Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Betty's a real leader - Quilting Leder, that is ;-)

Many have asked me time and again how I make my secondary quilt leders that Betty uses w/primary leders and exactly WHAT is all this about?  I wish I could take all the credit for these ideas I'm about to share with you, but they have evolved initially from others I've picked up along the way.

Giving credit to EVERYONE would take up far too much space and time but suffice to say, the original idea came from award-winning, professional quilt artist, Sharon Schamber.

When I first watched her youtube.com video on how to make secondary leders while trying to set-up my first frame quilting system with my glorious 9" machine and home-built wooden frame, I knew I had stumbled across what I was looking for.  Here's the actual video of Sharon's I first watched more than 3 years ago:

I took her secondary leder idea and tweaked it just a bit to accommodate the Red Snappers I wanted to use.  Sooo, where Sharon sews on her backs and others use pins or zippers to attach their quilt tops to the secondary leder,  I use the Red Snappers.  To be able to do that, I first sew the 'hook' side of Velcro to the BOTTOM of my primary leders - the take-up leder and the backing leder, since I float ALL my tops:

Sewing black 'hook' Velcro to bottom edge of primary leder - note the white 'loop' velcro on the top edge, (lower bottom of photo) of the HQ leder that attaches to the pole.

Be sure and sew down 'both' sides of the black 'hook' Velcro to ensure a nice, secure hold:

Now it's time to make secondary leders.  Make various sizes according to what size quilts you intend to quilt.  For my first leders, I took Sharon's advice and made full-size leders to accommodate the entire size of my frame bed, which is 12 feet.  I subtracted 6" from the length to allow for pole gears, etc. and made each leder at least 18" wide/deep.  Hemmed ALL 4 sides w/1" double-fold hems and attached black 'loop' Velcro to both TOP sides of the secondary leders:

Be sure and hem the sides FIRST so as not to sew shut bottom hem for the rod of Red Snappers to slip through.  This is a great time to add a personal touch like embroidery, applique, logo, etc.

Here is an example of the secondary leder being used w/Red Snappers attached to a quilt top just getting ready to be quilted:

See the Red Snapper resting just below the dead bar?

I now have several different sizes of secondary leders made from an assortment of fabrics w/various embroidery motifs.  They are fast & FUN to make, and allow for all kinds of personal embellishments.   

What I LOVE most about this system is the ease and speed I can attach a quilt top and if need be, remove/re-position for later or to turn a quilt if you so choose, (which I personally rarely do.  I avoid turning a quilt top at ALL costs!)  And notice how nice and straight everything is - was able to load this top and pin-baste prior to machine basting, in less than 15 minutes!

Hope this helps you in your quilting endeavors.  Drop me a line and send some pics if you choose to make a similar 'system' for your own frame set-up, I'd love to see them!



  1. thanks for explaining your system - now I have a question... Did your frame come with a 'dead bar' or did you add it? I haven't figured out how to add one to my Tin Lizzy, but I think it's something I'd really appreciate having!!!

  2. Hey Miss Katie,
    Yes indeed, my HQ frame did come with a dead bar and if you can figure out a way to add one, you would definitely love it! It just seems to me it really helps in keeping everything nice and straight and level. Even on my home-built wooden frame I had a dead bar. I have seen frames that have taken ALL kinds of things to create a dead bar, including spring loaded shower/curtain rods! Mind you they need to be anchored in place so they won't 'spring' out of position and hurt you or your quilt, but it's doable ;-) A large wooden dowel rod cut to length can also be used. Lots of possibilities when you start thinking about it, and as creative as you are, I'm sure you'll come up with something - I'd love to see/hear about it when you do...

    Happy Quilting!