Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sending a quilt to a quilter

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me, “…tell me what I need to have in place before sending a quilt to a quilter.”

I know how I would answer this straightaway, but as a new longarm quilter, I decided to see what the professionals had to say.

After looking at numerous websites, I found over and over, and totally agree with:

1.     Quilt top needs to be squared, trimmed of loose threads, and pressed.
2.     Backing needs to be at least 4” to 6” larger than the quilt top on all four sides. The backing also needs to be pressed.
 NOTE: Everyone charged a fee for ironing and trimming threads! I wonder why? Duh! Because it takes time!
 For me, however, rather than cutting the backing to size, when someone is using the wide backing – 108” wide fabric, I like the selvages to stay on while I’m quilting it. I’m able to line up the selvage on top and bottom much easier.

This same person had asked me before what size was my ironing board or surface that I press my finished quilt tops. My answer: I only use a regular sized ironing board throughout the process. I don’t press the huge top because by the time my quilt top is completed, I have thoroughly pressed every inch of it ~ as I go. (Oh, and I never put water in my iron!)

I had a professional, experienced, LA quilter make the remark, “I would quilt one of Lanetta’s quilts anytime.” This is the top she quilted... and did a beautiful job on it!

We all have our own way of doing things, this is my process:

Use 100% quality cotton (it tends to fray less)
I rarely prewash my fabric now. I do “set” the colors during the completed quilt’s first washing. (Specialty products are available, or a tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing soap added to the washer works magically!)

Just saw this article & wanted to insert here to share! The National Quilter's Circle explains nicely "quality" of fabric. 

Cut accurately (measure twice, cut once!)
I never ever use the cutting mat to measure. Their lines are only guides to keep fabric straight, not to measure with. If the printed lines distract, I flip it over and use the solid mat.

Sew ¼ inch seams – accurately! All patterns are geared to ¼” seams.

Press the stitches to blend, then press either open or to the side – whichever is needed for the smooth joining to the next block. I never ever sew over an unpressed seam.

Once a block is finished and pressed from the back side, I flip it over and mist with spray starch and press again. This is also when I clip any threads that may have gotten caught within the stitching and is seen on the front side.

I square up each block before sewing to the next block.

This continual process of pressing continues throughout the entire quilt top. So, by the time I’m finished, it’s all pressed and ready to hand off to a longarmer!

Does my arm get tired picking up the iron so much? Yes.
Do I get tired getting up and down and walking over to the ironing board that I purposely have several steps away? Yes. (My form of exercise on a sewing day!)
Is all this worth it? Yes!

It is indeed worth it to have a nice, quality made quilt top, ready for quilting! Any longarm quilter will be pleased, thrilled beyond words to work with your quilt!

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