Q: What do
you mean when you say machine quilting?
A: Think of
the quilt as a sandwich. The patchwork pieced top you made (or found or inherited) is the top layer; the
fluffy batting is the filling; and the backing is the bottom layer. When you quilt, you
stitch all layers of your sandwich together with a pattern. This quilting can be
done by hand, and looks lovely, but it can take a very long time. Machine
quilting takes the place of hand quilting. You can use your domestic sewing machine to
quilt a section at a time or you can use a longarm sewing machine. Tillie, my Gammill longarm
machine, is lots bigger and faster than a domestic sewing machine.
Q: What is a
pantograph pattern? What is an all-over pattern?
pantograph is a quilting pattern with a repeat design. It is stitched from edge
to edge, usually from width to width. An all-over pattern also runs from edge
to edge, but it can be precise, like a pantograph, or more free, like random
loops or meandering.
Q: Can you
make the machine stitch look like a hand-quilted stitch?
A: No. Some domestic
sewing machines have a “hand quilted” setting, but my longarm machine’s
stitches can come pretty close. Take a look at some of the examples under the Stitching Options
button at right to see what I mean.
Q: Can I
have a border pattern and an all-over pattern?
A: You sure can
combine all-over stitching designs with border and corner designs. It’s a bit
more expensive, though, because it is custom work.
Q: I know the batting can shift if
I don’t have enough machine quilting. Will you tell me if
you don’t think there is enough?
A: I will
recommend the minimum amount of quilting you can get away with. It depends on
the batting. A dense, thicker batting can take less quilting. Packaged batting
will state on the label how far apart quilting must be to avoid shifting.
Q: What are
my batting options?
Q: What will
the quilt backing look like? Can I send my own? If I want just white, can you
A: The backing
can be pieced, solid or a print. You can send your own, using the Prep Work guidelines. I can supply your backing in cream or white 100% cotton for an
Q: I have a
quilt backing fabric I want to use, but it’s not big enough so I need to seam
it. Is that OK? How do you recommend doing that? Is there fabric I can use that
is wide enough to avoid a seam?
A: You can
sew pieces of backing together, and sometimes using coordinating or contrasting
prints for the back makes an interesting design. Just be sure the whole piece
is 4 inches wider and 4 inches longer
than the quilt top. Also cut off the selvage edges of your backing fabrics
before you seam them together, to keep the tension even when the fabric is
quilted. Your seam or seams should be pressed open to prevent bumps running
across the quilt. You can buy wide fabric. Here are some links: Widefabrics.com,
Fabric Depot, or you can make an online search for wide fabric. I don’t recommend bed sheets for backing. They are woven too tightly
and can cause tension…both on the quilt and the quilter!
Q: Do I wash
my quilt top and back before I send it? What if I don’t? Can I wash it when you
are done and get a vintage look?
Do NOT wash the pieced top before sending it to be quilted. The raw edges
will fray into a tangled mess. If you are concerned about colors running or
shrinkage, prewash the fabrics you are using on your top before you piece it
together. If your quilt will be used under a baby, on a tabletop or spread out for
a picnic, prewashing the fabric before you piece the top will prepare it to stand up to lots of laundering.
fabric can also be prewashed if it is likely to shrink or bleed color.
fabrics for color fastness by snipping off scraps and plunging them in very warm
water for a few minutes. If there is color bleeding in the water, you can pretreat
the whole piece with a dyer's detergent such as Synthrapol SP, a product
that washes out excess dye. Or you can wash with a product called Retayne to fix the
colors in cotton fabrics so they will not bleed. Both are sold by local
quilter's supply shops as well as by most mail-order dye supply houses (see Sources for Dyeing
Supplies). Remember to iron the backing after you prewash it. If I have to iron it, I will charge you at $20 per hour.
That puckered, vintage
look you see in new quilts comes from using batting that has not been prewashed. When the quilt is
finished, you can wash the whole thing and it will draw up with nice little
puckers. Shrinkage is about 3 to 4 percent.
Q: When I
get my quilt back, will it be done?
you have purchased extra services, you will have to finish it by trimming off
the excess fabric and batting to a quarter inch, making a binding and stitching
it on, then making a label and stitching that on. Or, I can do all those things
and send you a completed quilt! Extra services and pricing are on the Pricing Form PDF.
Q: How do I
stitch on the binding?
A: My favorite
method is here from quilter Heather Bailey. There is another method more suited to small quilts here from Lynn Harris. And check out this nifty video by Marci Baker of Alicia's Attic on joining the ends of your binding with little fuss.
A: I can gift
wrap and ship at an additional cost, Pricing Form PDF depending on the size
of the quilt and the shipping address. You will receive an e-mail notice when the quilt is ready to ship. Once payment is received, it's on it's way.
Q: How will
my quilt be shipped back?
A: I use the
US Postal Service Priority Mail service in the
Q: I have a
vintage quilt top. Can I send it to you to be quilted?
A: Vintage tops pose some special challenges. I have quilted them with great success and one disaster. I do not wash them. If they are in good condition with few tears or seam damage, don’t have much bias stretch and are square or nearly square, vintage tops should quilt up just fine. But if they are family heirlooms, contact a local quilt guild to get an appraisal or advice. You should ask whether modern machine quilting will affect their value. If I have concerns about that with your vintage top, I will tell you beforehand. Here's an example:
Q: Can I add
hand stitching to a quilt after you machine quilt it?
A: I don’t
recommend it. If by "hand stitching" you mean extra embroidery, it’s better and easier
to embroider on the top before you send it. However, if you decide to add
stitches after the machine quilting, you can enclose an area in a large hoop to
add both embroidery and extra hand quilting. The embroidery stitches should
only go through the top layer.
Q: Can I
send a quilt with hand quilting already on it?
so send me the specifics by e-mail and attach a photo.
Q: I have a
drawing I’d like reproduced on the quilt by machine. Can you do that?
I’ll need to know the specifics by e-mail with an attached photo.
Q: Can I get
a price break on sending multiple tops to be quilted.
for multiples would depend on deadlines and the time of year. Send details by e-mail with attached
Q: When will
I get my quilt back?
A: I’ll give
you an estimated lead time when I receive your quilt
top. I will update you via e-mail if I can finish sooner. To be safe, allow 60
Q: Do you
A: Yes, but
costs will increase for fees and insurance. E-mail me for a quote.
Q: Can I
specify colored thread to be used?
options are limited to neutrals – cream, taupe, medium gray or white cotton.
Q: Can I
just send you a piece of fabric to be quilted, like a bed sheet?
A: Bed sheets
are not recommended, but you can send sufficient yardage to make a plain top (sometimes
called whole cloth) and I can quilt it following your instructions on the Work Order PDF.
Extra charges for seams, batting and backing would apply.
quilts are stiff while others are fluffy. After you machine quilt it, what will
mine be like?
depends on two things: the amount of the quilting and the kind of batting used.
Q: Can I
just tell you to quilt it the way you think best?
is critical to avoid disappointment. I’m happy to give you some options
according to your budget, but you should make the final choice, so you will
know what to expect. I do not offer a refund for my work, and I want you to be
happy, so let’s agree on what you want. I’ll walk you through it, either by
e-mail or phone.
Q: Can any
of the stitching be removed? What if I don’t like it?
A: Quilting can be removed, but it takes many hours and I don’t do that. If we agree on a stitching style, I will quilt it as agreed. As stated above, I do not offer refunds, but I want you to be happy, so let’s agree on what you want before I start. I’ll walk you through it.
I hope this covers it! If you have any additional question, please don't hesitate to e-mail me.