Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Preparing top/back for Longarmer
Like so many other aspects of quilting you will find longarmers to like, recommend, promote and suggest numerous ways, measurements, concepts and methods of doing this and that.
The following is what I find to make my life easier, more efficiently complement your work and crafting and be most helpful in not exaggerating any inconsistencies that may develop in the crafting of a quilt top.
Like some and unlike others I will suggest certain thread colors and patterns but will always allow the quilter to choose their own. I will carry them out to the absolute best of my ability. If I don't have the pattern you want I'll get it at no cost to you. If I can't do the pattern you choose you will be told immediately. I can even recommend other longarmers that I know who can when I can't. I am hand guided and that warrants some limitations.
When it comes to the choice of batting I stock Hobbs 80/20 and my go to thread is Superior's Omni and Omni Variegated. I will use whatever you provide. I choose Hobbs because I can get the best price and pass that savings onto my customers. Currently pricing for my batting is $5.50 a yard. If you wish to use something else just bring it along with the back and top. I prefer the 80/20 or 70/30 blends. They wash well, are as warm (my opinion) as cotton and lighter weight. We choose Hobbs for all of our Quilts of Valor.
I've yet to send a top back because the seams needed pressing. But I've never received a top where the seams haven't been pressed at least once. But whether hung on a hanger or folded they always need to have a "refresh" press. The backs as well have been ironed, again having been hung or folded they need to be refreshed. One advantage for me, not being a person who sews, is that if there are seams separating or other 'sewing' issues I often find them while using the iron. I can contact the quilter before loading the quilt and have the quilter correct the issues. Honestly, you don't want me sewing on your quilt.
Like every longarmer I have met, read about or heard about my pricing is based on" per square inch." I have a Guild rate and provide a 10% military discount for active and retired military. Please advise if one or the other I don't guess or assume as a habit. I've looked everywhere and I can't find any hidden fees. No pressing fees, no bobbin fees and no premiums or programs for quick turn-a-rounds. I do my best, when at all practicable, to get your quilt back to you in one week. Practicable is a key word here. December 18 for a December 25th delivery is not practicable. By December 18th I'm toast.
Hopefully, whether I longarm your work or you use another longarmer I hope this brief synopsis helps you prepare your quilt and provides some insight as to what helps the longarmer do their very best to meet and exceed your expectations.
Les Page “thee Leatherneck Kilted Quilter”
Quilt preparation is very important for getting the best quilting possible.
I operate a hand guided longarm using edge to edge patterns. I enjoy working closely with the quilter to optimize their desires regarding the finished product. Custom work is accepted after a one on one consultation.
Square Quilt and Backing: Your quilt needs to be square (same width top & bottom/same length left and right side) to load on the frame correctly, otherwise it will load at an angle on the frame or flare in the middle or flare at the top or bottom causing waviness. Note: Very often there is a slight difference…¼ to ¾” variance…this is no problem. So, please square your blocks in your top and measure your quilt at the top, bottom and middle – get an average measurement and cut your borders to fit your quilt based on that average. This helps in preventing wavy borders.
If you are piecing your backing, please square your blocks as you piece to keep the seams as straight as possible without puckers. If there are any squaring issues I will contact you so they can be corrected. Backing seams should run horizontally (left to right) This eliminates puckering in the back as the quilt is being advanced on the frame. A thick vertical seam can easily cause issues as the quilt is advanced in the longarming process. Remember…when it is all said and done…the back is 50% of the quilt you have spent hours making. Don’t short change your efforts by cutting corners on the backing. I would never recommend ‘muslin’. If that is your choice I will complete your quilt as you request.
If you are not putting a border on your top, stitch the perimeter of the quilt as close to the edge as possible to eliminate seam separation when tension is applied when loaded on the longarm frame.
Extra Backing and Batting: To fit your quilt on the frame I need an extra 8” – 10” (10” preferred) of backing. This means 4” – 5” extra of backing all the way around the quilt. If you provide batting it should be 6” wider and at least 10” longer than the pieced top. Currently I charge $5.50 a yard for 80/20 or 70/30 depending on what I have on hand. I use Hobbs and Pellon. I will use whatever you supply.
Pressing the Fabrics: Please press all the fabrics of the quilt top and backing. Press the quilt top so that all the seams lay as flat as possible and press the backing fabric so that there are no deep creases (especially in batik fabrics). Backing seams should be ½” and pressed open. When pressing the borders, it is good to press the border’s seams open when possible. Before loading I press out creases due to hanging/folding at no charge.
Trim Threads: Cut loose threads on the pieced top, they can catch on the hopping foot of the longarm. Cut loose threads on the back of the top as well as threads can get lodged between your quilt sandwich and show through backing and/or the top.
Batting: There are many kinds of batting available. If you are doing a quilt with very dark fabrics you might want to consider black batting. Please use quality batting, craft batting will not hold up as well.
● If your backing or top is directional, please mark it clearly or mention it during the intake process. Let me know any specifics about your top and back.
● Any quilting issues such as puckering, weak seams/holes, wavy borders, pleats etc. will NOT go away with the quilting, they may be exaggerated. I will do my very best to work with the issues to minimize them in the end product.
● In most instances, I can say I have been able to determine difficulties that may be encountered during the longarming process before the first stitch is applied. In those cases you will be contacted so we can determine how you want to handle the situation. On occasion the problems may be encountered during the process. Again, I will contact you to work out what would be the best outcome for your quilt.
It is my goal when finished I have complimented your quilt. I will do everything possible to attain that goal. The first step is working with you during the intake process to meet the needs and desires you envisioned.
Quilt till you wilt...we do.