Quilting Tip #13: Taking the Lead

My least favorite part of the longarm quilting process is pinning the backing on the canvas leaders.  With my velcro leaders, I can pin the quilt back to the machine more easily, and even do it while I am waiting for my IntelliQuilter to finish a row on another quilt or am out of the studio entirely.

Zipper leaders are another option, but velcro allows you to make slight adjustments in quilt back tension while the quilt is on the machine.  Keep in mind that different leaders have different requirements that will affect the size backing you need to attach quilts to your machine.

There is yet another product on the market:  Leadermate.  Haven’t seen this one in action yet.  Have you?

For side clamps, there are options like Snappers.  I tried a similar product a few years ago, but it just didn’t last long before it split and was useless.  Also, when a client brings me a short back, my machine was in danger of sewing right through the plastic.  It did this a number of times, ruining my needle.  I ended up going back to the tried-and-true clamping method.

What do you use to attach a quilt to the longarm?

4 thoughts on “Quilting Tip #13: Taking the Lead

  1. I love my zippers. 1/2 are sewn to the leaders the other half I pin to the backing usually standing at my counter. I have had an occasion where I have had to remove a quilt to rip out or re-attach after finishing it and it needed to go back on the machine for some reason. I could very easily realign to pantograph.

    1. The velcro works in a similar way. I like it because you can adjust the quilt tension slightly by re-arranging the velcro on the leader.

  2. Wow! What a great idea, Trudie! I wish I had thought of that. I don’t have a coversvtitch machine, but I bet it would work with a plain old basting stitch, don’t you?

  3. I use a Velcro system also but I do NOT pin my backing. I have a cover stitch machine that allows me to sew my backing to the other side of my Velcro leader and then attach the leader. When I am done quilting, I clip the top cover stitch thread and pull it off. Easy peasy.

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