Preparing Your Quilt
Preparation is important - the more you put in, the better the final product will be. Trim threads, press seams down. Do not pin or baste the layers, or attach the binding ahead of time.
The quilt cannot be wider than the leaders that hold the quilt on the machine. Lisa can handle most quilts up to 114 inches wide. (Lengths could be up to 25 feet.) Mark the top of your quilt top and backing with a safety pin or piece of masking tape if it matters which end goes up. Likewise, let Lisa know if your backing is directional.
You do not need to baste or layer the quilt, as the pieces are put on separately.
Square Your Top
Your quilt top should be as square as possible. Borders must be correctly applied so that they do not incorporate extra fabric that causes waviness. (This is often caused by errors in measuring, cutting, piecing, or sewing.) When errors are pieced into a quilt top, they cannot be quilted out. Lisa will try to work with your quilt, in so far as your piecing will allow, but do your best to get your quilt top to lie as flat as possible for the best finished product. Tops should be pressed, but do not need to be perfect.
If you are planning a scalloped edge, it is helpful to mark the scallops but leave the quilt square until quilted, and then cut the scallops. Double wedding rings and other quilts with no straight edges can also be done on the machine although they are not square.
Lisa does not charge extra to use your own materials. However, if you use your own backing, you must be sure to make your backing 3-4 inches larger on all sides (i.e., 6-8" overall) for loading onto the machine.
If you seam your backing, please square it - i.e., make sure it is trimmed even and straight on all edges so that it can be pinned to the canvas on the roller, which is a straight edge.
Make sure you cut the selvages off the seam allowances that are going to be inside the quilt, because they can pull the backing unevenly and cause puckers during the quilting process. You may leave the selvage on the outer edges as it makes a very stable edge to pin to the canvas, and it will be trimmed off later when you put your binding on.
Lisa prefers seams in a backing to run across to give a more even pull to the seam during the quilting; however, she can accommodate either seam direction. If you run out of backing fabric and do not have the required extra 3-4 inches in either direction, it is best to add a "racing stripe" of 8-12" of a different fabric in the center, or on one side of the quilt backing.
As with the backing, you may use your own batting, or purchase it from us. We can supply Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 (cotton/poly), Hobbs 100% polyester, Warm & Natural 100% cotton, Hobbs 100% wool batting. (See: Services Available ) We will accept your batting if it is not Mountain Mist or Quilter's Dream Cotton low loft, and if it is suitable for machine quilting.
However, as with the backing, if you use your own batting, you must be sure to make your batting 3-4 inches larger on all sides (i.e., 6-8" overall) for loading onto the machine.
After the body of the quilt has been pieced, gently press before adding borders. The logical place to measure the finished top is along its outside edges, and this is a useful measurement. However, measurements should be taken across the center in two or three places for both the width and length. If these measurements are different from that of the outer edge, accidental stretching has occured. To keep the finished quilt as straight and square as possible, you must measure the centers.
To make a border with straight-cut corners:
Determine the length of the quilt border by averaging the distance of two or three center measurements (Fig. 1). Cut two borders that length and pin them to opposide sides of the quilt matching ends and centers, and easing in the fullness. Sew and press.
To make mitered corners, consult a quilting book that contains instructions for finishing a quilt.
Determine the width of the quilt border by averaging the distance of two or three center measurements (Fig. 2). Cut these borders that length and pin - easing in the fullness. Sew and press.
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