Friday, July 24, 2009

MQ Frustrations

I picked up my oldest son's quilt from being machine butchered (aka "quilted") this week. At first blush, I know you are all thinking "this quilt's not so bad". That was my initial impression for the first 30 seconds I saw it. Elation of having another quilt nearing completion was quickly drowned by my frustration in not being able to find a machine quilter that is both decent and affordable.
The person that did this is local to me. I saw some of her work before taking this, and thought it was fine. What I saw, however, were leafy and flowy patterns. That just was not going to work on this highly geometric (male) quilt. When I suggested to her my scheme for quilting this one down the center of each row, she never gave me the impression she'd have an impossible time of it. I knew well enough not to ask her to ditch stitch the entire thing because if she was not in the ditch, THAT would show. Line up the rail, straight stitch right down the center, right??? My quilt is expertly pieced (little grin here...but all seams do line up nicely). Never in a million years was I expecting to see this...

She said that the machine sews straight, but that the material sometimes shifts a bit (BS, in my opinion. The fabric is held in a rack. It can't move upwards of an inch. So if she thought she was going away from the center, she found what she thought was a convenient spot to "jut" back over to the center. There are a TON of "juts" on this quilt. Most are a barely noticeable from the front, but some are, as above. From the back, which is mostly large blocks of solid color, these look like total CRAP.

See (above), the notion of my quilting plan really does work well with the Bento Box design. But here's a case where I discovered that she forgot two entire rows!! Fortunately she sent me home with one bobbin and a roll of the quilting thread. I can get these on my machine. At this point, I am still trying to get my eyes back to the front of my head. They're rolled back THAT far! How on earth can she expect me to pay $160 for this mess?

Here's a shot from the back... Isn't this lovely??...
The borders of the quilt have diagonal straight stitching. It's mostly OK, but there are a few places near the edge that have small puckers. Maybe the binding will mask it.

I made up the binding this morning and once I get the gumption to fix/finish the quilting, I'll be ready for the binding. I'm not a real fan of hand sewing binding on large quilts in the summer, so it may actually sit in wait until October.


Finding a good machine quilter is so challenging. I'm going to go berserk before I get a good one. I hate to spend a good amount of money on really nice quilting fabrics, meticulously piece a pretty top, only to have a machine quilter make a mess of it. One other local quilter I have used does a good job, she charges 25% more than this one, but she's generally boring. I tried another last fall for a Christmas quilt gift. She charged nearly twice this person, but the quilt was lovely. I used another this spring that charged $15 for a lap quilt. It did have it's issues, but I worked around them and it's now kind of pretty. What's a piecer to do??? I'm about ready to buy my own machine and flub them up myself. At least I won't be PO'd at every experience :-)





8 comments:

Fiesta said...

Margaret ouch!
you do such great piecing. Have you considered quilting them yourself or just buying the smaller longarm machine.? I believe it is called George and I think with what you pay for quilting services it will pay off in the long run.

Marlene said...

Margaret, As a former longarm quilter, I must say straight line are not as easy as may think. With that said, You could have done a better job yourself. My favorite tool for straight line quilting is blue painters tape along with my
(#10)edgestitch foot, it doesn't leave tacky residue on the fabric and is very easy to work with. (Home Depot is my second favorite store)

aubirdwoman said...

agree with Fiesta....
I definitey would quilt them myself, the more you do the better you get, and you will not be paying good money.
Very fortunate here in Vic Aus. I have had two quilted and they were absolutely fabulous, otherwise
I quilt my own .

Ruthie said...

Don't know where you're located, but I would be happy to do some quilting for you. I have several customers that mail to me and I send them back all ready for the binsing.

badlandsquilts said...

I know where I live some of the quilt stores that have long arms offer classes on how to use the machines and then you can rent them... here they go for about $50 for 2 hours. I've heard when you are good that is enough for a queen quilt. Zippers, thread,etc. are more. I'm a newby so I'll be in your situation soon I'm sure. Good luck!

Emma said...

You poor thing, she certainly butchered it! How could she possibly think it's ok?! I do anyway, but if I were you, I'd be quilting my own quilts. They don't deserve this treatment. I know it's a bit of pushing and tugging, but you could have done a much better job on your own machine.

paula, the quilter said...

Since I can not afford even $160 to get a quilt MQ I have started to do my own. It was frustrating to finally find a good one but have the price so exorbitant I could not afford her. I once used a LA-MQ to baste a GFG so I could hand quilt it. When I got it back there were several holes in the top!! that she "had no idea" how they got there. I had to remove those patches and replace. *sigh* I am currently working on a king size quilt that I will be quilting myself on a DSM in the Divide and Conquer method.

Helen Conway said...

With your taste for perfection I would do it yourself. I can do king sized on my domestic machine ( albeit it a Janome 6600 with extra throat space). If I can you can better I am sure. Or as I do when I am feeling lazy or running short on time - pay postage to avoid stress. Look at a show to see who did long arming that is good and use them. And get references.