Q: Why are there different CUSTOM charges? What is the difference between $20 per hour and $30 per hour quilting?

A: Custom is any job that is not an edge-to-edge (allover) design. Given that, there are certain types of custom that are fairly straight-forward and less labor intensive while others can be both more time-consuming or take more effort. You can almost guarantee that free-motion, SID (stitch-in-the-ditch), or echo quilting will be the higher price point, while simpler things like a design inserted into a block will be lower. A quilt that has some of each might be priced at a middle point between the two. Be sure to discuss with me if price is an issue but you still want custom. I can often offer you options which will be lower cost but will still look great. In fact, often an edge-to-edge will look just as nice on a quilt as a custom effort.


Q: I changed my mind. I was going to do the quilting myself and I trimmed the quilt, batting and backing down slightly larger than the top, but now I want it longarmed. Can you still do it?

A: I need to have 3-4 inches on all sides of the backing since it attaches to canvas leaders on the machine. I need the same for the batting since batting often is not square and if it shrinks up any in the quilting we will have issues. Given that, if you attach fabric strips to all sides to bring it to the size I need, that should work. Remember that you still need to be sure the backing is square (see "quilt preparation"). You may want to consider purchasing new backing/batting if it is exactly the size of the top. You can get away with slightly less side to side, but I absolutely need the 6" length (when in doubt, more is better).

Q: Can you longarm a quilt that I (or my grandmother, or I found in a yard sale, or...) already started without removing my existing quilting?

A: If the quilt has a very thin batting and is not very large and is in good shape ...and... if all you want done is adding a few designs within some blocks, "maybe". For the most part because of the way the separate pieces of the quilt (top, battting, backing) are loaded onto the quilt frame, this doesn't work. I've been successful with putting some stand-alone designs within blocks on a pre-quilted quilt. Pricing depends on the complexity but you can figure it will be more expensive than normal.

Q: I found a top in a garage sale (or an antique store or online...). Can you quilt it?

A: How clean is it? What shape is it in -- are all the seams intact, is it fragile? Most of the time these yard-sale finds are not in the best of shape. Due to allergies, I absolutely can't work on a quilt that is moldy. There may be issues if it has a lot of puckers (not "square"). Also if the quilt was hand pieced the seams might not take the pulling that happens on a long arm machine and you should consider finding a group that will hand quilt it for you. Another alternative is hand-tying in the corners of the blocks. But given that, I have quilted many antique/vintage quilts. If if you are willing to take a chance that it is what it is, and it is in clean/good shape, I'm willing to quilt it.

Q: Should I pin or baste my layers (top, batting, backing) before I bring it to you? 

A: No. The backing and batting is attached to one roller and the top is separate when the longarm process is done. If you have a quilt that you'd already basted or pinned to prepare for domestic machine or hand quilting, you will need to remove that before I can do the longarm quilting. See my page on quilt preparation on all you need to do -- but basically you just need to have everything squared and pressed. If you leave pin or basting removal to me, expect to be charged my hourly rate.

Q: My quilt design calls for embellishments (buttons, crystals, etc.). How do I prepare it for quilting?

A: If possible hold off on your embellishments until after I've quilted it. While free-motion quilting and other techniques such as only quilting in sashing can be done around embellishments, you are going to up your price to my highest pricing categories due to the time it will take to accomplish this (this can take a lower priced edge-to-edge into Custom pricing).

Q: What batting should I use? What do you recommend?

A: I don't have a favorite per se, but do have some I don't like. I don't like the older battings you get at your discount fabric stores in plastic bags (basically if it looks like it is more for craft projects, I can't use it for your quilt). I do like Quilters Dream Cotton and Hobbs 80/20. You can provide me with your own batting or I have a stock of Hobbs here in the shop. Check my price list for current pricing. If you have your own batting and you aren't sure it will do, we can meet to discuss.

Q; Do you just do the longarm part or can you add binding or make a complete quilt for me?  What would this cost me?

A: Yes, I can do quilts on commission. You can figure on the cost of fabric (about $200-300 or more depending on the size of the quilt) plus the time to do it. I typically charge an hourly rate for this since it depends on the complexity of the pattern/design plus there will probably be time needed to plan out the design and colors. Then you will have to add in the normal longarm charges for the quilting. On average, a commissioned quilt will run you in the neighborhood of $500 for a simple twin size quilt on up to $1,000. I also do t-shirt quilts which start at about $500 for a twin (depending on complexity of pattern) -- you can figure about $18.00-$20.00 a t-shirt. And yes, I definitely do binding - see my price list for costs.

Q: Why is longarm quilting so expensive? Don't you just hook it up to a machine and let it go?

A: While longarm quilting certainly doesn't take as long as someone doing this by hand or domestic machine, it is time-consuming even for edge-to-edge quilting. Even though I use a computerized model, I can't just walk away from the machine in case of glitches and keeping the quilt and design even while advancing the quilt as it moves through the design. After each row the machine has to be advanced and I also keep measuring for squareness as I go along. When a quilt has huge variances in sizes or wavy borders, I may have to ease in some of the quilt or even take tucks. If a problem occurs, I sometimes even have to "un-sew" which is extremely time-consuming. When you get down to it, a long arm quilter typically makes less than standard hourly wages to provide you something that is not only functional but artistic as well.

Q: Should I prewash my quilt top and backing before bringing them to you?

A: No with a caveat. While prewashing your fabric before you piece or prewashing your backing beforehand is a personal preference, it is never recommended to wash your top before it has been longarmed. This is because a) your seams will fray and could then be lumpy after quilting, loose threads can tangle up on edges and seams, they can then be visible behind light colored fabrics, or worse you could have seams come apart; b) your top (or backing) can shrink or stretch and be totally out of square - even if you had perfect piecing and it was square to start with; c) if I do need to attempt to square things up by using steam, I may no longer have that option as you would have pre-shrunk the quilt. In a nutshell, the quilting process is there to nail everything down and you prewashing the top could ruin it for you and will only make it harder for me, not to mention potentially costing you more as hourly charges will be incurred as I attempt to quilt it. The basic rule on your backing is if you prewashed your fabric before piecing, then yes, prewash your backing as well. If you did not prewash before piecing, do not wash your backing fabric either. This allows for the same shrinkage after quilting when you do wash the quilt.