Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ever seen a 12-foot zipper

Longarm machines come in standard sizes, usually measure by the table size. There are 8 ft tables which is pretty small and there are 10, 12 and 14 foot tables. The big ones can easily accomodate a kingsize bedspread. All longarm quilting machines use an industrial motor in a large-throated machine head. The throat is the opening in the middle where the stitching takes place. The average home sewing machine has a throat that is 5 inches by 7 inches. The throat on a longarm is usually 10 inches high by 24 - 26 inches wide. It is much bigger than doestic sewing machine(DSM). Longarm machines also use rollers to mount the quilt on the machine for quilting. They have a set (usually four) of rollers covered in canvas leaders that run the length of the quilt table. So the rollers are 8 - 14 feet long. Mounting a quilt on a longarm can be time-consuming and, if you use pins, somewhat painful...pins hurt when they stick you.

Some wizard came up with the idea to use zippers on longarm machines so that quilts could easily be zipped on and off. Zippers.... you will love them once you get the procedure down. First you have to install the zippers.

You get 3 complete zippers in a machine set. They come with excellent instructions though the zippers are clearly labelled.

You sew 3 of the half zippers onto your longarm canvas leaders. My husband helped with this. He just steadied the zipper against the canvas as I slowly sewed it with the longarm.

The other 3 zipper halves are really not interchangable. They are marked something like "Backing Bottom Left", "Backing Top Left" and "Quilt Top Takeup". You must pay attention to ensure that you do not mount the backing with the right side facing up....in other words, the backing pretty side faces the batting. Bad mistake.

I baste (or you can pin) the top and bottom of the backing on separate zipper halves using my domestic sewing machine (DSM). If you are not floating the quilt top, then the bottom of the quilt top gets basted/pinned to the zipper marked "quilt top.

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My life has changed in the last couple of years - some bumps, I retired from quilting, and then I moved to Texas. I'm anxious to see what new adventures await me in the next phase of my life.

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Ramona, California, United States
I started quilting when a quilt shop opened in our little town in January 2004. I have been hooked ever since.

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This is called Fruit Cocktail

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