Friday, December 18, 2015

Quilting by Check

I’m closing in on having made two dozen baby quilts, throws, or bedspreads in my fledging quilting career, and so far I’ve quilted them all myself. I like being responsible for every step in making a quilt; I like saying that a quilt is 100% mine. Although I almost exclusively straight-line quilt (an exception is here), I think my quilting adds to the overall design of my projects. 

Using a pattern from Meadow Mist Designs, I pieced this quilt top last year with the intention of gifting it at Christmas (yes, Christmas 2014). Straight-line quilting wouldn’t do this design justice. It really needed something less linear. I tried my hand at free-motion quilting to see whether I could FMQ this entire throw. It was not fun, and I decided to call in the reserves.

The front features Winged, by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics,
swathed in Kona Snow.

That is where my friend Mary came in. Mary does amazing work on her Handi Quilter, and the quilt that had me wringing my hands was for her an opportunity to have some quilting fun.

This is what fun looks like to Mary! : )

The quilting is best viewed on the back.


I adore these sweet scrolls!


And these stars? Love!

I’m very pleased with this project, finally complete a year after I originally planned to gift it. I have a second quilt that’s with another friend for quilting. (Mary does only custom work; this second quilt will be quilted with a simple pantograph.) Friends tell me this is “quilting by check.” I’m not sure how I feel about it, especially for those throws that I could fit through my Janome 1600P-QC. It transforms quilt making into more of a collaboration. Hmmm ...

The back features more Winged. The green-blue fabric is Kona Sage.

What do you think? Have you ever hired the services of a longarmer?

And if you have, do you still quilt some of your projects yourself on occasion? If you have some longarmer horror stories, I want to hear them, too. (Read what my friend Jen experienced with one of her quilt projects.) Now’s the time!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday and TGIFF ...

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22 comments:

  1. Hi Michelle, thanks for linking to TGIFF! I've had no horror stories with long arms quilters. As we speak one of my tops is with a long armer as a 2.3mx2.3m is definitely too bog to quilt on my domestic machine

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  2. I have a longarmer friend whose services I've used once for a big quilt and a second time for a small one. I thought both quilts could benefit from an all-over pantograph design, and I also wanted to support her new business. However, I agree that it feels good to totally finish a quilt yourself! I continue to challenge myself to learn more free motion quilting, and I hope to graduate from a domestic machine to a mid-arm someday!

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  3. Hello. Your quilt is pretty. I'm like you, I'm a newbie quilter bu I haven't made as many quilts as you. I have just completed my first quilt where I've done the quilting on my Janome 6600. It was straight line, but I didn't enjoy it. My other quilts I have rented time on a long arm and used a pantograph. I do like the stars and scrolls on your quilt so I may have to find a long armer that I trust.

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  4. I was just going to share my story but you already did. Mary did a great job on this!

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    1. Also, I should have added: I didn't know that you COULD quilt your own quilts when I first started quilting. I just thought that sending it to a long-armer was the way it worked. And don't get me started on straight lines, I didn't know they were even a thing.

      I've worked with many different long-armers as a result and have had generally good results. With good communication and trust you're bound to get something you really love back. :)

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  5. This quilt is beautiful -- both the piecing and the quilting! I have only made three quilts, all baby-sized, and finished them completely myself. I definitely derive a great deal of satisfaction from doing so. However, I have only a small machine and not a lot of room. I think I would definitely send out very large quilts or maybe very special quilts, since I am still very much a beginner.

    I have no shame in sending quilts out, though. I grew up in a very rural area where women got together to finish quilts. Today there are groups of church women who will quilt a pieced top as a fundraiser for the church -- this is a very common way of completing one's quilt. It has never seemed odd to me that more than one person might be involved in the making and finishing of a quilt!

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    1. I'm glad you shared this story. Imagine the rich quilt-making story we would be a part of if more groups got together to sew and quilt like that! I love the idea of collaboration in that context and the thought that quilters can pass their skills on to others.

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  6. I've only ever had one quilt long-armed, and it was the queen-size quilt I have on my bed. I spent so many hours on the piecing, and I knew that I wanted feathers quilted all over that bad boy. It was sooo worth it to have it long-armed. That being said, that finish was quite some time ago, and I've made a lot of quilts since! :) This quilt is a beauty. Lovely work! I love the stars. So fun!

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  7. It's awesome! I have paid to have quilts done in the past before I learned FMQ, but it's not something I can afford any longer. I'm working on improving my skills.

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    1. Yeeeees ... that's the other thing, right? Quilt making is already an expensive hobby. Farming out the quilting part makes it more expensive!

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  8. I love it! That is so fun that she quilted each block with a different pattern. I love seeing your version of Looking Glass finished.

    I have only had one quilt longarmed. It was because I wanted a specific pattern and I wanted it to be a very regular and perfect figure 8 and what I is more "organic". I was very happy with the results.

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  9. Wow! The quilting is incredible..... And makes this sweet quilt that much more special. Well worth it!

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  10. Oh what a lovely collaboration! The quilt is beautiful and the quilting stunning :)

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  11. Beautiful quilt! I've made many quilts from mini to Queen size and have quilted them all myself on my domestic sewing machine. I like completing every step of a quilt, but I wouldn't hesitate to send out a quilt top to be quilted by a longarmer. It really bothers me when people make up "rules" as to what you're supposed to do. Do what's right for you.

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  12. I was never completely satisfied when I sent my quilt out.
    then I learned how to use the longarm and rented time at my LQS I would never quilt anything big on my domestic and I learned much more respect for long armers . but, I really like to throw a quilt on the long arm and have it finished in less than 3 hours (I am talking king size)-- you should try it

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  13. Hum -- the quilt is beautiful as is the quilting. Really like the colors. I am a long armer with a small business (read that -- I don't want to be chained to the long arm cranking out quilt after quilt.) I have chosen to computerize my machine and specialize in edge to edge quilting. My customers know that is where I am happiest/best and will take quilts to other quilters if they want custom jobs. I like to think of my quilting as perfect for utilitarian jobs. Not everyone likes to fight a quilt in a small harp space. There is a place for all types of quilting, piecing and quilters.

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  14. I have years and years of experience on both my domestic and my long-arm. I do quilt for others but mostly I quilt for myself and teach. I have never had a quilt finished by anyone else but, admittedly, some of my earliest quilts were pretty rough and utilitarian only. I'm so happy that I stayed the course. It's tough at first but is well worth every moment!

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  15. I LOVE what Mary did! That looks awesome. I have never myself released control, but in the sake of time it was well worth the collaboration. Sometimes you just have to delegate!

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  16. Love the way it came out! I'm still not sure how I feel about having something quilted for me. That said, I am terrible at free motion quilting, so until I improve, it's a necessary evil to achieve certain outcomes. . .

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  17. I love the backing just as much as the front! I have sent quilts out before and mostly satisfied. Yours is wonderfully quilted.

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  18. The quilting on this one is amazing! I love the color you've chosen for the background. What a beautiful quilt! :-) (I've only sent out one quilt, the king sized ninja quilt. It has a simple pantograph.)

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Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! I almost always respond to comments by email. If my response might interest others, I'll also post it here. If you've commented on my blog and never received a response, you're likely a no-reply blogger.