Hand quilting is alive and well all around the world! Join with fellow hand quilters to share techniques, tips,
and the BEAUTIFUL quilts being made by others who share your passion for quilting... by HAND!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Floor frames

A question from Mary Carolyn

Since the question is what's in our hoops, I'd like some information on floor frames.  I've never used one and would like to hear from those of you who do.  How much room do they take up?  What's the difference between three and four (I think) roller frames?  If you have one that uses long boards, what do you think of it and do you know where are patterns available to build one?  How hard is it to learn to quilt on one  - if you remember?  What other information would you give someone who knows nothing about them?  I've been quilting for almost 40 years but didn't know anyone who had one - and still don't know anyone who uses one.  I quilt just fine (all that practice!) without one but I'm curious.


  1. I learned to hand quilt on a floor frame. I find it to be very easy for quilting. I use the grace frame Z44 and here is a link for more information on it that can explain much better than I probably would.
    This frame can be adjusted from king to crib so the amount of space it takes up is simply a factor of how big the quilt is you're working on at the moment. You can also pay a little extra to have it stained for you if you'd like.
    For my smaller quilts, I use a hoop, which is what I've been doing most of lately.
    Do check out the link. It doesn't mean you have to purchase this one as the expense of it can be a factor, but there is a video for setting it up so you can see for yourself.

  2. I have a Grace 3 pole frame that I've had for 20 years. Although it is adjustable, I always have it set up for Queen size. It does take up a fair bit of room. (You can see mine set up in the living room in this post I like it if I'm quilting straight lines (like a grid fill) but discovered with a single panel Hawaiian that I had to be a contortionist to do all the curves. I like the frame if I need to quilt in the summer, but prefer snuggling under the quilt and a lap frame in the winter.

  3. I have a hand crafted 3 roller that has no brand name as an individual wood worker built it. It takes up a lot of room, I love it for my big quilts. I will have to do a post on it. To adjust mine to a different size I would have to get different size rollers - I just leave mine as is - it can quilt up to (I think) 114 inches wide. It takes a little getting used to at first but once you get the hang of them you either love them or hate them. I have had mine for close to 15 years I think.

  4. I have a Grace 3 pole and I find it just a bit small for a queen quilt. It takes up a lot of space. If space were not an issue I think the 4 pole king would be wonderful. I also think if you had space to store the various pole lengths it is nice to have the option to make it smaller. Working in a hoop I was able to move the quilt as needed, on the floor frame I have to adjust my hand movements. I find running multiple needles helpful.
    I learn more with each project ;-)

  5. I have a Hinterberg Classic, a 3 pole frame. It's about the size of a small sofa, and I can quilt up to 90 inch wide quilts. It tilts up, and very comfortable to work at.

    It does take some adjustment to learn to quilt on a frame. I am self-taught, and had to learn to quilt away from myself, so I could quilt in all directions. I put a tailors thimble on my thumb, and I find my stitches are as good or better than when I quilt towards myself.

    I like having the quilt stretched out, and if I tilt the frame up, I can admire my work in progress, and plan the next step.


    1. I also have a Hinterberg 3-pole frame. It is a joy to quilt on this frame and see the progress. Right now I have a whole cloth quilt on the frame. It will probably take me several years to get it done, so I am glad it tilts straight up so that I can move it behind my sofa to hide it. However, it has become a conversation piece and when the grandchildren come they run in to see how far I have gotten since their last visit.

  6. I have a Grace EZ3, which is their 3 pole floor frame. The only advantage to the 4th pole is it allows you to attach the batting to a separate pole instead of attaching it with the backing. There is a bit of a learning curve going from a lap frame to the floor frame. With a lap frame I can turn my work, can't do that with a floor frame and with the lap frame you start quilting in the middle of the quilt while on the floor frame you work from the bottom border to the top.

  7. I have a Z44--there was a high learning curve for me about setting up the frame and changing from one size to another (fortunately we bought lots of Legos for our son in preparation for times like this). I use mine for basting large quilts so that I don't have to crawl around on the floor. I don't know if I could make the transition from a hoop and being able to turn my quilting this way and that. On a side note--I just finished a quilt that I quilted from the bottom up and right to left instead of from the middle out. I was quilting Baptist fans and it worked great.

  8. I have a Jasmine Heirloom Frame (called Alice). Mine has a choice: 3 poles or 2. 3 Poles is the nonbasting option. As I rather control the basting myself than let my frame do that, I use the 2 pole option.
    Learning to quilt on a frame is a matter of quilt ergonomics (good chair, sit straight, position your frame at the right height and tilt) and learning to quilt away from you. That demands a different technique. Or you change your position by sitting at the other side of the frame. Enjoy!

  9. I use an old fashioned "4 stick" c-clamp frame--the kind you see being used by quilting groups with all sitting around it. If you have the room for it it's wonderful. No basting but this frame can be used to sit down & baste a quilt for later hoop or hoopless quilting. Unlike other, more modern, frames the quilting proceeds from the outside to the center rolling the finished parts like a scroll. Best part is the cost. Mine was about $60 should've been less but I used hardwood boards. You can see this frame in action on Youtube with Joe Cunningham in a video entitled Getting to the Middle.

  10. She says she loves her snap together frame. I am new to quilting and bought the same frame. I guess I don't use it properly because I find that it is cumbersome and I can only quilt along the edge of the quilt comfortably; and only if I do not change directions. I use a lager embroidery hoop, quilt is heavy on the lap but at least it is maneuverable. I haven't gotten to the artistic hand quilting yet, only doing mostly outlining blocks with an occasional pattern in the center of each block.


We love to read your comments. Please make sure you have your email enabled so we can write you back! All comments must have approval before they appear on this site.