Variations in Loading Fabric onto a Longarm Frame!
First, let me say that there is always more than one way. The whole point of getting the fabric onto the frame is to have no wrinkles in the layering of the quilt. Any way that you have devised to achieve this is ok-in-my-book
Quilters are geniuses in all that they have invented at home with limited tools to work out the wrinkles and keep the quilt tight in spite of the fact that pieced quilts can be baggy, out of square, or even have variables in the stretch of the fabric.
It doesn’t really matter which method you choose to use as long as you arrive at the point where the quilt sandwich is smooth and ready to be quilted together
The variables in loading the longarm frame can be either the roller direction, the choice of which roller carries the top fabric or the attachment method.
On the TinLizzie steel Phoenix frame, roller direction is permanent and the choice of which roller carries the top fabric shouldn’t be changed as the top roller of the two has to be able to open and lift upwards or you won’t be able to use the batting access option. So therefore the top roller of the two carries the top fabric and the lower roller holds the backing. The only variation or choice on this particular frame would be if you wish to “pin” totally or if you wish to “float the top” method.
On the TinLizzie wooden Falcon frame you can choose the direction you wish the fabric rollers to go simply by flipping the gear on the pole as the gears have a slant to the teeth and grip better with the ratchet. You also can choose which pole you want the top fabric on as you can have the batting exposed or by choosing the lower pole you can have the top fabric wrap up and over the batting. Either way works, but I personally like to be able to tug on the batting and get a wrinkle out if needed, so I like the top roller to carry the top and the lower roller to carry the back. I also like my ratchets to roll a certain direction so that the layering comes together immediately which seems to eliminate a little bit of bounce in the fabric as it is being quilted. You will always have the choice of “pinning” or “floating” a top on. Check out the pictures below.