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Sunday, March 3, 2013



I have mentioned this previously, we belong to several online groups that relate to quilting, Innova and the computer pattern system we use PantoVision. On any given day the topic of discussion is to say the least, informative, educational, opinionated, and in some cases eye opening…like one of those V-8 commercials….WOW. This is one of those instances. Let me say right up front…I am not now nor will I ever be an expert…in anything…and as a longarmer I will never claim to be a quilter and what is ‘traditional’ does not interest me and I don’t care if you’ve been doing this way or that way for 25 years and it has been done this way for over two centuries.  I subscribe to KISS and getting from start to finish with the least amount of effort to produce the highest quality possible while giving of my time and myself 100%…which of course means there are short cuts that cannot be taken. But magnets ain’t one of them.
Our machine comes equipped with what we will refer to as the standard stitch regulator…Innova makes an accessory called Lightning Stitch…for us the cost alone is prohibitive. I’ve had vehicles that didn’t cost that much. Well the standard model does not come with a ‘basting stitch.’ So to baste on this particular longarm you have to ‘hit the button down, hit the button up…move the head…hit the button down, hit the button up…move the head…you get the point…the location of pain is obvious. So I do not like to baste, and it is almost a necessity. So the least amount I have to do the better. Enter magnets.
I have taken all recommendations, baste top, sides and bottom. Baste top, sides, bottom and across on equal distance intervals based on longarm travel. Always baste the sides, always baste the bottom, always baste the top, always baste everything…and I have tried them all. Basting top, sides, bottom and across seems to work best, well the tops not going to move around…it still shrinks up though as the process advances, but it’s not a do as you go system, it needs to be done up front all at once…and in doing so say good-bye to floating the top…something I really like doing because of the control I have to adjust for any minor discrepancies that may have prevented the top or the bottom from coming out exactly, right on the money an absolute perfect square or rectangle. Now maybe you’ve never had one that didn’t come out perfect…but just in case there is a trapezoidal tendency…I like to float.
So I baste approximately ¼ “ above the first seam and then about the same below the top edge. Done basting, thank you very much. Once I have the top basted I get the top smoothed out, working center out and down. When I have the top where I want it and taunt to the batting and bottom I place the magnets on to hold (baste) everything in place.

I use two types of magnets, the 18” long ones designed to hold tools (above) and smaller ones to hold stuff where I want it temporarily (below.)  While researching the use of magnets I even ran across a You Tube video of a quilter that uses magnets to hold the quilt bottom to both top and bottom rollers. In this case I’ll stick with Red Snappers.
So if you were wondering about magnets…well here’s my take with a couple of photos that hopefully makes it understandable. And in regards to my KISS, well for me it couldn’t get any simpler.

 I use these just to hold the batting in place while putting the top on so while getting the top centered and moved around the only thing moving around is the top.


I will use the smaller magnets again at the bottom when I have run out of roller bar to attach the longer magnets to.

And if you’ve ever had a leader flopping around when you didn’t want it to…there’s a magnet for that!

Quilt till you wilt...


  1. Thank you so much for this post!!! Did you get these magnets at Harbor Freight? If so, do you remember what they are called? I am completely new to laq and am just in the process of learning to load. I've purchased red snappers but haven't sewn my casing yet to get started with them. So far, I've loaded 2 practice "quilts"----2 thrift store sheets with a thrift store fleece blanket between. The first I didn't float, the one I've got on now is floating and I'm really interested in this magnet approach to keep everything stable. I don't have an Innova but would LOVE one! I found a used Voyager on a Hinterberg frame for 1700.00 so thought I would try that out to start with and see if I could even justify a larger expense! Thanks again for your detailed post!

  2. Yes we did get them at Harbor Freight...$4.99 each. Their design is to be attached to a wall or tool box and hang tools on them for easy access. So I've always called them Tool Magnets. We love the Red Snappers. Hope you have as much luck with both as we have and you won't have any trouble 'justifying' the larger expense if you find the Voyager doesn't keep up with your longarming needs. later...Les...

  3. re: basting

    It seems to me that you could turn off the stitch regulator, choose the slowest stitch speed, and then move the head across the quilt at a speed fast enough to get big basting stitches. I haven't actually tried this yet, but I asked about it when I was taking my training classes at "Let's Quilt" and they said there was no reason why it shouldn't work. (I didn't try it out there because I was running behind the rest of the class the whole time and didn't want to add in any experimenting which might slow me down even more.)

    I got to try out Lightning Stitch while I was there, and I really liked the basting stitch it had, but like you I got the standard stitch regulator because of the price.