A good, free standing quilt frame can be a blessing when it comes to hand quilting a large bed size quilt. A large quilt frame can cost hundreds of dollars, but you can make your own quilt frame out of PVC pipe for less than £19, as of 2009. The PVC frame is quick and easy and, based on your needs, it can be permanently glued for constant use or be left to take apart for easy storage and transportation.
Arrange four of the pipes into a square shape on the floor. Set with it four of the elbow joints with the third angle facing up. Insert the pipes into the joints to form a square. Use liquid cement if desired to secure the base.
Repeat for assembly on the top and glue if desired. Set the four legs onto the upward facing holes of the base and glue.
Flip the top over and mount it onto the legs using the last remaining elbow joint openings. This step is sometimes easier with a friend to help hold the top while you align the joints, especially if you aren't gluing.
When ready, place your marked and basted quilt over top of the frame and spread flat, checking underneath for puckers in the backing.
Once the quilt is aligned, use the pipe insulation to clamp the quilt in place by slipping the insulation over the quilt and PVC pipe. The quilt is now ready to be worked.
Remember to start quilting from the centre and work your way toward the borders. For a large quilt, you will need to quilt as much of the flat area as possible before you reposition for your next quilting.
If necessary, some 90-degree elbows come with a reducing side for the side out, making the legs of the frame to be ½ of an inch wide. If you aren't able to find a complete ¾-inch elbow, purchase four reducing male adaptors for ¾ by ½ inch. It will screw into the third opening and enlarge your pipe area back to ¾ of an inch.