Discussion this week on the SAQA list about what kind of hanging devices people use for quilts. Having tried every method known to mankind, I felt qualified to chime in, but it occurs to me that such discussions are always better when illustrated. So here's my exhaustive list of hanging rods.
The first step up in sophistication is to cut the rod to size, just a bit shorter than the quilt so it will be invisible. Now you need a new rod for every quilt, unless you happen to have a couple that are the same width. Unfortunately, finding one of the right length is like hide-and-seek, even if they're labeled.
But slats, too, can bend under the weight of a large quilt. Unlike dowels, which simply sag downward, slats will bow out from the wall, which looks really terrible. For very large quilts I've been known to tape two slats together for strength, or buy fatter and wider slats.
The problem with all these wooden rods is their length. If you have to ship a wide quilt to a show, you need a really long box to hold the hanging device as well as the quilt, thus increasing your hassle and shipping cost. So the last time I had to ship a wide but short quilt, I went shopping for an expandable rod. Found it in the drapery department -- it's metal, sturdy, flat, and has nice holes at the ends for hanging. I was sorry I had to pay for the heavy mounting brackets, which went immediately into the recycling bin, but even so it only cost about $13.