I’ve made it no secret that I often send my quilts to a Long Arm Quilter. I have a few reasons; in no particular order:
- Large quilts are difficult to maneuver on a domestic machine
- I’m not very skilled at maneuvering large quilts on a domestic machine
- I want more time to move on to the next project
- It’s an overall time saver for me, life is busy
- I DON’T HAVE TO BASTE!
When you’re all done piecing your quilt top and getting ready to hand it over to a long arm quilter you want to make sure your quilt top is in good condition with no loose threads, no puckers, make sure all seams are secure, and that the edges are all straight. If there’s a top to the quilt make sure the long arm quilter can identify it, normally a safety pin at the top will suffice. Once all this is taken care of, press and fold the quilt top neatly.
A lot of long arm quilters will provide batting included in the cost of the quilting service. If not, or if you have a preferred batting that you want to use, be sure to have a conversation with your long arm quilter to find out if they will be able to use it. Long arm quilters have a wealth of experience with different types of batting and will know which ones work best for your project and for their machine. The batting should be 8″ – 10″ larger than your quilt top so it can be loaded into the quilting machine.
Thread is often provided by your long arm quilter, mainly because they know what thread works well with their machine. Most long arm quilters have a rainbow of threads in their stash and finding a color that works with your quilt won’t be a problem. If you have your heart set on providing a particular thread for the quilting, talk with your long arm quilter to be sure it will work.
Prepping your backing always seems like such a challenge because most of the time you have to piece your backing. When you do this it’s important to make sure your seams lie flat and that the edges are all straight. Also make sure that your backing is 8″ – 10″ larger than the quilt top. Consider using an extra wide fabric for the backing if you don’t want to piece yours. The variety of extra wide fabrics that are available continues to increase. Like the quilt top, use a safety pin if there is a top to the backing. Lastly, make sure your backing is pressed and folded neatly.
One last thing to consider when prepping for a long arm quilter is to communicate your deadline. Be sure your long arm quilter can meet the deadline. The holiday season can get very busy for long arm quilters so don’t try to hand over a quilt at the beginning of December expecting it back in time for a Christmas gift.
By taking the time to prep your quilt backing correctly, you can guarantee a good experience with your long arm quilter and ensure that you can work with them again.