LAQ SERVICES AT THE COTTON PATCH
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 check. We cannot make change or run credit cards through our system on their behalf.
TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR LAQ
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.