Friday, 29 January 2016

Custom Quilting - combining digital patterns with hand guided stitching

Quilted with Modern Gem by Anita Shackelford
Earlier this month Christine brought this striking quilt to me for long arm quilting.  It was a quilt she made several years ago to be used on her bed.  She was clear that she didn't want an edge to edge digital pattern all over it, so we looked at what we could do to enhance the directional pattern of the bright green flying geese triangles.

Quilt by Christine
Quilt by Christine
For this custom quilting I used a combination of digital patterns and hand guided stitching. The quilt is made up of log cabin blocks, so I treated each block individually.  For the blocks which were part of the directional pattern I used a geometric digital pattern (Modern Gem by Anita Shackelford) and for the plain log cabin blocks I used my rulers to stitched in the ditch.  Having a long arm machine which allows both of these options really opens up more design choices for my customers.
Isacord 5912 Green Thread
Christine didn't hold back on the colours on her quilt , so we chose a bright green Isacord thread for the quilting.  Christine provided the wadding.

Custom Quilting - digital patterns combined with hand guided work
Custom Quilting - digital patterns combined with hand guided work

Each of the border squares were individual, so again I used my rulers on each one to stitch in the ditch on the outside and the inside and I devised a simple geometric pattern to fill the green space in between.  Christine also had her binding ready and waiting so as part of the service I was able to stitch that on for her too.  A few evenings of hand stitching the binding to the other side, and her quilt will be ready for her bed.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Backing Fabric and Wadding - preparing to bring your quilt to your Long Arm Quilter



How big does my backing fabric need to be for long arm quilting?
When preparing your backing fabric for long arm quilting you will need to ensure that you provide a piece which is at least 8" (20cm) longer and 8" (20cm) wider than your quilt top.  You will see from the picture that this will allow at least 4" (10cm) on each side.  This can be extra wide backing fabric or a backing you have joined together. 

If you do not have any backing fabric I often have a limited selection available to purchase.  I am also happy to work with fleece, minky and other textured fabrics.

Why does my backing fabric need to be so much wider? 
The machine has wide clamps which grab the edge of the backing fabric to keep the fabric backing taught and flat during the process of quilting.  The extra width also accommodates the moving machine so that it doesn't hit the clamps and cause uneven stitching on your quilt.  Some digital patterns may also go slightly beyond your quilt top border.

The good news is that when the quilt is returned to you and it is trimmed, you may find that the waste fabric is wide enough for the binding, a hanging strip or other scrap project.


What if my backing fabric is not big enough?
You may have cut the backing before you decided to get your quilt long arm quilted and it may be slightly larger than the top, but not the full 8" recommended above.  In this case you can stitch on extra fabric to the edges to bring it up to the recommended size.  In most cases this extra strip will be trimmed at the end of the quilting process and will not be part of the final backing.

What is the maximum width for backing?
The maximum quilt width my machine will take is 94" (239cm), which allows for a maximum backing width of 102" (260cm).  Even if you quilt is much smaller, you can still have a wider backing, which will mean the pieces that you trim at the end may be more useable for a hanging strip, binding or another quilting project.
What is the maximum length?
The backing is rolled evenly onto a roller, so whilst there is a limit on the width, the length can (in theory) be any length, and again will mean the pieces that you trim at the end may be more useable for a hanging strip, binding or another quilting project.

How big does my wadding need to be for long arm quilting?
When preparing your wadding for long arm quilting you will need to ensure that you provide a piece which is at least 4" (10cm) longer and 4" (10cm) wider than your quilt top.  You will see from the picture that this will allow at least 2" (5cm) on each side. 
Why does my wadding fabric need to be wider? 
Essentially your wadding needs to be bigger than your quilt top and enough to 'fill out' the width of your binding.  Also, during the quilting process the whole quilt sandwich shrinks very slightly and the extra wadding accommodates this.

Do you provide wadding?
I can provide Hobbs 80/20 (cotton / polyester) or Hobbs Polydown (100% polyester) wadding for your projects at an additional cost.

Which wadding do you recommend?
As a long arm quilting service I am happy to work with any wadding which you provide.  In the past this has included 100% wool, bamboo, cotton, cotton/ polyester blends and 100%polyester.  Please refer to the manufacturer's guidelines to understand the composition and how the wadding will react when washed.  Different waddings have different shrinkage rates and may give the quilt a different look once washed.

The easiest way to check all this is to lay out all the layers together with the wadding on top of the backing and the quilt top on top of the wadding.  Each should frame the other. One of the key advantages of using a long arm quilting service is that you DO NOT HAVE TO BASTE YOUR QUILT SANDWICH!

Personal Note ...
Before I had a long arm machine I used to complete my quilt tops, choose the wadding and backing and then dutifully hand basting them into a quilt sandwich on my hands and knees, ready for the day they would be hand quilted.  Sadly, that day never came and they never saw the light of day ... until I bought my APQS long arm machine.  However, before I could quilt them I had to undo the stitching I had already done.  It took considerably less time to remove the stitches than it did to stitch them in the first place, but now they are completed quilts and are being enjoyed and used regularly.

You may have some quilts in a similar state.  If you have finally decided to get them long arm quilted the basting stitches will need to be removed before they can be loaded onto the long arm machine.  The removal of this stitching can be added to the cost of the service if required. 

Monday, 18 January 2016

Quilting for Christmas - Alouette Pantograph


Red Stars quilt by Wendy - French General Fabric alouette
Red Stars quilt by Wendy - French General Fabric
Here are some more of the quilts that were destined for Christmas gifts which I completed for my customers at the end of last year.  Firstly, this red star quilt by Wendy which features French General fabrics. (I can't believe how many quilts have passed through my hands from this fabric range!)
Floral Lap Quilt by Hilary, with Alouette pantograph
Secondly, this pretty floral lap quilt by Hilary.  For both of these quilts they wanted Edge to Edge quilting and they chose the Alouette pattern.

Alouette Digital Pantograph created by Natalie Gorman and Patricia Ritter
Alouette Digital Pantograph created by Natalie Gorman and Patricia Ritter
The Alouette pantograph is a gentle combination of feathers and swirls and looked great on both these traditional quilts. With such an elegant pattern it was lovely to see it showcased on the back of Hilary's quilt as well.

Alouette Digital Pantograph created by Natalie Gorman and Patricia Ritter
Alouette Digital Pantograph created by Natalie Gorman and Patricia Ritter
To see the growing range of digital pantograph patterns available, pop over to the Fabadashery Pinterest page.

 

Monday, 11 January 2016

Allietare Mystery Quilt 2015 - Quilting

Allietare Mystery Quilt with Wave on Wave Pantograph
Allietare Mystery Quilt with Wave on Wave Pantograph
My annual guilty quilting pleasure is to join the ride of Bonnie Hunter's Mystery quilt.  It is launched at Thanksgiving and is released weekly until the reveal which is usually New Year's Day.  This year the mystery quilt was an Italian inspired design, Allietare.

Allietare Mystery Quilt with Wave on Wave Pantograph
Allietare Mystery Quilt with Wave on Wave Pantograph
This is my third mystery quilt and the aim is to use up some of the lingering scraps in my fabric stash and take me out of my comfort zone with design and techniques.   I can highly recommend it.

Wave on Wave Pantograph by Patricia Ritter
Wave on Wave Pantograph by Patricia Ritter
The top was finished last week and for my Allietare quilt top I chose an all over pantograph pattern called 'Wave on Wave' designed by Patricia Ritter at Urban Elementz.

Allietare Mystery Quilt with Wave on Wave Pantograph
Allietare Mystery Quilt with Wave on Wave Pantograph
My new customers often comment that realising they can get their quilts long arm quilted really liberates them and gives them enthusiasm to move onto the next quilting project.  I share that feeling - knowing that I could join in the Allietare Mystery quilt and get the quilt quilted so that it would be in circulation within a few weeks really encouraged me to stick with it.

Allietare Mystery Quilt 2015
Allietare Mystery Quilt 2015
So here it is complete and on the bed - yes, it is already in use!
Joining up with the final Allietare Monday Link UP to see how everyone else has done.

 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Fabadashery Long Arm Quilting - Happy New Year

APQS Millennium - Fabadashery Long Arm Quilting
APQS Millennium - Fabadashery Long Arm Quilting
Now that Christmas is over I can show you some of the quilts and presents that I quilted for some of my customers over the past few weeks.  I have been busy on my APQS Millenium long arm quilting machine and have enjoyed seeing all the quilts you have made that were gifted to others (or yourself!)

Kiss Pantograph by Melonie J Caldwell and Patricia Ritter
Kiss Pantograph by Melonie J Caldwell and Patricia Ritter

This quilt is by Catherine and shows off one of the new patterns which is available in my quilting catalogue, 'Kiss' by Melonie J Caldwell and Patricia Ritter.  It is a simple pattern with a paisley feel to it.  The quilt itself is quite busy, but the pattern shows up nicely on the yellow border.
Kiss Pantograph by Melonie J Caldwell and Patricia Ritter
Kiss Pantograph by Melonie J Caldwell and Patricia Ritter