Why does my Longarm Quilter Need So Much Backing?

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Today I thought I would discuss backing for Longarmed quilts.
I want to talk about why we need more backing than you would need to quilt it on a domestic machine. It seems every Longarm quilter asks for a different amount of backing. There is a reason for that. It is the same reason we need more to quilt it than on a domestic machine. Folks, it is all about side clamps and mounting systems!!! There are many kinds of systems on the market, and each type of system needs a different amount of fabric to load, thus each quilter asks for a different amount. I will talk about the system I use, called Leader Grips.

So I need a minimum of 10″ larger than your quilt measures. So if your quilt measures 80″ x 100″ I would need 90″ x 110″ of backing. Why so much? Let me show you….

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This is a picture of my loaded backing. The clear thing you see in the picture is my Leader Grip, my finger is there to show you how deep the grip is. The black thing is the bar of my frame.

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This is a picture of what happens when this grip passes under the bar, it catches and in the process makes a big hiccup in the quilting…:(

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So I need to roll it forward a minimum of 5 inches before I can load the quilt.

That is 5 inches at the top of the quilt + 5 inches at the bottom of the quilt= 10 inches! Minimum…..

And what about the sides?

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My machine has a thread cutter that adds width to my machine head. This picture shows how far it is from the needle to the edge of the machine. If the backing is not large enough, my machine hits the grip while stitching the quilt, and again makes a big hiccup in the quilting.

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This picture show how far away from the edge the quilt needs to be not to hit the machine….5″!

I can quilt with less width, but absolutely not less length. And when I quilt with less width, it is only under protest and this is what I do…
K

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I pin the elastic that usually holds my Leader Grip. 😦 Not good for your quilt. It pulls the backing only in that spot, distorting the backing, which can make your quilt curl on the edge……

So it is in your quilt’s best interest to make sure you know how much backing your quilter needs and provide her with at least that much. More is better….

Next week, more thoughts on backing….

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