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Thread: quilting

  1. #1
    tarib's Avatar
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    Hi Just a quick question. Do most of the people on this forum have quilting machines to do their own quilting or is it done by hand. I have seen some beautiful quilt jobs, and I was just curious if you did them yourselves or had someone else do it. The only thing I have ever done is stitch the ditch. Any tips on hand quilting?

  2. #2
    Super Member Quilting Aggi's Avatar
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    There is a variety here on this site. I don't have a quilting machine, but hope some day down the road to get one. For the moment I machine quilt, but I have to say my favourite way is to hand quilt. I hope to get another quilt ready to hand quilt soon.

    There are some women here who have the big quilting machines and they have offered their quilting services to many here on this forum.

    What are your favourite ways to quilt? Do you have a quilting machine? My next big purchase will be my embroidery machine, but that won't be until maybe next Spring, as I am saving up my coins for that one. The more I can save with my loose change, the better :) I won't feel it so much then!

  3. #3
    reneebobby's Avatar
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    I use my machine with so so success only because i'm way to new at this. But I have seen some places for cheap too that you can buy a frame set up and turn your machine around and quilt with it. Way to cool too, for only $125.00 vs. several thousands of dollars. As for hand quilting not enough room in my house and I just don't have the pacients for it either. lol

  4. #4
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
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    I have used my Bernina for small projects. I would love a long arm, but alas.....no room right now.

  5. #5
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    I quilt on my regular sewing machine. I can do queen sized quilts on it - yes, it's a lot of shoving and maneuvering, but it's not THAT hard! I prefer to just do freemotion stippling all over it, since that's the fastest way to finish it. Unless I wanted to go into business doing professional machine quilting for others, I could not justify the expense of a quilting machine.

    I also quilt by hand, but not often. I save it for special things. Everything else, from table runners to bed quilts, gets stippled.

  6. #6

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    I hand quilted for 20 years then 11 years ago bought a longarm. Now I quilt as a business.

  7. #7
    Super Member Quilt4u's Avatar
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    I quilt my large quilts by hand,and small by machine.

  8. #8
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    Ditch-Stitchers UNITE!!!! :mrgreen:

  9. #9
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    I do whatever gets them done... machine quilting, hand quilting, tying, and combinations on one quilt. There are some incredibly talented longarmers here that take in work if you are insecure about the actual quilting part and have some money to spare.

  10. #10
    tarib's Avatar
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    Gee I was beginning to believe I was the only one that didn't know how to quilt with a machine. Good to know I'm not the only ditch stitcher.

  11. #11
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    I am not very good at the quilting either. I usually do a stitch in the ditch or diagonals across the quilt (now that I have fancy stitches on my new machine it's not as boring) I have never hand quilted, I figure If I hand time to sit and hand quilt, I should work on my first love of cross-stitching (which has been set aside for a while) It has not been in my budget to have someone else do the quilting for me, though I do have a queen size flannel quilt that I am considering sending out. I have done quite a few (10) queens on my regular sewing machine. I need to learn to use the BSR foot on my machine and "go for it"

  12. #12
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    I've been qmaking tops for about 10 years. I quilted the smaller ones on my sewing machine. I did a queen size myself on my DSM (domestic sewing machine) and said never again!! I then started hiring a longarm quilter, and she did my stuff for about 6 years, and did a beautiful job. She decided to retire, and I decided to start my next career: I bought a longarm last year, and have been quilting for hire since then.


  13. #13

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    The ladies that have long arm machines....would you rather do pantos or stippling and free motion? And how many quilts did you have to do to feel confident enough to start a business? I'm no good using a regular machine to quilt so is it easier with a long arm? What I'm trying to get at is, since I have no talent to begin with, is it easier to learn with a long arm machine?
    I ask too many questions but I am interested in the long arms.

  14. #14

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    I like doing it all on the longarm....stippling, freehand, stencils but prefer custom because that's what I did when I hand quilted.
    You can't ask too many questions!! The one question you don't ask will be the one to come back and bite you in the rear end.
    I was comfortable after about the first 6 quilts but that isn't the same with everyone. I never took a class either like most of the people that do this. I haven't been around other quilters. I learned by going to webshots and seeing what other people are doing.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    I started with plain muslin, then charity quilts. Then my own. The customer quilts came after that. Many of the quilt shops have longarms available to rent. It's a great way to see if it's for you!

    Just as important as being able to quilt, is the ability to run a business. Are you a self-starter? Self-motivated? Can you manage the books, pay the taxes, local/state/federal? Can you manage your money, quilting is sometimes feast or famine? How are your customer service skills? Do you have room for a machine that takes between 12 to 14 feet in length, plus room to go around at both ends (nobody wants to do stop-drop-and roll!!!)? Do you have between $10,000 (if you find a used machine or someone to go in with) and $20,000 dollars plus the costs of thread, batting, and yes-even we quilters have our specialty tools, and you can't buy them at Jo-Ann's with a 40%-off coupon!!! I took a ton of classes at a quilting show. Pantos are between $15.00 (if you're lucky!) and $30.00, and you will want WAY more than 1!

    There are shows where the quilting of the quilt is the star, as apposed to the pattern and piecing (they play an important part, just not #1). It's not cheap, but there are classes and are a great way to learn techniques. Figure $30 to $50 per class, plus registration, hotels, meals, and transportation.

    I personally have only done a stipple once (Happy to be Scrappy). I haven't done one since. I LOVE ruler work (also in Happy to be Scrappy), but I broke my wrist in a nasty fall on Valentine's Day. I'm still trying to get my stamina back for hours of ruler work. I do lots of pantos and have pattern boards for clam shells and baptist fans. I also do freehand.

    I don't mean to paint this negatively, I'm not. But there are many things to consider beyond "I want a machine." I'm sure my husband wishes I knew all these things going in. Me? I'm glad I didn't!!!! :P

  16. #16
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    I do all my quilting on my regular machine. I also hand quilt but only in the winter. I don't seem to have much of a problem fluffing and stuffing the queen size quilt through the machine.

    I could never justify a long arm without quilting for hire and I'm afraid that would make my passion a "job" and take all the fun out of it.

  17. #17
    tarib's Avatar
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    Thanks for the answers everyone. I will have to try a small sample quilt and try some sample quilting with my machine.

  18. #18
    Quiltingly Yours's Avatar
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    I do free hand quilting on my extended arm Janome 6500 and love it. I wish my heath was better so I could do more. I had an invitation to quilt on my friends new long arm just as she opened her new Quilt shop in town, I was honored to be the first to use her machine. I loved it but I couldn't be away from home that often and standing was becoming a problem for me. But I enjoyed it a lot. At first it was a little intimadating as neither of us knew what we were doing but we learned together and it was lots of fun. I did free hand on her machine too. Love it!

  19. #19
    vjquilter's Avatar
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    I have been a long arm quilter for about a year and a half and love, love, love it!!! It's funny that I ended up doing this professionally because up to a couple of years ago if I saw a long arm machine at a show, I would actually turn around and walk the other way to avoid having a rep ask me to try it. I didn't want anything to do with a machine like that! What turned me around was a diffferent part-time job doing something I couldn't stand and my sweet DH encouraging me to try it. With that, I plunged in and have been happy with a job I can't believe I get paid for-well, most of the time!
    There is a big learning curve to using a long arm machine. Some things I knew from sewing and quilting definitely translated well to the long arm, but some things were very different. I also didn't have any classes and I wish I could have since it would have helped a lot at first. It takes a lot of practice, regular practice to get really good at it. Doing charity quilts is great since I can try out something new and help at the same time.
    I love to do custom quilting and free motion quilting. Seldom do I get a customer who asks for a pantograph. The area I live in tends to lean towards the custom quilting.
    I get a lot of satisfaction with quilting a top and seeing how the quilting adds something special to it and then seeing the look on my customers face when she/he is pleased with the results. I have business cards in local quilt shops and have gotten customers through them as well as word of mouth.
    For me, it has been an adventure in learning and growing continually in my quilting and I am so glad I finally tried it!!! :-D

    Vicki in Surprise, AZ

  20. #20

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    A question to the quilters with a long arm machine.
    Have you quilted the disaster quilt yet.....you know the one that has so many problems that you wish you'd never started on it?
    Most everyone will do a good job on their quilts and you probably enjoy quilting those......but how do you cover yourself and your workmanship on a quilt top that's inferior quality to start with? I know myself I've had a few blunders with borders being a wavy on some of the first quilts I made. My long arm quilter told me what was wrong and how to correct it for the next quilt and I took her advice and appreciated her help. Can you tell before quilting which ones are going to cause you trouble along the way.....and how do you deal with those customers who just know any problems encountered are caused by the quilter rather than themselves?



  21. #21
    Super Member gcathie's Avatar
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    I'm pretty lucky...my Dad is the Longarm Quilter here....He has been at it about 2 years ...now and I get to play whenever I'm at there house...I love it....I tried quilting on my home machine and hated it....don't have the the time to hand quilt....I'm ready to move on to something new and I never would get rid of any quilts if I hand quilted them....I do smaller ones like wall hangings....Dad did do the disaster quilt and it came out wonderful....you have to learn just like with piecing...some fudge work goes a long ways....

  22. #22
    Senior Member Shelley's Avatar
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    I've been very fortunate. Before I ever took a quilt to a Longarmer, I called her and asked for her best tips for me to make my quilt something enjoyable for her to quilt on. I'm also an accountant - picky is just something I do. I rip it out if I cut off a point. So when I was started quilt my quilts, I had no problems.

    The charity quilts that I quilt are made by a group of ladies who have been making tops for at least 20 years each. Again no problems.

    I've been considering a tutorial on hints to make your Longarmer happy, things like staystitching the outside border if you have bias edges, measuring for borders so you don't end up with the waves, the importance of ironing, the importance of ironing the right direction if you want stitch in the ditch, etc.

    Anyone interested?

    As to the question about receiving a 'quilt with issues', no, not yet, I haven't received one. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed. I love problem solving, and welcome a challenge. I love quilting for other people. I get to work with colors and patterns that are not high on my list to make. Not that I don't like them, I do, it's just that my life will not be long enough to make every quilt I want to make, so like all of us, I have to prioritize.

  23. #23

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    I think anyone that has been doing longarming as a business for any length of time has run into quilts that aren't perfect........let's face it, no one is perfect. Sometimes we can't tell just by looking at a quilt top if there are going to be issues. They won't show up till we put them on the frame. Most are small, like wavy borders, and can either be steamed or managed some how and you can't really tell once the quilting is done.
    I for one have never had a quilt come in that I just could not quilt. Knock on wood!

    For those that want to know what we expect in a piecer:
    1. make sure you iron your work from the top of the piece and not the back. Ironing from the back causes ridges in the seam lines that make it difficult to stitch in the ditch.
    2. Clip all stray threads when doing your final pressing....both on top and the back of your top. These will shadow through after quilting.
    3. If you have bias edges along the outside edge, stay stitch them so they won't stretch when we put them on the frame.
    4. Try to cut your borders from the length of your fabric to avoid ripples in your border.
    5. Your backing and batting need to be 3 to 4" larger than your top all the way around. So add 6 to 8" to the width and length of your backing and batting.
    6. Piecing your backing is fine, just make sure all 4 edges are straight and true.
    7. Remove all selvedges when piecing your backing.
    8. Pick up your quilt as soon as possible after quilting is done. Or send payment as soon as possible. We are legally responsible for your quilt as long as it's in our possession.

    What you can expect from your longarmer:
    1. Your quilt top to be treated as tho it were the most precious thing on earth.
    2. Explain in detail what can.....or cannot........be done to enhance your quilt as far as the quilting. A very busy quilt with busy fabric will not show fancy custom quilting but will turn out just as nice with something freehand or a pantograph.
    3. Explain in writing what you are expected to pay up front so there are no surprises upon completion.
    4. Your quilt quilted in a pet free, smoke free environment.

    I think this pretty well sums it up on both parts.

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