King Size batting – a frugal choice?

It occurred to me this week that not everyone may know one of the little tricks at Laurena’s Longarm….

We sell batting by the inch in widths between 93″ – 122.” The wider batting accommodates king size quilts. Not all of us make king size quilts, but….

Buy quilt batting at Laurena Longarm Quilting Boston
Batting at Laurena’s Longarm Quilting

If you have a 65″ quilt and a 36″ quilt, you can often use the same piece of king size batting, saving a bunch on batting costs. An added plus… there’s a  just a little batting leftover when you’re done quilting.

Customers who have us quilt their tops already benefit from our frugal secret. With the new studio block pricing, quilters often arrive with more than one quilt top in tow and this is working out for them, too.

So now that we’ve told you, our frugal little secret is open for the world to hear. King size batting, we salute you!

Quilting Threads at Boston Laurena Longarm Quilting

Your Quilt Drop Off Check List

New customers often call with questions about what’s needed to drop off their quilts. We have a  quilt drop off list on the web site that covers the basics. Or just continue reading below!

What to do before dropping off  “quilt by check?” Your quilt drop off check list:

  • Don’t baste the quilt layers together! We pin the quilt layers to the frame individually, so you don’t need to climb all over your living room floor, basting a quilt sandwich.
  • Press your quilt top one last time so it’s ready to be quilted.
  • Cut away loose threads… those pesky threads always show up, but one last tour with your scissors will snip away a few more.
  • If piecing your quilt back, remove any selvedge edges from the seam allowance. Press seams open, or if you prefer, to one side. Selvedge edges on top or bottom of backing don’t need to be trimmed.
  • Your batting and backing should be 6 – 8″ larger than the quilt top. Batting not big enough? Never fear, you can purchase batting by the inch from us. Laurena stocks cotton, blends and wool in white, natural and even black batting.
  • Try to make the quilt back as square as you can (Did you see my post on squaring a quilt back?).

Once the top is done, sit back and admire your work. Consider just how your want this top quilted.

Who will use it? This helps guide your theme or perhaps even your batting choice!

At your quilt drop off appointment, you will choose the pattern and thread color for your quilt. Let us know the styles that appeal to you to whittle down the pattern choices. Do you want the thread to blend with the back? How densely do you want the quilting? Spend some time looking at other quilts to learn which  motifs or patterns attract your attention.

Even if you’ve never visited the studio before, know that we’re excited to turn your top into the best quilt possible. If you have a quilt top and would like to “quilt by check,” call 781 – 229 -0734 to make your quilt drop off appointment.

 

 

Dear Jane Quilt at Bennington Museum

Autumn Quilt Shows in New England

Leaf peeping is always a good reason to hit the road during the fall in New England. Frankly,  the quilt show calendar is equally inspiring.

5 Don’t Miss New England Quilt Shows

  1. Dear Jane Quilt at Bennington Museum All 5609 pieces of the amazing Dear Jane quilt go on exhibit each autumn. This year, it’s on display until through Columbus Day weekend in Bennington, VT.
  2. Rising Star Quilt Guild On October 2 and 3, 2015, Lexington’s St Brigid Church hosts the Guild’s annual show.
  3. Tewksbury Quilt Show October 17 – 18 at the Tewksbury Senior Center. Their theme this year is “Silver Threads.”
  4. Burlington Quilters Show is the following weekend (October 24 – 25) at the Middlesex Community College.
  5. A Quilter’s Gathering  in Manchester, NH from November 5 – 8 includes not just a show, but a wide range of classes and plenty of vendors.

Of course, be sure to stop by the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, where Carol Bryer Fallert’s quilts are on display through October 31. There’s also a great exhibit of Civil War Era quilts on exhibit, too!

It’s time to hit the road!

Meet our Longarm Rental Machines

Wish you had a longarm machine? When you rent a Gammill quilting machines at Laurena’s, you grow familiar with the different models  AND you get guidance on how to use them. There are currently four Gammill longarms which you can rent at Laurena’s Longarm Quilting.

  • A Statler Stitcher computer guided machine on a ten foot table
  •  Two hand guided longarms (one on a 10 foot table and another with an 8 foot table)
  •  A  sit down free motion Charm

Take our Introduction to Longarm Quilting class (there’s still openings for the October 13th class!) to get an overview of the Statler and hand guided machines.  Then reserve a half day or whole day studio block  to begin your longarm quilting adventure.

Rent Gamill Longarm Quilting Machine Laurena Boston
Statler Stitcher

The Statler Stitcher is getting more and more popular choice for longarm quilters. The computer guided machine has a ten foot table, which means the short side of your quilt can be up to 115″ long. Laurena has a nice stash of computerized patterns from which you can choose… modern, traditional, textured and thematic motifs. An edge to edge quilting pattern can totally change the impact of your quilt!

Laurena also offers a selection of border and block motifs. This takes a bit more understanding of the Creative Studio software, so not a perfect choice for your first time on the Statler. There’s plenty of learning opportunities for the latest version of the software.

 

Rent Gamill Statler Stitcher Laurena Longarm Quilting Boston, MA
Gammill Plus Longarm

Our Gammill Plus hand guided machine rolls along a 10′ table, so the short side of your quilt can be up to 115″ long. Thanks to its motorized leg lifts, you can adjust table height to your needs. Whether free motion quilting at the front of the table or following a pantograph at the back, the Plus is a smooth longarm!

Both the Statler and the Plus use 126″ zippers to attach your quilt top and back to the frame.

 

Laurena Rental Gammill Longarm Plus Quilting Machine Boston
Gammill Vision Machine

The Gammill Vision longarm quilting machine has a shorter 8′ table. It’s happy to quilt tops with a short side of up to 88.” Like the Plus, Vision has adjustable table legs for the perfect ergonomic quilting experience. Don’t forget to pin your quilt to the 108″ zipper.

 

FullSizeRender(2)

Looking for a free motion experience like a domestic machine but with more room and smooth as silk stitching? Then rent our Gammill Charm. There’s no introductory class needed. This sit down longarm rents for $12/hour with a two hour minimum. We also have a large table for an effortless quilting experience. You simply baste your quilt sandwich before arriving (or use the Charm’s basting stitch to do it when you get here) and you’re ready to quilt.

For all of the longarm rentals, Laurena keeps a wide selection of Superior and Signature thread on hand to find the right choice for your quilt. The thread cost is included your studio block price.

Laurena also offers a rental reward program. After renting for 25 hours, you receive a free half day studio block. A half day block earns you four hours and a full day block earns you seven hours, so it doesn’t take long to rack up rewards!

Now is the time to turn those tops into quilts! If you’ve been interested in learning to longarm quilt, definitely contact Laurena at (781) 229-0734 or by email at info @ burlingtonlongarm dot com to register for the Introduction to Longarm Quilting Class.

Announcing Studio Rental Blocks

Laurena Longarm Quilting Rental Machines BostonAs of September 8, Laurena will offer choose half day or whole day studio rental block.

  • The half day block costs $80 (4 hour maximum). Half day quilt blocks begin between 9 am and 10 am or 1 pm and 2 pm.
  • The whole day block is $140 (8 hour maximum). Start times are flexible.

How does this impact the frequent renter program? You earn hours at 4 hour and 7 hour increments, receiving a half day block  of free quilting when you accrue 25 hours.

Laurena began renting longarm machines in 2008, with one hand guided Gammill machine. Today, LLQ offers two Gammill hand guided long arms and a Statler Stitcher for Boston area quilters to rent.

Laurena’s shown nearly 500 people how to use the longarm machines. She’s seen that quilters need space to practice, learn and experiment on longarm machines. Many of our customers enjoy the extra space to pin, trim and spread out. We enjoy helping you make your quilts the best possible. It’s great to see you turn those tops into beautiful quilts! The studio block program gives you all of this for a set price.

The hourly rental rate will continue on the sit down free motion Charm machine.

Laurena recommends Boston Custom Quilters

Custom Quilters in the Boston area

When she began Laurena’s Longarm Quilting in 2007, Laurena  imagined that she would use her hand guided Gammill machine to turn customer tops into quilts. It wasn’t long when she realized that new clients might enjoy quilting their own quilts and she began teaching others how to use longarm quilting machines.Laurena recommends Boston Custom Quilters

That was many quilts ago! Since 2008, nearly 500 people learned how to use longarm quilting machines at Laurena’s. She’s purchased a small fleet of hand guided and computerized quilting machines. As she looks at the future of Laurena’s Longarm Quilting, she realizes that hand guided custom quilting will not be the business focus.

Laurena decided to no longer accept hand guided custom quilting work. She will happily accept edge to edge Statler Stitcher projects (the majority of her “quilt by check” customers use this service). And fortunately, Laurena can recommend other custom quilters in the Boston area.

Margo Coates of Dragonfly Longarm Quilting

Krista Ellis can be contacted at quilterkrista@verizon.net or at (781) 938-6594

Julie Legere of Ironworks Quilting

Carrie Zizza of It’s a Zizza Machine Quilting

Diana Reinhardt Annis is based out of Norton.  You can reach her at 508-285-4986 institchesQuilts@aol.com. See some of her work on her Pinterest Page.

If you’ve got a custom job already in Laurena’s queue, don’t worry! She will definitely complete the work she promised. But if you are looking for a hand guided custom quilter, take a look at this list. Or, bring your quilt in and we can suggest some strategies to have the Statler Stitcher quilt that top.

 

Love longarm quilting? Become an LLQ Subscriber

Laurena Longarm Quilting Boston rentals
Another top becomes a cozy quilt!

Turning a top into a quilt is a great feeling! For many of our customers, becoming a Longarm Subscriber is a fabulous way to make sure that feeling happens every month.

What is the LLQ Subscriber Program? It allows quilters to pay monthly for longarm rental hours. Quilters purchase these hours at a reduced rate and use them as needed. If the hours aren’t used up in a month, the hours roll over and do not expire. If the subscriber needs more hours in a month, he or she is able to purchase additional hours at the reduced rate.

Subscribers agree to participate in the program for at least 6 months. If they find themselves accumulating too many hours after the initial time period, Laurena allows them to freeze the subscription for up to 3 months in a calendar year. If, after 6 months, the subscription doesn’t turn out to be the right fit, you can cancel with 30 days notice. The hours are in your “bank” to use as needed.

What a deal, right? This is one way to make sure you get your longarm quilting fix at a great price. Rates depend on the number of hours in the subscription.

Become a Longarm Subscriber at 4, 6 or 8 hours per month at only $17.50/hour. You do need to reserve blocks of at least 4 hours each time you come to the studio.

Need more time? Become a Longarm Subscriber at 10 or 12 hours per month at $15.00/hour. You reserve at least 6 hours each time you come to the studio.

And wait, there’s more (just had to say it!)…

Longarm subscribers still benefit from the frequent renter program. So, each time you pay for 25 hours of longarm rental, you receive 4 free.

Do you need any more excuse to quilt more? Definitely not!

Click to download the subscriber guidelines under the Subscription Program description for all of the details.

And if you have any questions, call or email and we’ll be happy to answer them!
 

New Statler and Paper Quilting Patterns

After the Machine Quilter’s Expo, lovely delightful packages and downloads arrived in the studio. Hurray!  New paper pantograph and Statler Stitcher quilting patterns for all of us to enjoy. While Laurena knew the contents of the packages, it was still nice to watch the paper patterns unroll.

With so many paper and digital quilting patterns available, stocking our pattern stash does require strategic thinking. Were we reflecting a wide range of quilting styles? Did we already own something similar? What requests did we receive?

Whether you rent longarm quilting machines or have us do it for you, here’s a few highlights of what’s been added.

Laurena Longarm Quilting machine rentals Burlingotn, MA
Zydeco by Sally Ann Meyer

For paper pantographs to use on the hand guided machine:

Easy Peasy which features nested angles and arcs and gives a wonderful allover texture. The 6″ pattern by Lorien Quilting offers the opportunity to practice tight curves and points without worrying about exact positioning.

Whoosh and Denise’s Spirals create movement and work well in linear quilts.

Zydeco is a really relaxing pattern with fun energy that looks great on quilts for all ages.

NewStatler
One of the new digital patterns available for the Statler Stitcher

On the Statler, we’ve downloaded one of Anita Shackleford’s Modern sets.  Then there is Camelia with its graceful blossoms.

Alanna and Gwen have been working to get a fairly complete list of digital quilting patterns available for you to peruse in the shop and from the comfort of your own digital device. Gwen’s stitching out patterns when she can sneak in a row. These are on display at the Studio, too.

At your next appointment to choose patterns or quilt your own quilt, take a minute to see what’s new. As always, Laurena is happy to add patterns.

Quilting for Comfort

Why do we quilt? I feel like you can trace stories of our lives via the tops brought into Laurena’s. In March and April, there was an avalanche of blizzard quilts pieced during those snowy February weekends. After the Machine Quilter’s Expo in April, there was a definite comfort quilt trend. Whether T shirt, memory, or comfort quilts, these fabrics stitched together were a symbol of the care and concern for people in our lives… and for others in need.

Burlington Quilt Guild Charity Day at Laurena Longarm
Burlington Quilt Guild members in May.

Laurena is a member of the Burlington and Rising Star Quilt Guilds. She donates charity days at LLQ so the Guilds can complete more quilts. Hosting both Guilds this spring produced nice results for their charities.

Can I be honest? Laurena’s got charity quilt days down to a science. With pinning stations, quilting stations and the trimming/binding log, there’s work for everyone. Quilts unzip off the frames faster than tight jeans. After all, she doesn’t call it “Laurena’s Little Sweatshop” for nothing!

The piecing doesn’t have to be difficult. Look at how four strip “railroad ties” blocks can evolve into completely different and beautiful tops!

Burlington MA Guild creates comfort quilts at Laurena Longarm
Comfort Quilt at Laurena Longarm

Gwen is a charity quilter extraordinaire! She’s taken many a charity quilt top for Boston Modern Quilt Guild and Rising Star under her wing. Lately, Gwen’s been doing plenty of tops for the Quilts for Kids Charity Quilts. At last word we heard, there were 150 tops waiting to become quilts. They are small tops that need functional quilting. Contact the folks at Sew Together in Tewksbury if you are able to convert a top to a quilt!
A busy day of charity quilts

Laurena Longarm does Quilt Binding Boston

Heather Bailey’s Great Quilt Binding Guidance

Alanna led a session on binding quilts at the Common Cod Fiber Guild’s FiberCamp earlier this month. Turns out there’s some unfinished quilts in the world… are we surprised?

On the board, she outlined the basic steps (practicing her chalk manipulation skills). There were a lot of good questions.

Laurena Longarm does Quilt Binding Boston Don’t you have to create bias strips for your quilt? Not unless the edge of your quilt has scalloped or curved edges. Marianne Fons and Liz Porter have a great description of how to make bias strips in their Quilter’s Complete Guide.

How do you deal with all of that fabric?

  • Surround your sewing space with tables to support the weight of the quilt.
  • If your sewing machine isn’t set into a table, consider purchasing a table extension.
  • Most importantly, sew with one hand before the presser foot and the other hand after the presser foot. This helps guide the machine and ensures good stitch composition for all of your sewing.

Laurena traditionally shares Heather Bailey‘s fabulous hand out on how to do continuous quilt binding. Alanna shared the “waistband” tip on sewing binding strips.

Everyone had a chance to try sewing a machine binding on the second side with Jeremiah’s fabulous 1959 White sewing machine, whose stitches moved smoothly and strongly along the many layers of fabric.

Alanna also shared 3 tips for hand sewing:

  1. Thread your needle while it is still attached to the spool. This way you are sure to follow the spin of the thread, which makes things much easier for threading and stitching.
  2. Coat your thread with thread heaven. This conditioner reduces drag, doesn’t leave a residue and is safe in the long term for your fabrics. Alanna uses this for beading and embroidery as well.
  3. Keep your thread lengths less than the distance from your fingertip to your elbow. This reduces tangles.

Now, in true FiberCamp tradition, Alanna would love to hear any tips you have on binding quilts. What makes quilt binding easier for you?