Edge-to-Edge or Custom Quilting? Part 3

So now we know what is meant by Edge-to-Edge (or Overall) Quilting and Custom Quilting, but how do we decide which one is right for a quilt? I usually consider 3 things :

#1 How will the quilt will be used? Is it for a child or college student – meant to be loved, dragged around, washed often? (Choose E2E).

Edge-to-Edge Daisy pattern on baby girl's quilt

Edge-to-Edge Daisy pattern on baby girl’s quilt

Or is it to be brought out only on special occasions, or maybe hung on a wall – an heirloom to be passed down through the generations? (Choose custom or heirloom).

#2 Will the design of the top allow fancy quilting to show? For example, an appliqued quilt top will almost always be enhanced with a custom quilting job, as will a Lone Star or other pattern with large areas of plainer fabric.

The plain background of the Lone Star quilt lets custom quilting designs stand out.

The plain background of the Lone Star quilt lets custom quilting designs stand out.

Whereas scrap quilts with lots of small pieces, or quilts with busy fabrics, often will not show any kind of fancy quilting designs so an overall pattern is more suitable.

A strippy quilt with no defined blocks is the perfect place for an edge-to-edge design.

A strippy quilt with no defined blocks is the perfect place for an edge-to-edge design.

#3 What is the customer’s budget? (Or if you are quilting your own, how much time do you want to put into the quilting?)

After asking yourself these questions, you should have a better idea of whether E2E or Custom is the right choice.

Let’s say you decide on E2e. Now, what pattern to choose? The other considerations are the age and sex of the recipient – I wouldn’t put hearts or flowers on a 19-year-old boy’s quilt, nor would I put basketballs on a 6-year-old girl’s quilt (unless she really happens to be into basketball!). I often choose based on the recipient’s interests, or some motif in the fabric. Sometimes the quilt will tell me how it wants to be quilted. Now that may sound weird – but with some quilts, as soon as they come in the door, an idea will pop in my head of how to quilt it.

Softball T-Shirts made into a quilt just screamed for an overall softball quilting pattern.

Softball T-Shirts made into a quilt just screamed for an overall softball quilting pattern, featuring bats, balls and gloves.

Whereas others may take me a LOOOOONG time to decide. That is called the “Stand and Stare” factor. Because I do exactly that – I stand there, staring at the quilt for many days, trying to decide what’s right. This usually happens with custom or heirloom quilts, which is another reason why they cost more. I often have to go searching for or spend time designing just the right pattern to fit a particular space.

I plan on showing you some more examples, but it may take me a while to find them. I’m VERY good about taking photos of every quilt before it leaves my Studio. I USED to be very good about filing those photos into the customer’s folder as I took them. I’m NO LONGER good at the filing thing. I now have 12,500 – YES TWELVE-THOUSAND-FIVE-HUNDRED photos on my laptop!!!! Okay, not all of them are of customer quilts. I’m guestimating 1000 photos are of my quilts and quilts I’ve taken at quilt shows, and 500 are personal photos of my house, and yard, and dogs, and family, etc. That leaves ONLY 11,000 photos that I need to organize!!! I should be able to get that done in a couple of hours, don’t you think????? So as soon as I get that done, maybe I can post some examples of what I chose to quilt on a top and why…….

In the meantime, don’t forget to visit the website to see the large selection of wide quilt backs I now carry. Purchase one (or more) during March to be entered to win that back for free! And if you feel the information I’m presenting here would be valuable to other quilters, please feel free to share my blog with your friends, on your online groups, Facebook, Pinterest……wherever.


As for me, it’s back to sorting photos……


What Does Steak Have to do with Quilting????

Have you ever been to a restaurant that served many, many, MANY types of food – Italian…. Steak…. Mexican…. Chicken…. Chinese…. American…. etc? Usually when trying to prepare many diverse things, none of them are done particularly well. Then you visit the restaurant that serves ONE thing – let’s say steak. Big steak …… or little steak ……. is the only choice. You KNOW you are going to get a great steak at that place.

I’ve been feeling like that first restaurant lately. Longarm quilter……pattern designer…..quilting teacher……retail store owner…..website manager…..bookkeeper…..blogger…..retreat organizer…… I don’t feel like I’ve been doing any of those as well as I could if I weren’t spread so thin.

So I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about which parts of the business I’m best at,¬† which ones I enjoy the most, and which parts fit in best with my personality quirks¬† (I’m not good at long term planning, and I have the attention span of a gnat – both things that are not conducive to running a fabric store!). I find that I need to create – not plan things out six months in advance…….not haggle with vendors over mistakes on orders…….not guess which fabrics to order that people will want to buy, only to find out my crystal ball was broken that day…..not spend a lot of time on marketing and merchandising and trying to convince people to buy things they probably don’t really need anyway. (I mean……really……how many of us are actually in danger of running out of fabric?!?!?!?!? LOL)

After much consideration, I have decided to narrow the focus of my business. I’m going to concentrate primarily on the longarm quilting, and possibly some time spent designing patterns. I really love the creativity of these parts of my business. I’ve had pattern ideas in my head for a long time, but just not enough uninterrupted time to get them worked out (there’s a lot of math involved in writing patterns!). I’ve also toyed with the idea of designing digitized quilting patterns for the computerized longarm systems. And I’ve still kept in the back of my mind the requests to teach longarm quilting classes. (Gee, that doesn’t seem like I’m really letting some things go, does it???)

Anyway, in order to free me up for these pursuits,


New Sale Prices in Effect beginning Aug. 11, 2012 – all regular width fabrics $6.99/yd or less! Everything else has been reduced by 30% (sale prices not valid on batting or wide backs)


I’m going to clearance out all of the retail quilting supplies, other than batting and wide quilt backs, which I will continue to carry. So all of my 44″ wide fabrics, pre-cut fabrics, notions, books, kits, etc. will be first come-first served, while supplies last.

I also need to take some time off this summer to recharge my batteries. I will be open Tues, Weds. and Thurs. from 10 am to 5 pm for July & August, other days will be by chance or appointment. The best thing to do if you are coming from out of town is to email or call to see if I will be open. And if you are not already on my mailing list, sign up here and/or Like Me on Facebook to be kept up-to-date on my hours. (I’ll probably be taking a full week off late Aug. or early Sept.)

I’m sorry for the inconvenience this may cause, but hopefully the great buys on sale items will make it up to you a little bit. And keep in mind, while in the future the Studio may no longer have the most extensive ‘menu’ around, you’ll know that what we do offer will be the tenderest, juiciest, most flavorful ‘steak’ ever!


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