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Questions about setting up leaders on quilt frame

Questions about setting up leaders on quilt frame

Old 06-23-2014, 08:11 PM
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Default Questions about setting up leaders on quilt frame

Hi Everyone,

Sorry about the barrage of questions the last few days. I'm a newbie trying to set up my quilting frame. I've been sewing for years, but this is proving to be a little bit of a process! Maybe I'm stuck in analysis paralysis.

I have a New Joy Gold Standard Frame. The YouTube videos I could find were all about Grace Frames, and mine is set up differently, so they don't really help much.

Four questions:
1. Should I invest in pre-marked leaders?
2. What's the best way to attach the leaders onto the rails and make sure they're straight/square?
3. How do I make sure that the centers on the leaders match from rail to rail? There are no markings on the rails.
4. Do any of you use the zipper method of attaching your quilts to the leaders? I used a longarm at my LQS a long time ago and spent a good part of the day getting poked like crazy.

Thanks again for all of your help, sorry for being such a bother. I did get my Janome 1600P QC today-- Wow! I love it already!

Anyway, thanks again!!!

Last edited by AllyStitches; 06-23-2014 at 08:13 PM. Reason: Apparently I can't count today.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:29 PM
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1. I would say no. Often the markings are not all that accurate. What I would advise instead is to purchase woven ticking (the lines are actually woven into the fabric). I got some pretty pink at Beverly's online. Purchase enough for the width of your rails (mine are 10'); you should be able to cut all the leaders from that. Add on an extra foot, if you can afford it; the extra can be formed into very nice side tensioning devices. Here is a link to the ticking I purchased:
http://www.beverlys.com/james-thomps...paign=nextopia

2. My dh did this for me. There are some good directions on the Yahoo group homequiltingsystems, in their "files" section. I wouldn't worry about that until you get to that point.

3. It's not really necessary to mark centers on your leaders, but it's a nice thing to do. It's best to mark the centers ***after*** you attach the leaders to the rails. There is a Youtube video on how to do this. By using your machine to mark the centers on all of the leaders after they are attached, all of your markings will be lined up. The only reason to center your quilts on the frame is so that your frame stays balanced through many quiltings. I recommend purchasing the quilter's frame tape with markings (I will have to look it up to find the name) and mounting that tape on your frame after the leaders are on. It helps not only with centering, but also with keeping borders, blocks, etc. even as you roll.

4. I have used the zipper method. What I found is that my sewing machine, used to baste the quilt pieces to the zipper tape, had a serious tendency to stretch the fabric as it was sewn. The zipper tape has no stretch at all. Therefore, the tops and bottoms of both my backing and top tended to be wider than the middle of the quilt. When I did not use side tensioning to stretch the middles as well, I ended up with quilts that have "wings" at the corners. It is not that noticeable until I go to fold the finished quilts. Side tensioning would have helped with this. Currently I think it's much smarter to use either Red Snappers or Leader Grips. To use these, ***before*** attaching leaders to the frame, sew a 3/4" casing so you can insert the rod. I am planning to get myself some Red Snappers, as I think they will be a little easier for me to close with my weak hands. If you Google both these products, you will find some informative websites and videos. Either one will make loading a quilt easier and faster than using zippers (at about the same cost).
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:32 PM
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p.s. Don't be afraid of doing something wrong. A lot of frame quilting seems to involve learning experiences.

Here is a link to Red Snappers with video demonstrations:
http://stores.sewmuchsmarter.com/red...r-your-leader/
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:40 PM
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I have been looking at the red snappers but wasn't sure about them. I like the ticking idea. I saw a tutorial about it somewhere, maybe on here. I have joined the yahoo group you mentioned, so I'll check them out.

Last edited by QuiltnNan; 01-28-2019 at 02:58 PM. Reason: shouting/all caps
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:49 PM
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Yup! I got the idea about the woven ticking from someone on the QB, in another thread about quilting frame leaders. It worked really well. Having the lines woven into the fabric takes the guesswork out of cutting straight lines for the leaders, and even makes squaring the corners easy.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:55 PM
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I wonder if the Red Snappers can be trimmed. My frame is smaller than her smallest size (because my sewing room is teensy. But hey, I have a sewing room!!)
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:24 AM
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on my last frame, i used velcro to attach my leaders. i bought sticky backed velcro at my fabric store... it comes on a roll. once that was done, i marked the middle of the velcro, both the hooks and the loops, with a permanent marker. when i sewed my leaders, i sewed a marking thread from the front edge to the back edge right in the middle. on the leader itself, i wrote the loading instructions... example: wrong side of backing to wrong side of leader. then i always knew how to baste my quilt elements to the leaders. HTH
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:10 AM
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I have Red Snappers and I believe you could use a saw to cut them to length. However they do come in sections so you might not need to cut them. I love my Red Snappers. At first they are very tight but loosen a bit with use.
Leaders with markings are helpful in centering your quilt and keeping it straight. That being said, you could buy heavy weight cloth and using a permanent marker, draw a straight line on it and mark the center. Or you can buy extra long tape measures that you can attach (sew) to your leader cloth. Check out Erica's Craft & Sewing online for long arm accessories. She carries long arm tape measures.
Attaching a leader to the rail could be done with sticky back velcro - that is how mine is attached.
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:19 AM
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I made my own leaders from thick muslin and sewed the centre line on with my machine. I also sewed the 3/4 inch casing for my Leadergrips before attaching to the frame.
I found the Leadergrips very tight for when all three layers are snugged to the muslin, so I "stretched" a few of the pieces by clamping them to a length of dowelling that was a little larger diameter than the leadergrip. (Hope this makes sense). I keep these pieces separate to use for this application. I had extra pieces because the dealership I bought mine set at only stocked one size (12 foot) and I have a 10 foot frame. I love the Leadergrips, especially the flexibility of multiple pieces vs long lengths. It is important to start in the centre and work your way out to the sides when attaching fabric.
Enjoy the process and the learning!
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:13 AM
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Thank you! I'm going to read these carefully after work. I really appreciate your feedback!
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