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Choosing a Machine Quilting Service

Choosing a Machine Quilting Service
Joyce Mitchel

So you have finished your first quilt top and have decided that you would like it machine quilted, where do you go from here?
First you need to take a good long look at your quilt top and decide just how much this quilt will always mean to you. If you decide that maybe you didn’t do the job that you wished you had and do not want to spend much on the quilting then you can choose a quilting service that doesn’t offer much in services or talent. But, if you decide that you want to make this quilt as special as it can be (because quilt tops tend to take on a new life after quilting by a pro) then choose a quilting service that offers you choices as well as directive advice.
I wish I had a dollar for every time someone brings a quilt into the shop and they are amazed at the input that they have and the advice that they receive. Usually they have taken their quilt to a service that is short on service, there color choice is one, white, and their batting choice is one or none. Then there is the design that is going on the quilt and there again they are left out of the process. At DbarJ Quilts etc and others we let you choose between freehand quilting or pattern quilting, we give you multiple thread choices to enhance you quilt in different ways, we have batting choices that will suit how you are going to use the quilt and different backings so you can enjoy the back as well as the front. By going to a service that offers you choices you are in complete control of the outcome of the look of your quilt. I always tell my clients that it is not my quilt so why should I make it mine by taking over the final design decisions.
As a note aside: I need to tell you that many of my out of state customers do want me to make choices for them because they are not able to make it to the shop to see thread and such for themselves. Usually when I get an out of state job their first quilt is a small test quilt to check out my decisions. I have yet to have one say she didn’t like what I have done and larger quilts soon follow.
Lastly, your quilter should always be mindful of your budget. She should ask you questions about the importance of the quilt, is it a gift or just for yourself. She should make clear her pricing on different options so you can decide which you might afford. And if you ask for a written estimate she should be prepared to give it to you, remember it is an estimate not a final bill.
Quilts are made up of love, hope and joy and deserve to be quilted by someone who looks at them that way, not just as today’s paycheck.