i was asked how i loaded my quilts into my machine, and i explained it, but i promised to post a photo tute. it took a couple of days cause i had to wait til i finished the one on the frame and load the next....so here goes... honestly, loading a quilt is the most fundamental process of LAing.
(i shouldn't have to say this, but:) this is how my frame is loaded. different LA company frames will load differently. (my machine is an APQS Millenium- the best machine on the market...but i am a bit bias in the opinion :) )
homemade batting bar. i have labeled each to what it 'holds' the leveler bar doesn't 'hold' anything. it keeps the quilt sandwich horizontally straight before the quilted sandwich turns and goes up to the takeup roller. three of my bars have canvas leaders. a leader is what i attach the various layer edges of the quilt sandwich to.
homemade batting bar. if it's a small quilt and i'm quilting an E2E on it that i know i'll have finished quickly, i don't load the batting. i'll just let it hang or lay in the floor.
i stitch around the edge of the quilt top carefully stitching over the pins. yes, i have broken needles by hitting a pin....but it's only happened three times in 6 years/ 1000+ quilts.
when loading a quilt, haste will make waste (of time) take your time. trust me, there's not a trophy for loading a quilt the fastest. taking your time will make quilting the quilt fun and easy. you will develop an eye for seeing problem areas while loading, and it will get faster the more you do it. honestly, i could load a quilt without having to think about it in about 6 months, but i was quilting one or two quilts a day...i had a little cheat sheet taped to the frame that told me what order to pin what....it's like anything- the more you do it, the better/quicker you'll get. you can not place a dollar amount on experience time...
as always- if you have any questions, email me. my add is in the right sidebar.