Hand Pieced tops - some are old. SIL wants to machine quilt them.

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Jeanine replied on Fri, Dec 21 2012 8:48 AM


That is good to hear. I think that if someone in the family did the machine quilting, then we would have more investment in the item and be much more observant. What I have seen in the shops is that they stretch the quilt on the flatbed over the batting, set the stitch pattern and let it run. It didn't seem that they were observing the operation to be on the look-out for things going awry on the detail level.
I have a quilting machine and might take a shot at it on one of the unfinished ones that I am going to remove some outer squares and replace with new (thus to make it symmetrical both in shape and in fabrics used). The single squares that I pull off will be batted and backed for pillow covers.
Thank you!

I would never give a quilt to a shop that did it by computer.  I have seen and heard of too many issues.  You definitely want to give it to someone you could trust to care for the quilt.  I did some of them very custom to accomodate the issues with the quilt and others an all over design but I was very careful ... and present...through the whole process.


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Joni replied on Fri, Dec 21 2012 3:14 PM


I understand your concern.  If these tops are to be shared among family members then each should complete them as they see fit.   I know we quilters are mighty particular and it is so painful when people do not treat our treasures as we would like. That said, I would rather see everyone enjoy the finished product while they can then to have them packed away and out of sight.

That is why I am very careful who I make quilts for...I would not give my quilts to some family members because they would just throw them in a wringer washer and then in a hot dryer or worse hang on a clothes line.  So instead I give them to those who appreciate them and all the work that went into the quilt.  Using a stablelizer sound like a great idea

It is like selling or giving away a horse, once it is in someone else's care we can only pray they will love and cherish the animal with great respect.  But we have not control over it's care.

If you can afford to have the Amish complete the tops by hand that is great.  If not there are many LAQers out there who would be careful and treat them with respect.  Just know that once they are out of your hands they are in someone else's care.

Hm-m-m-m-m!  My bread is ready to come out of the oven, smells so yummy!  Such a cold and windy day, I should have made some soup...oh well manana!

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Thea replied on Fri, Dec 21 2012 5:09 PM

Karmopa - Do you have pictures of the tops?  For me to give a good answer I would have to see the tops. If they are completed tops, then a good machine quilter would do a fine job on them.  That being said - if a top is hand sewn I like to hand quilt them - it is just a personal preference of mine.  When I take all the time it takes to hand piece one, I hand quilt it and have done several - back before my arthritis made doing a quilt by hand almost impossible to do.

I have an antique quilt top made by a GGGGreat Grand mother from the 1870s - it is just the top and at present it is still just the top.  Because of its age, it is worth more as a top then to quilt it - once I put a backing batting and quilt it - it goes from an 1870 quilt top to a 2012(?) quilt.  I have been debating what to do with it forever it seems - about 5 or 6 years at least.  If I do ever quilt it, it will be quilted by hand.  On the back you can see where my GGGGgrandmother pricked her finger with either a pin or her needle and a little spot of blood is there - you can't see it on the front but it makes me feel good when I look at it - it is a star pattern and the fabric is stronger then most of the cotton fabrics we have today.  I keep it put away so the sunlight does not get to it - but one day I really do think I am going to quilt it.  I had thought to donate it to Toronto Canada to the museum up there if they wanted it as my family donated the land for the park and museum there - Milne family - but so far have not been able to find whom I need to talk to and that is laziness on my part and partially that I am not ready to let it go yet... One day though... 


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barbjahay replied on Fri, Dec 21 2012 5:19 PM

I have a short-arm quilting machine and have done several hand pieced older quilts. I always test the fabric and stitching first to make sure it is strong enough for handling. Also I do not stretch it very tight. I look for gaps in seams as I roll the quilt and sew them up by hand before I quilt over it. I  use an allover interlocking  pattern that looks good with the fabric and quilt design.  Check with local churchs or senior citizens centers who might have a group that does hand quilting. The quilts will be more valuable over time  if they are hand quilted.  I would talk to the machine quilter and look at some of their work before letting them do the quilts.

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