Happy 2016

By Mary Covey

Scrappy Star Quilt with floral backing

Scrappy Star Quilt with floral backing

After the holidays I am always ready for the fresh start that a new year brings. It is such a great time to evaluate the past year. You can learn from failures and move past them but you can also learn from successes and celebrate them. The new year lets us look forward with enthusiasm to changing old habits and lets us embrace new ideas.

I have numerous ideas for improving my business to make it more efficient, organized, and up to date. I am committed to doing the same high quality work for my customers that I have always tried to do.  But after listening to the requests of so many of my loyal customers and in an effort to better serve you, we will be updating our invoicing process to accept credit/debit cards and PayPal. We will still accept checks but in a slightly different manner. You can learn all about the changes on the Longarm Quilting page or just give me call if you have questions.

I have never been able to operate without the help of a team of people who work behind the scenes – quilt shop owners, wholesalers, teachers, etc. In 2016 my daughter in law will be learning some different aspects of the business while teaching me some much-needed lessons in technology.  My sister-in-law Shirley (who many of you have known for years as the lady who binds your quilts) will be helping in the role of inspecting finished quilts. Shirley Pittinger will continue to provide her expert support managing my website and social media.

I am excited  to be hosting two new groups on Facebook that share nothing but pictures and information about free motion quilting. To keep up on the latest, ask to join one of these groups – Free Motion Quilting or Freedom With Free Motion Longarm Quilting. Because I want to stay current on the latest trends and designs in quilting, I will be involved in numerous training seminars around the country this year with some of the top teachers in the quilting world. I am happy to say that I will also have the opportunity  to teach a few quilting seminars myself.  Teaching “Creativity to Cash” at Jenks  Community Education and taking a business training course from International Association of Creative Arts Professionals are just a few of the other things I will be involved with in the coming months.

There are so many other plans and projects in the works that I am looking forward to sharing with you in the coming weeks and months. If you have tips or ideas you would like to share with me, write me a comment or send me an e-mail so we can learn from each other. I want to thank each of you for all your words of encouragement over this past year.

Best wishes for 2016.

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Hiring a Professional Long Arm Machine Quilter

7 Tips for Hiring a Long Arm Machine Quilter

By Mary Covey

Over the past several years, long arm machine quilting has become both a popular and beautiful way to finish projects. It is also a great business opportunity for many quilters. So, hiring a professional who uses a long arm machine is always an option for getting your projects completed. If you do decide to use a professional quilting service, keep these tips in mind:

  • Ask for references from other customers or from local quilt shops.
  • Ask to see samples of the quilter’s most recent work. Most professionals will have a web page or Facebook page with pictures of their most current work.
  • Check out the quilter’s policies and pricing. A quilter may charge by the square yard or by the square inch. Always ask what is included in the price. My price includes the thread and the labor. Another quilter may include thread, labor, and batting in their price.
  • Agree up front on the quilting design, batting, thread color, completion date, and finished quilting price. Binding your quilt is usually a completely separate price.
  • Be clear about what you expect to receive in exchange for the quoted price. Long arm quilters are just like other professionals (mechanics, electricians, plumbers, etc.), they will be happy to put a quote in writing.
  • Be willing to leave a deposit if it is requested. Just like the plumber, full payment is due when the quilting is competed.
  • Look over your quilt when you pick it up. If you have any questions or concerns about your quilt ask the quilter right then. Any business owner will want to hear your comments and address them immediately.

Because we know how much time and energy you put into making your quilt top, professional long arm quilters take pride in doing a good job for their customers. It is especially gratifying when the customer is pleased with your work. Don’t hide your quilt tops away in the closet. Get them finished by a long arm quilting professtional.

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Quilter’s Dream

By Mary Covey

Quilters Dream Quilt Store

Every quilter I know loves to visit quilt shops when they travel and I am no exception. Recently while I was in Texas I had the opportunity to visit Quilter’s Dream located in Colleyville just outside Grapevine. The shop was established in 1997 and is owned by Beverly Ingram.

Quilters Dream Quilt Store

Quilters Dream Quilt Store, Colleyville, TX

When you step in the door you are made to feel right at home by the friendly staff.

Quilter's Dream Owner Beverly Ingram

Beverly Ingram, Owner of Quilter’s Dream

The shop features a wide variety of fabrics, books, and patterns. Beverly told me that they write many of their own patterns. Their best known and most popular pattern is called Magic Nine patch. They have also created eight different block of the month programs.  As I rambled through the store, I visited three separate classrooms with students working on projects. I also had the pleasure of visiting with a long arm quilter who works from the shop. It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.
If you are every in the area, give Quilter’s Dream a visit. If you can’t go in person you can always visit them on line at www.quiltersdreamtx.com.

 

 

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Machine Quilting Tips (part 3)

By Mary Covey

3 Must Know Tips to Machine Quilting

Whither you are machine quilting your quilt yourself or sending it to a machine quilter to quilt for you, there are a few tips that will help your quilt have a better finished look.

1.  Check your borders to make sure that they are flat, the seams are straight, and the corners are square. The quilt below (made by Elsie Ridgley quilted by me) is a great example of this.

IMG_3231elephant side

2.  It is important for the back of your quilt to lay flat also. First be sure to have a straight and even seam. Trimming the selvage and pressing the seam open before quilting will help keep the back from puckering.

IMG_3976selvage      This is an example of an uneven seam that has untrimmed selvages and has not been pressed.

IMG_3237rightseam

       This is an example of a good even seam that has trimmed selvages and pressed seams.

3.  Finally, use good quality thread and batting. I prefer 100% cotton thread like Aurifil or Signature. The same is true for batting choose a good quality natural fiber batting like Warm & Natural. If you prefer a light weight batting Hobbs Heirloom is 80% cotton/20%polyester. Both battings will withstand the test of time.

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