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Loading a Quilt

Directions for loading a quilt "our way"

Preliminaries ....

Important: - Square off both ends of the backing fabric. Check that the backing is 3"-4" bigger all round than the top. Cut the batting to the same size as the backing. Spread out the three layers to dummy-up the finished job. If the backing is seamed, try to orient it so the seams will run along the rollers. If you’re doing a pantograph, now is the time to consider its direction. 

For the backing ...

  1. Mark the centres of the backing edges that will be pinnned
  2. Drape the backing, wrong side up, over the take up roller (the roller inside the curve of the machine)
  3. Standing at the front of the machine (double roller side), pick up the edge of the backing leader and flip it back over the top roller
  4. Match the centres of backing and backing leader and pin-baste at 20cm intervals from the centre out to each side (this holds it from stretching). Fill in the gaps. Heavy pinning would be point-to-head of pins, light would be a space the length of a pin between pins
  5. Raise the top roller and then roll the backing fabric, smoothing as you go, onto the backing roller until there’s enough left hanging over the take-up roller to be 5-10cm off the table top. Observe the sag of the backing between the rollers while rolling the backing and endeavour to keep it even. Work on any longways seam lines by twisting them tighter around the backing roller using thumb and forefinger
  6. Move to the back (switch side) of the machine, pick up the edge of the leader and the edge of the backing fabric, match the centres and pin from the centre out to each edge as in 4 above
  7. Tighten up the backing roller to take out any slack in the fabric. Sometimes it is useful for smoothing purposes to roll the backing through onto the take-up roller then re-roll it back onto the backing roller

For the top......

  1. Mark the centres of both edges of the top
  2. The top roller will have been raised in step 5 above
  3. Lay the top over the take up roller - right side up
  4. Standing at the front of the machine, pick up the edge of the leader of the top roller and the edge of the quilt top, match centres and pin from the centre out to each edge as before
  5. Roll the top onto the roller, smoothing as you go, until you can just see the line of pins holding the backing on the take-up roller. Match the centre with centre of take-up roller

To finish ....

  1. Work the batting through between the top and backing until the leading edge just covers the line of pins holding the backing on the take-up roller
  2. Use 3 to 5 T-pins to hold the three layers in place while you ....
  3. Stitch the three layers together by basting a line across the top at this point. Use the track lock to keep this nice and straight
  4. Lower the top roller, winding it to take out the slack, take out the 3 to 5 pins and pin or baste the sides, clamps on, and you’re ready to roll. 

There is no right way or wrong way to pin on. It’s just a matter of preference. This works for us on the Nolting table. If you’re using the Hinterberg frame, Mindy Caspersen has explained pinning-on in at least two DVDs. You might discover your own way - treat this as a guide to the end result.