I am thrilled to report that my daughter LOVES her birthday quilt! It was the first gift she opened on her birthday (probably because of the oversized box!) and she immediately curled up on the couch with her warm, soft present. It’s now on her bed and looks darn cute. Hooray!
I’m also pleased to tell you that the quilting work done by Julie, the professional longarm quilter, is beautiful. Her daisies are poised inside the “windows” of this non-traditional attic windows quilt, and they also run up and down the borders. Around the rest of the quilt she filled in with playful loops. The rose-pink thread turned out well. There is a lot of contrast in these colors, so any thread choice would stand out in some spots, and fade away in others.
Here are a few closeups of some of the quilting:
It is amazing to see the perfect thread tension and even stitching that a pro can produce. As to the question of whether it appears “less handmade,” I would say that because all of the stitching is done using hand movements (not computerized sewing patterns) by Julie, each part of the stitching design is a little different, a little unique. So for me, it still has that “made by hand” quality of artistic choices and imperfections. (For example: most daisies have 6 petals, but some have 5 and some 7, some petals are bigger and some smaller, some slant to one side, etc.)
I simply wouldn’t have the patience or skill to hand-quilt a quilt this size (small twin or large lap size), and with a larger project, quilting the layers by machine on my own home sewing machine is just not that fun and not very easy to control. So for a special project that’s worth extra love, attention, and very even stitching, I think that having an experienced longarm quilter’s help can really come in handy.
Here’s the other thing: having Julie quilt this allowed me to finish the project on schedule. My advice is to budget for this kind of help if you think you’ll need it to finish a project; how many unquilted tops do many quilters have lying around?
On the other hand, if you have time, patience, and tools to do it yourself, you will save money, and the project will remain uniquely and entirely yours. There is satisfaction in having stitched every stitch yourself, even if you struggle with it at times.
Here’s another thought: get a semi-industrial straight-stitch machine like this Juki and THEN finish your quilts at top speed! If I ever have time to get deeper into the quilting side of things, I’m putting that at the top of my list…
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