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Thread: Help needed to understand what to ask for when having a quilt machine quilted

  1. #1
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    I have seen some beautiful machine quilting posted on this board. As a hand quilter, I don't have a clue what to ask for when I have my quilt machine quilted. I don't have an unlimited budget, and I'm sure the type of quilting I like the best is also the most difficult and expensive. Please help me know what is possible. My quilt top is a medallion type with a large star in the center and several pieced borders around that. I am not crazy about an allover quilting design. What are my options? I don't even know what questions to ask of the quilter. Help me not to sound so stupid, when I speak to the quilter, please!!

  2. #2
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    If you can post a picture of the quilt top, it would be easier for us to provide suggestions. Also, what are your plans for the quilt? Will you be entering it in any judged shows? Using it as a nightly bed cover? Or, perhaps as a bed cover during the day only?

    Generally speaking, the larger the quilt is, the more expensive it will be. The more custom the quilting, the more expensive it will be. The more dense the quilting, the more expensive it will be. The more thread color changes, the more expensive it will be. But these are just general rules of thumb.

  3. #3
    Super Member jdavis's Avatar
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    I'm sure you will not sound stupid or be made to feel that way.
    In general, those who machine quilt have a wonderful understanding of all those aspects or variables that mytwopals mentioned.
    Just about anything you imagine is possible.
    The quilter will be able to suggest some ideas for you. The more experience they have, the more readily available the ideas.

    If you don't know where you will be taking the quilt top, and you have several choices, go to each, and get their prices. They should have something printed up that is ready for you to walk away with. If you don't understand a term, ask for the definition then and there.
    If you haven't seen any of their work, ask to see some! Who knows, they may have something similar to your quilt top.

    If you do know where you will be taking the quilt top to be quilted, take it with you. Everybody will love looking at it, even if you don't go through with it.
    If you come up with a rough idea of what you want, and they give you a pretty close estimate of the price, you can decide if you are ready to go through with it. If it's in your budget, you can most likely get your project on their waiting list or calendar. It's possible they will want you to make an appointment to discuss the details more thoroughly. There is no need to rush into such a decision. If they have already seen the top prior to the appointment, this will give them some time to brainstorm, too.

    Oh, and it's possible the quilter will have some books of quilting patterns, to help you decide how to do each part, particularly the borders.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    Make sure your back is bigger than the top, usually 3-4 inches all the way around or 6-8" longer and wider. We use this area to attach the back to the leaders on the poles. We also use the side areas to test stitching, making sure the tension is good. And even though I don't ask for them, I really like it when scraps of the actual fabric are sent too. Sometimes there are fabrics that don't play well, and it helps to narrow down problems if they occur.

    Before you go into what you want done, let her know the budget. Measure your quilt, then multiply the length by the width to get the square inches. Then take some rates, .015 (which around here is an allover panto price), .02, .03, up to that point that you just can't go beyond. That way you won't fall over when she gives you an estimate, you'll be somewhat prepared for the range of possibilities.

    After you've had a few quilts done, or if you've seen lots of a quilter's work and are comfortable, it can be fun to just turn her loose and see what magic she does.


  5. #5
    Super Member carrieg's Avatar
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    If your quilt has a pattern name, like lone star, try doing a search on webshots or photobucket. If you see one done the way you like, take notes on it and tell your quilter.

    My LA'er has a book of samples, sorta like a wallpaper book. She has all her patterns sewed out so you can see what they look like. She should be able to talk you thru the different sections of your quilt.

    Besides the price per sq.inch, you may also be charged for the batting and for thread.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all your replies. Can someone explain what custom quilting is?

  7. #7
    Super Member Maride's Avatar
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    The first thing I would do is to ask to see other quilts she has done, and look and them in the front at the back very carefully. You want to make sure they have no kinks and folds on the back. Also see that there are no pets around, or if they are, that they are not any where near your quilt. Our only local longarmer has a dog and the quilts usually have hair on them.

    maria

  8. #8
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roselady
    Can someone explain what custom quilting is?
    Professional quilters generally have a repertoir of quilting styles they apply to quilts. It could be meandering, stippling, or repetitive patterns. Those would be considered "standard" quilting styles.

    "Custom" patterns are adapted to suit the quilt. It could be outline stitching of the fabric, a random leaf pattern, hearts,.......it is a pattern that is designed for the specific quilt. That's why it is important to see some samples of the quilter's work. It may be easy for someone to promise butterflies and what you get is a herd of dragons.

  9. #9
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    When I have my quilts done, I check first on the price and design of the quilting pattern. I lucked out - my favorite is Meander and it turns out that it is the least expensive - One cent per inch. Times your width times your length - I had 9,438 square inches - move the old decimal point and you come up with $94.38. I actually have a quote right in my hot little hands here. The thread is between $10. and $15.00 (mine was $13.00 - variegated) and the basic fee is $15.00 for a total of $122.38, plus $8.41 for tax - total - $130.79. This quilt will be done the middle of November and all I have left to do on it is put on the binding and sew it down on the machine and then hand sew it.

    I also check to see what color goes best. On my cancer quilt (picture enclosed in here - somewhere - my quilter suggest a honey colored thread. It turned out beautiful. Even on the black it isn't that noticeable, but it pops. My memory quilt is done in ecru - same meander stitch and the one that has the variegated thread is gorgeous (the thread). She pulled some thread from the bobbin and threw it up and just let it fall on the quilt - meander - it was a perfect thread.

    These quilters know what they are doing and check some quilt stores and see who they recommend. Actually, a sewing machine store recommended my ladies!!!!

    This quilt is for our son and daughter in law for Christmas. I am so excited to see it.

    I will send a pic. It is a 35 block Sampler Quilt.

    I wish you good luck and I hope you find as terrific a shop as I did. They are so nice, so helpful and I will give you the name - Quilt Yourself - www.quiltyourself.com. I recommend them highly. Edie

  10. #10
    Super Member SherriB's Avatar
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    I am lousy at stippling and I love the look of it. Can long arm quilters do that on a quilt or does it have to be pattern?

    If you quilt isn't perfectly square, can it still be long-arm quilted?

  11. #11
    Super Member Edie's Avatar
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    If I am not mistaken, it is not done by computer. I believe it done randomly. If you check quiltyourself.com, the website shows all the patterns, including the stippling/meander pattern. It is quite interesting

    I hate to say thing, but I have never seen a square square square. And, only God is perfect. I do the very best I can and you really cannot tell if it is somewhat off square. I am only on my third pieced quilt. My second one was the cancer quilt.

    If you make a mistake, quilting is very forgiving. It can really perk it up. I made a mistake and when it was quilted you couldn't even see where the mistake was. Go to a quilting shop and watch them do it by hand and also by computer.

    Edie

  12. #12

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    ask about the different colors and types of thread. they will usually use cotton which is preferred by many. also, to add interest ask to see variegated thread, this comes in may colors and shades. next, if the quilter uses computerized machines, ask to see the different patterns, there are literally 1000's of different patterns to choose from. once i made a nautical quilt and he suggested using ships wheels, sailboats, and anchors and waves, this was really interesting and made the quilt pop. check my blog for details and pics. richbrot.blogspot.com.
    they will stretch your top very tight, so make sure your piecing and joining have small stitches, i use a 1.8 on my machine. also i use warm and natural batting which is very durable and holds up to many washings.

  13. #13
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    My daughter is a long arm quilter. She spends at least half an hour with her regular customers (more with new customers) discussing the quilt, the pattern, whom it is for and what the customer really likes. She advises her customers that they have the right to determine the outcome of their quilting selections. After all, a lot of work and money goes into the creation of the quilt. If the customer is undecided or hesitant or has no idea, my daughter will gently suggest a pattern and give a reason for the choice. For instance, recently I made a quilt named Shadow Boxes. I was not really pleased with it but I knew that the quilting would make the difference. Because the quilt was all boxes we decided on overall circles which softened the angular look. Many times I have heard her tell her customers....IT IS YOUR MONEY AND YOUR QUILT. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS.

  14. #14

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    i am new to this site iam from india. i am visiting my son in u.s i am fond of quilting . i try to learn more about the quilts stitching i just finished one lone stat quilt it is a lap quilt. i was just hesitating to get the quilting done by the quilter. because she was charging 175 dollars. now i am convinced.i can breath . after reading you note i have decided to getmy quikt done byher thanks a lot

  15. #15

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    my quilter charges .0125 per square inch. a 40x 50 size would be 25.00. try to find someone with better pricing.

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