Quilting the Quilt (part one)

By Mary Covey

jflower4

When planning a quilt, most quilters know there are three elements to keep in mind – design, color, and texture. There is no denying that we are drawn to a quilt by the beauty of the design and by the color combinations that dazzle. But what about the texture – the actual quilting itself?

The quilts of yesteryear required a great deal of close quilting to keep the batting from shifting and lumping. This is not true for today’s quilts because of the numerous choices available in batting, more focus can be put on a quilting design that compliments both the design and color of the quilt.

The beautiful applique’ quilt block above was hand appliqued by Jane Green. Her attention to detail in the flowers deserves to be enhanced by machine quilting that does not distract from her work. Using matching thread colors helps keep your eye on the design of the block. Echoing each of the shapes both inside and outside creates equal density while still maintaining the beauty of the block design. Echo quilting is like ripples in a pond – they start out close in a perfect ring and get larger  the further away from the center they get.  After several passes around a shape swirls, leaves, hearts, and other designs can be added(see example below) to make those blank corners of the block beautiful.

Dorothy Smith's Quilt

Semi Feathers

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Buy Local

by Mary Covey

There is a huge movement happening in the food industry right now – “locally grown”,” locally operated”, “locally owned”. I hear and see these words constantly as I am food shopping. It is important to me to support my community by buying my groceries from a farmers market or fruit from a locally owned farm whenever possible. The grocery store and pharmacy where I shop are both local, employee owned businesses where they know me by my first name.

It is just as important for me to buy local when it comes to my quilting needs. Locally owned and operated quilt shops are vital to the quilter and the quilting community. Local shop owners are the backbone of the quilting community. Studies have shown that non-profit organizations (like our guilds, stitch groups, retreats, sewing for charities ) receive an average of 250% more support from smaller locally owned businesses than they do from large businesses.

Local quilt shops employ local quilters who have a knowledge and better understanding of products quilters use. They take more time to get to know the customers and their needs. If they do not carry a product, most are willing to order it for you if they can. If there is a class you are interested in most local shop owners will help accommodate your request (within reason of course). Fabrics, rulers, threads, needles, patterns, books, they have it all.

Local shop owners are selecting products not based on a national sales program, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers. Every local shop has its own unique style and personality. These shop owners have made a huge investment in our community, financially and emotionally. Their shops are more than just a place to buy. A sense of community, support, encouragement, and knowledge can all be found at these wonderful shops.

    Support your local quilt shop! Think local! Buy local!

 

 

 

 

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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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