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The Quilt Tension on your Frame

The Quilt Tension on your Frame
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Keeping correct tension on your quilt while it is rolled on the frame is very important. 

In this blog post we talk about having correct tension on all sides of your quilt sandwich while you are quilting with your Block Rockit and what results it will produce. 

We also talk about keeping a finger width in between the take up rail and the throat of the Block Rockit. Vital for great quilting!


Rolling Your Quilt and Keeping Quilt Tension

Keeping correct tension on your quilt while it is on the frame is very important. As you progress from the top of your quilt to the bottom, it is important to keep the quilt top and back smooth without tucks, especially as you are rolling the rails. Check the underside of the quilt every time you roll it to see if there are any tucks before you start quilting. If there are, pull the sides of your quilt and clamp them to keep correct side tension. 

The quilt needs to be rolled tight enough on the rails that your quilt is not drooping, but not so tight that you could bounce a coin off the quilt top. There needs to be a little give. This will help avoid breaking needles and thread. 

Using the bungee clamps for the sides of your quilt while quilting will also help maintain the proper tension you are looking for. The clamps need to be secure enough that they are keeping the quilt flat, but not pulling or distorting the sides of the quilt.

When the time comes to proceed to the next row of quilting be sure that the “take up” rail (the rail that has the completed quilt rolled in the throat of the machine) is not resting on the throat of the machine. This is very important! This will cause drag and may result in breaking thread or needles. There always needs to be a finger width between the rolled quilt on the “take up” rail and the throat of the machine. This can be done by raising the take up rail as demonstrated in your frame’s instruction manual. Be sure to keep the rail even on both sides as you raise it up.

*TIP: Some of our customers have purchased “tiger tape” to put on the side of their frames where they raise and lower the take up rail. This tape is pre-marked with quarter inch lines. This helps them raise the rail a quarter inch each time they roll their quilt, helping them keep the rail even and level on both sides of the frame. This can be found online, or in some craft or general supply stores.

About the Author

Rachel graduated from Brigham Young University in 2009 with a teaching degree in Family and Consumer Science. She went on to teach and train industrial sewing operators until 2012. She is now a stay at home mom and works part time from home for Kathy Quilts. She loves to travel, create things, watch movies, go to Disneyland, read, and spend time with her husband and kids.

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