Quilt Talk

By Mary Covey

I am so excited to let you know that I will be a guest on American Patchwork & Quilting Radio. The show is hosted by “The Voice of Quilting” – Pat Sloan. Few people in the quilting world are as multi-talented as Pat. She is an author, fabric designer, talk show/podcast host, teacher, lecturer, and blogger. And did I say all around nice person?

If you have missed Pat’s previous interviews with people in the quilting world, you can find them at creativetalknetwork.com/. Free patterns , sew alongs, challenges, deals, videos, and more can be found by going to ilovetomakequilts.com a site for passionate quilters hosted by Pat Sloan.

The quilts pictured in the promotion for the show were free motion quilted by me using my long arm machine. I look forward to sharing my love of long arm quilting with Pat Sloan and hope that you will join us on Monday,

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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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Quilting by Hand

QUILTING BY HAND Tutorial

For hand quilting, you will need the following supplies:

  • Short needles called quilting needles or Bet\Veens, in size 9 or 10.
  • A thimble to push the needle through the layers of the quilt. It’s in1portant to pick one that is comfortable and fits well.
  • 100% cotton quilting thread. For strength and durabil­ ity, choose a thread that is made specifically for hand quilting.
  • A fra1ne or hoop to keep the quilt taut as you sew. A comfortable, well-lit place to sit \vhile you quilt.

Steps for Hand Quilting

There are many different methods of hand quilting, but the stitch itself is a basic running stitch. The running stitch consists of a series of straight stitches, with the stitch length equal to the space between the stitches. After practicing for a while, each quilter seems to develop a personal style or technique for making the running stitch. Here are the instructions for the most common method of quilting by hand:

  1. Starting at the center of the qujlt top, insert the quilt into the hoop, pulling the quilt so that there is slight tension on the layers. Don’t pull the fabric
  2. Thread the needle with a length of quilting thread about·16″ to 18″ long. Knot one end of the
  3. Insert the needle through the quilt top and the batting (not the backing!) about Y:;’ 1 where you want to start quilting. Pull on the needle until the knot catches against the top fabric. Gently tug on the thread to pop the knot through the quilt top and bury it in the batting.
  4. Hold the needle between the thumb and forefinger of your sevving hand. Place your other hand under the quilt at the spot where you plan to start. With the needle angled sligbtly away from you, push the needle down through the As soon as you feel the tip of the needle underneath the quilt, use one finger of the bottom hand to direct the needle back up through the layers to the top.
  5. Using your thimble to push on the eye end of the nee­ dle, continue rocking the needle up and down through the layers. Take three to six stitches before bringing the needle and thread completely through the layers. Continue to quilt in this nner until you near the end of the thread.

Quilting by Hand Stitch Illustration

  1. To end a line of stitching, bring your needle to the guilt top, close to your last stitch. Make a small knot i11 the Take a tiny backstitch into the quilt top, through the top and the batting only, and then bring it back to the surface. Tug gently on the thread to pop the knot into the batting layer. Clip the thread close to the surface of the fabric.

Quilting by Hand Stitch Illustration

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