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Thread: Questions for any of you LA quilters.

  1. #1
    Super Member SandyinZ4's Avatar
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    Questions for any of you LA quilters.

    Hoping that any of you LA quilters can answer my question. I have no idea how one loads the quilt onto the framework but here is what happened to me. I went to a lot of work to make a nice backing for one of my quilts. I did not mention to the LA lady that I sent it to that I hoped she would try to make back and front match. When I got it back, there were a great many puckers in it and I was sadly disappointed to see that my last outer border on the backing was way wide on one side and barely there on the other. So what I am wondering is, if I ever do this again, do I need to let the quilter know that I want the back and the front to match? Or in other words, to be centered on top of each other? Or is that even possible? Seems like it would be hard since I imagine you have to put the backing on upside down, correct? If it is possible to have top and bottom match are there any pointers I need to do to help the LA quilter achieve what I want. The lady I sent mine too said that with a pieced back, it has a tendancy to pucker but I had never seen it on any of the other quilts other folks have got back from her. (This is a local to me lady). I am just glad that this was a quilt for me and not a gift. Hope you can figure out what I am asking. :-)
    She who dies with the most fabric, didn't sew fast enough!

  2. #2
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    I am not a longarmer but there was a discussion about pieced backs being hard to center. I can see there might be a problem with keeping a pieced back taut because the fabrics my stretch at different rates especially if some were on the width(stretches more) and some on the lengthwise of the fabric. If she can quilt with a sheet on the back, I would just send that if her quilting is good otherwise.

  3. #3
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    Not sure what your backing was like. Quilting a pieced backing can be challenging.

  4. #4
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    It is hard to match top and bottom exactly, and especially if you didn't tell her that was your intention.

    I can see why a backing might have puckers if it is badly pieced, but in that case I think the longarmer should have let you know in advance, so you could fix it. If the backing was in good shape (flat) then I wouldn't expect puckers.

  5. #5
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Perhaps speak with your LAQ ... admit you know you did not mention it to her, and ask how it is best to be handled the next time around, and of course, if she can do it for you, or not.

    It probably depends on the level of skill of your LAQ as to whether she can do it ... or even would tackle it.

    My LAQ does not guarantee it ... though she's pretty accurate in getting things lined up.
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  6. #6
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    One problem when quilting over a top batting and a patched bottom is needle breakages. This is caused by the seam from top and bottom meeting which can mean 8 layers.
    Second problem is the stretching from top to bottom and sides on the bottom piece. Which is underneath nd difficult to see.
    Some times Laq wil sell extra wide backing which means no seam at all this works far better .
    Finished is better than a UFO

  7. #7
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    IMHO, puckers on the back are unacceptable. If the LA was having trouble and knew it, she should have contacted you and asked how you wanted to proceed. If she can't get it right, she should decline the job. As to matching, nothing can be assumed. It must be discussed up front

  8. #8
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    when loading for long arm quilting the backing is attached to leaders- facing down (so the wrong side is up) then rolled up on the bar...then the top is attached on a second bar- rolled up- then the backing is unrolled some- and the loose end *generally the top of the piece* is attached to another leader- the top is brought forward over the backing- the batting is floating in between them both- the backing & batting has to be larger than the top- (we generally *try* to have everything centered - at least side to side) as the quilting is done all 3 layers are rolled together on the take up bar- it is difficult to *match* a design on back to the front- takes alot of extra work (and experience)- many will simply tell you- not do-able...as for the wrinkles/creases on the back----it is 'normal' to with each turn of the bars to stop & smooth- draw taut -- make sure there are no wrinkles on the back- i keep a mirror on the table & check it constantly to make sure i do not have any problems going- always smoothing, keeping everything wrinkle free-
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  9. #9
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    i have a mid-arm machine and am no expert. But. I usually piece all my backs because I don't want to buy fabric and only want to pull from my stash. I have also centered backs and fronts without problem. I do not have puckers or broken needles. I do not think puckers are acceptable. However, giving the quilter a heads-up about your desire is really only common sense. She could not read your mind.
    Laurie in NYC

  10. #10
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    It isn't too terribly difficult to center a pieced backing with the top from side to side, but it is much more difficult top to bottom. I would never guarantee to any client that I will get it perfect but I will come as close as I can. I will explain that a 1" tolerance needs to be expected.

    As far as puckers, any number of issues could have caused it. As Dunster mentioned, if the quilt was poorly pieced or out of square or had any fullness in any of the blocks, any of those could cause it. Additionally if the pieced backing wasn't large enough to attach the side clamps, that too can cause puckers, mostly near the edges because the LAQ would have to remove the clamps to quilt the edges of the top. I require my clients provide a backing that is 6" bigger on ALL sides. I can get by with less but it can cause these kinds of complications.

    Some LA racks are ill equipped to handle the bulk caused by pieced backings. It causes the completed quilt on the take up roller to be irregular in diameter and can cause some quilters problems. I have a dead bar or tension roller on my rack so it is never an issue for me, but I do know of some LAQ that will flat out refuse a pieced back or one with a single seam running the length of the backing.

    If your pieced back was a duplicate of the top and you wanted it to line up exact.... IMHO, that IS impossible.

  11. #11
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    wow i have a long arm and i am not that good and i take the time to center the
    back and the front and i always check bottom as i am quilting. you shouldnt have
    them puckers on bottom.

  12. #12
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    Feline Fanatic,
    Why are seams going the length of the backing a problem versus seams going horizontally across the fabric?
    Do you know what can cause the thread tension to be off on the back of a quilt? Thanks.

  13. #13
    Super Member eparys's Avatar
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    ckcowl gave you a great description.

    Although I do not LA for others, the few times I have pieced the back it takes forever measuring before loading and careful placing of the top to get where you want to be. I do avoid any borders so to say on the back because once the batting is on top of the backing there is no way to determine on my Voyager (other than laying flat on my back under the machine - lol) where I am. I stick to stripes with extra blocks and try to get them (oddly enough) deliberately off center. This is a great option when I am short on backing fabric.

    I am sorry to hear that you were unhappy but I think any of us would have been as well. I agree that puckers are completely unacceptable! If your longarmer thought she had a problem, she should have discussed it with you before putting it on the frame and let you decide what you wanted to do.
    Betty

    A quilt will warm your body and comfort your soul.

    http://notesfrommoosehaven.blogspot.com

  14. #14
    Super Member SandyinZ4's Avatar
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    Thanks to all of you for your comments, tips and helpful advice. Just to say in my defense, my backing was done well. At least I thought so. I always iron everything flat and smooth before I fold up and send away to LA person so that at least it was pressed flat once. I did send extra fabric on all sides, but not the same as border fabric. I thought I had used well-made (not lesser quality fabric). At least the puckered fabric is dark and aside from one small border being a light color, the puckers are not too noticeable. I am like others, and really like doing multi-fabric backings, just for economy's sake. Won't make such a nice one next time, though based on all of your advice. I really appreciate your thoughts.
    She who dies with the most fabric, didn't sew fast enough!

  15. #15
    Super Member QuiltNama's Avatar
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    Lining up the front and back is a bit tricky but the LArmer should be able to get close (not always perfect, but close) and there should not be a bunch of puckers on the back of your quilt. As you load the back onto the roller you can usually tell if there are going to be some problems. After each roll, I check underneath to make sure there are no puckers.

  16. #16
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mary123 View Post
    Feline Fanatic,
    Why are seams going the length of the backing a problem versus seams going horizontally across the fabric?
    Do you know what can cause the thread tension to be off on the back of a quilt? Thanks.
    Hi Mary,

    On LA racks where the quilter has to adjust the take up roller, the roller the finished quilt rolls on to, a single seam running the length of the back will cause a fatter area to build up where the seam is. The part of the quilt that is exposed in the rack to be quilted has a very narrow "window" of space where it is supposed to rest for optimum quilting. It can't be too far above the bed of the machine head as that could interfere with the hopping foot and make ruler work quite challenging, I would imagine. It can't be dragging too low as that interferes with movement of the machine head and smooth uniform quilting. The buildup of that center seam can cause drag whenever the machine head brushes against that part of the take up roller where the buildup is. This forces the quilter to adjust the take up roller to a higher position and if they go too high it can interfere with how the hopping foot works and quality of quilting stitch (which could indeed affect your back tension). If the seam goes horizontally across there is no buildup in one area in the middle. When the quilter reaches that point and rolls the quilt up on the take up bar the bulk is evenly distributed across the entire width of the quilt instead of in just one area in the center.

    Hope this makes sense. Very hard to explain without the visual and also for someone who doesn't ever have that problem to explain, due to the nature of my rack the take up roller is already well above the machine bed.

    Another thing that can make your back tension go bad all of a sudden, lint caught in the bobbin case will do it for sure. It will increase your bobbin tension causing eyelashes to occur on curves or really throw your back tension out of whack due to your bobbin tension suddenly being too tight due to the hunk of lint caught in the spring. Ask me how I know that one! LOL
    Last edited by feline fanatic; 02-26-2013 at 09:55 AM.

  17. #17
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Good thoughts for the future on your part, SandyInZ4.

    In defense of your LAQ ... talk to her NOW ... while the quilt is fresh in her mind as to what happened (or did not).

    And too, please keep in mind that you have not shown us pictures for anyone to truly know what you did ... nor what your LAQ did. Keep in mind that comments that have been made are not with full knowledge of the facts.

    You've heard a range of thoughts which will have you educated for speaking to your LAQ to discuss your concerns and questions might want to ask about this quilt, and having her do work for you in the future. You have already paid her, so from her perspective, she does not have to fear being paid and should be willing to discuss openly.
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