Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Learning from my Quilter

I often say I'm a Quilter, but more accurately I'm a Piece-er these days. {Yeah I know it isn't really a word.} I have quilted, and still do quilt on occasion, but most of the time these days Angela is doing my quilting. Raspberry Dessert was the first quilt we worked on together and I haven't used another quilter since. {Raspberry Dessert will be re-published in my upcoming book, Skip the Borders!} I didn't give Angela and direction on the quilt, and haven't given her much since then. She knows quilting, so I trust her to make the best decisions for the different designs with my quilt tops.


I talk about Angela often, but for those who don't know who I'm talking about, I think it's time for a formal introduction. Angela Walters is a professional Long-Arm Quilter. For those reading who aren't quilters, this means that she takes the pieced quilt top I've made, batting & the backing I've pieced and does the actual quilting of the three layers.

These photos will help show what I'm talking about. They show the before & after on one of my Ditto Quilts.

My Quilt Top Before
Angela's Quilting

After Angela's Quilting

Quilting is the second to last step in creating a quilt. Binding is the final step. The quilting holds the top, batting and backing together. At the core it has a practical purpose, but also can have an amazing aesthetic one.


Angela & I in my booth at Spring 2012 Quilt Market

As a Quilt Designer I use a professional Long-Arm Quilter for various reasons.
1. Time! It takes lots of time to design, sew,write patterns, and run a business.
2. Ability. I'm sure I could become a great quilter if I put the time & effort in, but I've always been happier piecing than quilting. Because of that I've never dedicated a lot of time to the quilting stage and Angela is much more talented than I am at it!
3. Collaboration. Sometimes two heads are better than one. It has been rare that I have a quilting plan to send to Angela, and when I have she usually changes parts anyway. The result is always more than I could have imagined in the first place.
4. Friendship. I didn't know when I met Angela that we'd become great friends, but I'm incredibly blessed to have her in my life. She's more than just a quilter to me. She's encouraged me to work outside my comfort zone and some of my pattern designs wouldn't exist without her having pushed me. I'm getting better at designing and piecing all the time and I owe a good part of that to Angela.

Lately I've been learning a wealth of information from Angela's blog. She has been posting about many of the 50+ quilts she did for Quilt Market. In each post she talks about what she quilted & why. I'm really excited for her new book since it will finally give me the language I need to talk to Angela about quilting, even though I'll probably still just let her go for it! Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters: Choose & Use Quilting Designs on Modern Quilts.

Angela also recently started a Forum on her blog!! I joined & I see this as a place to learn, share, and get inspired. You really should check it out.


Today on her blog, Angela talked about doing the quilting on Ballerina. She actually quilted 4 of them before market! Three for me and 1 for the Robert Kaufman Booth! The post focuses on quilting designs that help with movement.


Last week Angela posted about Ditto. Angela discusses quilting both of my ditto quilts, and specifically addresses quilting fast for deadlines.


Last but not least is Varsity. Angela posted a short tutorial on how to do Frame Quilting and used my Varsity quilt as an example. The original Varsity quilt had busy fabrics so the quilting doesn't stand out as much at first. In the second smaller sample I made the white background gave Angela a great space to show off her work.


So are you mostly a Piece-er, a Quilter, both?
...or do you have another name!

© Blog post written by Julie Herman
© Photos by Angela Walters & Julie Herman
 For more information visit http://www.jaybirdquilts.com/


Teresa Silva said...

Julie, I love your quilt designs. My good friend Kristen brought me two more patterns back from Spring Market. Varsity and Ballerina and I've already made Fast Forward. I'm a longarm quilter and I too learn so much from Angela. Thanks for all the great photos of your quilts. Keep doing what you do. Your patterns are amazing!

Cindy Sharp said...

I like picking the fabric and designing a quilt. Piecing is okay...but it can get monotinous. I have to keep the end result in mind.

I own a long arm that is computerized. So I quilt too...but I am not half as creative as Angela. She is a treasure.

Melissa P said...

I prefer piecing over quilting. For me it's the magical part.

I hope things are settling down now that Market is over. Summer fun is just around the corner!

Ramona said...

I've sewn for decades, but only really caught the quilt bug last summer/fall. I love fabric...it's like a drug...my wallet is crying. So I like thinking about patterns for fabrics, but my favorite part is quilting. I'm free motion quilting on my machine and would love the chance to try a long-arm. The time will come.
Great post. I thoroughly enjoy both your and Angela's blogs. Thanks for sharing.

Erica said...

I love the collaborative effort! I enjoy reading your perspective, then hopping over to Angela's blog to read hers - I learn so much from both of you. So happy to have found her forum yesterday. Thank you both for providing people like me with great inspiration and information I can apply in my own quilting life!

Dresden Quilter said...

I am more of a piecer, but have started to quilt more. I love piecing, getting those intricate pieces together is fun for me. For me the issue with quilting is knowing which designs will work best to get the most out of the quilt. Plus after having done so much work, and having so little time, a long arm quilter is amazing to me.

Venus de Hilo said...

I love piecing and FMQ quilting equally, but would love to work with Angela some day because her quilting is so beautiful.

Jennifer Thomas said...

Those are some great pics of Angela's quilting - beautiful quilting to complement the quilts. She must have a great natural feel for it. Thanks for sharing. Have a super day!

Kathryn said...

I've been a piecer from the start. My first quilts were hand quilted by my Aunt Louise. She must have loved me a lot to quilt for me!! Now I use a few friends that have long-arm businesses. I wouldn't get nearly as much done without them. Thanks to all the quilters out there. Kathie L in Allentown

Krista said...

I had always done my own quilting until last fall, when I sent a quilt top down to my friend Krista Withers in Seattle to complete. She did an amazing job on it, and has since done two other quilts for me. I prefer just the overall, softer designs for quilts that are going to be used. I don't see how the custom, really heavily quilted quilts are very comfortable with all of that dense stitching. And honestly, I don't see how the average crafter/quilter can afford more than an overall (freehand or IQ) design on most of their quilts. Especially knowing now how many hours a professional quilter puts into their work. I can understand how it would be different though for someone like you who is publishing photos or displaying quilts at Market. I'd love to know though what your opinion is on the functionality of these heavily quilted quilts, as beautiful as they may be!

Kate Brown said...

She does such a beautiful job on your quilts. The ballerina is stunning! Like Krista though, I am curious as to how the quilts are with all that dense stitching.
I am old school and am just now learning how to machine quilt. Out of neccesity I had to learn to speed things up a bit. I do love the feeling of sitting back and getting a rythm going to hand quilt and I have to say I miss it. I am not sure what my favorite part of quilting is... LOL buying fabric! How about my least favorite part of quilting is marking it for quilting. The rest of it I love.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said...

I'm a designer at heart, a fabricholic by addiction and a piecer by necessity and choice in order to get the designs and fabric married. But the quilting is something I'm still working on. Embarrassed to say how many "tops" I have calling out to be quilted. Thanks for the info on Angela's site.

Rachel said...

I would call you a patchworker, rather than piecer. I enjoy both steps. I get frustrated by what quilting I can achieve with my machine, but keep trying.

Amy said...

Love your post today. You and Angela are a fabulous team! I dabble in a little of everything, but prefer piecing to the quilting. My friend Theresa came up with our term for letting a longarmer do our quilting - we're Toppers!

Josie McRazie said...

Can I tell you I am glad to hear you use that 'word'! LOL I just told someone at my quilt guild meeting last night that i am only a piecer so far! (VERY new to quilting, only a little over a year) and do hope some day to be an actual quilter! I have seven quilt tops done and am just building up the courage to put ME to the test!!!
I do love your patterns and hope one day to add one of yours to my list of quilts!

Josie McRazie said...

Can I tell you I am glad to hear you use that 'word'! LOL I just told someone at my quilt guild meeting last night that i am only a piecer so far! (VERY new to quilting, only a little over a year) and do hope some day to be an actual quilter! I have seven quilt tops done and am just building up the courage to put ME to the test!!!
I do love your patterns and hope one day to add one of yours to my list of quilts!

Sandy said...

Just wanted to tell you that "you rock" ! I really enjoyed reading this post!
Love you :)

CitricSugar said...

I think that I'm a little of both. I enjoy the piecing, I'm learning more about and getting more confident at the quilting, and may someday dabble at long-arm quilting. To be perfectly honest, I find I spend most of my craft budget on the fabrics themselves and therefore, have no financial alternative but to quilt things myself. However, i've seen enough amazing long arm work that if a quilt top I make needs to be very special and perfect, I think I'll send it to a long-armer... Angela really does some incredible stuff - she amazes me!

Anonymous said...

I love that your mom commented on your post! I don't think my mom even knows that I blog about my projects!

I'm also a piecer, not a quilter. I rely on people that know what they're doing to quilt my projects!

BengalPup said...

I LOVE QUILTING! All of it... except hand attaching the binding. I know it should be comforting... it's not.

Sharon said...

Your patterns are wonderful -- looking forward to getting my signed copy of your book -- ordered from you as soon as I could. Funny, my sister and I were talking about this very thing when we chatted on the computer last night. She is my long-arm quilter and responsible for getting me started as a 'piece-er' also. I told her that I really love the piecing part but prefer for her to do her magic on the tops when I am done. She quilts mine for me and I send her batting as payment. Somehow I am getting the better end of the deal, I think. She is also a piece-er and does more intricate work than I do. as she said to me last night "we share a common thread -- HAH HAH".

mascanlon said...

Oh you know me, I'm a piecer although I occasionally do some straight line quilting or a little ( and I do mean little!) FMQ on small things. Angela's work is amazing! I may join the forum too, as a learning tool.