic machine is welcome!
    Margaret F

  3. #3
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i always liked floating my tops. sometimes, though, they can go crooked, so that needs to be watched
    Nancy in western NY
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  4. #4
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    I like floating my tops and have found the clips (got mine from Jamie Wallen) keep the top snug when extra tension is needed.

  5. #5
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Does this technique only apply to long arm quilting?
    Alyce

  6. #6
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitchnripper View Post
    Does this technique only apply to long arm quilting?
    I think so

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    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Yes, this is a frame quilting technique. No way to float a top with a domestic machine, I'm afraid!

    I tried floating, but found I get better results the traditional way -- keeps everything square and even.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cindi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltnNan View Post
    i always liked floating my tops. sometimes, though, they can go crooked, so that needs to be watched
    I've always floated my tops, and use a longarm tape to keep them from going crooked. It works like a charm! Wouldn't be without it. I align the markers along each edge and every sash. Really keeps things square.
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    Last edited by cindi; 12-23-2014 at 04:44 PM.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member cindi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MFord View Post
    Could you please explain the floating process? Anything that could make life easier with a domestic machine is welcome!
    MFord, "floating" is when only the top edge of the quilt is attached to the frame, and the rest just hangs over the bar. I float my top and batting, but attach the backing to keep it taut, since it's harder to see. I used to float it all, but when I ended up with a fold in my backing that I didn't catch until later, I started rolling my backing again. Here's a quilt floated:
    Attachment 503523
    Tenacity is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. -Oswald Chambers

  10. #10
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cindi View Post
    I've always floated my tops, and use a longarm tape to keep them from going crooked. It works like a charm! Wouldn't be without it. I align the markers along each edge and every sash. Really keeps things square.
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    Cindi... thanks ever so much for posting that! I saw it in a picture here once [may have been on your setup] and thought that I really need to get myself one of those!!!
    Nancy in western NY
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    Yes, this is a frame quilting technique. No way to float a top with a domestic machine, I'm afraid!

    I tried floating, but found I get better results the traditional way -- keeps everything square and even.
    I too pin and roll rather than float.......I like it just a bit snugger than just laying there and i can control it better.......I also baste sides as I go and use clamps.....been doing this for almost 20 yrs now......then machine quilting was frowned on, now look how far it has come. We each have to find the way that works best for us.

  12. #12
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I also float. I like to be able to reach in & really smooth the batting and fix seams that have flopped the wrong way. I also have better luck keeping everything straight by floating it. I purchased the long tape when Cindi first posted about it (last summer?). It really helps a lot.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  13. #13
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    What works best for me is to float smaller quilts, but pin and roll large quilts (queen size). I also use the longarm tape with all my quilts.

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    I'm a floater! I pin only the back on the take up roller leader. Then I float the batting about 2 - 3 inches from the pin line on the take up roller, then float the top on that. I also attach side leaders to the backing to keep it taut. That and the weight of the backing, batting and top provide plenty of tension until the last row or so. At that time, I attach the remaining backing to the next roller, tighten it up, and finish the quilt.

    This method was necessitated by back, neck, shoulder arm and hand pain that happened when I attached all layers of the quilt to the frame rails. It took a couple of quilts to get it to work right, but since then this method has worked very well.
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  15. #15
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    I usually float my tops also and the things to hold the quilt that Jamie wallen sells But when the quilt gets short enough you can't use them I do pin the top to the rail it seems to work pretty good for me.

  16. #16
    Super Member Cindy60545's Avatar
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    I'm a floater also. I like the ability to be able to smooth the batting as I go along. I also use the clamps from Jamie or I've started using the magnetic strips I got from Harbor freight. It depends on the quilt which one I use. I also use the centering tape on larger quilts to keep them straight. Smaller ones can be seen sooner for getting off kilter. I also don't pin, I use red snappers to attach backing to the frame. I do, however, have to pin the bottom edge sometimes when I get down to it.

  17. #17
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    I've learned both ways from my LAQ friend. With my first quilt, she taught me leader everything, then baste both horizontally and vertically the entire quilt before winding it back to the top and start quilting. From the 2nd quilt on, we just leader the back of the quilt and float both the batting and the top. It think it's important to note that we baste the entire quilt with large 1 inch stitches before we begin quilting, so there are not surprises when we get to the bottom of the quilt.

  18. #18
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I started out pinning my top as I was taught, but then heard from others about floating the top. It is much quicker to load the quilt this way. I use magnetic bars (found at Harbor Freight and covered with muslin) to hold the top in place on the bar next to me (called either the top or belly bar). I also use painters tape to mark the sides on this same bar. That way when I roll it, I can immediately square it back up. Works well for me. I don't have any cons.

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    Nan, Where did you get your "long arm centering tape"?

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    Cindy, What kind of magnets did you get from Harbor Freight? Can you post a picture on how you use them?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Toni C's Avatar
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    Floating IMHO is the only way to go LOL. Cindi thanks fr the pic of the centering tape. What a great tool

  22. #22
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
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    I too am a floater. It is much quicker and like PaperPrincess, I like access to the back of the quilt. For minor adjustments I will pin the sides to the backing and baste the sides before attaching the side clamps.

    That being said if the quilt is not square or is some how wonky I will use the traditional pinning method which allows a bit of finesse!!

    Cindy - I am intrigued with what magnets you use from Harbor Freight - my DH often goes there when we are down near the store - it is amazing what can be repurposed fro sewing from there.
    Betty

    A quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul.

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  23. #23
    Senior Member cindi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Button View Post
    Nan, Where did you get your "long arm centering tape"?
    Picked it up at my LQS. You can also get it online at JoAnn's and Amazon.
    Tenacity is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. -Oswald Chambers

  24. #24
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    I also have 2 18 inch magnetic bars, they are very strong and holds the top taut, thank you for all your input. Sometimes when someone who has been quilting longer than you frowns on your method you can get a little unsure of your method. I see that many of you float.. I guess that we can quilt to your own ..drumbeat..

  25. #25
    Super Member sewdamncute's Avatar
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    I technically float my tops, but square up, baste the sides and across the belly bar of the whole quilt. That way I can find any problem areas and ease them in. It takes more time "up front" , but advancing and quilting is a breeze!
    Blessed Be
    Darlene

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