Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Going to the LA

Now if you didn't read that carefully, you might think I'm off to Los Angeles.  Not me.  I would have to fly and that isn't going to happen until the world settles back down.  Good possibibility the answer to that is never, so you know when I'm next on a plane.

I'm ready to take a quilt over to my LA.  For those not initiated to that term.....LA stands for long-arm as in long-arm quilter. 

Kathy is my LA lady........The Quick Stitch here in Town.  When I thought of writing this column I asked Kathy for her suggestions, advise, hints, tips.  She gave me a few and I'm going to share them with you.  I'm also going to pop in some photos that I took while I was getting the latest quilt ready to go.  This is Kathy's machine and her work area.

First up...........the top!
1)press the quilt top well and trim any loose threads
2)make sure that the seams are secure
3)brush off any pet hair and make sure that the quilt is free of embellishment
4)when determining the length of your borders measure the quilt through the center of the quilt (measure in 3 places and take an average)

5)make sure that the quilt lies flat and is square
To determine whether your quilt top is square, measure from the top right corner to the bottom left corner and write down that measurement.  Then take the same measuring tape and measure from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.  If these two numbers are in total agreement, then your quilt is square.    (Before you start to put your quilt top together, always square up your blocks.  If there is a variance in block sizes, cut to the smallest block you have.)
Now the back......................................

1)prewash and press well (don't use scented fabric softeners)

2)remove selveges from seams
3)sew 5/8" seam allowances and backstitch at the beginning and end
4)choose 100% cotton fabric
5)the best backing is a printed fabric that is a colour similar to the colour of the quilt or the thread colour that you want to use
6)cut your fabric at least 4" bigger than the top all the way around.

7) make sure that the back is square.

When I have everything read to go, I fold it very carefully and put it on a hanger.  I either send an email to Kathy or talk to her on the phone about booking the quilt.  Don't presume you are the only one that your LA quilts for.  There are a lot of people out there now who use the services of a long arm quilter.  Give her time to work on your quilt.  Don't be in a hurry to get it back. 

Be prepared when you drop off your quilt to spend time with whomever you have chosen to quilt your top.  Have an idea of what you want done or at least the colour of the thread.  I gave Kathy a quilt awhile back and I knew I wanted white thread and I suggested swirling snow, snowballs and snowflakes.  This is the quilt that I had taken in.


This is the quilting that Kathy did on it.

Kathy also quilted this one.  This quilt as you know was made in memory of my Dad.

Kathy chose a variegated thread for this.
I had no suggestions for this quilt.  I usually don't.  Kathy has done a number of quilts for me now and most of the time, we just open up the quilt top so Kathy can take a look, we discuss whether I have any ideas for it (I generally don't) and I leave it in her very capable hands. 
Before I finish up, there is a tip I would like to pass on to all of you and Susan gave me this one.  Once she has her quilt back ready to go to her long arm quilter she takes a piece of painter's tape and marks one word on it.  Then she sticks the tape down.
I am going to do this from now on.  It will save Kathy time when its time to put the quilt in the machine.  She won't have to measure.
Last but not least.....................batting...........................

1)it is best to discuss the batting type with the person who does your quilting as each quilt has a different

combination of materials and uses. These will determine the best batting for your individual quilt.

If you are looking for an LA quilter in your area, you can check with your local quilt shops. See if they have some samples from a long-armer in the store.   If they do, take a look at their work.............front and back.

Here is another place that you can find someone
Once you find the person that you trust with your quilt, hold on tight to her.  Long arm quilting is extremely popular now and women are flocking to their doors.

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