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Sending quilts out to longarmers
quiltingwolf
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quiltingwolf
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Date: 3/8/13 11:57 AM

I've been hearing a lot about this on blogs and podcast recently. I have really mixed feelings on this. I don't feel if someone else does it, it's a bad thing. But for me I would feel it's not "my" quilt. I know there are people who love to put the tops together but when it comes to the quilting they don't like it. Most of my quilting has been stitch in the ditch or stitching within a 1/4" of the seam, there is a name for this but I forgot. And then with the embroidery machine. And finally now with learning free motion quilting. I guess this is similar to the debate back a while ago if you machine quilt a quilt is it really a traditional quilt. I thought that thinking was really ridiculous. But even if I were on board with sending out to a long armer it's pretty expensive.

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Warbler
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Date: 3/8/13 12:04 PM

Just the postage alone, to send a quilt out through the mail is highway robbery. I follow the blogs of three long arm quilter's whose services I'd love to employ but I'd rather improve my own FMQ skills and quilt my own projects.

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sewme47
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sewme47
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Date: 3/8/13 12:07 PM

I personally would rather have my own imperfect and simple quilting than have a long arm quilter do it for me. Like you, I do a lot of shadow quilting, and I enjoy uncomplicated FMQ patterns. I avoid heavy quilting, although I admire the talent and skill of those who can do it well.

However, I have friends who would never finish a quilt if they had to do the quilting themselves! It's just another case of personal preference....to each his own. :-)

TessKwiltz
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Date: 3/8/13 12:28 PM

I have quilted up to twin size myself and while it got done I didn't enjoy it. Although I am trying to keep an open mind that now with the big sewing table it would be easier. I've got another twin size to try it on.

But I've gotten a bee in my bonnet lately to make a quilt for the spare bedroom which would need to be queen sized. The thought of muscle-ing that big quilt around is daunting! So if I ever get that top made, it might just find it's way to a longarmer.

The guild I used to belong to has a rule for their show that if the entry is quilted by someone other than the person that made the top, they both are listed on the entry. So it's really easy to use their show to "shop" for local longarmers. We have a good selection of local longarmers here so I think I could make a good choice without having to ship it anywhere.

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Tess

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AminaHijabi
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Date: 3/8/13 12:36 PM

I thought about it just to get my sisters quilt out the door... but when I asked the LQS how much their affiliated long-armers would charge for a queen size I was quoted ~$100-200. I know considering the amount of time I spend quilting a top that it's not a bad rate, but i just can't bring myself to pay someone that much money Oh well sis. You will have to wait and be satisfied with what I give you.

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Date: 3/8/13 1:24 PM

I own a longarm. I only do my work much to the disappointment of my fellow quilting pals and guild buddies who assumed I would be "open for business" once the dealer left after the set up appointment. I want to build my skillset in the different techniques used in longarming before I touch someone else's hard work and love that went into making their quilt top. I will master this craft of doing manual techniques on my machine first, before investigating automated options.

Why did I buy one in the first place? I have a tendency to really get carried away piecing very large quilt tops in excess of 112x112. I have a family that likes to burrito up in quilts, and over sized works best. Once I finish one, someone else wants one the same size.

Trying to stuff one of these bad boys under the needle in a standard sewing machine is pure hell. I have done it with a lot of frustration, tears, and frogging; and never again.

It occured to me that having one in the long run would be cheaper than sending this out to the local long armers, when Quicken pointed out I was 17 tops away from owning my own in MARCH.

Based on the amount shelled out for YTD. I went longarm shopping the following week.

By the way - AQS, NQA have on their entry forms, a slot for the longarmer if you used one. I think it is only fair that the QUILTER gets mentioned.

You have to mention the pattern designer if you used a pattern or used a pattern as inspiration; why not the QUILTER? AQS also breaks down did you use a domestic machine w/ or w/out a stitch regulator, as well as long arm categories.

Someone here mentioned the expense.

You are paying for someone's time to make sure that your top is properly ironed, your backing is also ironed and wrinkle free w/out fold lines. Hearing the horror stories from the dealer in this area, really makes me hesitant to take in others work. Bad piecing cannot be fixed by a longarmer.

You may be paying for batting.

Threads last time I checked are increasing in price. I have not seen cotton prices really go down. I am very choosy in my threads on the longarm, and I am not flexible on that. I use what I am comfortable with on my machine, and that does not sit well with others at times.

You are paying for someone to load your quilt, and this eats up time. It is not a 1-2-3 process things can not go as planned (even with Red Snappers).

Depending on the complexity and intricacy of what you pick for the stitching pattern will also greatly affect price. Obviously an edge to edge general easy panto is not going to cost as much as a detailed wholecloth quilt (my current project on Lucey, been at it for 3 months now).

For those who think that a computerized system on a long arm should reduce the price, think again. It can take more time in programming and set up than the actual automated process does. it is not a set it and forget it, you have to watch it like a hawk. Again, you pay for the time of the operator.

I do think that your pieced top is your masterpiece. You pick the thread colors, the top stitching design, it is your work. I really do appreciate it is your own creation, but give credit where credit is due in regards to a longarmer, you are paying for their time, their expertise and know how into making your masterpiece glow.
-- Edited on 3/8/13 1:26 PM --

HDWen
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Date: 3/8/13 1:33 PM

All great points! I will use on if I ever make anything bigger than the Easy Street 81'x81" -- That physically hurt my shoulders for days on end to quilt! I would gladly pay someone for the expertise, and when you get it back (from most) they have attached the backing, batting and quilted some wonderful design for you -- Well worth the less muscle stress.

I went to Physical Therapy after quilting that, and for 3 trips at about $70/per visit = It would have been cheaper to pay $100-$200 to someone else LOL

Not that I'll ever have a quilt at a show, but you bet I believe if someone else does special quilting their name should be proudly displayed :-)

Ok my nickles worth, but to mail it out -- omg Postage, Fabric, Thread nothings gotten cheaper I would have it done local.

:-Debbie

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I have a great enthusium for sewing, but lack talent to be great.

2013

Sharon1952
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In reply to HDWen <<
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Date: 3/8/13 2:13 PM

I send my quilts out if they are not going on a wall. The headache of loading them is well worth the price! My last quilt was the Bonny Hunter Easy Street and it measures over 112" square. Since I too ended up in physical therapy after machine quilting a throw- I will be sending mine out. They are still my quilts as I choose the thread and the design. I choose specific patterns that are computerized so the price is 1.5 cents/sq. inch. I think that is very cheap for the work involved and for saving the wear and tear on my shoulders.

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Sewing: A creative mess is better than tidy idleness. ~Author Unknown

PattiAnnJ
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In reply to quiltingwolf <<
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Date: 3/8/13 2:24 PM

Quote: quiltingwolf
Most of my quilting has been stitch in the ditch or stitching within a 1/4" of the seam, there is a name for this but I forgot.

Shadow or echo quilting may be the term you are looking for.

I have never outsourced, but if I did I would want to see samples and talk with former customers. I base this on my personal experience of walking into a "quilt" shop where an older (than me) lady was having fits with the long arm quilting process. This was a few years ago and the equipment and training has probably improved.

A friend outsourced her quilt to a local group of Amish quilters (aren't they all quilters?) and it was beautifully hand quilted. At that time they charged by the number of spools of thread needed to complete the quilting.

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"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Nikki
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Date: 3/8/13 2:25 PM

I don't really quilt (yes, there is the one I posted last summer, and I am still working on it because I am quilting the whole thing by hand), but a few years ago I took a year-long color theory class at a quilt store. Everyone else in the class was a quilter, including the instructor, and you were supposed to do a project based on some aspect of color theory each month.

Most of the quilt projects that the other students and teacher made were smaller sized quilts, and some art quilts. Often, someone would finish the top in time for the class, and then there would be a long discussion of how to quilt each of the tops. The finished quilt would be brought back in to show a month (or more later).

The quilting used on these quilts made a *huge* difference in the final appearance of the quilts. The quilting could be used to make some features pop or fade in the background, set the mood of the quilt, or create any number of visual effects.

The analog that I can make to garment sewing would be selecting the buttons for something like a jacket - the buttons can make a garment look cheap, edgy, frumpy, classic, etc even though they are a 'minor' part of the garment.

If you send the quilt out to be quilted, how much choice do you get in terms of the quilt design used? Do you have to pick a simple continuous pattern to use over the entire top?

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