Monday, January 16, 2017

Long Arm Quilting

In January of 2015 I was contacted about quilting a t-shirt quilt.

I have been trying to find someone that can do the quilting part of making a quilt. 

I'm making a large t-shirt quilt and would love to find someone that can quilt the 3 pieces together.  Do you do that?  If not, do you know anyone that does?

I don't have the measurements handy, but it's big enough for a queen size bed.  I have made one before and quilted it myself using a regular sewing machine.  It was tough squishing in the whole piece!  

I'd love to hear from you.

Best Regards,

I spent more than a little time working on my response and I don't think I ever shared it with the blog world. Note that I have not modified the text so the quoted prices for some things may no longer be valid. Check with the linked source for current pricing. 

Hello Liz,

Thank you so much for contacting me. I am a long arm quilter and I regularly quilt for Annapolis Quilts for Kids. I have made three t-shirt quilts for friends and I've attached a photo of one of those quilts. I'm not a professional long arm quilter. I don't have a business license and don't do my quilting as a business.  

Let me give you some information so you can make an informed decision on hiring a long arm quilter.  

There are a couple long arm quilting machine dealers in the area that offer the use of their machines for a fee.  You have to take their class to learn how to use the machine before you are allowed to rent time on the machine.  

Spring Water Designs in Columbia, MD, is a newer quilt shop that offers rental of their Handi-Quilter machines.  The beginning class is $60:

Capital Quilts in Gaithersburg, MD, has been around longer and also offers rental of their Handi-Quilter machines.  The training class is $50:

Tomorrow's Treasures is a shop in Crofton, MD, that offers long arm quilting service. I don't know their rates.

Maria O'Haver is a member of my quilt guild and is a professional long arm quilting artist. Her website gives her rates.

I know there are many more professional long arm quilters in the local area. If you ask at your local quilt shop they usually have business cards for long arm quilters. If you see machine quilted quilts on the walls of a fabric store it is very possible they can make a recommendation.

The rate for quilting similar to what is in this photo would be $0.015 to $0.02 per square inch.  If your quilt is 90" by 90" (about the size of a queen depending on how much bigger you wanted it to be) it would cost $121.50 to $162.00 to quilt it with a similar design. This rate does not include other services that some long arm quilters require. Some charge more depending on thread, some charge for bobbins (few do, but if they use pre-wound bobbins it is more common), almost all charge for thread color changes. Custom quilting will cost about twice those estimates for a queen-size quilt. 

How long it takes to get your quilt back from the quilter depends on the demand the long arm quilter has for their services. I've seen wait times of 2-4 weeks with some as long as 6 months due to a backlog of quilts from very desirable quilters.

Please, if you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask.  I know that these quilts are important to the maker and I want every quilter to have the best information available so they can make an informed decision.


Do you have questions about long arm quilting? I would be happy to try to help answer them. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Charlotte City Tote

Swoon Patterns had a sale a few months ago and I couldn't resist. I snapped up a couple patterns including the Charlotte City Tote.
I still had some glitter vinyl from Punkbroidery left over from another bag project so I decided I would test the pattern and my vinyl sewing skills. Swoon has a great tutorial for making your own piping but I had a single package of pre-made piping that worked for this project. I did pick up enough cord to make piping for my next piped project.
The pattern is clearly written and easy to follow. If you decide to try working with vinyl, I highly recommend you get the non-stick foot for your sewing machine. Having some freezer paper on-hand to keep the vinyl from sticking to the machine bed might be a good idea, too. Lengthen the stitch-length and take it slow is the best advice.
I'm pleased with the finished bag. I have learned (yet again) that I am overly picky when it comes to my preferred handbag. I like the bag. It just isn't one I would carry in my day-to-day life.

The nitty gritty details...
Pattern: Charlotte City Tote from Swoon Patterns
Fabric: Classic Sailor Tattoo Fabric (printed on Eco Canvas) by bella-modiste available on Spoonflower
Glitter Vinyl: Gray Silver glitter vinyl roll (12" by 54") from Punkbroidery
Bag hardware: Stainless Steel hardware (square rings, D-ring and swivel snap) from
All other materials are easily found at the big-box sewing/craft stores.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tool Tip: Magic Pressing Mat

My Darling Husband and I don't wait until the holidays to give each other things that we think the other will like. This past holiday season was no different.
DH did see this pressing mat on Massdrop and thought I might like it. It arrived before the holidays and I did put it to use.
The Magic Pressing Mat is a generous size (12" by 18") and does provide a nice surface for pressing. After some searching on the internet, I found a description that says it is made of wool felt fabric, though I couldn't find that information on the packaging. The packaging states "natural fiber construction". 
I will be using this. It provides a nice surface that will grip the fabric just a little to prevent pressing pieced blocks out of shape. It maintains heat, too.

The only thing I don't like is that it is only 12" on the short side. Many, many quilt blocks are 12.5" by 12.5" so you will have to reposition your blocks while pressing. Not a major problem. I just wish it was available in a larger, square size, say 18" by 18".

Monday, January 9, 2017

Release the Kraken!

I've had this cute little guy cut out and ready to sew for ages! This cuddly Kraken is so much fun. I had house guests and wanted a quiet project. This is what I accomplished during that time.
The details were sewn on by hand and then the pieces were assembled on the machine. Then back to hand-sewing for the finish. The results are worth the time.

The pattern is from Sew Desu Ne. If you want to try some fun fleece projects I recommend you check out all the site has to offer. Loads of free projects and tutorials for working with fleece. Once you have the basics down go find your favorite pattern and get stitching.