This weekend, I was getting a few quilts ready to photograph a few quilts for our local quilt exhibition – Quilters Unlimited – June 4 – June 6, 2021. To complete this, I had two tasks: add a sleeve to the quilt for hanging and take the photographs.
The first task was not too difficult given I followed the excellent instructions from AQS. My sleeve fabric was a remnant from the quilt itself. Because I use a longarm for quilting, I have several inches of fabric from the leads (top/bottom), but I also have extra fabric from the sides. In this case, the side fabric was the perfect length for the sleeve. (As an aside, this extra fabric is also used for binding.) The sleeve took about 15 minute to assemble. Then, I had to attach it to the quilt. It was a relaxing hour or so to hand stitch it to the quilt back. It might have been quicker, but Fergus, our Newfoundland, kept stealing my husbands shoes. Rescuing eight shoes definitely decreased my efficiency.
After the sleeve was successfully attached, it was time to take the picture. Timing is everything with photography. Photographers call the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset the golden hours because the light it best. So I wanted to wait until the golden evening hour to take the photos. Unfortunately, the wind was picking up, which meant I might not be able to wait. Good lighting is important, but having a quilt hanging straight is VERY important. Time was now of the essence. Of course, if I had finished sooner, I would have had my pick of days to take photos….
Now, we had to contend with the wind, which is common where we live. Step one was to enlist reinforcements. My husband is always good about this. We set up the quilting frame (you can use a photography backdrop frame). Then, we hung the first of two quilts. It was the largest and was flapping quite crazily. To keep the bottom from flapping too badly, I pinned leftover binding tape to the bottom of the quilt and looped the tape around the legs of the stand. This kept the quilt down, but now we had a giant sail. We tried shifting the quilt like a sail on a sailboat to minimize the wind. It helped a little. In the end, my husband stood behind the quilt to keep it from billowing, while I snapped photos.
The second quilt was smaller, so it didn’t catch the breeze as much. Yet, the wind kept curling the corners. Because the quilt was smaller and we couldn’t make the frame any narrower, my tactic of tying it to the frame wouldn’t work. Time for ingenuity. My husband is an avid golfer, so he has fiberglass training sticks in the garage. They were just the right length and weight to help me out. We used the same binding tape to pin loops to the lower back edge of the quilt. Then, we threaded the fiberglass stick through it – voila – instant counterweight. This worked like a dream to keep the quilt laying straight for the photo. See the quilt from the back?
What? You want to see these quilts? You will have to visit the exhibition!
Do you have any tips for hanging quilts in order to photograph them? Please share in our comments.