A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.
This is the first official quilt of my renewed quilting service here in my new house. This one is a test for the new paper work and time tracking sheets. Before I go to the expense of getting the printing done I want to work with it a couple of times.
Here the quilt is folded right sides together for the intake process. I measure both top and back while checking for any possible issues. Issues are not problems. Issues are just things I need to be aware of so my work goes smoothly.
For example this one has a pieced backing. The pieces are on both sides with straight yardage down the center. We talked about how to piece the backing before she sent it to me. As a quilter I need to know how/where the seams will build up on the machine bars and be aware of any potential needle hazards. Thick fabric corners can break needles and damage the machine, or worse, damage the quilt.
After all the measuring and checking is finished I start thinking about design possibilities. I lay pieces of paper on the top and make sketches to see how it looks. I stitch better than I sketch.
Drawing the design a few times helps with movement memory. If the design doesn’t move smoothly every time then I’ll change it a bit. Sometimes a slight change is all it takes. Sometimes I go with something entirely different.
Not every design idea will come to me right away. Its the same kind of thing that happens to an artist facing a blank canvas; what to draw or paint. The quilt tops are my blank canvas.
I stabilize all quilt tops to the batting and backing before I start the actual quilting. Except I don’t do those getting edge to edge designs. I stabilize by stitching in the ditch in a few areas. It might be around blocks or around borders or around applique.
The stabilizing I do is my version of basting a quilt. I do just enough but not the entire quilt. I won’t start the actual quilting until I’m satisfied the quilt is as straight and even as I can get it. I’ve started the stabilizing on this one.
Achieving a balance between working and frugal living is my goal. I
can’t refuse to go back to working 80 to 100 hours a week while giving up my personal life as I did before. The money I earned simply was not worth the stress it caused. I have a new house, in a new quiet neighborhood, a renewed quilting business, no deadlines, and no stress. Yes, I think I’ve finally settled into my new nest.