"Quilt it however you decide."
Those are five words that stop me in my tracks as a longarm quilter. It's like telling your beautician or barber to cut off as much of your hair as they choose. How much is too much?
I will tell you it is often just as hard for a longarm quilter to make a decision about the quilting as it is yourself. Being able to share some ideas--even if they are what you don't want, will go a long way toward a good plan. It is likely you have some kind of idea about what you think your quilt needs or what you value most in fine quilting. Do not be afraid to tell your longarm quilter your thoughts.
The quilter who made this lovely top sent instructions for me to quilt as I wished, and there was no rush. She would be in touch, but had limited cell reception during the summer at a lake house. Giving me free range seemed easy enough, but I looked at it several times, and I will tell you I kept drawing a total blank. I felt like I had nothing to go on. It was made in the 1980's to 1990's, and in a little more folk or country style fabric. I kept asking myself, "What was she seeing when she made it?"
A few months went by, and finally I got word she was wondering about the quilt. I should imagine I would be, too. We tried several times to call, but the calls dropped. When I finally got a call on a land line, we had a short, but pinpointed conversation.
Me: "What were you thinking?"
Her: "I don't know. Maybe some water. Maybe show the harbor. Something different in the border perhaps."
Me: "Okay. Now I know what to do."
Don't laugh. That's a lot to go on. It gave me a load of information about what she had in mind while she was piecing, and ultimately what would make her happy. What went in each of those areas, and how I would depict it was up to me, but she called the shots.
I started by stitching in the ditch using a ruler, and sectioning off land vs. harbor areas along with the borders. After that I went back and filled in the land with a medium meandering, the water with waves, which reminded me of whale tails, and the starry border with more stars and swirls. I was very pleased with how it all turned out at the end, and I hope she will, too. Communication was key.
I had to show you this sweet, scrappy, fall quilt that I just finished longarming, too. It is always surprising to me how much the quilting transforms the fabric. This will cover a queen sized bed, and the texture means it will be appreciated as much for its feel as warmth.
Longarming Still Available
Before Your Holiday
Care and Feeding Instructions
It's fall. It's time to get those quilts back out, and put them to use. I use quilts year round, but I rotate them each season. Before I put mine in storage, I give them a turn through the washer. You may have your own ideas about how or whether to wash your quilts or not, but this is how I do it.
Machine wash warm with a squirt of Dawn Blue dishwashing liquid. Yes, dish soap. It helps prevent dye from staining if you have colors that might bleed. You may also use Color Catchers, but if you do, place the sheets in a lingerie bag. These are easily sucked into your drain!
Remove the quilt promptly after washing to prevent any color transfer.
Transfer to a dryer on low or casual setting, and dry until just damp. Finish drying atop a rack or well supported. It is not advised to dry quilts pinned to a clothesline. They have a tendency to stretch out of shape.
Note: A clean quilt lasts longer, and if there is any kind of protein stain, you are better to catch it sooner rather than later. Oxyclean works well for me when I want to brighten up my quilts, but always test detergents, soaps, and additives before using. Enjoy!
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Let's go sew.