Preparing Your Quilt
Quilt Condition and Pressing

Quilt Condition and Pressing

When you bring your top in for us to quilt with or without batting please keep them seperated.  There is no need to sandwich the layers together.  Be sure your backing fabric is at least 6 inches no more than 12 inches larger both in width and length than your quilt top. 

When mailing your top into us, with or without batting, be sure to follow the guidelines above and send it in a box big enough to fit the completed quilt for return shipping.  If the box is not big enough we will charge for the return box.

Also send it by a reliable shipper. You may deliver your quilt to our store in person during store hours or ship it UPS (use street address) or US Postal Service (use street address). Please insure your package. We are not responsible for packages lost in the mailing process.

Please e-mail or call ahead before shipping. That way we can anticipate the arrival of the package and schedule your quilt if it has not already been done. We suggest Priority Mail with "Delivery confirmation", FedEx, or UPS for peace of mind. Insurance may also be added if you wish. Don't forget to include the order form!

When sending us your quilt it is important that you label your top, backing and batting with your name, address and phone number for identification purposes. Please pin the identification tags to the different sections. Sticky notes do not stay. Also mark which is the top and bottom so that if there is a particular pattern we will know what way it needs to go.

We accept Visa/Mastercard & Discover. This way we can easily add the return shipping, any extra thread/batting costs, and the rest of the amount due minus your deposit to the card. We do not charge your card until we have emailed you the total charges minus the deposit, and you have accepted them via email. Your card will be charged when the quilt is shipped back to you.

Press well from the top side while piecing. This will eliminate little folds that can form from pressing from the back.
Press the completed top well, making sure the corners are square and true.

Here are some things to be aware of:

    If your quilt top will not lay flat, it probably will not quilt out flat without puckers either.

    If there are puckers already in your piecing, they will STILL be there (and may be quilted down) when you get your quilt back.
Borders

If your borders are too small for the center of the quilt it can cause bagginess, puckers, or pleats. We can only pull the quilt as tight as those borders will allow us to and the quilt center may still be baggy and have to be eased in or may have puckers or pleats.

If your borders are too long for your quilt center, because they have not been measured properly and attached properly (see the border hints page to avoid this problem) they will flare and ripple and we cannot guarantee that we can quilt in that fullness without puckering or pleats occurring. We can only pull the borders as tight as the quilt center will allow us to in this case.

Once your top is complete, make sure all seams that meet the edge are secure. For example, if you have sewn a border on your top, there will be four or more seams that come right to the edge of the quilt top. Pieced borders may have many seams along the edge of the quilt top. The ends of these seams need to be back-tacked so they will not open when the top is stretched for quilting.

Check all seams on the under-side of your top to make sure your seam allowance is deep enough. Sometimes the bottom layer of fabric moves away from you while piecing, and that edge that is barely caught in the piecing seam can open during stretching/quilting. Please examine your quilt for these since they are hard to catch when pressing. The hopping foot can fall right into that open space and stitch itself to the quilt top and it is very hard to undo.

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Threads

Threads

Examine your quilt top, from the front and back and cut off any trailing threads. Trailing threads on the under-side of your top may shadow through light colored areas of your quilt. We do our best to check for these, but once the quilt is quilted, these mis-placed threads from dark unravelling fabrics or untrimmed threads from piecing are almost impossible to remove.

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Embellishments & Applique

Embellishments & Applique

Please save embellishments such as buttons, bows or beads until AFTER the quilting is finished. Embellishments can keep the quilt from rolling up right on the rollers, so your quilt won't advance straight and square, and the tension can be off due to bulky spots. The hopping foot can break buttons and beads if they are in the way, or prevent quilting from being as close to an embellishment-zone as you'd like it to be.

Fusible appliqués do speed up the appliqué process, but in some cases is NOT machine-quilting-friendly.  Please read cases below.  

In cases where quilts come in with layer upon layer of fabric shapes all fused together making the quilt top extremely stiff we can quilt in the background around where the fusible shapes are adhered, but we CAN NOT quilt THROUGH them.

Some Fusibles lead to skipped stitches, bent and broken needles. Broken needles can poke a hole through your quilt. Please discuss your fusible applique quilts with us ahead of time.

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Batting

Batting

If you are sending batting with your quilt top, there are many kinds of batting available. We can use most of them with our machine. There are some that we do NOT recommend using such as:
    Mountain Mist Polyester - due to the easiness with which it shreds.
    Morning Glory - it isn't bonded just loose fibers so the same thing happens.
    Quilter's Dream – thinnest weight is not good for machine quilting because it stretches and clings when advancing the quilt, and it is hard to keep smooth when advancing; this can also cause tears. The medium weights of Quilter's Dream Cotton are ok.
    Warm & Natural - is ok. You want to pay attention to the thickness and how stretchy it is. The thinner the batting the more likely it will tear along with it is stretchy and clings when advancing the quilt, and is hard to keep smooth.

We carry high quality cotton and polyester batting which can be purchased per yard. The cotton batting is wonderful for the antique look in quilts and wall hangings and shows quilting detail very nicely. Batting prices: Cream Cotton - $7.99 per yard, White Cotton - $8.99 per yard, & Bonded Polyester - $6.99 per yard

We reserve the right to refuse your batting if it is not compatible with long arm machine quilting and replace it with ours (extra charges will apply as listed above).

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Pieced Backing

Pieced Backing

Make sure that your back is pieced, and is squared up before sending it to me so that it rolls up on the rollers right. Press the seams on your quilt back OPEN. It makes for a smoother backing with no seam ridges. Your backing should measure at least 6" longer and 6" wider than the top. This gives me a 3" margin all around the outside of the quilt top to allow for stretching and attaching to the rollers and leaving room for the side clamps.

Please be aware that if you piece several random pieces of your stash together to use as a backing that the same rules apply to backings as they do to tops. If your backing is not square it will not roll up right and there will be sagging, bagging and puckers that are unavoidable. We will not claim responsibility if you choose to use a pieced back. All we can do is promise to do our best! Be sure to check both sides of your pieced back for trailing threads that might shadow through.

Try NOT to have a center back panel framed by even borders on all four sides for a quilt back. We are able to center the quilt length-wise, or width-wise, but since the quilt backing is on a separate roller than the quilt top, and both are going to advance differently, we can NOT guarantee that your center panel on the back of your quilt will be exactly aligned with the center of your top. If you must piece your backing to make it big enough, and you are trying to be creative with different pieces of fabric, shoot for something asymmetrical. Let a stripe or something be purposely off center and let the seams fall where they may on the quilt back. It adds interest and intrigue and draws attention away from a framed panel that isn't exactly centered.

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Using Sheets for Backing

Using Sheets for Backing

When using sheets for backings please keep in mind the following problems and tips.

Flannel sheets are okay if they are 100% cotton and some 100% cotton sheets if they are prewashed until soft and the thread count is not too high are passable. You will need to remove all hems and selvedges and re-square it. Please avoid all sheets with polyester in them!

The main problem with sheets is that the weave is different than with traditional quilting cottons. The fibers when compared to 100% cotton fabric are denser and woven tighter than the fabric and not all sheets are 100% cotton. Some have a poly-blend which can cause problems as well.

Many sheets (especially cheap ones) are wrinkle-free-perm-pressed-poly-blended and such a dense weave that they are a terrible culprit for causing skipped stitches or worse situations. Sheets have hems to deal with, and rarely is a sheet even or square (on grain in both directions) when you open the package. When quilting and moving the machine over the quilt, the needle is built to flex, but the stiffness of a sheet can cause not only skipped stitches but also broken needles. Broken needles can leave a holes in the quilt.


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Thread Colors

Thread Colors

Now comes the fun part. What color of thread would you like? The first color of thread is included in the price of quilting. This color is a solid color. Each additional plain color is $6.00. Other decorative threads available for an additional cost of $10.00 each.

Thread color does make a difference with the backing fabric you choose. Sometimes we can use one color in the bobbin, and another color on the top (extra fees apply), but if it is dark on the top, and light on the bottom, or visa versa. There are bound to be either light dots occasionally on the back, or dark dots occasionally on the front. Just as in regular sewing. Usually we need to match bobbin thread to the top thread to avoid contrasting color show-through to the front of the quilt. Show-through with contrasting bobbin threads is usually most evident when pulling the bobbin thread to the top and anchoring threads by stitching in place. Starts and stops with dark on the bottom and light on the top are very visible on the top since the bobbin thread is pulled up and stitched in place to anchor threads.

For instance, if we used white on top, and dark blue on the bottom, you'd see dark blue dots coming to the top in places where we started and ended the stitching, and perhaps in areas where there is a tight curve because tension increases on the top thread when turning a curve and pulls the bobbin thread up higher unlike stitching in a straight line.

We have found that a medium colored print backing rather than a solid or tone-on-tone does look a lot better when you are changing top and bottom threads. It also helps to hide all the starts and stops. It is our preference to always match the bobbin thread to the top thread to avoid problems with dots showing. If you send a dark backing and we will be quilting light areas on the top, consider the light bobbin thread against the dark backing as a form of thread art. It can really be quite beautiful!

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Reserving a Date

Reserving a Date

Not sure how you want the quilt quilted and want us to look at it first? No problem! We have had customers send their quilts to us after placing the deposit and shipping us the quilt. Then we call them back and discuss what we can do with the quilt.

Turn Around Time:

In store: Currently we are running on a "First Come, First Serve" basis. Your quilt will be processed in the order in which it is received. At that time we can give you an approximate completion date. Processing time depends largely on the season of the year.  You may "save" a date on our work calendar with a $25.00 non-refundable reservation fee.  This gives your quilt priority and your quilt need only be in our studio 5 days prior to the desired completion date. 


Shipping in your quilt: When you pay the $25.00 non-refundable reservation fee and $25.00 down payment, totaling $50.00, you will enter in the date that you will be sending your quilt by. We will then contact you by email letting you know if that date is available or not. Processing time depends largely on the season of the year.  If it is not we will offer alternate dates. This date is not written in stone, although we will do our best to stay on schedule.  The reserved date gives your quilt priority and your quilt will need to be in our studio one week prior to the agreed upon completion date.  Any person who cancels or postpones within 10 days of a reserved date forfeits the deposit. (Deposit only applies to quilts being shipped in.)


Contact us if you have any further questions, need more information.

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Shipping Your Quilt

Shipping Your Quilt

When you mail your top into us, with or without batting, be sure to include a order form and send it in a box big enough to fit the completed quilt for return shipping.

Also send it by a reliable shipper. You may deliver your quilt (please call for an appointment) or ship it UPS (use street address) or US Postal Service (use PO Box address). Please insure your package. We are not responsible for packages lost in the mailing process.

Please e-mail or call ahead before shipping. That way we can anticipate the arrival of the package and schedule your quilt if it has not already been done. We suggest Priority Mail with "Delivery confirmation", FedEx, or UPS for peace of mind. Insurance may also be added if you wish. Don't forget to include the order form!

It is important that you label your top, backing and batting with your name, address and phone number for identification purposes. Please pin the identification tags to the different sections. Sticky notes do not stay. Also mark which is the top and bottom so that if there is a particular pattern we will know what way it needs to go.

We accept Visa/Mastercard. This way we can easily add the return shipping, any extra thread/batting costs, and the rest of the amount due minus your deposit to the card. We do not charge your card until we have emailed you the total charges minus the deposit, and you have accepted them via email. Your card will be charged when the quilt is shipped back to you.

Kate’s Quilting Block is committed to quality workmanship and excellent service in assisting you in the success of your project.  In our efforts to do so we reserve the right to refuse all or any part of your quilt or item to be embroidered if we feel that it is not compatible with long arm machine quilting  or machine embroidery. 

 

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