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Monday, June 18, 2018

Why Don't I Have Quilts for Sale at Quilters' Quarters?

Quilters' Quarters is primarily a fabric and notion shop, but more than that, it is a place for quilters to come and relax, surrounded by soft fabrics, vibrant colors, and most often another quilter or two who have photos to share and stories to tell, questions to ask and answers to share.  It's a place where quilters feel at home.

I've had Wilmington Prints' "I Love You to the Moon" panel and border fabrics at Quilters' Quarters for a few years now, and the bolt has only a few panels remaining. Here is what i did with it this weekend: using three mini-charm packs from Wilmington Prints ($7 each) and the panel ($8) and a quarter yard of blender fabric ($2.50) along with three adorable Penny Rose retro-thirties blenders (a total 1/2 yd: $5) my total fabric retail price would be $41, but with Quilters' Quarters standard 20% discount (-$8.20) it came to $32.80. Not bad for two quilt tops or a reversible quilt! I also economize by buying queen size battings and cutting them up for small child size or lap size quilts ... that, and a little thread brought the total to about $35.00 for a hand made baby shower gift! Come on in and look through all our mini-charm packs and several bolts of attractive panels and see what you might create! 

Wilmington Prints panel "Love you to the Moon"

Of course, the cost of fabric is only one factor in deciding to make a quilt ... some quilters are proficient in piecing, but are skittish about quilting on their domestic machines, and often send the quilt top out to a Long  Arm Quilter, who will add the batting and backing. The Long Arm quilting machine is a significant investment, and the skill in using it takes many months of practice, and a great quantity of threads, both sturdy and decorative in quality. Sending a quilt out to be professionally quilted by a long armer can add more than a hundred dollars to the cost, increasing in amount with the size of the quilt and the complexity of the desired quilting pattern.

I quilted this baby quilt on my domestic machine (a fourteen year old Bernina Activa 125) and am happy to coach you in quilting on yours. There are specific feet that are helpful to domestic quilting, and they are sometimes generic and applicable to several machines (short shank models) or they may be specifically designed for your brand of machine. 

Referring to your machine's manual will help you determine which foot for which type of quilting you want to do. 

I did some free motion quilting around the figures and stars on the baby panel using an embroidery foot, with my feed dogs down. (See above.) More often, I use a walking foot and machine quilt with a decorative (serpentine) stitch along diagonal lines evenly spaced. (See below.)  Diagonal in most cases means along the bias line, or 45 degrees against the grain of the fabric. In a pieced quilt top, with small patches going every which way, sewing in any direction is quite likely. Machine quilting on a bias line is no different than on the grain, though I find, with the walking foot, I experience far fewer puckers than might be expected when quilting without basting or pinning the fabric layers together... Serendipity!

Quilting lines evenly spaced two to three inches apart
will show nicely on a solid fabric, and will not interrupt
the images of a print fabric, as shown in this quilt made
for the Georgetown Fire Department's ambulances.

I rarely accept an order for a quilt to be made as I don't have a long arm machine. When I do, it is done with love, charging only for the fabrics and thread, and without a price for the work of quilting However, I will happily coach any quilter who wants to learn how to quilt her own work on her own domestic machine .. and I don't charge anything for coaching! Why not? Because my goal is to encourage the continuation of home quilting. I have, or can usually find a supplier for, most of what is needed to create a special quilt made with love and care, from piecing to building the quilt layers to quilting and binding it. I believe that anyone who has sewn or has the interest in learning how to sew can make a quilt on their own sewing machine. I coach new quilters at the senior center here in town, two afternoons a month, and delight in introducing them to the new tools of this century ... cutting mats, rotary cutters, plastic rulers, etc. We have a lot of fun sharing ideas, mistakes and lessons learned.

Come in to Quilters' Quarters and talk to me about your own plans for creating family keepsakes or treasures for friends ... I'd love to help you get started! Soon enough, you'll be what one of the quilt designers calls "a confident beginner!"

To see more of the quilts I've made in years present and past, go to the table of contents and open one of the pages of my quilting journal... here's a link to 2018

As always, thanks for reading my shop's blog. Please feel free to forward this email (if you're reading this in email) or share the URL of the page with your friends and family. And if the posted schedule  doesn't work for you, give me a call and we can set up a time more convenient to your own schedule.

Terry Crawford Palardy