In her articleCollaboration With a Longarm Quilter, Chris Batten discusses what to expect when working together with a longarmer to finish your quilt, suggesting ways to prepare yourself and your quilt top for hiring out machine quilting.
Owning a fully computerized longarm quilt machine is extremely expensive and requires a large amount of dedicated space. There is also a learning curve involved in becoming a proficient longarm quilter, even if you are using a computerized mode on your machine. Because of this, it has become a common practice to send your quilt tops out for machine quilting.
A lot of anxiety can accompany selection of longarmer. Along with the decision of who, there are a number of other important decisions to make before making your decision. Will you have the top custom quilted or select an all-over computerized quilt pattern? What about thread color and batting weight?
Batten says that, “Communication between you and your longarm quilter is the key to success.”
Obviously some individuals are better at communication than others. With machine quilting, the responsibility of communicating well lies with both the quilt top maker and the longarmer. If you are very particular about what you want on your quilt, you need to be sure to clearly communicate those things to your longarmer.
There are lots of different ways to find a longarmer you want to collaborate with. Make sure you’ve done your homework so that you can feel confident in the decision you make. Batten suggests talking to guild members about who they have used. Also, note the names of longarmers whose work you admire while at a quilt show.
Batten outlines a comprehensive and helpful list of things to consider and make decisions about before having your quilt top quilted. Some of these things include: What are the requirements your preferred machine quilter has as it relates to quilt backing size? If the quilt back is not large enough for a machine quilter to easily attach to their quilting frames, they won’t be able to quilt the quilt top for you. Another consideration is if you want the machine quilting to accentuate the fabric or theme of the quilt. For example, will certain designs within the quilt piecing be mimicked with the quilting or will you select a heart motif to enhance the feel of a Valentine’s themed quilt?
One of the most important things to remember when collaborating with a longarm quilter is to give them full credit for the work you’ve hired them to do. Do not forget to put their name on the quilt label you attach to your quilt. Your finished quilt would not be possible without their contribution. Not only will this promote the work of the quilter you collaborated with, but it will be an important historical accounting of the makers who brought the quilt to life.
You can read the full article,Collaboration With a Longarm Quilter by Chris Batten inCurated Quilts: Collaborate, issue no. 18
Chris Batten is the owner of Looped Quilting Studio. She is a professional longarm quilter and member of the Longarm League, a group of collaborative longarm quilting professionals. She provides insight into the collaboration that longarmers engage in with their clients as well as other longarm professionals.
You can find these Collaborate quilts and more inCurated Quilts, Issue no. 18: Collaborate. Purchase your copy today!
By Brittany Bowen Burton