Anita's quilts and quilting

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

Quilt intake today

This is Joanne’s quilt.  Its going on the machine today but I wanted to use it as an example of my intake process to show another machine quilter.  This may be helpful for the customers to know too.

These are the steps I take when each quilt arrives and I start the paperwork trail.  First thing I do is fill out an intake sheet.  I record who it came from, their address, and contact information.  From now until the quilt is returned to the owner this paperwork never leaves the quilt.

I measure both the top and backing then mark the centers with safety pins for centering them on the leaders.  I verify the back is larger than the top by a minimum of 4 inches all the way around.  I check the batting for size and remove it from the package so it will start to relax and breathe.


I fold the top wrong sides out for close inspection.  Not that I’m expecting anything wrong but just to make my work go smoother.  I need to know about any issues so I can plan the quilting.   Issues are not problems.


I carefully check the back for any foreign objects that may have been accidently left by the piecer.  I find a lot of straight pins but once in awhile there is something else.  This one had a few pieces of paper left from the paper piecing.  I’ll return these when the quilt goes home.


I re-fold the top with the right side out for another inspection.  I’m looking for anything that would be an issue to work around when stitching a design.  This one is extremely well made.   Not all quilts are.  Sometimes a quilt top will have open seams or other issues.


When a quilt arrives, but I’m not ready to put it onto the machine, I still want to start thinking about the designs to stitch based on the customer’s price choice.  I trace various areas of the top onto paper.  These tracings are what I use to audition stitching ideas.


I sit in the evening after work and look through my sketch books, quilting books, or online for inspiration.  I lay another piece of paper over the sketched sections and draw different ideas.  I keep the sketch I think will work best and put it with the stored quilt.


Sometimes I come up with a good design quickly and other times my mind just draws a blank.  Kind of like when an artist is facing a blank canvas.  Stand and stare time doesn’t pay the bills.  If my machine is not moving I’m not earning my salary.   That’s why I start thinking about stitching ideas before I actually put the quilt on the machine.  Anything I can do in advance is good.


After all the checking, measuring, and tracing is done I carefully fold the top and backing so that they are oriented correctly to put onto the machine leaders.  I attach the paperwork to the top with a safety pin and put it away.

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February 2017
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