Ask the Longarmer….

When I’m working on a quilt, I often have lots of time to think. Sometimes I wonder if my clients question why I do some of the things I do, or have certain requirements for them to follow. (“Really?!?!? She wants me to do WHAT????”) 😉


I’ve been longarm quilting for over 10 years now, so most of what I do is second nature to me. But I realize what is commonplace to me may be very foreign to someone who has not worked on a longarm – or maybe even seen one in person. I’m starting a new feature here on my blog called “Ask the Longarmer”. I’ll offer tips and hints and insight into why I ask you for some of the things I do. There really ARE logical reasons for my requests, and the end result will be a quilt we can both be proud of.

I’d also like to answer questions from you if there is something in the process that is confusing or does not make sense. Please email your questions to me at I’ll keep copies of these posts all together on the “Ask the Longarmer” page – you can find that on a tab way up on the top of my blog. So you can always return to that page if you need a refresher on something. And if you subscribe to my blog (over on the left side) you’ll be sure to never miss a post.

So let’s get started. Here is something you might be wondering about:

What is the stitching around the edges of the quilt, and why is the thread color sometimes different than the main quilting design?

When I load your quilt on the frame, I baste the edges of your top to the batting and backing as I work my way down the quilt. This ensures that the quilt will stay square and straight. Not all LAers do this, as it takes more time, but it’s important to me to have your quilt look it’s best when it’s finished. The thread is sometimes different colors as this is how I use up partial bobbins ;-) . You may remove this stitching if you wish, but most clients tell me they like it as it makes it easier to apply their binding.

So now it’s your turn – what would YOU like to know? You can post as a comment below, or email me and I’ll try to answer in an upcoming post.


A *REAL* Tuesday Tip

I didn’t want you to feel cheated by the tip in my last post. ;-), so you get a second Tuesday Tip this week:

When using fusible web, often times some of the glue ends up on the soleplate of your iron. (Note to self – you really need to check which side of the fusible web is up before you smash the hot iron down on top of it – yuck!)

There are products you can buy to remove the gunk, but try this first. Save your used fabric softener dryer sheets. Not the kind that are like foam rubber, but the kind that are more like an interfacing material (I use Snuggle). Wait until your iron is warm (not hot, you don’t want to burn your little fingers!), and rub the dryer sheet over the soleplate. I then like to finish up by rubbing with a paper towel. You might have to put a little elbow grease behind it, but it works pretty well for me. Let me know if you try it.

Tuesday Tip – Finding More Time to Quilt

On the second Monday of the month we usually have a work night at my shop for Quilts of Valor, a program which gives quilts to wounded soldiers & veterans. Sometimes we stay later than other times, tonight we had a new sewist join us so we got quite a bit done and stayed longer than usual. (Don’t you love the word ‘sewist’? It looks so much nicer in print than ‘sewer’. Sewer doesn’t SOUND bad – “Sew-er” but when you type it it looks the same as the word pronounced “Soo-er”. So I prefer “Sewist” – but I digress……)

Anyway, I arrived home – tired, hungry, with a list of things I wanted to accomplish before bed. And what should I find waiting for me in my kitchen?

Just over 13 pounds!!! Poor Rudy must have been out in the drizzle picking for hours. The bad thing about strawberries – or any garden produce for that matter – is not only do you have to plant them, and water them, and weed them, and fertilize them, and keep the bugs & birds away from them, and harvest them, but then you have to DO something with them as well! So we spent an hour or so sorting and washing and hulling berries.

The larger ones get laid out on a cookie sheet and placed in the freezer. When solid, they go into ziplock bags and are eventually used in hot cereal, or for pancake topping, or to make smoothies, etc. We will deal with smaller ones tomorrow -those usually get pureed in the blender and made into fruit leather in the dehydrator, or one of my favorite things to do with them (favorite meaning *EASY*) – Frozen Strawberry Daquiris. I was going to post my recipe for you, but I can’t find it! What am I going to do?????? (Anyone have any good strawberry recipes to share with me?)

Anyway, this leads me to today’s Tuesday Tip for quilters:

If you want to have time to sew during the summer, don’t plant a garden!!!!!

Tuesday Tip – Working With Fusible Applique

I was working on a fusible applique project today.

(If you’re new to fusible applique, here’s the short course on how it works – you trace the shape you want on the paper side, then iron that to the wrong side of your fabric. Cut the shape out along the drawn line, then remove the paper backing. Now the fusible glue is on the wrong side of your applique, and you can fuse it to a background fabric.)

Anyway, some of the pieces were skinny little letters, with parts that were less than a quarter inch wide, and I was struggling to remove the paper backing.

The fusible wanted to come away with the backing, and the edges of the letters were getting frayed. So were my nerves…..

Then I tried something new. I traced off a new letter. Fused it to the fabric. But I didn’t cut it out. I peeled the paper backing off first. (By the way, did you know if you take a straight pin and score the paper in the center of the unit, you can then grab and peel the paper from there, instead of starting at an edge where you run the risk of fraying?)

So I bet you’re wondering how I’m going to cut the shape if I no longer have the drawing to follow? Well, you know how that paper has a lot of static and wants to cling to your fingers? It will also cling back to the piece of fabric you just removed it from. I just placed it back on top and held on carefully while I made my cuts:

(Another tip – I like to cut my inside details out first, while there’s still a lot of the shape to hold onto. Then I’ll do the larger outside cuts.)

It worked really well! Look at how nice and neat these letters turned out – and notice the size from the ruler on my cutting mat!

Now the next big question is…..what on earth am I working on that I need to spell “EEL” on my project???????

Stay tuned, I’ll try to post a photo of it tomorrow.

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