Quilt Frames

Written by Rebecca Russell
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There are a great many folk stories that surround the local quilting bee in early America. Prior to the invention of the sewing machine, all quilting was done by hand. As anyone who has attempted this process can tell you, hand quilting takes a great deal of time, particularly for only one person. A quilting bee was the answer to finishing quilts quickly, following the old adage that many hands make light work.

Women in the same community would come together and commune around an unfinished quilt, trading stories and advice. The quilt frame was the central focal point of the room during a quilting bee. A quilt frame is a large wooden device that allowed the entire quilt to be stretched tightly by the edges, leaving the middle open for stitching.

Modern Quilt Frames

Quilt frames are still in use today. They can be purchased from a variety of specialty stores or made by those who are skilled in simple carpentry. For those who choose to create their own quilt frames, there are many websites that offer step-by-step instructions on measurements and assembly, which can come in very handy.

Because quilt frames can be rather large and bulky, many people now prefer the more streamlined quilting hoop for hand quilting. For those who prefer quilting by machine, a quilt frame is not necessary. Batting and fabric can be held together by pins, which will keep the lines straight as the quilt goes through the sewing machine. While machine quilting is not as valued, it can certainly make the process go faster, leaving you with a finished product in half the time.

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