Quilt Top on 3 Roller Hand Quilting Frame

Even with a clamp light on one section of the quilting frame and another soon to come (ordered) I could tell the light wasn’t going to be good enough for the quilting frame – I could tell I would have eye strain so Mike put up two florescent lights underneath the fabric shelves.  I will still have two clamp lights also just in case I need all of them – my eyes are getting older LOL,  what can I say – I have always worn glasses and they get worse in dim light the older you get I think.  The florescent furthest away in the photo I need to trade out the light bulb for a day light bulb the one that is in it now cast a yellowish color it was an old one that we had – the other has a new bulb that I purchased yesterday.


I was busy yesterday making more templates for the final set of 4 flowers and leaves.  The fabric on the corner of the table is what I will use I think – the green is for the leaves and stem – I might change out the color of the flowers I’m not sure and I will look at it more today.


The flowers that I will be preparing are on the border in the photo – the one on the right side- of the lower border.  I am linking to Kathy’s Quilts today for Slow Stitch Productivity.


I have had several questions lately about basting quilts and getting them on the quilting frame.  When you use a 3 roller quilting frame you do not baste your quilt – I have a tutorial on the side bar that shows how I load a quilt on to my quilting frame so you can see how it is done if you want look.  It is similar I believe to how you use a long arm frame but I’m not sure how close it is to how you do a hand quilting 3 roller frame.   I also have a square Grace frame that is on a stand but I haven’t used it in years and it is set aside for now – I had bought it to use in the camper when we had a large camper but then we traded in for a smaller one and I had no room for it – I haven’t found a comfortable spot in the house to use it – maybe one day?  –  you would need to baste your quilt before you use it as I do with the smaller round frame that I have that I quilt baby quilts and table toppers with.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.


You are going to be seeing a lot of this quilt in the next half year or so – I hope you won’t get sick of it Smile  I love it, I think this is one of my favorite quilts.  I don’t know if it is the design, the summery colors or what.

Patchwork of the Crosses getting on the frame yesterday!



Here is a link from several years ago that shows my  whole process of getting a quilt on the frame if you want to look.


Of course yesterday afternoon I had to sit down and start to quilt – Melanie was sick yesterday and couldn’t come help Sad smile but we have all been taking turns of not quite feeling quite up to par since we moved her back to this area last weekend and we found out later that their friend that helped in the move was sick that evening and for a good part of the week – we are all lucky that we seem to have been just “not quite 100%” but not really sick,sick if you know what I mean.

This is the thread I will use – it is King Tut variegated #917 I used this for my Going In Circles quilt a couple years ago and have more than enough left over almost 2 whole spools – the quilts are similar in color and I really like it.


Here is the section on the first border that I started on – I am marking with the blue pen and will spray it off as I go – I know I won’t have bleeding problems with this quilt.


I went out to collect the mail today and just had to go back to take a photo of the pine trees – icicles hanging on the tree – the sun came out on Thursday and started to melt things but the temps never got above 23 or so and therefor a complete melt didn’t happen!  It was supposed to get to 32 but never happened.  It was odd to see them and I have not seen them on trees often like this.


Friday it actually got up to 23 by 5 PM! and snow is expected tonight – enough already – What will Saturday be like, if Melanie is feeling well we plan on going to a book signing that my sister in law is having at the Vintage Book store  in Russellville  for her book that came out several months ago – His Promise Truelets hope for nice weather – it is supposed to finally get in the high 30’s at least maybe even 40+!!!  I of course wonder if it will even get in the 30’s!  I need to get the groceries while we are in town – a busy afternoon.

I am working on the binding for the Bride quilt and hope to have it done soon – I am writing this on Friday and will be working on the binding while watching the opening ceremony’s for the Olympics  which start soon – it is long so I just might get done – who knows.


The Fat Quarter Shop has all of their Bella Solids on sale right now – 20% off – that makes yardage $5.59 a yard.


tn_FreeVintageImagesofChristmasClipArt33_jpgI was asked by several to do a blog post on how I get a large quilt on my quilting frame.  As I was ready to put one on I thought I would blog about it.  This is a long post!

First off my hand quilting frame is not a Grace Frame or whatever brands are out there in quilt land so mine might work differently than those you might have seen.  My frame was hand crafted out of oak by an old gentleman near the Branson Missouri area about 12 to 15 years ago.  He had his own shop and some of us where lucky enough to purchase one before he passed away some years back.  The frame was his design so it is different from the Grace, Hinterburg – others?

This is how I load mine – as I say others might do it differently – I follow the instructions that he gave me.

Press your quilt and fold it in half lengthwise – press on the half way mark and mark it with a wash out pen if you want to.

On my bars there are half way marks so I know where the centers of the leaders are.  The black mark is on all three rollers for the center.  On my quilt top I have it iron pressed and a blue mark for my center.


First I put my quilt top on the back bar pinning it to the cloth.  Then I roll it up, straightening it out as I go to make sure it is even and straight.


I continue to roll it and walk back and forth along the back of the quilt (by the wall) smoothing it out as I go and continue until it is all on the back roller.


It helps to drape the quilt over the rods and have it hanging as straight as you can to the floor – it helps with the flow of rolling.


The rollers are a “cog” type of roller system, with the latches down in the slots it locks in place.  With the “lock” up you can move the rollers.


When I get the top all rolled up on the back I pull some of it back out and pin it to the very front roller.  Then I roll it back and forth several times to make sure it is all straight and even.  Sometimes you only need to do this once, sometimes it takes several times to get it all straight.


This time I only had to roll back and forth once to get it all straight.  Now I roll it all back to the back roller and unpin from the front.


As you can see in this photo the quilt top is now on the back rod and out of my way so I can work on the batting and the back.  This morning was quilt group – we have a large room to work in so I brought my backing and batting with me. I placed my batting on the floor getting all of the wrinkles out and then placed my backing fabric on top of it.  This way I was able to make sure it was all straight and even.  I then folded it and brought it home.  You can load both pieces at once if you know what you are doing – otherwise you might need to load one at a time.  I pin both layers to the middle roller and now repeat the quilt top instructions.  Roll both layers on to the middle roller – walking back and forth in back of the frame I ease the wrinkles out and make sure it is loading smoothly as I roll.  I leave it draped over the front roller and have it as straight as I can so when I roll it = it will flow smoothly.


Once the backing and batting are all rolled to the middle roller you are ready to pull that section to the front roller and pin in place.  The “leaders” as I believe they are called have stripe fabric and were glued onto the rollers straight so it is best to use a stripe as your marker to pin the fabric to.


Here my batting and backing are rolled and pinned in place.  Now I do exactly as I do with the top – I roll it back and forth a couple times – loading all that is on the middle roll to the front and then back again just to make sure the wrinkles are out and that it is flowing right.  End with it all on the middle roller and lock in place.


Unlock the back roller that the quilt top is on and gently pull it to the front over the middle roller holding the backing and the batting (that is why you lock the middle roller to hold all in place).  I have this end of the quilt top marked also for the center and I start pinning it to the front roller.


Now on the sides of the quilt frame are pieces of fabric that you pin to the side of the quilt and tighten – this pulls the quilt tight on the frame with no wrinkles on the back or top.


The whole quilt on the frame – I haven’t decided what pattern I will be quilting on this large border as of yet.  I thought I had a stencil that fit it but then found out I never bought the corner section that goes with it!  I bought it when traveling once and doubt I can find it now so I will come up with something new.


This is the thread I will be using – I have 3 spools of it that I got on sale someplace – two will most likely be enough.  It is King Tut #917.  I won’t be starting on this quilt for a little bit – I need to figure out the border first.  I keep it tight while I draw the lines or design on and then I loosen it a little bit for the quilting –the needle glides though easier if it isn’t too tight.


I hope this helps those that are thinking of getting a 3 roller frame or those that aren’t sure how to use the one you have.  I do this by myself but it works easier and faster to have help.  I have been doing it for so many years now that one this size takes me about 75 minutes to load the quilt by myself.

EDITED: I should have mentioned that when I first got this frame it took me about 3 hours to get a queen size quilt on the frame – it gets much, much easier as you do it over and over again :)