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Thread: Is there something really wrong with my quilt???

  1. #1
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    Is there something really wrong with my quilt???

    I really need some help here!
    I sent a quilt to a customer a few weeks ago and she contacted me because there was a small issue with the binding (one of the connecting seam had opened). Because shipping back the quilt was too expensive, I suggested her to rather go to a local quilt shop to have it repair at my expense. She was told by the quilt shop that her quilt was defective, that there are "several major issues that must be addressed in order to keep the quilt from falling apart". Here some of the picture they sent. I see a lot of small imperfections there, of course, and a quilt made by a person who certainly not follow all the quilting rules. But I don't see anything that would lead the quilt to "falling apart". Am I missing something? This quilt was made from the customer clothing so she is now quite upset. If I really did do something that would compromise the longevity of the quilt, I will correct it, but I would need to know what is the problem exactly. Thank you in advance for your honest opinion!

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  2. #2
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    the pics are very close so i cannot tell what your stitch length was. they look too long to me. and strings or threads everywhere. why?? If you are going to charge someone for a quilt, you must do better.

  3. #3
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    Did the customer do the piecing?

    Did you do the quilting?

    I think it would be helpful to know who did what before I start commenting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nativetexan View Post
    the pics are very close so i cannot tell what your stitch length was. they look too long to me. and strings or threads everywhere. why?? If you are going to charge someone for a quilt, you must do better.
    I don't have stitch regulation on my longarm, so maybe there is some inconsistency. But is the problem aesthetic or functional?

    And I'm sorry to say, but I don't agree with you last comment. You don't know how much I charged this customer for the hours I spent on this quilt. Believe me, my hourly rate end up being very low. This was a big queen size. I removed quite a lot of loose threads before sending it, but it seem I missed a few.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    Did the customer do the piecing?

    Did you do the quilting?
    I did both.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    Did the customer do the piecing?

    Did you do the quilting?

    I think it would be helpful to know who did what before I start commenting.
    I must also say it is a memory quilt, made from a mixed lot of knit and woven.

  7. #7
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    From what I can tell from the pics, your tension looks good so that shouldn't be the issue. I do agree with nativetexan that some of the stitches look a bit large but it is hard to say for sure because your pics are so close up. A few loose threads (unburied tails or not locked in place and cut) are all depending what your customer wanted. I have heard of some who want the tails left so they can knot and bury them. I won't bury threads for a client, (heck I rarely even bury my own!) if they want the threads buried I will leave the long tails for the customer to knot and bury. If they don't want to do that (which I have never had that request) I lock my threads with several tiny stitches in the most inconspicous place possible, like in a ditch or an area where many cross overs have thread build up anyway so my tiny locking stitches aren't obvious. I then bring both threads to the top, test them with a little tug and snip them. Loose threads left from piecing I do snip off as I go but sometimes a few are missed. But loose tails from the quilting do not cause issues with the quilts integrity as long as they are locked and won't take out several stitches of quilting if you cut them. If they aren't locked in place that may be what the shop is referring to. If that is the problem, your client has two choices. She can knot and bury them (best) or put a dot of fray check, let it dry and then snip but I am loath to recommend that method as the fray check is a permanent glue and does leave a hard spot. I, personally would never resort to fray check to lock threads.
    I think the quilt shop has needlessly caused your customer angst but now the seed is sewn and you have a very unhappy client. Even if the quilt is structurally sound, she no longer thinks it is and the shop has successfully convinced her that the quilt is "ruined". Far from it from what I can tell but you need to make things right. I would ask for the contact info at the quilt shop and contact them to ask specifically what "major issues" there are. I think you would have noticed if seams were popping open when you quilted it so if that isn't the case you need to make your customer happy. You can offer to pay for shipping back and forth and fix the issue, you can refund your customer or give her a substantial discount but I don't think that will make her happy because now she thinks the quilt has "major issues" that will cause it to fall apart. You are really stuck between a rock and a hard place. It is a hard lesson when a LAQ has a dissatisfied customer and sometimes no matter what you do they will probably never give you another chance.

  8. #8
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    The loose threads and popped stitches concern me also. What kind of thread did you use?

  9. #9
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    OK I was writing my comment while more details came forward. So you made the quilt start to finish from clothes and it sounds like your client doesn't know anything at all about quilting or even sewing for that matter so she is definitely upset over the shops comments because she doesn't know any better. Oh brother, what a predicament. Like I said above, the shop has sewn seeds of unhappiness in the customer and now she probably doesn't know who to believe. As expensive as the shipping is, I really think you need to offer to pay round trip shipping for the quilt to get back to you so you can fix things and carefully inspect all the seams. I realize you are operating at a loss by doing this but if you want a happy client who will not spread bad reviews about your services you need to make this right. Another option is to find a shop, quilter or guild in her area so she can get a second opinion. The shop certainly made things sound worse than they appear in the pics you posted. And I understood your post to mean that these pics came from the shop where they said the quilt was lacking in structural integrity. I just don't see it lacking structural integrity from those shots. Yes, the stitches are unregulated and look a bit large and yes there are some untrimmed threads, but unless those quilting stitches are 1/4" or bigger (what so many refer to as "toe catchers")and untrimmed threads are removing several stitches of quilting with a little tug, I think the issue is aesthetic not functional. To truly know if there are structural issues, have her pop the quilt into the washer and dryer. If it comes through the wash still intact, she has her answer and if it doesn't you will have your answer.

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    Thank you so much, feline fantastic, for taking the time to write your comments. This is very helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    OK I was writing my comment while more details came forward. So you made the quilt start to finish from clothes and it sounds like your client doesn't know anything at all about quilting or even sewing for that matter so she is definitely upset over the shops comments because she doesn't know any better. Oh brother, what a predicament. Like I said above, the shop has sewn seeds of unhappiness in the customer and now she probably doesn't know who to believe. As expensive as the shipping is, I really think you need to offer to pay round trip shipping for the quilt to get back to you so you can fix things and carefully inspect all the seams. I realize you are operating at a loss by doing this but if you want a happy client who will not spread bad reviews about your services you need to make this right. Another option is to find a shop, quilter or guild in her area so she can get a second opinion. The shop certainly made things sound worse than they appear in the pics you posted. And I understood your post to mean that these pics came from the shop where they said the quilt was lacking in structural integrity. I just don't see it lacking structural integrity from those shots. Yes, the stitches are unregulated and look a bit large and yes there are some untrimmed threads, but unless those quilting stitches are 1/4" or bigger (what so many refer to as "toe catchers")and untrimmed threads are removing several stitches of quilting with a little tug, I think the issue is aesthetic not functional. To truly know if there are structural issues, have her pop the quilt into the washer and dryer. If it comes through the wash still intact, she has her answer and if it doesn't you will have your answer.
    I always wash my quilts before sending them, so this is why I can't believe the quilt is "falling apart". I just missed the busted seam in the binding, but having known where it would lead me, I would have not risk anything and just ask her to send the quilt back. I also believe the quilt is pointing out aesthetic issues, not technical ones. Hopefully the consumer will agree to send me back her quilt. I'm already at loss with this order, who end up being much harder than I thought, but I don't mind loosing any more money at this point. I just want to be over it. Again, can't thank you enough for your help.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    The loose threads and popped stitches concern me also. What kind of thread did you use?
    I used cotton for piecing and poly for quilting.

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    Please note my post is meant with a kind heart to help you. I can't tell if the quilt will fall apart from the quilting but I do see some issues. You didn't mention your techniques or experience with quilting these types of projects so that may also be a factor also.

    I am seeing inconsistent stitches. Some are longer and then some are shorter. On the next to last picture, there are cross-over stitches- a lot of them. The corner of binding has a wrinkle and the corner is not a true 45 degree corner. There is another lose thread thread on the binding and two rows for a few stitches. Did you start and stop when stitching that corner? I don't think the quilt was squared correctly looking at that binding corner.

    I wish you the very best solution for the issues. Learn and grow from this experience in your quilting journey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhonda K View Post
    Please note my post is meant with a kind heart to help you. I can't tell if the quilt will fall apart from the quilting but I do see some issues. You didn't mention your techniques or experience with quilting these types of projects so that may also be a factor also.

    I am seeing inconsistent stitches. Some are longer and then some are shorter. On the next to last picture, there are cross-over stitches- a lot of them. The corner of binding has a wrinkle and the corner is not a true 45 degree corner. There is another lose thread thread on the binding and two rows for a few stitches. Did you start and stop when stitching that corner? I don't think the quilt was squared correctly looking at that binding corner.

    I wish you the very best solution for the issues. Learn and grow from this experience in your quilting journey.
    Thank you Rhonda for your comments. I've been quilting for only 5 years, so of course I'm far from being an expert. But I don't charge expert fees neither to my customers.

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    My question is regarding your experience of five years is that using your long arm or overall quilting/piecing experience? As for my comments I realize they are not complimentary, but I do not intend them to be hurtful in any way. First as to the fabrics used, adding knits to the mix should have been avoided in this particular case. Knits and tee shirts involve a different prep process which take more time. As to the actual quilting. Learn from the comments here. Lock your stitches and trim tails. No stitch regulator? Then you need lots more practice, or invest in a stitch regulator for your machine. Another question. Were you happy with the finished quilt, or just glad to get it done? I spent three days once ripping all the quilting out of a king size. Not my quilt so I wasn’t personally or emotionally vested so didn’t mind, although the quilter was upset about having to do it over. My last piece of advice is if you are going to quilt for others be sure to make something you are proud to put your name and reputation on.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grannies G View Post
    My question is regarding your experience of five years is that using your long arm or overall quilting/piecing experience? As for my comments I realize they are not complimentary, but I do not intend them to be hurtful in any way. First as to the fabrics used, adding knits to the mix should have been avoided in this particular case. Knits and tee shirts involve a different prep process which take more time. As to the actual quilting. Learn from the comments here. Lock your stitches and trim tails. No stitch regulator? Then you need lots more practice, or invest in a stitch regulator for your machine. Another question. Were you happy with the finished quilt, or just glad to get it done? I spent three days once ripping all the quilting out of a king size. Not my quilt so I wasn’t personally or emotionally vested so didn’t mind, although the quilter was upset about having to do it over. My last piece of advice is if you are going to quilt for others be sure to make something you are proud to put your name and reputation on.
    I was very proud of having make such a big size quilt, with a difficult pattern and difficult material. I found the result beautiful, and got many compliments from people who saw it in reality or on pictures. Most of all, the customer was very happy with it and told me it was even better than she had hoped for. I have also already spent countless hours for ripping a quilting that I didn't like.
    Again, it's far from perfect. But I got request all the time from customers asking me if I can do a quilt for X$. Most of the time, I can, but it will not be as perfect as a quilt worth 2X more would be. Most people have a fixed budget for a project like this, they don't really care about perfection. Not everyone can afford a 1500$ quilt.
    My stitches are not even, true. But if my customer doesn't care at all, because she get a quilt for a price she can afford, I don't see why I should only practice on charity quilt instead of selling my quilts.
    I understand that many quilters may disagree with me on this subject. I respect that. But my post was to get a another opinion about the technical or structural problem that I might not be aware off.
    That being said, I see your comments as constructive and I thank you for them.

  17. #17
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    I agree with feline fanatic's advice regarding contacting the quilt shop and asking what problems they see with the quilt.

    How did you deal with starts and stops? Did you backtrack, or did you knot and bury the threads? That might not be a good idea with knits, since the knots might not be large enough to stay buried. Did you use a larger than usual seam allowance for the knits, so that they won't ravel? Are they the type of knits (e.g. T-shirts) that should have an interfacing? Is the quilting sufficiently dense? Is the quilting stitch length too large? How about the stitching in the piecing? Is the quilting tension good? (It looks okay in the pictures, but are we seeing both sides of the quilt? Tension can look great on top, but terrible on the back.) Those are some of the things that would affect the structural integrity of the quilt, and we can't really judge any of those issues from the pictures.

    I want to say this nicely, so please don't take offense. Your comment about how much time you spent on the quilt, compared to how little you charged, is worrisome. It implies that spending more time on something excuses a poor product, and I don't think that's how you feel. Customers want to get a bargain, but they expect to receive a good product, no matter how much they pay.

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    I would call the quilt shop and talk to the person who evaluated it as defective. At least you two can speak the same quilt language, unlike a customer who has never quilted. Best wishes.....

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    Here's the picture of the quilt before it was all finished, just to get an idea of the size and model. The star shape were just quilted in cercle connecting the points so the quilt would be stabilized without risking any damage to the not-quilting kind of material. The border was quilted with feathers.

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    From what I can see there are thread tails that should have been knotted and buried. A quilt made from different fabrics is more difficult to make and quilt. Does the quilt shop she took it to offer machine quilting? I would find out if they are just looking to criticize the quilt to get her to use their services. If you washed the quilt before sending it, it sounds structurally sound to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    I agree with feline fanatic's advice regarding contacting the quilt shop and asking what problems they see with the quilt.

    How did you deal with starts and stops? Did you backtrack, or did you knot and bury the threads? That might not be a good idea with knits, since the knots might not be large enough to stay buried. Did you use a larger than usual seam allowance for the knits, so that they won't ravel? Are they the type of knits (e.g. T-shirts) that should have an interfacing? Is the quilting sufficiently dense? Is the quilting stitch length too large? How about the stitching in the piecing? Is the quilting tension good? (It looks okay in the pictures, but are we seeing both sides of the quilt? Tension can look great on top, but terrible on the back.) Those are some of the things that would affect the structural integrity of the quilt, and we can't really judge any of those issues from the pictures.

    I want to say this nicely, so please don't take offense. Your comment about how much time you spent on the quilt, compared to how little you charged, is worrisome. It implies that spending more time on something excuses a poor product, and I don't think that's how you feel. Customers want to get a bargain, but they expect to receive a good product, no matter how much they pay.
    Of course, Dunster. My point is only that a quilt quality is not directly related to a perfect aesthetic. I got the detailed comment of the quilt shop (8 comments) and 7 of them are related to the aesthetic. For exemple, my binding corner should have been hand sewn to prevent ripping. Am I'm the only one here who is not hand sewing the corner of the binding??? I never did that on any quilt I made, and I never heard back from a customer complaining of having a binding going off. My children's quilt have be abused, and the binding is still fine 5 years later.
    Last edited by profannie; 06-29-2018 at 01:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    From what I can see there are thread tails that should have been knotted and buried. A quilt made from different fabrics is more difficult to make and quilt. Does the quilt shop she took it to offer machine quilting? I would find out if they are just looking to criticize the quilt to get her to use their services. If you washed the quilt before sending it, it sounds structurally sound to me.
    Yes, the quilt shop is offering longarm service. That's suspicious, right? I back stitch all my quilting lines, but sometimes cut the tail of it quite far from the point. This is why there is some loose threads. Again, I cut most of them, but it look like the shop have pick all the remaining ones.

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    That looks like a difficult pattern to do well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    That looks like a difficult pattern to do well.
    Absolutely! This is why I tried to push the customer in another direction, but she wanted this. She was aware that the quilt would not be perfect. She was very happy with it before the quilt shop messed everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by profannie View Post
    Here's the picture of the quilt before it was all finished, just to get an idea of the size and model. The star shape were just quilted in cercle connecting the points so the quilt would be stabilized without risking any damage to the not-quilting kind of material. The border was quilted with feathers.

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    What a beautiful way to make a memory quilt with many different fabrics.

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