Fall is a time when we’re getting quilt gifts finished and off to be quilted so we asked 3 long arm quilters – Janice Payne, Judy MacLeod, and Mary Light – the key things that you should do before you send it off. Interestingly, all three pretty much came up with the same things!The first tip starts as you’re putting the finishing touches on your quilt….make sure your borders aren’t “friendly” (waving at you!). Nothing worse than a wavy border. This happens when you sew a long strip of border on your quilt and then cut it off to fit. Guaranteed to end up wavy! To minimize this, it’s all about measuring and pinning. Let’s say you’re starting with the top and bottom borders. Measure the pieced quilt from side to side in three spots (both edges and centre). Figure out the average of these measurements and then cut the border pieces to this length. Pin them in place before stitching so that you can ease in any fullness. Repeat the measurements for the opposite borders (say, the side borders, measuring this time from top to bottom) and cut them to the average of this measurement Again pin and then stitch to ease in any fullness. Time taken to do this will achieve a much ‘squarer’ quilt.

If the quilt has no border or it has a pieced border, there are a lot of seams on the outside edges. When the quilt is loaded onto the long arm machine, tension is applied and these seams can come apart. To avoid this issue, stay stitch all around the outside edge of the quilt top.

Finally, press, press, press, making the quilt top nice and crisp, front and back. As you’re pressing, take one last look at those seams and make sure they are properly sewn, with no gaps. To keep the quilt top nicely pressed on its journey to the long armer, carefully put it over a hanger. Press your backing as well…it’s fine on the same hanger. Remember, if the long arm quilter has to do all the pressing and seam repairs, she’ll have to charge you!

And don’t forget to cut your batting about 3” wider on each side of the quilt top, and the backing about 4” wider!

Looking for a long arm quilter! Here you go:

Janice Payne, Shelburne             janicequiltingnook@gmail.com 416-567-5074

Judy MacLeod, Orangeville         www.facebook.com/judith.macleod1 519-216-7575

Mary Light, North Cobalt area!    mary@lightlyquilted.com