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Long Arm Quilting Services: LAQ Services & Tips for Helping Your LAQ

The Cotton Patch doesn't provide in-house LAQ (Long Arm Quilting) services, but instead acts as the connection point between independent LAQs (Long Arm Quilters) and their customers.  

Looking for a new LAQ?  Give us a call or stop by and we can make some recommendations to some local, independent LAQs who offer meandering, edge-to-edge pantograph, and custom quilting services.  We do not recommend anyone whose work we haven't seen or used ourselves!

Are you a LAQ and want to leave your card with us?  Stop by with some samples of your work and your cards, and ask for Diane (the owner) or Lauren ( the manager) to discuss the services you offer.  Please do not leave cards without seeing Diane or Lauren first - We do not display cards for quilters whose work we haven't seen - we must know about the services we recommend and we cannot do so without seeing samples.   

Call your LAQ before dropping off your quilt at the shop.  This sounds like a no-brainer, but life gets busy! Your quilter will not know to come pick up your quilt at the shop if they don't know it's here.  While we are happy to let you use the phone if you need to, you will need to communicate with them directly instead of through shop staff.  

Leaving your Quilt. We have a cabinet in front of the register where you can leave your quilt.  Be sure to have the bag your quilt is in clearly labelled with your name and contact information.  If your quilter requires paperwork to be filled out at the time of drop off, please make sure it is done and gets in the bag.  

Picking up your Quilt. Your LAQ will call you when your quilt is ready to be paid for and picked up.  If you haven't heard from your LAQ and are curious when it will be ready, give your LAQ a call directly; since the LAQs we recommend are their own businesses, shop staff don't have visibility into quilts' statuses.  

Paying for your Quilt.  You will work out payment with your LAQ directly, and they set their own prices for services.  However, as a pick up point we can accept payments for some LAQs.  If you want to leave payment with us, come prepared with exact change or a personal/cashier's checkWe cannot make change or run credit cards through our system on their behalf.  

Communication is key - talk to your LAQ before providing the quilt.  Make sure you have mutual understanding of the services provided, costs, the quilt dimensions, how you expect the quilting to look, thread needs, batting needs, binding needs, turnaround time, etc. 
The Girl Scout motto applies - Be Prepared!  Have the quilt 100% ready for your LAQ to quilt.  That means the quilt top is completely finished with no pins holding things together, stray threads are snipped, the backing is ready (pieces as needed), and the top/backing are pressed.  When you provide your quilt, make sure it is clean.  Use a lint roller to remove any pet hair, and if there are any stains (iron spit ups happen!) be sure to take note of those and let your quilter know.

A note about border assembly: To ensure your quilt is square and that the borders don't flare/wave, measure for your borders through the middle of the quilt before cutting/sewing them on.  If borders flare/wave, it means they are bigger than the quilt center.  If the borders are severely flared, it may mean the quilt cannot be quilted until the issue is corrected.  If they are flared, but the quilt can conceivably be quilted, the result may not come out as expected.  It is best to make sure this is attended to before turning in the quilt for quilting.  

Don't trim the backing to fit the quilt top.  Long arm machines need something on the quilt to grasp onto in the frame, and the backing is how that is accomplished.  The backing must be minimally 3" larger than the quilt top all the way around (so, a total of 6" longer and wider than the top in all) to get into the frame adequately and to allow for any shrinkage (a natural part of the quilting process) 

Pieced backings are fine, but be aware of the challenges.  If you provide a pieced backing (or intended to have a reversible quilt), it is difficult to keep the top and backing moving that the identical rate during the quilting process.  This is just the nature of the process and how LAQ machines are designed - the top and back go on different poles in the frame, which may move at slightly different rates of speed.  The back may not be as straight as the top.  It is recommended, that if you do a pieced backing, keep it simple.  If you are doing a reversible quilt scenario, then the more intricate side should be treated as the top.  

Hold off on making that quilt sandwich!  It sounds like a very helpful thing to do, and certaintly it's well-intentioned, but your LAQ has a way of making the backing, batting, and quilt top fit onto their machine.  If the quilt sandwich is already made, it is much more challenging for them to get the whole thing into their machine how they need it to be.  Just provide the top, batting, and backing ready to go and they'll take it from there. 
To tip, or not to tip?  This is a question we get a lot.  Bare bones answer, no, tipping is not required.  HOWEVER, it is something to consider that LAQs provide a skilled service.  Think about other service providers - hair stylists, nail technicians, waiters/waitresses, etc.  In general, we tip them for the quality of their work or the quality of service experience they provide.  It isn't weird to tip your LAQ - it is a show of appreciation for their work. 


COMING SOON! Simply Starry Sew Along

Join us on our latest block of the week and sew along, Simply Starry!  
This program is a little different than anything we've done before:  there's no class, no sign up, and nothing to pick up.  It's all on the blog!  This program will start Sunday, April 5, 2020 through June 28, 2020, and features 12 weeks' of 12" finished star blocks.

What makes this a Sew Along?  We will be making the blocks with you, so every week you'll see our version of the block made up.  Here's an example of what the quilt looks like, but keep in mind, the colors will be your own choice!

How to Get the Blocks
All you have to do is stop by the blog every week and download the block of the week for free!  Blocks will be available starting each week on Sunday and will be available for free download until the following Sunday.

Use your scraps, use your stash, or buy new fabric - the choice is yours!  Downloads from the blog are free, but printed copies of the current week's block and any back-patterns will be available in-store for $3 each.

But Wait!  Who Doesn't Love a Little Challenge?

Be the first to bring in the your completed quilt top (just the finished top, borders required to be present and sewn on completely) at the end of the program, and get 50% off the single backing fabric of your choosing*!  We'll announce who the winner is here and on Facebook.
*clearance excluded, ineligible for additional discounts

Be the first to finish your quilt (top, quilting, and binding 100% completed) and win a gift basket valued at $100!  We'll announce who the winner is here and on Facebook.

We can't wait to get started, and hope you'll sew along with us!


Recap: Willamette Valley Quilt Festival

Whew, what a weekend!  Thank you for coming and making the show a success!  The Willamette Valley Quilt Festival just keeps getting better and better every year and we're excited to have been invited again to participate next year. 

Weren't able to make it?  That's okay!  Here's some pictures of the booth, and a selection of some of the quilts that were displayed...there were more than pictured here, but these are the ones Lauren was able to sneak away and see!

We ended up selling out of the Sew Cute Critters (the animals with glasses), the Fabulous Greek Felines (not pictured), Irony (the irons - hehehe!), and the Iron pincushion.  We WILL have these back in store, and if Lauren has you on the waiting list, you'll be called when they come in!

Now for the quilts...

Autumn Birch by JoAnna Rogers

Earth, Wind, and Water by Diana Finkenaur

Kodiak by JoAnna Rogers

Stonehenge Fabric Challenge by LuAnn Edmonds

The center block was cool!

Another Stonehenge Fabric Challenge by LuAnn Edmonds

State Birds of a Feather Together Forever by Wanda Wielgos

Love's Labor Found by Dawnell Tingey

There's metallic in there...which is notoriously hard to work with as an embroidery floss!

My Favorite Follies by Sally Marshall.  This was an old Block of the Month of ours, so it was cool to see again!

Tour de Firsts by Rebecca Ostergaard

The Dragon by Laurie Naemura

It's Interesting by Linda Glasscock

3654 Sampler by Cynthia Janes

Continuum by Patty Roberts-Hasenbalg

Untitled by Chris Harrsion 

Colorworks by Alice Grucza

Cross Stitch Calendar by Renee Gerlach

Tribute to Grandma Oda by Oda Pendergrass

Bee Mine by Gina Mercado

It's Interesting by Alice Gruzca

Sunflower by LuAnn Kessi

Broken Garden Path by Debbie Garvin

Carolina Lily by Rosalie Williams

Forest Abstractions by Renee McCord

Untitled by Elle Garvison

Inner City Splendor by Cynthia Shaw.  The center is all HAND PIECED.  Amazing!

Dear Jane by Carolan Pyron

Poinsettia by Anita Scott

Scrappy Hunter's Star by Cheryl Dolby

Untitled by Sandra Olson

Gravity by Jill Huntington

All Things Alaska by Cheryl Dolby.  I liked this one because it was an outdoorsy quilt that was more than brown and green.  

Star Storm Moonshadow by Ginger Cadwell

Midnight Stars by Gail Chapman

Zebra Portrait by Jill Huntington

Untitled by Keo Teghtmeyer

One of my favorite animals!

Oh look, another one of my favorites!!

Portland - City of Roses by Jill Huntington

My 30 60 90 Nightmare by Janna Curtis.  I thought the way the blocks were set was neat.

Red Rose for a Blue Girl by Jean Amundson

Komon Lattice by Karen Miller

Untitled by Diane Nordyke

Untitled by Naomi Wiedner

Two Sisters by Elnora Dyer

Untitled by Sharon Hoyer

Wild Thing by Teri Wells

Celtic Quilt by Ilona Haines

Untitled by Sharon Hoyer.  Holy tiny circles, Batman!

Finger for scale (NOTE: Finger did not touch quilt and was about an inch and a half away, promise!)

We hope everyone who attended had as great a time as we did, and that you'll come see us next year.  What's the next show for us?  A little birdie told me it'll be Expo in March...stay tuned for details!