Customer Quilting!

I have completed my very first customer quilt for Jan, at Color, Creating and Quilting.  It was so much fun.  I hope she loves it.  Thanks for trusting me, Jan!

IMG_3496Jan sent me a quilt top she purchased from Vicki, at Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting.  The pattern she used is “Oh My Stars” by Anka’s Treasures, from a book called Sizzlin’ 60’s.  It is so sweet (and so well pieced!)

This quilt was very easy to quilt.  Jan sent me a photo, and I had a design idea immediately.  I sketched my idea on a printout of the photo and she approved.

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Once the quilt arrived I checked it out.  It was nice and flat, and well pressed.  The world of longarm quilting is so different from what I learned on my domestic Bernina.  Technically the Gammill can sew through just about anything.  Will the Gammill do it without bouncing around and shredding thread when I’m zooming along is a whole different question.

Another thing I’ve learned about is how to handle backings.  Horizontal seams work best – vertical ones lead to having a tight section in the middle and possible puckering, the horror!  Seriously, it is a horror, because I would have to pick out stitching to fix it.   When I piece my backings I line up the selvages, and stitch them together using my walking foot.  I piece about 1/2″ away from the selvage, so that I can cut it off before I press the seam open.  Selvages will shrink at different rates than the rest of your quilting fabric, as they are a different weave than the rest of the fabric.  This is a theory I’ve heard, and it makes sense to me.  I’ve never tested it, so your mileage may vary on this one.  Some rules I break, some I don’t.  I’m also afraid of it making the machine misbehave when it hits the tighter weave.

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*No Chips Ahead top coat by Essie stinks.  I applied this on Saturday, and it started to fall off by Sunday.

I took photos as I went along – I was excited to watch the texture develop.  My poor mom was kept very up to date on my progress.  All day.  If you have the opportunity to have a cheerleader mom like I do, definitely get one.  It’s awesome.

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One thing I am learning is that I need to have a very clear image in my head of what I am doing, and where I am going.  Otherwise, I get derpy spots like this.  It takes 10 seconds to do a screwup like this, and 10 minutes to fix it.  I can’t just freewheel it yet.  I need to see where I am going and what I am doing, even if it is only in my head.

I used So Fine by Superior Threads in the top, and Magna Glide in the bottom.  Both are cream colored, and just disappear into the top.  The batting is Hobbs Heirloom 80/20.

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When I began quilting, way back in 1999, I was told to use cotton.  Cotton everything.  Cotton fabric, cotton thread for piecing, cotton batting, and cotton thread for quilting.  Things are so different now. Poly threads are made differently, and most longarmers that I have been learning from use them exclusively.  I tried Aurifil in my machine, and it broke every few inches.  All of the poly threads I have tried work like a dream.  I know some quilters do use Aurifil to quilt with, and I will try again at some point, if only because I have $140 in thread sitting on my shelf.  For now, I’m happily zooming along with various threads by Superior.  And pre-wound bobbins are amazeballs.

Okay.  I need a better solution for taking photographs of completed quilts.  I am considering hanging a curtain rod up in my living room.  If you have a better solution, please share it.

11 thoughts on “Customer Quilting!

  1. Your quilt is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I have a longarm that I’ve been practicing with for a year. My intention is to do customer quilts someday – but I’m just not brave enough yet! I’ve been using So Fine thread mostly, just recently tried Glide and Wonderfil’s Fabulux – they both work really well for me, and give a nice little shine, good when you want the quilting to pop out a bit. So glad I found your blog!

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  2. I am in the “use whatever thread your machine likes” category. Some of the threads everyone had recommended to me didn’t get along with my Brother machine. On the upside, the ones she likes best are some of the least expensive. Thanks for sharing your quilting process. It was fun to read through. –Andrea

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  3. Congratulations on your first customer quilt and what a great job you did. I use either Glide thread or Madeira as that is what my machine likes but also as it is what is easily accessible here in New Zealand.

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  4. I don’t have a longarm now, but I used a Gammill for 10 years and used cotton exclusively. I don’t like the feel of polyester, even the new ones, so if I get another longarm, I’ll still be using cotton. =) But that’s a personal choice between quilter and longarmer. Your quilt design is great for that pieced pattern. Congratulations on the first finish.

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  5. Love the quilt and your quilting. My longarm does not like any thread except Superior. I also use So Fine on the top and I have just started using Superior’s Bottom Line for the bobbin and I love it. People told me I could use any good thread, like King Tut, and I would only have to adjust the tension. After hours of trying to get it right and picking out what wasn’t I decided it is not worth changing threads, especially when So Fine works so well and the color selection is great.

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