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Thread: Question for Longarm Quilters...

  1. #1
    Senior Member retired2pa's Avatar
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    I have a quilt top finished that I'd like to take to a local longarmer to do just the quilting for me. I like doing the binding so I just want it quilted. I will be taking my own batting and backing.

    I've never had anyone do my quilting so I'm not sure what to ask, such as do I need to ask what kinds of quilt designs they do; should I ask to see some finished work; do they use their own thread, etc. ? Are there any other things I should be asking?

    Something else I'm kind of concerned about is...will they be critical of my work? I know I'm not perfect, but I don't want the "quilt police" to judge me.

  2. #2
    Cyn
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    Super Member Cyn's Avatar
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    Boy I know what you mean!

  3. #3

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    It is really important to ask questions! I failed to upfront, on the most important one---how long will it take! It was received on Oct. 8th, and I still haven't got it, and hopefully it will be here before Christmas!

  4. #4
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    You should ask to see some work and to look at designs.You need to decide if you like a heavy quilting or lighter. Thread color for top and back.Are you planning on rolling the back to the front for binding or a seperate binding.And as a longarmer I never judge someone elses quilt.Its you quilt you made it mistake and all be proud of it. I supply my thread so I use whats best with my machine.

  5. #5
    Super Member suezquilts's Avatar
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    Make sure if you have any ideas to write them down, and give them to her. If you have seen something sketch it out, or bring the pattern that may show quilting ideas.
    Most of us have our own thread, batting on a roll can be a better cost for you, and I believe they are nicer that single batts that are rolled into a small package.
    Designs~ask them if they have ideas and be open to listen... she may have done one similar.
    Build a relationship with your longarmer... I know I feel my quilt makers are my friends.
    Enjoy your quilt! I'm sure it will be wonderful when you get it back.

  6. #6
    Senior Member AndiR's Avatar
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    Hi Colleen -

    I'm a professional longarmer, and while each of us runs our businesses differently, I'll tell you how I do things.

    When I'm working with a new client for the first time, I will ask them a lot of questions, especially if they have not worked with a longarmer before and don't know what to ask. And there are certain things that we can or cannot do that you may not understand. (Like why I need the backing bigger all the way around. Or why certain battings are not suitable for frame quilting.) I'm happy to answer those questions for my clients and show them my studio and the supplies I use.

    I have a page on my website that might answer some of your questions, or at least give you some ideas of the things to ask:
    http://www.andicraftsquilting.com/longarm-quilting.htm

    To answer some of your questions, Yes, I would ask to see samples of their work. When I show those to my clients, I ask which they like or don't like and why. It helps me suggest patterns that would look good on their quilt. Do you like more open patterns or denser patterns? Is the quilt for a man, woman, child? (I'm probably not going to put hearts and flowers on a quilt for a 16 year old boy LOL!). Do you like the thread to show or to blend in? All of these will help me give you a finished product that we can both be happy with!

    A good longarmer will not be critical of your work. She *will* tell you if there are 'issues' that will prevent her from giving you back a quality finished product. For example, if you have 4 extra inches of fabric in your borders, it will be hard to quilt without putting pleats and puckers in. I will suggest ways to fix the fullness, and may offer you my borders handout (see here: http://www.andicraftsquilting.com/learn.htm )
    so you will not have this fullness in future quilts. (I also teach quilting classes so this is a perk for my clients - a mini class on borders or bindings or whatever.)

    The studio should be clean, non smoking, and if pets are present (which I do NOT allow in my studio, even though I am a pet owner) you should be made aware of that in case you have allergies. Does the owner have business insurance in case something happens to your quilt while in her care?

    I hope this helps you a little. If you have more questions, just ask!

  7. #7
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    There are several quilter on the board,I have seen some of ther work so if you can show pic. Most la's know what will look best. or you can express what you would like.
    besty of luck.

    Merry Christmas

  8. #8
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    This thread is wonderful! I am learning so much!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    Andi gave you GREAT information!

    Here's a few more hints:

    Check with your LAer to make sure the batting you want to use is one that she is willing to use. I've had 2 battings that have been brought in that I really don't want to use again. They were inconsistent in their thicknesses, which gave me inconsistent tension.

    Don't be surprised if your quilt top will be gone for several months. It depends a lot on how your LAer handles her backlog. Some won't put a quilt into the queue until it's in her hands. Some (I'm included) don't want more than a couple of month's backlog in the studio and have an ongoing list for the months further out.

    If your quilter doesn't ask, make sure you let her know your budget for the quilting on this quilt. That way neither of you are surprised when the bill is given.

  10. #10
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    Andi,

    Thank you for all the information. I am saving your thread and info. At this time I am into rag quilts, but when I am ready to make the big quilt for my hubby I will contact you. I will be afraid to trust it to just anyone. Again, thanks for sharing.

    Anna

  11. #11
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    These tips are great. Sometimes depending on backlog the quilts will be gone several months. Customers don;t always understand that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelley
    Andi gave you GREAT information!

    Here's a few more hints:

    Check with your LAer to make sure the batting you want to use is one that she is willing to use. I've had 2 battings that have been brought in that I really don't want to use again. They were inconsistent in their thicknesses, which gave me inconsistent tension.

    Don't be surprised if your quilt top will be gone for several months. It depends a lot on how your LAer handles her backlog. Some won't put a quilt into the queue until it's in her hands. Some (I'm included) don't want more than a couple of month's backlog in the studio and have an ongoing list for the months further out.

    If your quilter doesn't ask, make sure you let her know your budget for the quilting on this quilt. That way neither of you are surprised when the bill is given.

  12. #12
    Senior Member AndiR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelley

    Don't be surprised if your quilt top will be gone for several months. .......
    If your quilter doesn't ask, make sure you let her know your budget for the quilting on this quilt. That way neither of you are surprised when the bill is given.
    Thanks, Shelley, for the additional info on scheduling and pricing. I knew as soon as I posted I would think of other things, but it was getting late and I needed to head to bed.

    Another thing that I address with new clients is thread color top and bottom. In these photos, I used green thread on top and white thread in the bobbin - doesn't look very nice, does it? Unless you're using a higher loft batting, this will often occur with two high contrast thread colors.

    I usually match my bobbin thread to the top thread color, this avoids what is known as 'pokies' or little dots of color where the two threads meet. If a customer asks me to use two different colored threads, I'll ask them "what color would you use on top if you were hand quilting?" When they tell me, I then ask "And what color will you use on the bottom?" After looking at me funny a few seconds, they get it, and are fine with me using the same color top and bottom!!
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  13. #13
    Senior Member retired2pa's Avatar
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    Thanks to all of you for the GREAT info and especially Andi!!! Now I can go to a LAer with a little more knowledge...and confidence :)

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by smtp5
    It is really important to ask questions! I failed to upfront, on the most important one---how long will it take! It was received on Oct. 8th, and I still haven't got it, and hopefully it will be here before Christmas!
    Wow - how awful! Was it a longarm quilter from the board here? If so can you tell us who it was so that maybe others can be more aware of what might happen. I sure hope this works out for you.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdcatlovers
    Quote Originally Posted by smtp5
    It is really important to ask questions! I failed to upfront, on the most important one---how long will it take! It was received on Oct. 8th, and I still haven't got it, and hopefully it will be here before Christmas!
    Wow - how awful! Was it a longarm quilter from the board here? If so can you tell us who it was so that maybe others can be more aware of what might happen. I sure hope this works out for you.
    Yes, and I have no comment at this time.. thanks

  16. #16
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    I agree with everything that others have already stated. I always ask for piecers to have at least 2 inches wider on all 4 sides, the backing and batting for thier tops. It helps in the loading and also helps for some quilt issues that are stretched or pulled. I always try to show many options for thier quilting designs. Most longarmers charge for the density of thier quilting. Also more cost for ruler work then a meander/stipple. Is this quilt going to be placed into a show. There are lots of variables that need to be discussed with your longarmer. Never assume they are psychic. We are not.....

  17. #17

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    If the quilter has been in business for many years...most of the questions should come from her, right? I only have been quilting almost 1 yr and haven't any experience on what to ask, but have learned alot through this board. Also, by my mistakes.

  18. #18
    Super Member amandasgramma's Avatar
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    I'm just starting but I can tell you what I learned that I would have never thought would be a problem.

    1) I now do a back stitch on all seams that are on the very outer edge. They can and do pull apart when putting on the frame.

    2) I now make sure ALL seam allowances are going one way....looks better and especially, if doing SID, it helps.

    3) Where seams meet (the intersections), I now pound mine down so the machine doesn't drag the interesection or make a boo-boo. This isn't too much of a problem with meandering, but when doing a computerized quilting design, it does matter (at least on mine, it does).

    4) I am more concerned and finicky about cutting loose threads on the back. I just did a quilt (my own, thank God) where the dark thread shows thru on the white top. A little extra time would have made a big difference.

    5) Just did a customer quilt -----they pieced the backing -- which would be fine, but please piece it with the same color of thread (white on white or cream on cream batting). They did it in green -- and yip, it showed thru on the white pieces on the top.

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