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Amount of machine quilting

Amount of machine quilting

Old 08-19-2015, 03:13 PM
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Default Amount of machine quilting

I have been a hand quilter up to now. Currently the tops I have completed are piling up and need to be quilted. I know I won't be around long enough to hand quilt them all. I need to send some of them out for machine quilting. I love the softness of a hand quilted quilt. Some of my tops to be quilted are heirloom quality. The heirloom quality custom machine quilting I see is very closely stitched, stippling, mctavishing, echo quilting etc. It is beautiful, but makes the quilt stiff. Will these quilts soften up over time or does the amount of thread used in the quilting always keep it stiffer than a hand quilted quilt? Second question, is it okay to have an heirloom quality quilt machine quilted with less quilting? I am thinking trends come and go and I should have the quilts quilted in a style I like best. On the other hand, I have put years of effort in these tops and I don't want them to look cheap (for want of a better word.)
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:20 PM
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Your LAer should offer you different styles. I do tell mine that I don't want my quilts heavily quilted. I like the way they look but think they are stiffer than I prefer. Just check with a couple LA to see who can give you what you expect. They all have different styles just as we all have
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:25 PM
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There maybe local church or ladies from the area who do hand quilting and this would make quilts very nice and soft
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:26 PM
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You can request minimal quilting; your quilts don't HAVE to be quilted to death. Also, I would choose batting very, very carefully. In my experience, the wrong batting will also render a quilt rather stiff.

Find a good, experienced longarmer. Go to quilt shows, shops, the fair, etc. When you see quilts that have the kind of quilting you want, write down the name of the quilter. Get referrals from your friends, local guild(s) and quilt shops. When you get a fairly consistent list, i.e. the same names keep popping up over and over, call and make an appointment to see some of her examples and discuss your wishes and concerns. A good longarmer will understand that this is a precious investment for you and will take the time to address all your questions.
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:26 PM
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Sounds like you need to do some serious research to find a long arm quilter you can work well with. You will want to see examples of their quilting. You want to make sure they will respect your quilting ideas. If possible bring photos, or pictures from magazines showing what you have in mind. Plan on sitting with them and taking some time to explain what you want. If they don't want to do this, get someone else. Since it sounds like you have lots of tops, choose one that is less 'heirloom' than the others and have that quilted to make sure that you both have a good understanding of what you want before giving them one of your more prized tops.
As far as stiffness goes, a quilt with dense quilting doesn't necessarily mean that it will be stiff. Batting, backing, quilting thread and the amount of piecing all play a role. And remember the batting determines the maximum distance apart the quilting lines can be, so you need to choose a batt that will support the amount of quilting you have in mind.
You should be able to get a quilter who will work well with you and finish your quilts beautifully.
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Old 08-19-2015, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by tulip43 View Post
There maybe local church or ladies from the area who do hand quilting and this would make quilts very nice and soft
Actually, I have quilted with a church group for a number of years, but our numbers have dwindled because of death, health, vision, etc. We are down to only four in number. We stopped for the summer, but it looks unlikely that we will start up again this fall. We can't recruit younger quilters. They prefer the quicker methods.
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Old 08-20-2015, 05:16 AM
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I do my own quilting on my Bernina. I like the look of hand quilting and that is the way I quilt my quilts. I would certainly sit down with the LAQ and discuss you preferences.
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Old 08-20-2015, 05:35 AM
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I am sad to think you may not be able to finish all your beautiful work.


Machine quilting and hand quilting, to me, are like chalk and cheese. The pattern may be the same but the stitches sure look different.

I think the most important thing is to find someone who will listed to what you want.
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Old 08-20-2015, 06:35 AM
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Are you pulling the quilts apart ie top and back and then putting in new wadding/ batting? This I'm sure will make a difference to the LA's quilting .
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:48 AM
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Thanks for all of your responses. It gives me something to think about. In carefully assessing the tops, I am thinking of quilting a couple of them in Big Stitch quilting with Perle cotton or Aurifil 12 wt. It would be much faster and these two tops are not heirloom quality. They are pretty little quilts with applique borders and perhaps would lend themselves to Big Stitch. After talking with quilting friends and the ladies at my local quilt shop, one LA quilter's name keeps popping up. I will contact her-interview her for possible custom work on the special quilts. Have any of you done Big Stitch? If so, what do you think?
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