Anita's quilts and quilting

A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.

An issue quilt fixed

A new customer had picked out all the stitching on the outside border of this quilt because she was unhappy with the work done by her regular machine quilter.  She was asking me to re-quilt the outside border so that there isn’t any extra fullness.

Yeah, “we can quilt that out” can’t we?  (from a song about machine quilting by Cathy Miller.)  Well ok, over the years I’ve figured out how to correct a number of problems I call “issue quilts” so that the problem almost disappears.  Quilting out extra fullness on quilt borders is one of those issues.

Here is the quilt before I attach it to the leaders.  I have it laying on the intake table.   The quilt has been washed so there’s some shrinkage from that too which adds to the extra fullness.

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Here the quilt is on the machine.  Only the backing is attached to the leaders.  The border is floating so that I can manipulate it if needed.  The border will loose some of it’s width after the quilting is finished because of how it must be attached to the leaders.  This will be ok because the backing and the border didn’t match up anyway.

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Here’s a view of one area on this border before I start the quilting.

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Now here’s the same area after I’ve quilted it.  Don’t be fooled by the thread lines across the applique.  I did not stitch over those.  Those are traveling threads.  What?  What I mean is that I stop stitching at the applique edge, “travel” to the other side, and started stitching again.  I’ll do a stitch in the ditch around the applique after I’ve corrected the extra fullness.  Then I’ll go back to clip all the traveling threads.

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Here’s another area before the quilting.

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Now here is the after picture.  There are some wrinkles in the fabric that look like quilting lines but they aren’t.

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I did the piano key quilting freehand and without measuring the spacing.  I put a line where the quilt told me it needed a line but kept it consistent looking.  Our eyes have a way of correcting and seeing what it wants to see.  I quilted as close as I could to the leader without catching the leader in the stitching.

And now here is the quilt finished, trimmed, and ready for a new binding.  The extra fullness is still there, just not quite as noticeable.

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The customer really wanted a nice feather design put back on this border but it wouldn’t have worked as well as the piano key quilting.  A feather design is what the customer had picked out because she was unhappy.  I didn’t see the quilt before the customer had picked out all the stitching done by the previous machine quilter.  The customer told me there were several tucks in the border that she knew would keep her from winning a ribbon in a contest.  That’s why she wanted it re-quilted.  So it would be good enough to win a ribbon.  Okee, Dokee, then.  I didn’t know this before I did any re-quilting.  She should have told me.  We will see if it wins.

Did I do a good job?  Would you be happy if you were the customer?

14 comments on “An issue quilt fixed

  1. Janet
    August 7, 2013

    I have a similar issue with a group quilt. I am re-doing the border and then my quilter will re-quilt it. I sure wish the border had been put on right the first time. It will be the topic of discussion at one of our meetings but done in a way not to hurt feelings.

    • Na Na
      August 11, 2013

      I tried explaining to a group about friendly borders a long time ago. I hurt a customer’s feelings and she never came back. I really, really didn’t intend to hurt anyone. My intention was good, my technique was bad. No one has asked me to speak since.

  2. Lynda
    June 28, 2013

    I like the piano key border for this quilt. It eases in the fullness, provides a rest for the eyes from all the busy quilting in the center, and really makes the appliqued flowers POP in the corners! Beautiful, Anita!

    • Na Na
      June 30, 2013

      Thank you Lynda, that’s what I thought too.

  3. Theresa
    June 26, 2013

    Wow!!! I didn’t think this could be fixed, but your finished quilting completely hides the extra fullness. I consider this a super-power.

    • Na Na
      June 27, 2013

      Thank you Theresa. Many machine quilters back away from issue quilts but I sincerely enjoy working on them. I like the challenge and it feels good when one comes out looking great. A good feeling of accomplishment.

  4. kathi
    June 15, 2013

    I SHUDDERED when i saw that border. then thought YIKES!!! YOU ARE AMAZING. i think it looks MOST excellent. and heah. IF she wanted a ribbon and PERFECT she should have put that border on a tad? better in the first place. YA DONE GOOD!!! i could NEVER have accomplished that feat of MAGIC.!!!!

    • Na Na
      June 18, 2013

      Thanks Kathi. Experience is the best teacher. I find that many toppers are not aware of how to put on a border correctly. The previous quilter should have explained it when the quilt was in her hands. But in the previous quilters defense, there are times when I get tops with extra fullness all over the place and I still quilt them. My motto is “Your quilt will be quilted in the condition it is received.”

      I do offer an ironing service at $120 per hour. I hate to iron so I figure if someone is serious about paying me to do it then that’s what I want to earn. Every other issue is a per issue quote. I try to send every topper away with some tips to improve their piecing skills. I have a couple of long time customers who were beginners and now have passed me in skills and are the ones explaining something new to me each time.

  5. Mary Yohn
    June 12, 2013

    If I were the customer, I would be thrilled with the result. That was a *lot* of excess fullness in the border you took care of!

    • Na Na
      June 13, 2013

      Thank you Mary, I’ve had lots of practice over the years.

  6. Linda in NE
    June 12, 2013

    Some people sure expect a lot from their machine quilters don’t they?? If she had done the border correctly in the first place the quilt wouldn’t have had all those issues. I can’t believe she wanted to win a ribbon but couldn’t take the time to do the borders right! I think you made it look very nice and if she isn’t satisfied that’s her problem. I hope you gently suggested to her how she could improve her borders on her next quilt?

    • Na Na
      June 13, 2013

      Yes, I did give her a lesson on how to correctly add borders. She thanked me as no one had ever taken the time to explain to her how it’s done. I try to give all my customers helpful hints every time I see them. Some have become so good that they are now showing me new things. I like that.

  7. Jeanie in MO
    June 12, 2013

    You performed your magic! Great job!

    • Na Na
      June 13, 2013

      Thank you Jeanie.

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on June 12, 2013 by in Customer quilts 2013, QUILTS - CUSTOMER, QUILTS - WITH ISSUES.

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