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Thread: Some ???s for professional quilters

  1. #1
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    Some ???s for professional quilters

    I do not like to do my own quilting. I can manage it on quilts for the family since they forgive the mistakes. For special quilts, I would like to feel confident in sending my tops out for quilting.

    I am an amateur quilter. I try my best but I'll never be really excellent.
    Now I plan to send out a top for quilting but I am afraid that the quilter will not want to do it because of the 'mistakes'.

    My questions for the pros is....what kind of 'flaws' can you deal with?...are there some tops you will not take?...how bad have some of the 'flaws' been?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    What mistakes? Who says they are mistakes? Your work is your work. And what right does anyone have to just your sewing? If you are paying for an opinion, that is one thing. If you are paying for their work, their expertise, that should not include their opinion, UNLESS you have asked for it. And the Board has stated and reaffirmed, there are no quilt police. If a "professional quilter will not quilt your work, then they are not professional. They are picky and choosey about what they will do, they won't get much work. I doubt there are very many "perfect" stitchers in the world of quilting. We stitch quilts because we love it, we love the fabrics and the pleasure of seeing something accomplished.

    Speaking for myself, I use a mid-arm machine, I do not do heirloom stitching. I do meander on my quilts. I make quilts for charities and they are made with love and the idea that they will bring comfort and warmth to the person who receives them. They will never become heirlooms to be put away in a cedar chest and never used. My quilts go into service and I hope they are welcomed and loved by those in need.

    Never worry about someone's opinion. If you are not asking for their opinion but paying for a service rendered,
    they should have no complaints. AND if they snicker behind your back and speak to other customers about the sloppy work, they are NOT professional, and do not deserve to quilt for other people.

    Gather your courage, take the quilt to a quilter and speak only about the fact of how you want your quilt finished.
    Leave out the comments about your workman ship. After all, once the quilt is finished, the mistakes on the back are hidden in the batting and backing. Get your quilt quilted and keep on going...make more quilts.

    June in Cincinnati

  3. #3
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    Good post, I'll be following this post closely. As a newbie, I do the best I can, fix what's obvious, and when I gift my quilts I explain that it's not perfect as I'm learning, and smile . Most people are simply genuinely happy to receive a hand made gift that is full of love and effort.

  4. #4
    Super Member franc36's Avatar
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    I am very interested in reading the responses to this question as I am getting a quilt ready to take to be quilted and I want to be sure that I haven't done somethig that will make my quilt "unquiltable". In the past, I have always quilted my own quilts; but this is a king size and I'd like to take it to a LAQ.

  5. #5
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    I have been quilting, and am not a professional, for almost 20 years. I still make mistakes. I was told not to compete with God's perfection.
    Blessed are the quilters, for they are the piecemakers.

  6. #6
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    So far the only the problem I've presented (that I know of) to my LA quilter is wavy borders. When she looked at it, it was worse than I thought but she said she thought she could work with it. I haven't made very many quilts - 4 or 5 lap size and none were even close to perfect but she has never said any were a problem - except the wavy borders. So just talk to her about what you want and she'll let you know if it's do-able.

  7. #7
    Super Member dltaylor's Avatar
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    June 6995, go head you said it all!! I hear ya girl and I agree with you 1000%!!!

  8. #8
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    We used to hear practice makes perfect. Just recently I heard Practice makes permanent. I agree 100%. My LAQ says everything quilts out so she takes what she is given and makes the most of it. It always seems beautiful when she is finished. Go for it and good luck. Keep practicing.
    Linda

  9. #9
    Super Member dmyers's Avatar
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    I agree with June, you should feel proud in your work and not worry about what others may say about it. I have worked with newbies and seasoned quilters and even the seasoned quilters are not perfect.

  10. #10
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    I'm not a professional but I FMQ for myself and as a sideline to support my quilt habit for 6 friends in local group. To say someone is not a professional if they don't quilt whatever you send is really unfair. If I get a top the borders are wavy I will not quilt it as I know it will look bad when finished. If I get a top that the borders are smaller than the center and it will have pleats, I won't quilt it as I know the finished top will not look good. And under no circumstances will I quilt one that has open seams. I check religiously now as I did one recently that my FMQ foot found the open seam before I did and when it caught tore a hole in the quilt top before I could stop. While it wasn't my fault I remade the top as it belonged to a friend.

    Keep in mind that many people that do FMQ don't judge you, they just don't want to give you back something that doesn't look nice and you feel cheated. If you send it in saying quilt it "this way" and I'm not worred about finished project they will probably quilt it for you. Also keep in mind that if they have to do things like repair seams, square up backing, etc there is an addtional charge.

  11. #11
    Senior Member lindy-2's Avatar
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    im not a profesional quilter i just quilt on a mid arm for myself and my freinds but some things ive run accrost were way to much fabric in the borders, thay were wavy, and seams that werent sewn right to the end these things can be quilted out but it is easyer on the quilter if they are fixed beforhand. im sure if you do your best and make sure all the seams are secure and the borders arent to wavy everything should be fine. if your realy woryed you could ask the quilter to give you some advise on what makes an easy top to work on.

  12. #12
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    Some LAQ really do work miracles. But I would be willing to bet serious money that some quilts are much easier to work on because they lay flat and "square" and are prepared well - and others are in the "oh, my" category.

    I think the questions really are:

    What can I do with my quilt top and bottom to make it easier for a LAQ do a good job on it?

    Are there some things that are difficult to work out in the quilting process?
    (Examples:
    1)The left border measures 90 inches and is ruffled and the right border measure 80 inches and is laying flat
    2)The stitching on a piano key border is coming out
    3) Skimpy seams that pull out when the top is stretched out)

    Is there a quilt top that is "impossible" to quilt and have it come out looking nice?

    I am not a LAQ - but it seems reasonable to me that having a top that lays flat and and is well prepared would be ever so much easier to work on. Well prepared - it has been pressed, stray threads on the back have been trimmed, no open seams, etc, etc.

    An analogy: If you were a carpenter - would you prefer to work with straight boards or warped boards?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by june6995 View Post
    What mistakes? Who says they are mistakes? Your work is your work. And what right does anyone have to just your sewing? If you are paying for an opinion, that is one thing. If you are paying for their work, their expertise, that should not include their opinion, UNLESS you have asked for it. And the Board has stated and reaffirmed, there are no quilt police. If a "professional quilter will not quilt your work, then they are not professional. They are picky and choosey about what they will do, they won't get much work. I doubt there are very many "perfect" stitchers in the world of quilting. We stitch quilts because we love it, we love the fabrics and the pleasure of seeing something accomplished.

    Speaking for myself, I use a mid-arm machine, I do not do heirloom stitching. I do meander on my quilts. I make quilts for charities and they are made with love and the idea that they will bring comfort and warmth to the person who receives them. They will never become heirlooms to be put away in a cedar chest and never used. My quilts go into service and I hope they are welcomed and loved by those in need.

    Never worry about someone's opinion. If you are not asking for their opinion but paying for a service rendered,
    they should have no complaints. AND if they snicker behind your back and speak to other customers about the sloppy work, they are NOT professional, and do not deserve to quilt for other people.

    Gather your courage, take the quilt to a quilter and speak only about the fact of how you want your quilt finished.
    Leave out the comments about your workman ship. After all, once the quilt is finished, the mistakes on the back are hidden in the batting and backing. Get your quilt quilted and keep on going...make more quilts.

    June in Cincinnati
    DITTO to this post

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by june6995 View Post
    What mistakes? Who says they are mistakes? Your work is your work. And what right does anyone have to just your sewing? If you are paying for an opinion, that is one thing. If you are paying for their work, their expertise, that should not include their opinion, UNLESS you have asked for it. And the Board has stated and reaffirmed, there are no quilt police. If a "professional quilter will not quilt your work, then they are not professional. They are picky and choosey about what they will do, they won't get much work. I doubt there are very many "perfect" stitchers in the world of quilting. We stitch quilts because we love it, we love the fabrics and the pleasure of seeing something accomplished.

    Speaking for myself, I use a mid-arm machine, I do not do heirloom stitching. I do meander on my quilts. I make quilts for charities and they are made with love and the idea that they will bring comfort and warmth to the person who receives them. They will never become heirlooms to be put away in a cedar chest and never used. My quilts go into service and I hope they are welcomed and loved by those in need.

    Never worry about someone's opinion. If you are not asking for their opinion but paying for a service rendered,
    they should have no complaints. AND if they snicker behind your back and speak to other customers about the sloppy work, they are NOT professional, and do not deserve to quilt for other people.

    Gather your courage, take the quilt to a quilter and speak only about the fact of how you want your quilt finished.
    Leave out the comments about your workman ship. After all, once the quilt is finished, the mistakes on the back are hidden in the batting and backing. Get your quilt quilted and keep on going...make more quilts.

    June in Cincinnati

    Your comments are so well put. I totally agree.
    Lorraine

  15. #15
    Senior Member CarrieC's Avatar
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    I wonder if a FMQ with a long or mid arm would consider answering this -

    If you were going to give a quilt top to another person to FMQ for you - what are the things that you would check off to make sure were "done":

    1 - Make sure that all strings are clipped (I've read on here that strings can show through etc).
    2 - Make sure the top lies flat (if not, mark it as something to speak about with your FMQ person).

    Sort of a check list like this? It would really help me to develop my own check list. At least the person I took the quilt top to would know that I tried and that I want it to be ready for them to quilt with the least problems.

    Thanks in advance.
    Carrie, Queen of the Seam Rippers!

  16. #16
    Senior Member CarrieC's Avatar
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    I wonder if a FMQ with a long or mid arm would consider answering this -

    If you were going to give a quilt top to another person to FMQ for you - what are the things that you would check off to make sure were "done":

    1 - Make sure that all strings are clipped (I've read on here that strings can show through etc).
    2 - Make sure the top lies flat (if not, mark it as something to speak about with your FMQ person).

    Sort of a check list like this? It would really help me to develop my own check list. At least the person I took the quilt top to would know that I tried and that I want it to be ready for them to quilt with the least problems.


    And June 6995 - I loved your post. I agree with it but still I'd love to have a check list for myself!
    Thanks in advance.
    Carrie, Queen of the Seam Rippers!

  17. #17
    Senior Member NDQuilts's Avatar
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    Just do your best

    I handquilt for others and I will take almost anything. I prefer no open seams, but these are easy enough to anchor as I go. I have techniques for attempting to flatten/straighten borders. The only thing that is almost impossible is a Lone Star that has turned into a volcano. My advise is to notify the quilter of construction problems, and dont sweat any unmatched points. Your quilter probably has dealt with these issues numerous times and could teach fixes if asked.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Digitizingqueen's Avatar
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    I am a professional long arm Quilter and I will quilt what ever you send - the only thing that makes my job difficult is borders that are making the quilt wavy (bunched up ) I ll do my best on that but there is no quarentee you will have no pleats - I request threads be trimmed just becasue it make you work look better and just so it quilts nicly your semas should be together (No unsewn seams) but I will do my best to quilt it - I just chage 15 dollars an hour ot fix unsewn seams....but each quilt is a unique pieace of art so mistakes are not really mistakes but design elements.

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    Thank you for your responses.
    It seems that the 2 main problems are wavy borders and loose seams. I will be sure to check those trouble areas.

  20. #20
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    I am a longarm quilter and I have never turned away a quilt. Although most quilts I've seen are very good, some are perfect, there are those that are nightmares to quilt. When I see one that I know will be a problem I gently explain up front to the customer what problems I might encounter in quilting their quilt such as areas that won't lie flat. I tell then that if they don't lie flat and even when ironing, they will likely not lie flat and even once on the quilting machine. Many times I can quilt some of the problems out, but I can't guarantee. If they made it and are receptive to suggestions I can give then tips to help prevent this next time.The most common problem I see is wavy borders.
    I have never seen a nightmare from someone that has pieced the quilt that was brought to me. I have seen several horrible ones from relatives that are not quilters. Example--"Aunt Mary died and I found this in the attic. Can you quilt it for me?"It's unbelievable what you can find in those attics. Aunt Mary left it in the attic for a reason--it was a nightmare! Take it to your longarm quilter and ask if there is anything you could improve on your next quilt. We are always own own worst critics. I'll just bet your quilt is gorgeous.
    Sherry

  21. #21
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    Sherry, thank you for your response. Again, it seems like wavy borders is a commonly-seen trouble spot.

  22. #22
    Senior Member SoozeeDoozee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slmeyer View Post
    I am a longarm quilter and I have never turned away a quilt. Although most quilts I've seen are very good, some are perfect, there are those that are nightmares to quilt. When I see one that I know will be a problem I gently explain up front to the customer what problems I might encounter in quilting their quilt such as areas that won't lie flat. I tell then that if they don't lie flat and even when ironing, they will likely not lie flat and even once on the quilting machine. Many times I can quilt some of the problems out, but I can't guarantee. If they made it and are receptive to suggestions I can give then tips to help prevent this next time.The most common problem I see is wavy borders.
    I have never seen a nightmare from someone that has pieced the quilt that was brought to me. I have seen several horrible ones from relatives that are not quilters. Example--"Aunt Mary died and I found this in the attic. Can you quilt it for me?"It's unbelievable what you can find in those attics. Aunt Mary left it in the attic for a reason--it was a nightmare! Take it to your longarm quilter and ask if there is anything you could improve on your next quilt. We are always own own worst critics. I'll just bet your quilt is gorgeous.
    uh huh... have one of these aunt mary's... but i'm still going to try to work with it

  23. #23
    Super Member hperttula123's Avatar
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    I would talk to the longarmer you will be chosing. Each person that quilts has thier own opinion on what they will and will not do. I have done quilts that are not perfect and they turn out just fine. If the boarders are wavy....if it's not to much, quilting will just take it right out and it will all blend in just fine. I just redid an old quilt that we had here from YEARS ago. It has fans all over it. Because of how the fabric stretched, I couldn't get the fans completely flat, but I quilted inside the fans and got them to look good. I had no problem experimenting on my own quilt...lol. So you should defiantly talk to your longarmer to see what he/she says.
    enjoy your life...it's the only one you have!!!
    Heather

  24. #24
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    I'm a professional longarm quilter but that does not mean I'm perfect. I look at mistakes as a learning process. Many of the quilts I receive are from new quilters and I have seen some things but most of the little things quilt out or there are ajustments I can do to help. The main thing for me that is a problem is when seams come unstitched. These are usually found after I have the quilt on the frame - these are hard to fix and some times impossible. I do make gentle suggestions to the quilter or it I see a problem. (Like seams are different widths - some 1/4" some 1/2" and when they use fabric that cause a problem (mixing upholestry fabric with nice quilting fabric - may not wash so well) Also, I try to tell them quilting is a work of art not a work of perfection.

  25. #25
    Senior Member ChaiQuilter's Avatar
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    The one time I had a quilt professionally quilted, she didn't like the fabric, the backing, etc. She insisted on backing it with muslin!! Needless to say, I never went back.

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