A few people have asked me about how I load a quilt top, so here goes. I’ve tried all kinds of things over the years; I thought of this a couple of years ago and I think this is it! Fast, easy, doesn’t stretch the top, and doesn’t leave a funky wave at the end.
First, I load the backing – I’ll try to remember to take pictures next time and post that. Then I unroll the quilt top leader and lay it out on the backing making sure it is smooth and straight.
Next, I lay the top over the back bar and onto the backing. I straighten it and lay the edge along the leader just where the leader lying on the backing meets the roller making sure that it is parallel to the roller.
Then I pull the top over the back bar to make sure there is some slack in the quilt top when I roll it.This is very important – otherwise the quilt top will stretch and pull. Make sure that you don’t distort what you’ve already laid out when you do this.
All that’s left is to roll it up! Gently roll the leader and the top onto the roller bar. The quilt top gets caught in the leader – no need to pin or anything else. Just straighten the top and make sure it’s lying straight and flat on the roller as you go. That’s it!
It’s always such a good feeling when I finish a quilt top … then I’m hit with: How am I going to quilt this? Sometimes I can envision the quilting as I’m making the top, but most often I’m left slowly loading my quilt while I try to figure out what I’m going to do. One of my latest tops is this improvisational piece made with Peppered Cottons and Kona Steel for the background.
I decided that I’m just going to do overall quilting and not worry about the piecing. I loaded it sideways so that I don’t have to think about the circles right now. I don’t know if I’ll just continue over them or do a different quilting design in each ring … things to ponder.
I started at my white board to play with different fill patterns and chose three that I want to combine – a primary pattern, a background relief and a fill to add in every now and then.
This is what it looks like at this point.
A few months ago … okay so more like a year ago … I got some friends together to join me in my Modern Evolution Project. In short, it’s a round robin that I designed to try to avoid some of the pitfalls that I’ve experienced with previous round robin groups: producing medallion quilts; the last round where you have to do the most work and your interest in the project has somehow all but disappeared; having one quilt that looks like six different people made it – if you’ve ever participated in one, you probably know the drill. Some may have been a little skeptical, but everyone dove in with enthusiasm!
There were six of us in the group, so we had six rounds. The first two rounds were just published in Generation Q Magazine (Spring 2016) – along with a lot of other cool projects and interesting articles. Ironically, my copy arrived the very same day that we made the last swap and we each got our quilts back! They are amazing – better than I ever expected! I am so excited to share the final results, but in the meantime, you can see what we were up to in the magazine and Gen Q published our guidelines on their website, here.
Generation Q Magazine, Spring 2016