Loading the Quilt onto the Phoenix Frame

Posted by on August 23, 2017


We will be using three of the rails.  Each rail has a ratchet-type action that keeps the quilt taut.  The rail at the back of the table is called the Take up Rail.  Eventually, most of the quilt will be rolled up onto this rail as it is finished.  There are two rails in the front of the machine.  The rail closest to you is called the lower rail or “Belly Bar” because it is at your belly.  The quilt back will be pinned to both the Take up rail and the Belly bar.   The bottom of the quilt top is pinned to the other rail or upper rail. Mark the Centers of your rails and the centers of your leaders. I use a Sharpie and mark the center on the full length of the leader so the center can be seen no matter how far the leader is rolled.  (The lowest rail is used to keep the batting off of the ground and doesn’t have any tension to it.)

Leaders are pieces of fabric that are attached to the ends of the quilt to enable the machine to reach the entire quilt.  The quilt may be basted, pinned or zipped onto the leaders.  Leaders are attached to the rails in various manners.  At Tin Lizzie’s we attach them with Velcro. The leaders should hang off of the rail in the opposite direction than the rail rolls when the ratchets are engaged.

After assuring that the quilt back and batting are at least 6-inches longer and 6-inches wider than the quilt top, mark the center of both the quilt back top and bottom.

Phoenix Frame by TinLizzie18

Phoenix Frame by TinLizzie18

Mark the Center of both the top and bottom of your quit top.  Mark the center of the batting top.

  1. Load the quilt back first.  We will begin with the bottom of the quilt back.  Lay the quilt back across the Longarm table with the right side of the fabric facing the floor and the top draped over the take up rail.  Match the center of the quilt back to the center of the leader on the Belly Bar.  (Remember: Quilt Back Bottom on the Belly Bar.)  Using T-pins  and beginning in the center, pin the quilt to the leader with the pins on the canvas side.  The sharp end of the pins should point out towards the outside of the table.  Carefully, roll the quilt back onto the rail, smoothing out any wrinkles and keeping it straight.   Continue until the top of the Quilt back is touching the take up rail.  Starting at the center, pin the top of the quilt back onto the take up rail leader.  (Make sure that the quit back is under the third or upper rail, not over it.)   Always pin from the center out.  The Quilt Bottom should be coming off of the bottom of the Take up rail and over the top of the Belly Bar.
  2. Next the quilt top will be pinned to the remaining leader.  Lay the quilt top (right side up) over the table with the majority of the top towards the back of the table.  Starting in the center pin the bottom of the Quilt Top to the remaining leader.  (This rail rolls in the opposite direction from the others and is able to be raised out of the way.)  Carefully roll the quilt top onto the upper rail, smoothing and making sure it is going on straight.  Roll it until the top edge of the quilt falls off of the Take up bar.
  3. Drape the unpinned edge of the quilt over the rail you just pinned the top onto.  This rail is able to be lifted out of the way to place the batting.  Lift it now.
  4. Mark the center of the batting and lay it over the quilt back and placing the top of the batting just along the take up railing and even with the pinned edge of the quilt backing.  Place the rest of the batting between the rails in the front of the machine using the lowest rail to keep the batting off of the floor.   Make sure the batting lays flat and smoothly across the quilt back.
  5. Baste the “quilt sandwich” at the top of the quilt just below the take up rail starting at the center marking.   Using the Longarm machine baste from the center marking to the right edge of the quilt, then down along the right side of the quilt.  Go back to the center mark and baste towards the left side of the quilt and down the left side of the quilt.  It may be necessary to smooth the quilt with your free hand as you stitch.  Baste as close to the edge of the fabric as possible or about ¼ inch.  Every time the quilt is rolled baste the edge before quilting.
  6. Tighten all of the rails for a taut quilt.  Remember, rolling too tight will misshape the quilt and causes thread to break.  Taut, not tight.
  7. You are ready to quilt.  The batting and backing of the quilt are cut larger than the top because quilting takes up more of the backing than the top.  You may take advantage of the larger backing to use as a test area to assure that the tensions are correct.
  8. When you need to roll the quilt, release the rails in the front of the machine and carefully roll the take up rail until it is positioned correctly for your next quilting area.  Replace the ratchets on the rails and roll the rails for a taut quilt.  Each time you roll check the layers of the quilt to ensure the wrinkles are smoothed and the batting is flat.
  9. The Take up rail is able to be raised as the quilt becomes more bulky on the rail.  Keep enough room for your finger tips under the quilt.  If the rail is too low the quilt will drag on the machine bed.  If it is too high there may be thread breakage or skipped stitches.
  10. When the quilting is finished, carefully remove the quilt from the leaders.


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How do I attach the extension table to my phoenix frame?

Posted by on February 27, 2012

  Your Extension table for the Phoenix Frame comes with the table and two brackets to hold the table to the machine. These instruction will help you get the table ready and the brackets in place so that you can attach the table and start using your rulers.

1. Removing the four leg parts from the Extension Tables.

a. You may want to use some needle nose pliers or a

socket to hold the nut on the bottom side with the black leg part, and a phillips screwdriver.

b. Remove the leg parts

c. Save the screws from the legs as you will be using these parts to secure the table to the brackets.

 2. Placing the brackets on the carriage next to the machine.

a. Loosen the front screws holding the carriage to the machine.

b. Looking at the brackets you will see four tabs

1. Two tabs have nuts attached to the bottom this is the top of bracket attach to bottom of table

2. Two tabs are blank these slid under the side of the machine.

c. Angle the bracket towards the back of the machine and slide between the machine and the carriage.

d. With the tab below the side of the machine slide the bracket forward so that you can get the front tab below the machine.

e. Slide the bracket back so that both bottom tabs are below the machine.

 3. Setting the table on and securing to the brackets.

a. Place the table on top of the brackets and line up the screw holes with the top tabs.

b. Using the screws you removed from the table in step

1. Secure the table to the brackets at the four (4) points.

c. Once the screws are secure slide the table and brackets back so that the table is against the machine.

d. Tighten the front screws on the carriage which secure the machine to the carriage.

You are now ready to use the extension table with your rulers while you are quilting.

To remove you will want to reverse the steps and remove the table first then the brackets.

Note: If you remove the machine first the table will fall as it is not attached to the machine.

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Have you Dreamed of owning a TinLizzie18 Quilting System? Then you don’t want to miss this wonderful opportunity!

Posted by on July 12, 2011

We are excited to announce the Great Lizzie Giveaway. Enter for your chance to win your very own TinLizzie18DLS with Phoenix frame or a TinLizzie18 Sit Down Quilting Machine.  The Winner will be announced at Quilt Festival/Houston in November 2011. Not sure which wonderful prize to set your sights on visit your local TinLizzie18 Dealer and have your customized Hands on Demonstration.

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Variations in Loading Fabric onto a Longarm Frame!

Posted by on May 4, 2011

   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.

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