Saturday 4 October 2014

Loading fleece on the frame

fleece loaded on the NEQ2 quilting frame

When I use fleece instead of backing and wadding I only need to load 2 layers on the frame. 

This tutorial shows how to load a quilting frame with just 2 layers; the quilt top and the fleece backing that also serves as the wadding or batting. 

Because fleece acts as wadding AND backing, it's a real money-saver!

New English Quilter ratchets
 Look at the ratchet ends of the NEQ fabric poles.
They're labelled 1, 2 and 3.

Here they are in the frame; 
number 1 is closest to you as you stand by the sewing machine
 number 2 is in the middle and number 3 is farthest away.

notice the ratchets are on the right hand side of the fabric poles
 You are going to begin with fabric pole number 3, the pole farthest away from you.

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Take the 3rd fabric pole out of the end pieces and bring it to the front of the frame. This is to make it easier on your back, so you are not bending over the frame to do the pinning. Be sure to keep the ratchet end on your right hand side. On this third fabric pole notice that the leader fabric is coming over the top of the pole.

Fold your fleece in half to find the centre and match the centre of the fleece to the centre line marked on your leader fabric.

Butt the two ends together, with the right side (good side) of the fleece facing down, 

keep the good side of the fleece facing down
pin from the centre outwards, 

Notice that you are pinning to the back side of the leader fabric. This will keep you from stitching the fleece to the leader fabric by mistake later on when you are quilting.

Carry on pinning all the way to each end of the leader fabric. 

When you get to the end use two pins or a saftey pin.

 Most of the tension will fall on this last pin. Doubling up or using a safety pin will keep the final pin from bending under the pressure.

Now roll your fleece onto the fabric pole smoothing it out as you go,

and drop it back into position on the frame. That's the third fabric pole all loaded.

It should look like this. Good. Now on to the second fabric pole.

You are going to treat the 2nd fabric pole 
exactly the same way as you did the third:
  • take the 2nd fabric pole off the frame 
  • and bring it to the front of the table so you don't have to lean 
  • Fold your top to find the centre. 
  • Pin the centre of the top to the centre of the leader, 
  • butting the two ends together so the back of the quilt top is smack against the back of the leader.  

Pin all the way from the centre to both ends. Finish with 2 pins or a safety pin. Roll the fabric onto the poll, smoothing out as you go along and drop the number 2 fabric pole back in the middle slots on the frame.

Now you are going to go back to the fleece on the third fabric pole. 
Disengage the ratchet so you can pull the fleece forward, 
Fold the fleece in half to find the centre 
and pin the centre of the fleece
to the centre line on the leader fabric on the first fabric pole.

This time you are pinning to the TOP of the leader. Use the line of stitching sewn on the leader fabric to help you align your fleece nice and straight. Take care not to stretch the fleece. Pin from the centre outwards to each end and finish with two pins or a safety pin.

Now re-engage the ratchet tension and tighten the fleece between the 1st and 3rd fabric pole. This makes a sort of table. Finally you will pull the quilt top fabric from the 2nd fabric pole forward and pin it about a centimetre higher than the line of pinning on the fleece. Smooth it out as you go.

If you like you can slip an IKEA ironing board on the table under the loaded quilt sandwich and give it one last iron. Now you're all loaded and ready to start your quilting!

Follow this link for directions on loading 3 layers; of top, wadding and backing fabric. If you have any questions this earlier post may help.

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