Thanks for dropping by to take a look at some of my thoughts and ideals. Hope you will let me know if this has been helpful, useful, inspiring or whatever, and remember to come back soon.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A beautiful first ever quilt top!

It's really hard to believe how quickly a week goes by!  I guess when you are busy everything just seems to fly!  Ah well, this is life as we live it....busy, busy, and more busy.  This week I do feel like I have made some progress and also I want to take a little time to let everyone in on a few items that you may not be aware of about the quilting process.

I have been able to finish up a couple of quilts this week, one of which is for the granddaughter of a very nice lady who belongs to the same quilt guild that I belong to.  This is a lovely quilt as I am sure everyone will agree.  The really amazing thing is that this is her very first quilt.  This is quite an accomplishment for her.  So many people will start a quilt top very enthusiastic about the quilt they are going to make and then find the process to be long and frequently they are not pleased with the results as they are progressing or it is something that just takes a lot of time to complete and they were not prepared for the time investment.  Many people want to start making a quilt without really planning out the whole top and then are disappointed in color or having trouble with the pattern because it is more advanced than they expected or life just shifts and they no longer have time so the top and the various pieces wind up stuck in a bag somewhere hoping someday to be finished when they have more time.  I can really talk about these things because I have been there!  Frequently these are places I have visited more than once!  Alas some people never return and eventually the work in progess is passed on to someone else or in some cases given to charity or just tossed in the trash!  I have actually inherited some of these from family members who have passed away.  Makes me wonder how many "Works In Progress (WIP's)"  I will leave for friends and family.  I said all of that to say this, the young lady did a great job!

Sorry for the poor quality of the picture, but it was a lovely quilt!  You may not be able to tell this from the picture but the solid black around the border is a wide rickrack.   The flowers and leaves and stems are appliqued onto the black and white background which is composed of many different fabrics, all black and white.  (This quilt has given me an ideal of what to do with my stash of black on white and white on black prints.)   I love the art form of the stylized leaves to go with the flowers.  I believe the name of this was "Rose of Sharon".  I do know that when she brought it to me for quilting she gave me a copy of the page from the book that contained the quilting recommendations and I did follow those recommendations.

The pattern suggested using a lot of feathers and flower mofits and a large meandering  so that is exactly what I followed.

It is very hard to see here but the pattern suggesed using a feather pattern in each of the flower petals and that turned out very well.  They did not make a suggestions for the center of the flower so I used a flower mofit in that area.

I also used the flower mofit in the leaves that are on the stems of the flowers.  These leaves were appliqued on using what appears to be one of the embrodery designes that come on most sewing machines.

The recommendation did suggest a large feather in the outer border and showed a picture of the feather they were suggesting which I was able to replicate fairly accurately.  They suggested using pink verigated thread for the outer border.  I did use the pink verigated throughout the quilt and will write a little more about that later.

I really enjoyed doing the center Rose which was very large.  All of the stems went from the center Rose out and there were roses on all four sides of the quilt that overlapped into the outer border.  I used those flowers to divide the quilt so the outer border feathers were turned appropriately.  (There is a trick to that that machine quilters use.)

This quilt will be very successful.  I am hoping that once she has the binding in place she will take a picture and send it to me so I can see the finished product, perhaps displayed on the bed she has made this beautiful cover for!  I'm sure it will bring years of enjoyment to her and her family!

As a professional quilter I was very pleased that she was able to give me the recommendations for the quilting.  If you have never used a professional quilter it will be appreciated if you can do that for her/him and then they can tell you if they will be able to do that particular type of quilting.  This can really decrease disappointments when the quilt is finished.  If you make no recommendations that is fine, but then it is the quilters option as to what she puts on the quilt.  You may even want to just say something about what you do not want!  Like "I really don't particularly love the feathers that I see on many quilts, or I really don't want heavy quilting that makes the quilt feel stiff, or I want the quilt to be fluffy and soft.  Those are just a few of the things you can say to professional quilters that they will appreciate.  It is also nice if you have those things written down on a piece of paper to give the quilter so they can be attached to your quilt top for a reminder once she will be placing the top on the machine for quilting.

Another helpful thing to do for your professional quilter is to write your name and telephone number on a piece of paper and attach it to each piece that you are handing to the quilter.  While not all quilters are like me, I bet you would be surprised at how often pieces get seperated once they are in the sewing room, so make sure each piece has your name and telephone number.  Placing the pieces in one container helps.  I have one lady who brings her quilts to me, top, batting and backing all folded into a large pillowcase and each piece has her name on a piece of paper and pinned to the piece, including the pillow case!  Such a thoughtful lady!  You rock Pat!

You can also write on your information sheet that you attached to the top any other information such as, quilter to supply batting, please put binding on quilt but do not hand stitch binding in place.  Owner will hand stitch binding,  quilter to supply muslin backing (white or natural).  Please use light blue thread or I would prefer a thread that does not show up a lot so the piecing will be showcased.  I have quilted tops using clear thread so the piecing would be the main show, and I have used thread to make the quilting really pop out!

Quilting should enhance the top.  If there are large areas that need enhancement some special quilting in that area can be a really great thing!  Remember the choice is yours.  Your quilter wants to do something that will make you happy to show off your work and something you will enjoy for years to come!

Another couple of hints to make your quilter a happy person!

1.  If you want your quilt back at a certain time be sure to tell the quilter, write it on your instruction sheet attached to the quilt top and try to give the quilter a call at least a week or even 2 before you have to have the quilt back to just remind her that the date is coming up.  If there are any problems then she will have the opportunity to let you know.  Having your telephone number is really handy if there is a problem.  Sometimes at the best we all try to do we will not measure something correctly and perhaps the backing is not as large as it needs to be and if your telephone number is right there then she can call you to let you know as quickly as possible.

2.  It is wonderful if you will be sure to clip the dangling strings from the quilt top and backing if you have a pieced backing.  It is also really nice if you will trim any excess fabric hanging out on the borders.  For instance the top border when you sewed it to the quilt there was an extra inch or even 2 hanging out.  It is nice if you can just trim that off so the quilter does not have to deal with that and trying to get it squared when she is attempting to attach the top to her machine.

3.  Having things pressed is always a good ideal.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but please don't just wad the top or backing up and stuff it in a bag for the quilter to deal with when she starts taking the quilt out!  Things that are not pressed may be more prone to having pleats pressed into them and those pleats may be sewn in without it being realized.  A professional quilter will not give you back a quilt top with a big pleat in the backing that has been sewn down by the quilter.  She will take the quilt off of her machine and rip that stitching out and requilt the top without pleats in the back!  Any quilter who hands you a quilt and says there is a pleat in the back and I want you to look at it and see if it is okay, is not a professional!  Do not pay them for unacceptable practices!  They need to correct the problem.  You do not need to rip out their mistake and give it back to them to requilt.

4.  Ask your quilter how long it will be before you can expect to receive your quilt back.  If she is operating with a 6 month waiting period she should be able to tell you that.  Most professional quilters do have a waiting period.  They operate several different ways in how they handle those things.  Many will not put your quilt in line until they have your quilt and the supplies needed for the quilting on their shelf.  Some will make a list and add your name and number to the list and call you when they are close to ready to do your quilt.  Ask any quilter you are auditioning about the waiting period and how they handle that particular situation.

5.  It is extremely rare that 1 small (home sewing machine size) spool of thread will quilt a quilt.  Most quilters will have particular threads that run best on their particular machine.  Quilting machines do not use regular sewing thread and they do not use hand quilting thread.  Be sure and talk with your quilter about what thread she needs for quilting your quilt.  She may have thread on hand and there may be a charge for that thread so be sure and ask.  Also be sure to find out how many spools you will need to provide for the quilting you are requesting.  Also find out if you want more than once color of quiting thread if there is a charge for changing threads.  If you have decided that you want to use one color of thread on the front and another on the back talk with the quilter.  In large part this may not be a good ideal. Only your quilter can tell you if this is doable by her/him!

6.  Ask your quilter about deposits and payment.  She may prefer cash, she may or may not be able to utilize credit/debit cards.  Knowing these things in advance can help you have a successful relationship.

Heres wishing you all a happy week of sewing and quilting! 

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