Q. What should I do to prepare my top for sending to a longarm quilter?
A. The top should be clean. All threads should be clipped. It should be squared up
before sending it to be quilted. It should not be basted/sandwiched already. The
basting would have to be removed before quilting can be done on a longarm quilting
Q. How big should my backing be?
A. Your backing should be 8 inches wider and 8 inches longer than your quilt top. We
currently do not offer any backing fabric for sale, nor do we offer a piecing of backing
as a service. This extra fabric is needed to load the backing and your quilt on the
longarm frame. It is also crucial that the
backing be square before loading on the frame. If the backing is not square or the
backing is not large enough, it can be impossible to load and risks distortion being
quilted into your backing. Who ever you choose to do your longarm quilting wants to
do the very best job for you, so please supply them with the necessary fabric to do
the job right.
Q. Can I provide my own batting?
A. Yes, you may provide your own batting. We do reserve the right to refuse any
batting that isn’t consistent in loft or of poor quality. Quality batting is critical to
having your quilt look good when it is finished.
Q. Do you post pictures of your customer’s quilts?
A. Serendipity Quilting respects your quilts. Our philosopy is you own the quilt. You
paid us for a service. Even though we are really proud of our work, we understand
that you as the owner want first shot at showing it off. On the other hand, if you
want to show it off on our gallery, we would be more than happy to oblige.
A. All information is kept private. We do not sell or share any customer information.
Q. Should older/antique tops be quilted on a longarm?
A. That really depends on the condition of the fabric. Some are not able to be quilted
on a longarm because they may have been weakened due to storage conditions or
age. If the top is in good condition, there is no reason why it can not be quilted on a
longarm. All quilts must be clean before we will accept them.
Q. Why do you want to be contacted before I mail a quilt to you?
A. We want our customers to be happy. Have you ever noticed that there are many
different styles of quilt tops? There are also many different styles of quilting. We
think it’s a good idea for a quilt topper to check and make sure the longarmer offers
the type of quilting they are wanting before shipping the quilt. Different types of
quilting not only have different cost considerations, but time considerations as well.
In order to manage our work load and return quilts in the estimated time given, we
need to have an idea what our work load is going to be.
Q. What are some tips for packaging and shipping my quilt?
A. Several things can be done to help make sure your quilt safely reaches the
intended destination. Make sure you use a sturdy box. Inside the box, wrap your quilt
or quilt top in a bag. This will help protect your quilt from getting wet or dirty if the
box should develop a hole. I really like those huge ziploc bags. In addition to
addressing the outside of the box, put a copy of the address information inside the
bag. This increases the chance that your shipper can return or deliver your quilt, even
in the case of a damaged box. Always use a tracking number. All shippers, including
the USPS, now offer tracking numbers. If shipping to a residence, consider
using a signature required service. This prevents your quilt from being left on a porch
in any kind of weather. Serendipity Quilting has a PO Box for receiving your quilts to
ensure a dry, secure environment. There is no guarantee that these tips will keep
your quilt completely safe, but it will go a long way into preventing loss.
Choosing a Frame – Things to consider in buying a machine quilting frame.
There are a number of things to questions to ask yourself when you are considering a machine quilting frame. These are the areas that I considered and questions I asked myself in looking for a machine quilting frame.
I have included my findings on the two finalists for me, B-line and the Grace, which as I thought you might find them helpful. There is a checklist (coming soon) that you can print and use to do your own research. I have completed the column for the B-line and the Grace.
The basic premise
The basic idea for a machine quilting frame is the same for all manufacturers. Your home sewing machine sits on top of 2 platforms. The top platform allows the machine to go forward and backward across a table or platform. The bottom platform sits on a track on a table to allow your sewing machine to go from one end to the other. These two platforms enable the machine to make a complete circle.
What do I want in a frame?
1. Portable verses stationary – Do I want to have the option to take it down and store it? How easy is it to put up and take down?
I decided I wanted the option of taking the frame down. So ease of assembly was important. The B-line may take an hour to put up the first time as you screw the carriage together with a screwdriver. But after that, no tools are required. Just use fingers to tighten clamps. I am proud to report that I can put my frame up in 20 minutes!
The Grace is a stationery frame and meant to be left up. It comes in 3 boxes and takes time to put up! So you want to have a permanent space for it.
2. Quilt size -What size quilts will I be quilting? Does the frame accommodate all sizes? Do I have to purchase extensions for king-size quilts?
I found the B-line to have an all-inclusive price that allows me to quilt all sizes up to king!
3. Quilting with the frame – Are the handles on the front and back of the frame to allow you to do pantograph quilting and free motion quilting? Are handles built in or is this an option you have to purchase? Is there a stylus?
Both the B-line and the Grace have handles built in on both sides of the frame. The both allow free motion and pantograph quilting.
4. My machine – What machine will I use on the frame? Is there a speed control available?
I have opted to use either the Brother 1500 PQ or the Juki TL98e. Both offer the most throat space available today on the home machine market for under $1200.
I use the Speed Lock for my speed control on the free-motion frame. The Speed Lock is available for both machines for $39.00 from us. Check out our SPEED LOCKS. I also use the Quilter’s Cruise Control which gives me automatic stitch regulation for my home machine.
5. Future uses – Does it accommodate the PC Quilter? Do I have to purchase an adapter? What is the space between the rollers?
The B-line accommodates the PC Quilter without an adapter of any kind. So no additional purchase is necessary. The Grace requires the purchase of an adapter for the PC Quilter wheels.
The B-line offers 16 inches between the rollers and the carriage can travel that distance with the machine off. This will be of interest when longer armed machines or the Max throat option is available for the PC Quilter and free-motion quilting.
The Grace has 12 inches between the rollers and 8 inches of carriage travel.
Construction of the frame
1. Frame – What is the frame made of? Is it solid or does it vibrate? What will break or wear out? What is the warranty?
Both the B-line and the Grace are made of laminated hardwood. Both are very solid frames with a very high touch look of wood.
The B-line has hardwood cogs and a lifetime warranty. The Grace uses plastic and has a 1 year warranty.
2. Rails – What are the rails made of? Are they continuous? How do they extend? What prevents them from slipping? What keeps them straight?
The rails on the B-line are metal in a wood casing and provide an extendible continuous rail to king size. The rail locks under the end pieces to prevent movement and keep them straight.
The Grace has the track imbedded in the table. The purchase of an extension is required to get to king-size.
3. Rollers – What are the rollers made of? How do they extend? What prevents them from slipping? Are they reinforced? How easy is it to advance the quilt?
The Rollers on the B-line are square and made of extruded aluminum. The rollers extend by placing a square hardwood dowel in and then butting the next rail segment up to it. Since they are square with the dowel inside them they can not slip and the dowel adds extra rigidity at the joint. Advancing the quilt is very easy–drop the side tension clamps and drop the little hammers–roll and replace hammers and tension. No pinning!
4. Leaders – How do the leaders attach? How difficult is it to change leaders?
The B-line leaders attach with masking tape. This makes it easy to change leaders as the rail and the tape are square you can be sure you are straight.
The Grace system has a dowel inserted inside the rail. I believe this replaces leaders. I wasn’t sure I wanted my quilt in the roller.
5. Tension – How difficult is it to adjust the tension sides?
The B-line comes with clamps on elastic cords that clip quickly to the side of the quilt and adjust with a sliding clip. This is very quick when advancing the quilt!
The Grace has a system that separates the rollers then you put a fabric strip the right size in to pin to the side of the quilt.
1. User Group – Is there a group of users I can join?
Both the B-line and the Grace have user groups on yahoo.
B-line has a lifetime warranty. The Grace has a 1 year warranty.
Last, but not least,
The B-line is $629 (includes all taxes) and the Grace is $899 +/- depending on dealer.
See us at shows for free shipping up to $35 on the B-line!