Monday, October 24, 2016

How to Talk to Your Longarmer & Eerie Nights Hop

"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.

Communication Problems

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!

The Eerie Nights Blog Hop is Underway!
Check out these blogs, and enter to WIN

October 24th

Come on, Doxie girls.
Let's go sew.


helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

I love the boat quilt , I really do . I have a similar unfinished one at home , and I love how you have quilted this . Yes, it's time for the quilts to go on the beds here too

maggie fellow said...

I agree, anything is a bit vague and induces anxiety. I like your choices it will be loved. Thanks for the dawn tip

Marlene said...

'Just quilt it how you like' is exactly what one of my customers says with every quilt and yes it stops me in my tracks. She always leaves the thread colour choice up to me as well which causes me another stress. So far she has loved what I have done each time but I stress about it the whole time I am quilting. She would definitely let me know if it didn't pass muster!!
The boat quilt looks great Julie and I understand that 'you got it' once she said maybe some water.

evaj said...

Many thanks for your inspiration and link to the Show and Tell Monday !! Bambi Hug

KaHolly said...

Great info. I've only had two quilts done by a longarmer, and both times I said do what you think. I thought it would be easier! Guess not! Appreciate the washing instructions. Simple, straightforward and well written. I'm sure this quilts owner was pleased.

Tish Stemple said...

Amen, to promoting communication about quilting! I've never taken a quilt in to quilt on commission (yet) but I know how much "quilt as desired" drives me nuts to read in a pattern, so I can only imagine when trying to quilt someone else's quilt. I think the quilting you chose did a wonderful job of distinguishing between land and harbor, but also stayed true to the over all design and feel of the quilt. I hadn't thought about adding the blue Dawn when I wash my quilts, that's a great idea.

Angie in SoCal said...

Turned out great. It's always good to read about how one decides to quilt a quilt.

Brooke said...

lovely project!

thanks for linking up!

Julie said...

You are welcome for the tip. Dawn has saved me numerous times. I hope by posting this other people will see it's a tough call to figure out the quilting on your own. It needs to be a collaborative partnership.

Julie said...

I would be very uneasy to have to pick the thread color on my own, and see warning flags when the customer always picks white. Often times choosing white means they haven't considered another color, and white can as easily ruin the overall effect as can choosing the wrong color in your fabric. I generally lay several threads across the quilt while they are there so we can make that decision together. More than once my 'wild choice' on the spool looked muted on the quilt top, and we unanimously said, "That's it!"

I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in this boat, Marlene. (pun intended)

Julie said...

Thank you, Tish. I agree that some idea of how the pattern designer might suggest would help a beginner for sure, but even knowing if it was something suitable to SLQ on a domestic would have been news for me. I always had a hard time figuring out where the breaking point was on a quilt size before it would be too much for me to tackle. I might say I got myself into some difficult situations before I knew what I was doing.

How about a simple diagram on the instructions for quilting suggestions?

Julie said...

And as we know, there are so many ways that work. It's just hard to choose which one, right?

Stitchin At Home said...

I think with just the little bit of info she did give you, you did a great job.

Susan said...

Communication is the key to any relationship. I don't think I'd feel comfortable quilting someone else's quilt without going over ideas with them. Thanks for this important post and sharing it on Midweek Makers

Summer Killebrew said...

Great advice here, both with communication AND washing. I've never heard that adding dish soap can help keep the colors from transferring!

Sarah Goer Quilts said...

Great advice on communicating with a longarmer. Thanks for sharing!

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

The "Quilt is as you want" can stump me too - so I usually ask - do you like feathers.... and then they get to talking. But some quilts - I want them to say - do it your way - cuz I can just imagine the quilting right away:) You did a great job!

Miaismine said...

OH MY GOSH! As a new quilter, this is exactly what I say to my long arm quilter! Then we choose thread together and look through her pattern book. I've learned that she simply needs inside my head to know how to quilt my quilt! I can do that! Thank you for sharing your experience!

Sandra Walker said...

I love what you chose to quilt on the wind and waves and harbour quilt! Perfect for a great little quilt (just how big is it? Curious) that would work well in a cottage or a house by a lake...hmmm!

Kate said...

When I send my quilts off for quilting, Trudy and I send a few emails back and forth discussing thread colors and quilting themes. I can usually decide on thread color, but I usually wait till she has the quilt and can provide some feedback before we decide on a final quilting motif.