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Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Tips, Suggestions, and General Discussions about quilting by machine.
qltsbme
Posts: 6296
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:56 am

Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Post by qltsbme » Fri Jul 06, 2007 10:37 am

Here are a few things I can think of off the top of my head...

1. Be careful when applying your borders - please measure from the center and cut your borders according to that measure. Do not just take a long piece of fabric and try just sewing it on. Something is gonna stretch (usually your quilt top) and then your borders will be wavy. Those waves can sometimes be quilted out but often times you will have puckers and or/bulky places in your border.
2. Please remove all pins.
3. Open up your seam intersections using El's method - lowers bulk and keeps the longarm machine happy. Those little bits of bulk could break a needle and that could make a hole in your quilt top.
4. Square off your backing fabric so that all your sides are straight and all your corners are square.
5. Press your backing fabric seams open - again trying to eliminate as much bulk as possible.
6. Provide a backing that is at least 8 inches longer and 8 inches wider than your quilt top. 10 is better, any more is too much.
7. If bringing your own batting, please check with your longarmer beforehand if it is a type that she will work with. There are some that just don't work well with some machines. I, personally, will not put a polyester batt in a quilt that is designed for a child. In case of a fire, polyester doesn't burn, it melts, you can't get out from under it.
8. If your longarmer gives you an approximate date of delivery, please be patient if she doesn't hit that date. If you need your quilt by a certain date, make it very clear when you drop it off.
9. Ask for an estimate but remember that unexpected issues could arise that could increase the cost.

Quiltcreator
Posts: 1246
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 4:53 pm

Re: Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Post by Quiltcreator » Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:39 pm

qbm, (how do you like the way I shortened that?), don't forget to tell people not to baste or pin the layers together. Some think they have to do it for you. I tell them to just bring me 3 separate pieces.
BTW, I do my borders the way you say NOT to - I've never had a wavy one yet!

grammy65
Posts: 2981
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 3:30 am

Re: Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Post by grammy65 » Fri Jul 06, 2007 2:10 pm

A couple things...

Trim and remove all trailing threads from the quilt as they can show up on the lighter part of your quilt top.

Don't use anything but 100% cotton for the backing. I received a Project Warmth quilt to do and it had this terrible stretchy poly for backing. I had to buy a new back as I would never put that in my machine. Also...sheets are not good.

Sounds like a lot of rules, but if the long armer has to do all this, it will just cost you more.

Thanks much for all the info qltsbme.






Jasinta
Posts: 801
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 5:30 pm

Re: Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Post by Jasinta » Fri Jul 06, 2007 6:03 pm

Great information, thank you!

WeSignificant
Posts: 11145
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 5:43 pm

Re: Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Post by WeSignificant » Fri Jul 06, 2007 6:07 pm

qltsbme - can you explain step 4 in a little more detail. How would you go about doing this? My long arm quilter doesn't ask for this and I wonder if she is doing it herself.
Have a great day! Valerie

Cathy32078
Posts: 17499
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 6:36 am

Re: Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Post by Cathy32078 » Fri Jul 06, 2007 6:08 pm

Thanks a bunch Ladies! Great info. for us that do not know. Please keep the suggestions and rules coming.

gardenquilter
Posts: 10038
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 10:55 am

Re: Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Post by gardenquilter » Sat Jul 07, 2007 3:29 am

WeSignificant your longarm quilter may be doing this herself or you may have yours done already - I have gotten quilts where the backing was put together so haphazard that the top width may be 70" and the bottom width may be 76" and the edges were not straight or square - when loading a quilt on a long arm if the fabric is not even or straight it will load crooked throwing the whole thing off

qltsbme
Posts: 6296
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:56 am

Re: Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Post by qltsbme » Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:17 am

When you load a quilt onto a longarm machine it is very important that all the sides be straight. The two ends of the backing are attached to the longarm table. When rolled onto the machine, the exposed backing should be flat. If the corners have not been squared off, the backing will not be flat but have dips in it. This will lead to puckers and other problems on your back.

To square a back, the easiest way is to put it on a flat surface and use an actual t-square on the corners. First, measure your backing in a few places, to make sure that the measurement is the same all the way down your quilt. Place a t-square (or a big square up ruler works really well) and draw a line across the top of the backing. Extend this line across the quilt and then, using your rotary cutter and mat, cut across the backing. This should make it square.

I end up squaring off most of my customer quilts but it does cost them a bit for me to do it.

I hope this was understandable. Ask for clarification, if my muddy explanation just made things worse.

qltsbme
Posts: 6296
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:56 am

Re: Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Post by qltsbme » Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:45 am

Good thoughts, grammy65.

Most longarmers will not clip threads. If there's a thread hanging out on the front of the quilt, it could very well get quilted into the quilt. If there are dark threads on the backside under light colored squares, those will show through. If you do have some dark threads showing, you can pull them out with a very teeny tiny crochet hook (size 20 or smaller). This works well. I even know a longarmer that accidentally quilted a box elder bug into a quilt once. She picked out the body parts with a teeny tiny crochet hook. She managed to get the splotch spot out as well. She was very lucky. She is deathly afraid of any bug in her studio now and is on a first name basis with the exterminator!

I agree on the backing. Sheets do not work well under most circumstances. I did just quilt one with a sheet backing that worked ever so well but that is a rare exception. Minkee can be used on the back of a quilt but the longarmer has to load it selvedge to selvedge on the longarm so your quilt top has to be at least six inches shorter than the width of your minkee.

This sounds like so much, I am sure, but you want your longarmer to be able to do her best on your quilt so it's worth the extra effort in the end.

qltsbme
Posts: 6296
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:56 am

Re: Preparing your quilt for a longarmer

Post by qltsbme » Sat Jul 07, 2007 7:46 am

Quiltcreator - Yes, it's frustrating when I forget to tell people that and I have to take it all apart. I feel that it is my fault that they didn't know so the taking apart time is on my time.

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