Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Magnets to the Rescue

What a surprise and what a pain where you sit when you are in the middle of binding a quilt and discover that you missed some of the quilting stitches. What to do now?

I had several options:  stitch by hand (wouldn't match), sew on domestic sewing machine (stitching too different), or remount in the quilting frame. The last was my best option because the longarm was still had the same top and bobbin thread, as well as the same stitching length.

The 18" bar magnets were my lifesaver. These magnets are very strong and held the quilt in place on both bars long enough for me to finishing the quilting. This is a baby quilt, but the magnets also work with all other sized quilts.

Stitching is missing from the two squares behind and on either side of the hopping foot
The powder on the hopping foot is chalk from the stencil pouncer
This is the strong side that is put against the metal bar. The opposite side (without markings) has no magnetic pull.
One end of the quilt was wrapped under the belly bar and behind/over the top bar, and was held in place with one magnet.

The front end of the quilt was simply laid over the front bar and held in place with another magnet. The magnets can be moved as needed and hold long enough for me to finish the quilting.

These magnets are great for holding the top in place to float it. They're meant to be screwed to a wall to hold metal tools. I heard about them from another quilter, and it just so happened that Harbor Freight had them on sale super cheap. I'm sure they are also available in other places. I have five magnets now, but plan on ordering more because they are so darned handy.

Be careful with the magnets and keep them away from your electronics. Mine stay on the bars and are usually only lifted off the bars when I move them. The bars are so strong it's almost impossible to lift one straight up off the bars, so I give it a 1/4 turn to make a cross and that breaks most of the magnetic hold.

Couldn't resist the temptation to show you my 9 month old beagle Dixie. Batting Eater. Bad doggie!
Don't forget you have until
midnight on January 31 to enter the
Create-a-Wreath Contest!
Happy Stitching!


  1. Those magnets are wonderful! I use one to hold my test sandwich on my dead bar and my stomach holds the other end on the belly bar! Love them! Dixie is adorable! My dog wants to nest in the batting when it is down on the floor - frustrated her when I made a batting hammock!!!

    1. Dixie is indeed a very sweet little pal, but she loves to tear up batting no matter where she finds it and will even tear into a plastic bag to get it. She is now banned from the room while I have a quilt in the frame. Batting frames are nice; wish Dixie would leave mine alone like yours does!

  2. I tried the magnets but couldn't make them work. I have arthritis & had joint replacement in my hands and these magnets were way too heavy/strong for me to place & remove. What works for me is PVC pipe with an inch or more removed lengthwise so they are open. They simply snap onto the bars & hold the quilt securely, I use them all the time. I keep a practice piece on the side using these clamps, you can cut them any length you want but mine are about 6" long.

    1. Roslyn: what is the diameter of your pipe? I'm assuming it's not too stiff to work with....thanks, arden

  3. What great ideas! I'll try the PVC pipe, but I will try the magnetic here (São Paulo, Brazil) also.
    Roslyn, you place a cloth between the pipe and the quilt to protect it, or is not necessary?
    Betty, I have a labrador (Samantha as "The Witch"), which was under my machine while I did the quilting, but I moved recently and she is now living with my son. I feel very alone and all the time it seems that something is missing. We are trying to bring her with us again.