All About Long-Arm Quilting
Your Quilt Top
Is the quilt clean? We love to quilt old quilt tops that belonged to mothers, grandmothers or were from tag sales, but if they're dirty or smelly, please consider hand washing the top and laying out of the sun to dry; press it well and bring it in. We'll finish it up for you to cherish.
Are there open seams? We all get in a hurry and get short on our seam allowances; so, please check the top over for open seams.
Are the thread ends trimmed? Stray threads can show through the finished quilt and detract from the beauty of your finished quilt.
Is the quilt top pressed so the seams are flat? This is really important and can make a big difference in the final look of the quilt. It is okay if some of the seams are twisted; that happens when you quilt. But you really want to iron them as flat as you can. Iron from the finished side (the front), and using starch or sizing will help quite a bit. Make sure that you do not have tucks on the front where the seam was not completely pressed open.
Is the quilt top squared? Measure across each of the four sides and then across the middle in both directions. If the the quilt has more than 1/4" - 1/2" difference from corresponding sides then I can usually quilt in the fullness, but if the difference is over an inch, then there is more chance of wrinkles or tucks being quilted in.
Does your quilt lay flat? Lay your quilt flat on a bed or floor and see if the blocks lay flat. If they do, you have my utmost admiration. If not, welcome to the club. You could take the whole quilt apart, and go back and cut all your blocks to make sure they all lay flat (yeah right); however, that is likely more work than you care to do and probably not worth the time, unless you plan to present this quilt at a show. Just be aware that we are not miracle workers so there may be wrinkles/tucks or added fullness in areas.
All About Borders
Don’t cut borders until you’ve measured your quilt; cut your borders to fit your quilt, and don’t ease in the fullness of borders if you have more than 1/4" difference.
Try folding the quilt in half lengthwise and measuring the center of the quilt on both sides, and making the side borders the same length using the average of the two measurements (as long as they are only 1/4"-1/2" different). After you attach the side borders, fold the quilt in half along the width of the quilt for the top and bottom borders. Once again use the average of the two measurements (within 1/4"-1/2" difference).
Back to Back
Your quilt back should be at least 8” longer and wider than your quilt top on each side (4” all around). I will use that fabric to attach the quilt to the bars and side clamps of the frame. Also, backs and batting tend to draw up during the quilting process.
If you piece your backing, make sure to trim the selvages off the seam, as they shrink unevenly when you wash the quilt and create a puckered line. Use a 1/2" - 5/8” seam and press the seam open. This will minimize the bulk as the quilt is rolled back on the frame and minimizes any resulting waves. You can leave the salvage along the outer edges either top/bottom or sides of the quilt to make up your 4" overage.
If you create a designed back with blocks and borders, please do not try to make it symmetrical, especially with borders; add offset strips instead. Try as we may, because we cannot see the back as we're quilting, we won't necessarily be able to center the back exactly.
Square up your quilt back. You can do this by folding it in quarters and using your rotary cutter and rulers to trim it even. If it is longer on one side than the opposite side, your quilter will have to square it up before he/she can attach it to his/her frame. Just make sure the back ends up at least 6-8” longer and wider than the quilt top.
Mark the center top of the back and top if you have a preference of how to load.
We do Make Custom Quilt-tops and Quilting Services for Others
If you have a quilt in mind you'd like created or are saving special fabrics from loved ones, come in and let's discuss it. Cost depends on size and technical difficulty of the pattern requested, as well as fabrics chosen. It will range between eight and twelve cents per square inch. No, it's not cheap, but it is one of a kind and quality. Those who choose "cheap" fabric and "cheap" construction will get a cheap price, but not from me. My prices are mid-range for high-quality custom quilting. Turn around time can be one to four weeks, depending on design and business, so plan early.
NOTE: We do not do clothing alterations or repairs, nor do we do quilt repairs, other rebinding a quilt for regular binding fees. We have phone numbers of others we recommend who do alterations and repairs.