Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quilt Frame

I've been looking all over the internet and antique stores for an affordable quilting frame for the quilted petticoat. I'm tired of fighting with the hoops & cats wanting to be in my lap with such a pretty 'blanket'. Much to my dismay, the type of table quilting frame I'm looking for would be stretching my current budget.

After hemming & hawing about building vs. buying, I decided to re-purpose an old card table that was a gift from a friend.

Normally I would hesitate to bust apart an antique, but the top was warped & water stained with pen doodles all over the design. And the bottom is just lovely.

Antique wood card table (or at least a wooden table base)
rubber mallet
soap, water & wash rag
measure stick/tape
1"x 2" board OR L-shaped oak/maple trim (if you want it fancy)
sand paper
8 clamps (plastic tips, not metal as these will touch your fabric).

Step 1: Make sure the top will actually come off, and that there is room to work on the underside of the table (you can see this open space on the right side of this picture).

Step 2: Using the rubber mallet "gently" hammer off the cardboard top from the underside.
I turned the table on its side & went around the edges until it was free.

Step 3: using the pliers remove any staples or other sharp metal bits that may be lurking. Put these in a container & throw them away... don't leave them on the living room floor for your guests to step on.

Step 4: wash all those years of dust off the upper part of the table.... and while you're at it, you might as well wash the whole thing. Now that's the power of Pine-Sol baby!

Step 5: Measure the outer edges of the table - 27" x 25".

Step 6: Cut some 1x2's to match those measurements. I had one board that would work, but the sides ended up being a little short. This will be fine as I just want to hold the fabric, not stretch it. More importantly I don't want to compress the corners & accidentally stretch the fabric.

Step 7: Sand all rough edges.
You can stain the boards, but I'm leaving them for now.

Step 8: Lay the quilt over the frame & clamp the front edge.
Now clamp the back, lightly pulling the quilt straight.
Clamp each side to make it lay flat with no sagging. Do not pull it tight.

I haven't figured out how to hold the rest of the petticoat. Right now I've folded it & laid it across the back half of the table.
I may be able to wind it around some tubing hung from the underside of the table frame. Setting it on the floor is not an option.

This table folds up and stands on it's own. I think it will still work with the petticoat attached.
It doesn't tip, and I'll comment on how comfortable it is to use.

Here is the quilt frame I wanted to begin with, and the link to where you can buy it.


Gail Kellogg Hope said...

It stands up well on it's own as long as nothing touches it. I've decided to take the petticoat off the table when I'm not working on it.

The quilting goes much faster with the table than it does with the hoop, and it's more comfortable to work on. I can quilt for about 3 hours with the flat table vs. 1 hour with the hoop in my lap.

I highly recommend a quilting frame of some kind if you plan on doing a lot of quilting.

Neo-Victorianist said...

Interesting re-use. I have a card table rather like that. I like it, because it is much lighter than the steel ones, but it is rather wobbly. I suppose the table is not really damaged, it could always have a new piece of cardboard put on it. The top is in pretty bad shape on mine too.

Here are plans for building one of saw horses.

Joe Sladky's Quilt Frame

Carla Gade said...

Your idea is quite ingenious! Do you know how a quilter in the 18th century, colonial america, would quilt a petticoat in a shop, if this were her profession? Would she use a large frame, a smaller one like yours, or something hand held like a hoop?

Gail Kellogg Hope said...

As far as I know 18th c. professional quilters worked on a large open table frame with the petticoat strung on the frame... several women worked on the quilt at once. I've seen some images of smaller hoops, or 18" hoops on a stand-arm, but I'm not sure how common that was.

Look into the Spittalfields (sp?) industry, there should be loads of info about that.

Gail Kellogg Hope said...

The few images of quilting I've seen from America show a large quilt frame with the quilt laced on.