It was a question a while ago that has led to this post. Myra
had seen a quilt that I showed here
. She had not seen how a quilt on a frame gets quilted in the middle. With all the machine quilting being done these days, some of the new quilters may not realize that hand quilting a big quilt was, and is, easy. Some people who hand quilt prefer a hoop and I have used a hoop but I have also just basted a quilt (with lots of basting) and not used a hoop at all. Here, I will try to show just how easy it is to hand quilt on a frame. All you really need is 4 C-clamps and 4 boards 1" X 3". Two of the boards have to be longer than the length of your quilt and the other two have to be longer than the width. Oh yes, a staple gun is needed too along with some fabric strips.
Little Ron wanted to know what these boards were for since they were just lying in the corner of the computer/dining room. I told him they were quilt frame boards and that I wanted to put a quilt on a frame but I needed to see if I had the boards to fit. I hadn't realized that I had so many boards of various lengths. Here he is sitting on a couple of the boards. You can see that there is fabric stapled to the boards. The quilt backing and (hopefully) the quilt top too gets pinned to the fabric. Since it has to take a lot of pulling and tugging, the fabric should be doubled and should be a fairly tight weave. The floral fabric here is not necessarily a tight weave but it is a sturdy fabric and this particular board is not big.
While I am lucky enough to own a set of 'legs' for my quilt boards, you don't necessarily NEED them. You could sit the frame over the backs of 4 chairs. These particular legs were made by a wonderful man whose wife was a quilter and he used to sell the legs and oval frames (both with a stand and without) at quilt shows. I used to attend quilt shows with my friend Marg and she is the one who first got a set of these. They are fully adjustable. I am short and so I like the frame to sit shorter than other people like it.
Here are the boards sitting on the legs. There are grooves on the legs that doesn't show up in these photos. If anyone is interested, I can take a better photo.
A shot of the C-clamps holding the boards together so they don't slip away when pinning the backing on. The boards that sit on the top are the boards that get rolled in once you have quilted as far as you can reach. Most often, the ends that get rolled in are the top and bottom of the quilt.
Pin the backing fabric to the strips on the boards. Marg likes to make sure that the top fabric is pinned to the boards too so when pinning the backing on, pin it fairly close to the boards. Little Ron was testing the tautness of it.
Next, lay the batting on top. The quilt I decided to put on the frame is the "Gees Bend Revisited" and since it is fairly small and not going to be entered into a show, I pieced the batting.
Then of course, comes the top. Here you can see that the quilt top is pinned to the fabric that is attached to the quilt frame. Once everything is pinned (from the middle outward) with quite a few pins, then you undo the C-clamps and tighten everything both ways - making sure you don't tear the fabric.
And now it's ready to quilt. Normally, with a full-sized quilt, it would be quilted from the middle outward, but I had this idea in mind when I thought about how I was going to quilt this and so I started in the corner. You should leave about a quarter of an inch from the edge since the binding will be going on it after. I chose not to border this and I was going to use masking tape to keep the lines straight but then I figured I would just go for it and eyeball the lines.