I have bought the most wonderful tools for loading my quilts on my longarm. They are called Red Snappers and you can purchase them for yourself from Renae Haddadin. She is a fantastic quilter and I know you will want to visit her site and online store. Just click on her name and definately visit her gallery. Be prepared to drool over her beautiful quilts.
The snappers have two parts. One flexible plastic rod that slips in a casing that you make on your leader fabric on the machine. So simple, and the flexibility of the plastic is fabulous.
When you are ready to load the fabric, you wrap the fabric over the rod that was placed in the casing on your leader fabric. Snap on the Red Snapper Casing which is also plastic and comes in various lengths to accomodate the various backing widths.
I have read some complaints about how difficult it is to snap the Red Snapper plastic casing on. I experienced the same problem when I first received mine and thought I might not be able to use them. In my case, the leader fabric on my machine was rather thick and stiff. Making a casing in it for the plastic rod to slip into made snapping the plastic casing over the rod very difficult. To solve this, I added a strip of lighter weight muslin to the original leader and made my casing in it. All the difference in the world. When I have time, I want to replace my leader fabric totally. I think over time they lose their shape and need to be replaced or re-squared. I will probably order my new leaders from Renea.
To hold the side edges of your quilt, Renea has a new clamp called the Red E Edge Clamp. Oh my I couldn’t believe how well it worked.
Here’s a photo of the E-Clamp. Just showing the end so you can see the piece that is protruding up. When you push that part back, it opens the clamp so you can insert the quilt backing fabric and the batting also if you like.
In the photo below, you can see my index finger on the part of the clamp that you push on to open the e-clamp for loading. We’ll call that part the lever. If you were actually loading your quilt backing, you would be pushing the lever away from the backing fabric. I usually use my thumb when really loading the clamp on the quilt, but since I’m holding a camera in one hand it makes it a little difficult to show it that way.
In the next photo below, I am pressing the lever with my second finger which opens the e-clamp and I have placed my index finger in the opening to point out where the backing fabric will be placed. I need an extra set of hands or a photographer. Bear with me please.
Insert the fabric in the opening. Press the lever on the E-Clamp in the opposite direction than to open the clamp. You will actually be pressing the lever toward the quilt backing fabric.
It is important to start pressing at the end of the E-Clamp, not in the center, and don’t be afraid to press hard. You will feel it snap into place. Continue working up the clamp, pressing and snapping in place. The hold on the fabric is fantastic!
Attach your machines clamp to the red cord on the E-Clamp. The hold and tension are perfect and if your longarm bumps it, you won’t even notice.
Thank you Renea for these wonderful tools. I can hardly wait to see what you come up with next.