Long Arm Quilt Pattern Help

K8OrlandoJune 29, 2011

About a week ago I posted a picture of the king quilt top I just finished. I'll be taking it to the long arm quilter next week. But I need help! I have no idea how I want this quilted. I was thinking of an all-over pattern of swirls because the block patterns are so geometric, but a quilter friend suggested a more detailed pattern that would highlight the blocks.

I'll listen to the advice of the longarmer too after she sees it because she's very skilled and has done beautiful quilts, but I would love to hear all of your comments as well! How would you quilt this?



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Honestly, it's going to depend on how much you want to spend.

Were I charging for long-arming, an all-over fairly loose pattern (either free-hand or pantograph) would run you 1.5 cents/square inch. If I'm doing a dense pattern, still an all-over or a pantograph, it would be 2-2.5 cents/square inch.

But quilting patterns designed to highlight the blocks? That's custom, it's more difficult, more time-consuming, and more expensive.

You need to get a pricing schedule from your longarmer.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:08PM
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Oops, I hit submit too soon!

Pricing aside, you have lots of large white areas just begging for a custom feather pattern, both on the large white border triangles, the dark border triangles and the diagonals on the body of the quilt.

The small triangles and squares could have a Terry twist treatment - curved lines to outline the shape, rather than stitch in the ditch.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:19PM
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Thanks Mary. I knew it would be more but don't know yet how much more. Or even if Mary Beth would be willing to do something so much more time consuming.

I have another question you might be able to answer! I want this to be a year-round quilt; will a denser or looser pattern make the quilt cooler? I was thinking that a denser pattern would reduce the loft and maybe make it cooler to use in warm weather. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:23PM
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Denser quilting will make it stiffer, and will compress the loft of the batting. Warmer or cooler? I'm not sure it will make much of a difference. So a consideration is drapable and softer, or more decorative and stiffer.

To keep it cooler, use a thin, cotton batting. To really show off the dimensionality of the quilting use a higher loft poly batting.

My king-size quilt, used year round in Texas, has Quilter's Dream Machine Blend batting. It's 70/30 cotton/poly in a fairly low loft. I like the weight even in the summer, but it's not too, too hot.

But I just did a quilt for my friend with Quilter's Dream Puff - very light-weight, but very lofty and warm batting. I loved how that quilt looked. It really showed off the quilting.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:49PM
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I'm w/ Mary on response about denser vs. less dense quilting being warmer or cooler. I doubt it will make any difference in that respect.

Speaking technically (as a former textile designer / technician), warmth or cooling levels are governed by the fiber content, not its loft or the relative density of the quilt.

I've only had one long arm quilt done (w/ a circular swirl over a very angular geometric, which contrast I loved).

Am guessing this is really a conversation for the long-armer as you suggested. Good luck whatever you decide.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:59PM
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Thanks for your comments; they've given me some good things to think about and will help when I speak with the longarmer. I definitely want looser and softer, with a nice drape, so that resolves the dense vs loose question. And I think it pushes me towards the swoopy, swirly all-over pattern I was initially planning on.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 5:10PM
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Kate, I was going to ask who your long-armer is, but you answered already! Is that Mary Beth from the guild? She does such beautiful work.

My first thought would be pretty feathers in the white spaces, too.

I bet Mary Beth will have great advice on what to do! Let us know what you decide!


    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 7:09PM
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Yes, it's our MaryBeth! She's been traveling to quilt shows doing demos so I was lucky to catch her between trips. I'm eager to see what she suggests. She's already recommended a 80/20 blend for a light-weight batting; she says it's light, breathes well and wears well. That comes pretty close to matching Mary C's recommendation too; I think it will be perfect for this year-round quilt. I got the 108" backing today so I'm ready to go!!!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 8:16PM
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