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Thread: Question about long arm quilting

  1. #1
    Junior Member 40MPHK9's Avatar
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    Question about long arm quilting

    I took my first 'real' quilt top to be quilted by a LAQ. She told me four weeks. After four weeks, I called her, and she's had some knee issues, so is a little behind. She said, "there are three ahead of you, so I'll probably call you next week".

    My question is, how long does it take to quilt a double-bed quilt on a LAQ machine? I have no idea if it's something that takes a day, or four days, or what....I am somewhat mystified by the whole process, and would really love to see one of these things in action!

    It has been about a week since I talked to her, so I am getting very excited to see the quilt!! And the wall hanging I took to her, too!

  2. #2
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    It depends on a LOT of variables. How much time per day does she spend quilting. How experienced she is. How complicated/dense the quilt pattern is. How big the quilt is. These are all factors that can add to the amount of time it will take.

    I would keep in contact with her, just keep sweetly asking about the progress of your quilt, and let her know you're excited because it's your first. I'm a little bothered by the fact that she told you 4 weeks, but at the 4 week mark she still has 3 quilts ahead of yours.

  3. #3
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    A double bed quilt quilted with a very simple edge to edge design could take from 2 to 6 hours to quilt. As you can see that is a lot of varience. Then there is the fact that it would also depend how much time the quilter spent per day quilting (1 hour, 3 hours?). And, just how big was the double bed quilt? Some people call a king size a double bed size. Then if there were health or injuries problems that came up, that could add more time. Just keep the communication between your quilter and yourself open. Check on it regularly.

  4. #4
    Power Poster joyce888's Avatar
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    I've always had to wait at least a month, but I would take the advice of others and keep in contact with her.
    Joyce

    Four things you can't recover: The stone.....after the throw. The word......after its said. The occasion.....after its missed. The time......after its gone

  5. #5
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    I took my quilt top to my LQS to be LAQ'd last week. She told me sometime in April. She has 23 quilts ahead of me! Means I have to get started on my Christmas presents now!

  6. #6
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    Bobbielinks is right on the money. If it's a simple edge to edge: for example meandering or loopies, a no more than 6 hours. But if its custom then it just depends on everything. I recently had my back go out and took me 3 weeks to do a smal crib quilt and a full size quilt because I could only go a little at a time and I also work full time.

    I agree with the others here, just keep asking her "sweetly" once a week.

    and if you would like to go to youtube, there are lots of videos of people using LA's. I LOVe the sound of the machine, and it amazes me how they look when they are all done.

  7. #7
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    every long-arm quilter is different- it does take about 45 minutes just to load it up & get everything ready to start quilting-
    i have a 2 week turn around- but there have been times when (life) has happened that caused a delay--in those instances i ALWAY contact the customer and talk to her about what is going on- i do not just leave them wondering.
    also i do not take in (23 quilts) !!! if i have 3 quilts in at once i tend to panic- and get them done as fast as possible- i simply do not want a (back-log) or to be responsible for so many (other people's) quilts!!! i can not imagine--
    i do know a long-armer who allowed herself to get a year behind----she is (was) an extreme quilter- common to spend 20-30 hours on one quilt---and she didn't know how to say 'no'= just kept taking them in as they came---until she was so overwhelmed she returned un-done many many quilts that she had had for months----
    with very disappointed (friends)
    i kind of 'watched' this all happen- she was a member of our sewing group-until she didn't even have one night a month available anymore-
    so when i started i decided that i would do them as they came in- and if i already have 3 in the house & someone calls i just tell them- i have a number ahead of you right now- i will call you when i get caught up- if you need your quilt done right away- here is the numbers of a couple other's i know you could try---
    often they are willing to wait for me- and as soon as the last one i have is loaded-started i call & let them know it's ok to drop off again-
    i have had quilts that i had 'problems' with that took me 2-3 weeks to do---then i've had others i get done in 4-5 hours---it just depends on alot of things...but communication is VERY IMPORTANT! personally if you call this quilter and find she still has not started your quilt---i would go pick it up & check with the lqs to find someone else---just the fact she has not stayed in contact with you- to me is a big no-no.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  8. #8
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    it takes me longer to put on the frame then to quilt it. but have never timed myself.
    the biggest i have done is a full.

  9. #9
    Member Tollergirl's Avatar
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    I am waiting for a quilt that I dropped off in early January, maybe late December. It turns out that she just started it this week. Honestly, she does good work, but I would have rather kept the quilt until she was ready to work on it. I know she has a busy household, but communication is the key.

  10. #10
    Senior Member lfletcher's Avatar
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    I appreciated reading your response. I am a relatively new longarmer, but had past experience with a midarm. I have been able to build up business quicker than I had planned and like you, I tend to stress if I have more than 3 quilts waiting in the wings. I will adopt your idea of taking no more than 3 and letting people know I will call them when I'm caught up or refer them to a good friend that I know is a good quilter. A 2 week turnaround sounds like a reasonable time to quote people. Thanks.

  11. #11
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    I have never understood why some longarmers do not quilt their quilts in the order that they are received. If you don't have the thread or a desired design why not have the owner hold the quilt until the supplies are available. I just heard a quilter talking about her longarmer holding one of her tops for over 3 months. She finally went to pick it up and the one the quilter had done wasn't even her quilt. That hasn't turned up yet. Three to five quilts in waiting is a great idea but I doubt the hoarders will abid by that.

  12. #12
    Super Member valleyquiltermo's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement with ckcowl, this is also the way I do quilts and customers.
    http://www.skillpages.com/DonnaValleyquiltermo
    Sweet Dreams come from under Cozy Quilts made with love.
    Life is short, take time to enjoy it. Play with your kids and g-kids,
    and do what you can for others.

  13. #13
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    The LAQ that I have used for about 10 years tends to quilt the quilts in the order they come in unless she has someone that has a speedy need and some that are in no hurry. She has one that I am having done for our travel trailer that I will not need until summer and one that I don't need until Christmas. I am not sure what order she will put them in. I really like her work so I am willing to work with her. If I am doing a quilt that I know I will have a deadline to meet I always call her and ask her to put my name on her list for a certain time. That way she knows it is coming and be ready for a deadline. She has not failed me yet. I guess all quilters are a little different and once you find out how yours works you can work with her.
    Lorraine

  14. #14
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    I am a professional longarmer (meaning I take clients) and my waiting time is 4/6 weeks. None of my ladies have ever expected a top to be done in 2 weeks......but that is just how I operate. I only work at it for 3/4 hrs daily.....I do have other responsibilities in my life....house to clean, meals to cook, laundry to do, DH to pay some attention to, and of course my own piecing. I do not E2E on any tops.....I treat each one as if if were my own and quilt it that way...
    and yes, it does take a good 45 min to 1 hr to load, clean machine, oil, set up and start. And, yes, my clients begin bringing in their Christmas quilts in June/July "just in case" and because I take two weeks before holiday for my own "stuff".........but that is just me, everyone works the way that works for them............and their clients.

  15. #15
    Junior Member 40MPHK9's Avatar
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    When I discussed my quilt with her, she suggested an all-over stipling, and something more detailed (leaves, I think) in the border. Same type of thing for my wall hanging. So from what I know, that isn't an extremely detailed thing. She did tell me there were a few (4-6??) ahead of me at that time, which is now coming up on six weeks. And she told me four weeks. I understand completely if she's had knee troubles, but I kind of wish she would've kept me in the loop, instead of me having to call her and feel like I'm nagging her....

    I met someone last Sunday who is a quilter, and she told me about another woman nearby. I may try her next time. This same woman also offered to teach me to HAND quilt. Not sure if I'll take her up on that, as I usually use my 'non-sewing' time to crochet.

  16. #16
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    As others have said -- there are variables. I've stopped taking customer quilts - I have 14 on the shelves to be done and I plan on traveling this summer (after all, I'm RETIRED!). This is a part time job for me, I have a life beyond quilting, and I'm SLOOOOOW! I do custom quilting for the most part. I have a King quilt on the machine right now ---- VERY VERY dense quilting (for a show) and it's taken me a month. I have another 2 days work, I believe. I've also had health problems that have slowed me down even more.
    Your quilter SHOULD have told you when it would be done, and then called you if she couldn't make the due date. That being said --- I find it MOST irritating when someone constantly calls me to ask how I'm doing. I mean, calling every other day. I told one customer when it would be done.....something like 3 months away. She started calling me once a week and then the closer the due date was she started calling every other day. Folks -- that took away from my quilting time!!!!!!! So please be courteous, ask her when her new due date is, then give her a day or so --- THEN start calling -- don't call BEFORE she's even had time to get it on the machine.
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  17. #17
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amandasgramma View Post
    I find it MOST irritating when someone constantly calls me to ask how I'm doing. I mean, calling every other day. -- that took away from my quilting time!!!!!!! So please be courteous, ask her when her new due date is, then give her a day or so --- THEN start calling -- don't call BEFORE she's even had time to get it on the machine.
    Ordinarily I would agree with this, but the OP has stated that the quilter has given her 2 different dates, the first one has passed and the second one is right now, so I think it's reasonable for her to call and ask about the quilt.

  18. #18
    Junior Member 40MPHK9's Avatar
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    Yes--she initially told me four weeks, then I waited a little over a week past that before I called her....then she said she'd 'probably' be calling me the next week. Which is this week, and it's already Friday.

    I am very aware of not nagging her...nothing to be gained by that. HOWEVER, when I did call her she said, "I told you I wasn't sure when I'd get to it" which is definitely NOT what she told me! She told me FOUR WEEKS. It is now almost six weeks.

  19. #19
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I was speaking generically (apparently too vague) - I was telling you about a customer I had -- in your case, I'd be giving her a few more days, then show up at her door. She's even more vague than me!!!! I have had my share of illnesses and problems, but I have met my deadlines.....at least I believe I have!!!!!
    Dee


    "A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing." by George Bernard Shaw

  20. #20
    Junior Member 40MPHK9's Avatar
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    OK, tomorrow will be SIX WEEKS since I took my quilt top to her. I am calling her tomorrow.

    I am starting to get angry, and I don't like feeling this way. She has not called me ONCE, to let me know her four-week deadline wouldn't be met. And she DID tell me four weeks! I understand if she's had physical issues, but how hard is it to pick up the phone??

  21. #21
    Super Member feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 40MPHK9 View Post
    OK, tomorrow will be SIX WEEKS since I took my quilt top to her. I am calling her tomorrow.

    I am starting to get angry, and I don't like feeling this way. She has not called me ONCE, to let me know her four-week deadline wouldn't be met. And she DID tell me four weeks! I understand if she's had physical issues, but how hard is it to pick up the phone??
    Not hard unless she misplaced your phone number.

    I have been known to do that on occasion. I also quilt for others and if my client has a deadline I need to know up front so I can make sure I meet it. However, I have had numerous people give me tops and tell me they are in no hurry and take my time. If that is the case I will put quilts that have a deadline ahead of those, including my own.

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