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.


How to De-Clutter Your Work Space

By Mary Covey

Tips and Tricks

Organize your stash – www.marycoveydesigns.com

I have always considered myself a pretty organized person. In my previous life, everything you did had to be documented to perfection. “A place for everything and everything in it’s place”.  Then I started quilting. At first I followed my work motto to include quilting. But after kids left home and it was just John and I, all I had to do was close the door to the quilting room and no one would see the mess. I would pick up things and store them neatly from time to time until my next project. This was not a very good system. Instead of using precious free time to sew I was looking for things and picking up my mess from the last project. So I decided to put my work practices back into my quilting.

Here a few tips that helped me make a place for everything (i.e. de-clutter your work space):

Organized supplies

How to Organize Your Supplies – www.marycoveydesigns.com

1. Downsize your stash the same way you clean out your closet. Donate the fabric that you will never use to a charity that makes donation quilts like Quilts of Valor or Hearts and Hands.

2. Organize your fabric. I organize mine by color. Some of my friends organize their fabric by type. An example would be all the flannels together, all the batiks together, etc. If you don’t have a lot of space use stackable, clear storage boxes.

3. When I am finished with a project, I cut leftover pieces into my own stash of precuts – 2 1/2″ squares or strips, 5″ squares, 3″ strips – well your get the idea. I put these into large zip lock bags with the size written on the outside. I line the bags up in empty shoe boxes where they are easily visible. Next time I am making a quilt, I look through these precuts first. I know it will be hard but discard all the tiny little pieces that are unusable.

4.Organize supplies into clear plastic jars that are available at places like Target for about a dollar depending on the size. Put all your scissors, seam rippers, and snips in one – all marking pens and pencils in another -rotary cutters in another.

5. Once your sewing/crafting area is organized it can be a big challenge to keep it that way. Make a habit of putting things back immediately after you use them. It may take a few uses  to develop these practices, but in the long run you will have more time to sew!

#quilting #tipsandtricks #organization


3 Ways to Take Care of Antique Quilts

3 Ways to Take Care of Antique Quilts #quilting #marycoveydesigns

Each time I see an antique quilt, I am filled with that longing for days gone by. I think of the person who spent her time hand-piecing the blocks, sashing and borders. This was usually done at the end of a long day of work and not in the best lighting conditions. Yet these quilts have a beauty that is hard to duplicate.

Over the years I have had the privilege of machine quilting many of theses beautiful quilts. Some were in great condition others not so good. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing an antique quilt for machine quilting:

1. Never wash the quilt before it is quilted. Some of the stitches can be loose and unsecured which can cause the quilt to come undone if washed before quilted.

2. Always make any necessary repairs to the quilt before machine quilting.

3. Check for any old pins or needles that could have been left in the quilt.

When machine quilting the quilt, use a good quality cotton thread (I prefer Aurifil 50 wt) and choose a design that will help secure the seams as you machine quilt over them.

If you want the quilt to have that old fashioned “crinkled” look after it is washed use a 100% cotton batting like Warm and Natural. Once the quilt is machine quilted and the binding is complete, it can be washed.
I had the privilege of machine quilting this quilt a few days ago, it is beautiful.

3 Ways to Take Care of Antique Quilts #quilting #marycoveydesigns