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Looking for a Longarm Quilter

Dear Deb,

I am looking for some tips on choosing a longarm quilting service. I have never hired one before and don’t know where to start. I know what a longarm machine is because I saw one at a quilt show. Can you help me ? 

Looking for a Longarm Quilter

Dear Looking,

I have some ideas for you think about when choosing a longarm quilter for your amazing quilt. You want to pick someone who thinks it is amazing, too. There are several things to consider when you are doing research and inquiries for your longarm quilter.

First, what kind of stitching do you want? Did you know that there are many price points on quilting and it depends on many things but density of quilting is the main consideration. Typical rule of thumb, the denser the quilting the more money it will cost.  I love dense quilting but it can really add up quickly!

Do you want a simple all over design for your baby quilt? That may be the most economical way to go. The next question is how are the stitches made? Not every quilter uses a computer to quilt. Some use all hand guided stitches and it may be free motion or follow a pattern with a beam of light.  It is more organic and looks very cool, however, it is not going to be perfect. That is it’s attraction to some, and not so much for others.  

If you have a specific motif like a football or mascot in mind, you will need someone who has a computerized system to quilt it out for you. It may be a little more of a challenge to find someone who has this capability The computer will tell the machine’s robotics to stitch your carefully chosen motif on your quilt. Using a computer isn’t a good or bad thing, it is all about the look you want to achieve.

What else adds to the cost? These are things to chat about with your longarmer.  Multiple thread color, binding it for you, sewing your backing pieces, squaring up a quilt and pressing/prepping your quilt are all added charges for many longarmers. Do your homework and have your quilt prepped exactly how your quilter requests you to. Press, hang it on a hanger, have the back and batting larger by at least 4 inches on all sides and have an idea of sharing what you want stitched so no surprises happen when you pick up! Longarmers want to hear what your ideas are, what you like, what thread colors you prefer and what your price point it!

You can find quilters almost anywhere for hire! Some will take mailed quilts so you aren’t limited to your town. Do you have a timeline? Some quilters need several weeks to months before that special date. Do you want a special color of thread or batting? What is the typical cost to do a quilt job similar to what I am asking? Most longarm quilters can give you a close estimate before you leave your quilt in their hands.

Longarm quilters are some of the nicest, hardest working people out there. They make their living by helping others see their dream quilt tops become a quilt. By asking fellow quilters, checking at quilt shops or quilt shows and researching quilters on line you can find someone to help you finish your quilt. Once you find the right long arm quilter to collaborate with you, a beautiful working relationship can grow!

Good luck in finding just the right quilter!



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