Wonky Borders – Part 2

I have waited a while to add to the Wonky Borders Quilt saga – I wanted to wait until the quilt was done and delivered to my customer before writing about it. I feel that this quilt was jinxed from the beginning and, if I wrote about it before being delivered, even MORE would go wrong!

I did take the remaining borders off of the (partially quilted) quilt and wrestled with the “octopus” (also known as “the quilt”) and re-stitched the borders. I kept the zippered leaders on for about three minutes before I decided to take them off – which made things a little easier!

After the borders were re-sewn, I then put the quilt back on the machine and finished the border quilting. It is AMAZING how much easier borders are to quilt when they are smooth, flat and square!

Then, to finish this project, I trimmed the quilt and put the binding on the front of the quilt. My customer is stitching the binding to the back of the quilt.

Here are photos of the finished quilt. Click on any photo for a larger view

This quilt is 110 inches wide!

The quilting in the blocks. The green “points” are folded and I could not quilt on top of them.

Quilting detail in the side borders.

The re-pieced bottom border. SOOO much better!

The borders on this quilt were the main issue, but like I said above, this project was jinxed from the start! Here is why I say this –

My customer lives 1,700 miles from me and she shipped the quilt to me. No problem there. My problem was that when it arrived, I was in the middle of having new floors installed in my house. My quilting machine was wrapped in plastic and pushed up against a wall for nearly three weeks! Nothing was getting quilted during that time! (The floors look great and I love them!)

Here is my quilting machine, all wrapped up, and my son installing my new floors.

By the time I could get to her quilt, it was getting near fall, winter and the Christmas holidays. I knew that this was going to be a big project, so I waited until I could block out at least a week of my life to work on this quilt, which brought me to late January.

I got the quilt out and start measuring it – which is the first time I have looked at the quilt since taking it out of its original shipping box. I realize that the quilt is 10 inches wider and a few inches longer than what my customer said it was! I start measuring the backing fabric. You guessed it, it wasn’t long enough! After several emails with my customer and after a huge snowstorm, I go to the quilt shop and purchase some fabric and stitch the backing together. Then there was the border issue and I finally finished the quilt.

But wait, there’s more!

I had to ship the quilt back to my customer. No problem – or so I thought! I charged her for the shipping, but, because the quilt was so big it wouldn’t fit into the box I was planning on shipping it in. I found a larger box (15 x 30 x 8 inches!) at the UPS store for only $10! Because the box was bigger and the quilt weighed a little bit more, the shipping was MUCH more than anticipated and what I charged my customer!

At least the quilt was delivered safe and sound and my customer LOVES the quilting and the finished quilt. That is all that matters!

Here is the question you may be asking – With ALL that was happening with this quilt, did I charge my customer more $$$, especially for the labor with the borders.

The answer – No, I did not. Here’s why.

I have quilted several quilts for this customer over the years and this is the first one I have had any problems with.

When I first put the quilt on the machine and saw the pleats in the borders, I should have worked on the borders then instead of waiting until I did. (Note – it is MUCH easier to take off borders when the quilt is un-quilted.)

If I had measured the quilt when I received it, I would have noticed the difference in the size of the quilt and the backing and could have worked with my customer at that time to increase the price due to the larger size of the quilt and the backing fabric issues.

I “absorbed” the extra costs of the shipping

I feel that some of these problems were my issues and should not be charged to my customer.

No matter how good a quilter you are, no matter how long you have been doing this, there are still times when the Quilting Goddess keeps you humble. Which is what happened with me. BIG TIME!

The good news is that my customer is working on sending another quilt to me! You can bet that I will inspect, measure the quilt twice – or three times – when I receive it.

FWIW – the new quilt is also HUGE, 110 X 134 inches!!!

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Wonky Borders – Again!

It has been a while since I have posted. I have been busy and “life” has been happening. I hope that everyone had wonderful Winter Holidays and a very belated Happy New Year to all!!

I finally had some time to work on a customer quilt and I want to share my experience with you. It has been a while since I have been surprised by wonky / bad borders on a quilt, but this one was totally unexpected!

Some details – The piecing pattern is Elegant Grace and this is a LARGE quilt 109 x 109 inches. My customer is out of state and sent the quilt to me way back in September. I knew it was going to be a large quilt and I knew it was going to be a big job and that is why I waited until I had a good chunk of time to work on it. And I am glad that I did!

Click on any photo for a larger view. (Because there are so many photos they are in Thumbnail size)

I did my usual measuring of the quilt before putting it on the machine and it measured “square” and put it on my quilting machine in my usual way. I was not sure what I was going to quilt in the borders so I machine basted the top borders. (I machine baste by changing my thread to a neon high sheen poly thread, turning off the stitch length regulator, then quilting longer stitches – about 3 stitches per inch – in a somewhat stippling pattern.) There was a little fullness in the top border, but nothing too drastic, so I thought!

I began working in the body of the quilt and pin basting the side borders as if I were “turning the quilt.” For a free video on turning the quilt Click Here

The side borders were having problems and there were several large-ish pleats showing up and lots of smaller pleats. I worked my way down to the bottom border, which had a little bit of fullness, but like the top border, it wasn’t too drastic, so I thought at the time.

After much thought – and a couple of cups of coffee – I decided to deal with the side borders before I did any more quilting. So I machine basted the bottom border,  took the quilt off the machine, gave it a quarter turn and this is what it looked like.

A long view. Can you see the pleat in the middle?

A closer look at the middle of the border and the several pleats. I did some measuring and realized that there was about 4-1/2 inches EXTRA fabric in the outer border and and undetermined amount of extra fabric in the green border.

I contacted my customer with the choice of quilting the border “as is” and making pleats, etc., to make it lay flat or to take the border off, re-measure and re-sew before quilting. She chose to have the borders removed and re-sewn. A decision that I agreed with and, if this were my quilt, I would have done the same thing.

So …., here we go! I removed all three borders.

 

 

 

 

 

I laid out the borders and this is what I found.  (I placed a piece of computer paper under the borders to show them better.

 

 

 

 

 

Unbelievable!!!!

I got to work and measured, sewed, trimmed and pressed and this is what I finished with. What a difference. The borders are a bit crumpled from the “man handling” it took to move the quilt around, but it is laying MUCH, MUCH flatter and smoother.

That was the first border! I had to do the same exact thing on the opposite border. I did that, put the quilt back on the quilting machine and then quilted these two borders. The quilting turned out really nice and I thought I was done except for the remaining two borders, which I had basted at the start of this project and that didn’t look “too bad.”

Boy, was I wrong!!!

I had to take the quilt off the machine because I was teaching a class. When I put the quilt back on the machine, assuming I could quilt the remaining borders and looked at the quilt. Here is what I saw –

 

 

 

 

 

These borders were as bad as the other borders!!! So, once again, I took out the basting stitches, and removed the border stitching. Before I went any further I checked the last border and … you guessed it! I took the basting and the stitching out of that border too!  I also took apart a seam and then overlapped the fabrics to see how much extra fabric there was. (I have not yet taken apart the blue inner border.)

My goal for today is to take off the last blue inner border, take the quilt off the machine – I have zippered leaders and I’m thinking I will try to stitch the quilt with the leaders on – re-do the border, reattach the quilt to the machine and finally, quilt the last two borders.

Wish me luck and I’ll show you the finished quilt.

PS-When I was stitching the first set of the borders, I felt like I was wrestling a huge octopus! If I leave the zippered leaders on the quilt, I may feel like I’m wrestling an alligator AND and octopus!

Why We Quilt – Part 2

After posting my previous blog about quilting a poorly pieced quilt, (for that post Click Here) I asked that you send any photos of badly pieced quilts and that I would put them on this blog.

Gail S sent these photos and the following explanation – (click on any photo for a larger view)

“Last year a client gave me 2 old tops that she wanted made into a duvet cover. I was to mount the quilt top to a large piece of cloth that would become the duvet cover. The quilt tops were very soiled and I had to wash them before quilting. On one, the white fabric shrunk and the colored fabric did not, resulting in a very wonky top.

blue-2 blue-1 blue-3

There was no way to ease in these many areas of poof. So if there was going to be tucks and puckers, I wanted them to be securely tacked down. I chose a freehand baptist fan design and I varied the orientation of the “fans”. The owner and I were both pleased with the result.

The finished photo (below) shows the quilt top as part of the larger fabric that would become the duvet cover. I made a binding around the edge of the quilt so that if the owner ever wanted, they could cut the quilt off the larger fabric with just a small bit of work to hide the raw edge. In the done photo, you can see a bit of the quilt I put on the reverse side of the duvet cover.”

blue-4

Gail did a GREAT job and the finished quilt looks wonderful!

If you have any photos of wonky quilts or poorly pieced quilts, send them to me as email attachments to longarmu@aol.com with an explanation and I will post them on this blog.

Why We Quilt

I belong to a couple of machine quilting YahooGroups. A few days ago, someone from the group posted some photos of a quilt she was working on. I felt the photos would be of interest to those who read this blog and, with her permission, I am posting some of them.

What would YOU do if this quilt was on your machine?

emily-1

And here is a close up of the sashing –

emily-2

The quilter has written about her experience in quilting this quilt and has many more photos on her blog.

To view the post about this quilt Click Here 

It is well worth your time to read the post and view the photos.

If you have any photos of poorly pieced quilts, send them to me at longarmu@aol.com and I can post them on this blog.

What Would You Do? Update

Thank you to all who made comments about the REALLY wonky quilt in the photos in the last post. (To view the post Click Here)

The “problem child” quilt is quilted and you can read about the whole process on the quilter’s blog.

There are two separate blog posts.

This is the post where the quilter describes the process of quilting the quilt. To view this post, Click Here 

To view a blog post, with photos, of the finished quilt Click Here

All I can say is – this was an amazing transformation of a seriously wonky quilt! And a big “You Go Girl!!” to the quilter!

Over the last few days I have received a couple of “problem children” quilt photos from other machine quilters. If you have any photos of your “bad” quilts – whether they are your own or a customer’s – send them to me as an email attachment and I will post them on this blog. I will not post your name or anything else to identify you or your quilt(s).

The “problems” could be piecing, quilting, construction, backing fabrics, or anything else. Maybe we can vote for the “Worst Quilt!” Let’s see what “problem child” quilts we can find!

What Would You Do?

I belong to a few YahooGroups and recently someone posted photos of a “problem child” quilt.

The person who posted these photos is a professional longarm quilter and this is a customer quilt she was working on. I contacted the quilter and asked permission to post the photos on this blog for your feedback. The quilter is graciously allowing me to post these photos (and the results) so that we all can learn from this experience.

The quilt is 96 x 96 inches and I will let the photos do the talking –

The quit is on the machine – (click on any photo for a larger view)

1-Bias Quilt

Here is one of the borders –

2-Quilt Challenge

One more thing – the piecier doesn’t trim her threads well.

3-Tangled Threads

This is what most of the back of the quilt looked like.

So, what would you do?

All comments are welcomed.

In a few days I will post the outcome of this quilt.

Batting Surprise

I posted to my personal blog about a quilt that I had taken apart and re-quilted for a church nursery. (You can view the post by Clicking Here)

I included photos of the process of re-quilting this baby quilt and I also posted photos of what the batting looked like when I took apart the quilt.

This baby quilt was well used and well loved in the church nursery and after each use it was washed and dried. In other words, it was “rode hard and put away wet!” Before I took the quilt apart, the batting felt pretty good and I felt almost a little bit guilty about taking the quilt apart. But when I did, I was very surprised at what I found.

Here are the results (click on any photo for a larger view)

W-BB-2

The quilt back is still (barely) attached to the batting. The quilt was “birthed” and tied. (Refer to the original blog post for the details on this)

I took the batting off the quilt back and put it on some cardboard so you can see it better.

W-BB-3

I can’t remember if the quilt was tied where the batting is or it was the other way around.

Why am I showing this to you? As a professional machine quilter, YOU can make the recommendations to your customers as to what batting can / should be used in their quilt.

Because this quilt was made by the “church ladies” I am sure they were not worried about the longevity of the batting they used. I am certain they looked at the price of the batting only and the batting may have been donated. (No, I don’t know what brand of batting was used, but it looked like a bonded polyester.)

To many people, batting is batting and it isn’t that important! But WE know that is not true and these photos show the results.

When I re-did the quilt I used Soft & Bright (S&B) polyester batting from The Warm Company. Soft & Bright is “built” the same way as Warm & Natural, with a layer of scrim between the fibers – cotton or polyester – to help the batting keep it’s shape and not pull apart. I have been using S&B for YEARS in my own quilts, customer quilts and quilts for my own family and Grand Kids. Yes, this is a shameless plug and no, I’m not affiliated with Warm Company, except as a happy customer of their products.

YOU, as the professional, need to find the battings that work well for you and your customers. Then you need to recommend them to your customers and maybe, at times, insist that your batting is used in their quilts.

Let’s assume you allow your customers bring their own batting for you to use and a customer brings some “nasty” batting. (You can describe “nasty” any way you desire.) You know that this nasty batting will give you problems when quilting AND it is not going to look good in the quilt.

Will you use the nasty batting or recommend / insist on using batting YOU endorse and have in stock?

Personally, I won’t use the nasty batting. And yes, many times, I have refused to use a customer’s batting! I do explain WHY I won’t use it and most customers understand and will use my batting.

If a customer absolutely insists on using that batting, and their minds can’t be changed, I would probably refuse the job. (Yes, you CAN refuse to quilt someone’s quilt.)

There are some professional quilters will not allow their customers to bring their own batting – they MUST use the batting the professional provides. And that’s OK too. That professional probably learned the hard way about bad battings!

It is OK to be fussy about batting. It is OK to refuse to quilt a quilt using nasty batting. It is OK to recommend a different batting that YOU approve and / or endorse.

Last but not least, here is a photo of the completed, newly re-quilted quilt with new batting, new borders and binding!

Click on the photo for a larger view.

W-BB-4A

Quilting details – the blocks are about 3 inches square. I stitched free hand wavy lines about 1/4 inch from each seam and then one wavy line down the middle of the blocks, using varigated thread. I did turn the quilt to the vertical lines.

PS – If you would like copies of the nasty batting photos to show your customers, send me an email at longarmu@aol.com requesting them.