Prepare Your Quilt for the Longarm Quilter

More than one of you has completed a quilt top and had no idea how to “quilt as desired” or the time to do it yourself, or the desire to wrangle a queen-size quilt under your domestic sewing machine. So, you contact your local quilt guild and seek the services of a professional longarm quilter. Now what?

After getting contact information, you call the quilter and arrange to meet to show your quilt top and get an estimated cost to do the quilting. There are several questions you may be asked:

What is the intended use for the quilt? The answer to this question will help the you and the quilter determine how much quilting is appropriate for the project. For instance, you may not want to spend the additional money to have heirloom (fancy) quilting done on a baby quilt that will be dragged around, laundered frequently and loved to death.
What is your budget? Decisions about the type of quilting may be influenced by the answer to this one.
What services are being requested? I offer a number of services. (See my Services blog page for more details and estimated pricing.)

  • Quilting only (you do the binding)
  • Basting only (prepared for you to do hand quilting
  • Applying binding after quilting (by you or me), but not hemming
  • Hemming binding already applied to a quilted project (by you or me)
  • Making, applying and hemming the binding

I also make custom quilts from start to finish.

What size is the quilt? Cost is based on total square inches (Length X Width).
What is the expected completion/ delivery date? Allow six to eight weeks for completion (longer if hand quilting is requested). We may be able to finish sooner depending on number of projects in queue. Additional charges apply for rush jobs.
Quilting design: Other longarm quilters may have different “categories” for quilting services. These are the ones I use to determine the price structure:

  • Large meander or all-over design
  • Small meander or all-over design
  • Custom quilting in borders and blocks (moderate)
  • Custom quilting in borders and blocks (extensive)
  • Hand quilting

You can see a few of my other customers’ quilts on Quilted Treasures photo page. I’ve just started adding photos, so not all customer quilts are represented right now.

Backing fabric (purchase new or use from my stash?) You may provide your own backing or purchase from me. NOTE: The backing must be a minimum of 6-8” larger all around than the quilt top and neatly pressed with seams pressed open.
Batting preference You may purchase your own batting (with approval) or select from batting available from me:

  • Polyester, low loft
  • Thermore
  • Hobbs 80/20 (cotton/polyester)
Special instructions Do you have a thread color preference or quilting motif in mind, or other special instructions?

After a discussion of your quilt project, you’ll get an estimate before work commences.

I hope this helps you to prepare your quilt for the longarm quilter. I’ll be glad to answer any questions or provide an estimate for your project. Contact me at donna.nicholson49@gmail.com.

Until next time, take 15 minutes and do something quilt-y.

Digging Ditches?

Of all the parts involved in quilting a quilt, the part I like least is the Ditch work. Stitch in the Ditch (SID), that is. It is time-consuming without the visual satisfaction I get from creating the quilting motifs and fillers. But it is an absolutely necessary part of the process so I spend the time to do it right. SID stabilizes and squares the quilt sandwich while breaking the quilt top into manageable sections.

I also use the time doing the SID to take a closer look at the quilt top to identify possible quilting motifs and trouble spots, if any. On more than one occasion, I’ve found areas where the quilter hadn’t sewn perfect seams and had small sections of seams that were pulling loose. These areas can be repaired during the ditch work and are not noticeable in the finished product.

While maintaining a square quilt top during SID, blocks that have extra fullness, or “mountains” might be identified. Sections like this will require special attention when it comes to designing the quilt motifs to be used.

Once all the ditch work is completed, I usually walk away from the machine for the rest of the day and consider the quilting motifs I plan to use. Now the fun really begins. I look forward to tomorrow’s quilt adventure. Since the quilt top I’m working on now is my own, I plan to try a few different techniques. I’ll post a picture or two when I’ve finished it.

In the meantime, may your bobbin always run out at the end of a seam.