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June 05, 2012



I more often get stuck at the pre-borders stage - silly, because if you just knuckle down and do it you can get the borders on & mitred in a couple of hours. Once my borders on, it goes straight in a jiffy bag and off to the quilter before I even have the patience to get a photo because I LOVE it when it comes back from the long arm. However it is then liable to sit around unbound for a while!

I too dream of a long arm machine of my own .... one day!


I don't own a longarm but rent time on one. And yes, I have a stack of flimsies. Right now I have about 14 of them. It's a problem! But I'm retired now and hoping to get the stack down.

Barbara Anne

I'm with you in loving the process of making the quilt top more than any other part of start to finish.

I'm with Lisa in getting bogged down - or more likely sprinting off to the next project - before the quilt top has its borders. One time I lost interest before the blocks were together.

Most of my UFOs don't have backing fabric with them.

It is exciting all over again when a quilt returns from the quilter but I have one quilted quilt that has been waiting for its binding for 11 months. The binding is made but I've junked up the table I need beside my machine when sewing binding on to a large quilt ... Yes, I need to clear off that table, don't I?

Here's to getting quilts finished!


June Fowler

My long arm machine is an old dinosaur, as I got it in 1994. When I retired from quilting for others, I'm afraid I let my own stack of tops/backings really stack up. Uh, like as high as the ceiling!! I still prefer to piece the tops rather than stand up and do the quilting!


I have only...wait for it...29 tops to be quilted. 29!!! Sigh...I loved piecing too, but need badly to quilt some of these up!

Wendy T.

Oh my - so glad to hear I am not alone. I love choosing the pattern and fabric and making the top but after that is not the fun part for me! If only I could find someone who loves the sandwiching and basting and quilting part - that would be great!

Laura @ May Your Bobbin Always Be Full

Ack! I feel your pain. It's SO hard for me to get the flimsies converted into completed quilts. I think my problem is that I WANT to do the quilting myself (but no longarm) and I'm so nervous about messing it up or doing it poorly that I'm paralyzed.

Here's to getting over that fear and getting them done!

Becky in KCMO

Don't assume that having a long-arm in your sewing room results in all the tops being quilted. It takes a long time to develop skills on that long-arm, and then, like you, some of the tops are no longer calling to me. My guild is finishing tops of a deceased member for charity quilts, and there are a LOT of them. I'm just a piecer at heart!


You should really try to take some of those tops that you don't like anymore and practice free motion quilting on your domestic. I own a 40 year old Kenmore sewing machine that only does straight stitch and zigzag. I have free motion quilted tops up to 98 inches square on this machine. The key is to quilt only one block or section at a time. When you focus on one small section at a time it's much easier. Every quilt I have made, I've quilted myself on my old machine. It saves tones of money and I improve everytime. I could not afford to quilt if I sent my quilts to a long arm quilter. You should really try. I like to spray baste my quilts on the wall. Then, I jump right in to quilting them. This could be your summer to learn to free motion quilt. Sewcalgal has great links for free motion quilting.


I love choosing the fabrics for piecing the top! However...I always do some piecing on the back that compliments the blocks on the top. I find myself 'dreaming' about what the back will look like as I'm working on the tops! I'm lucky that my long arm quilter lives on the road in back of us so I have no excuse not to get my quilts over to her! Downside? She is very popular/busy and I sometimes wait several months for the finished quilt to come home for its binding to be attached!


I see that I'm not alone from reading your post and some of the comments. I think I have at least 20 tops that need quilted. And like one of the commenters, I have quilted on my home sewing machine, but feel paralized when it's time to start quilting a new top. And I like the comment from the one lady who mentioned to quilt one block or section at a time. Thanks for sharing - both your blog post and comments.


What an interesting topic! I've never finished a top and not had it quilted. My flimsies are either done, at the quilter's, or on the list waiting for the quilter to call me. I can't imagine going to the trouble of making the top then not getting it quilted. Before you hate me consider I've only been quilting around 7 years and have only made 80 some tops.

That's not your red and white snowball challenge quilt is it? We finished that two and a half years ago!

I liked Ariane's idea of practicing quilting on the tops you no longer love!


My love is in the planning and piecing too, although I try to get most of my quilts quilted in a decent amount of time.

Denise in PA

Absolutely! I've had my longarm for going on 8 years - there are still tops from before that that aren't quilted yet! I love piecing and find, even with the longarm, that I procrastinate on the quilting!


When I look at the price of a really good longarm (and what is the point of getting a crappy one)I figure I can have tons and tons of flimsys sent out to the quilter. I say 'that is why God made Darlene and Nancy (my longarm quilting buddies)'. My enjoyment is in the piecing and fabric choices. These ladies know how best to quilt them. Just do one at a time and before you know it, they will get done. P.S. I do quilt my little things - tote bags, baby quilts and Schnibbles. They take no time at all and I get instant gratification. Plus I feel like I am saving money!

Deb Myers

of course we do! i have no less than 20? 30?
"flimsies" that are screaming to be quilted. i pin one over the other (flat) on a design board to avoid wrinkles and creases. i keep telling myself that getting those quilt tops quilted will be my summer project. but the way this summer is already getting eaten (and it's barely started)up my summer project will most likely become my fall project! such is life~~


My sister has a long arm and she is very generous in allowing me to use it for my own quilting. However, my sister has at least 15 quilts that are still in flimsy stage and I have about 10. Finding the time to actually load, quilt and bind is always a challenge. It just seems that piecing and creating a quilt is easier in terms of finding bits of time to sew.


I have two quilts at the quilter and two more ready to go. I do my own quilting on my regular sewing machine if they are not too large, but sometimes, I just want to feel caught up and free start the next project. That's how I spend my fun money.


Pretty pile you have there, Nicole! There is nothing wrong with tending to be a piecer over a quilter--and you certainly have great talent with your larger tops! I have quilted every single one of my quilts on my domestic machine, up to king size. It isn't easy, and in fact can be damn frustrating! But I cannot afford to send them out, so it is what it is :) Right now I have three tops waiting for time under my needle--most of my quilts are still going to family members. I just finished the last sibling's one so am free to quilt for ME for a while :)


Hey Nicole, I actually got my longarm so I wouldn't have stacks of flimsies in a cupboard! I only quilt for myself and once I finish a top it goes right on the longarm before I lose interest! I love quilting them myself and am always eager to finish one so I can begin another!


I, too, love the planning and piecing process more than the quilting. Last weekend, a friend from Vancouver came to visit and I opened my trunk to show her a few tops that I had finished. I pulled out one, then another, and another, and another and there were still more. I hadn't realized that I had so many unfinished flimsies. So, like you, I am making an effort to have them finished. I'm hoping to get one done every two months so I don't break the bank. And if I stick to my plan, I will have some lovely Christmas presents for my family.

JoAnne McPherson

I had a few unquilted tops. Like you, some of them no longer "floated my boat" or else I considered them "no big deal." I decided to kill two birds with one stone and the less desirable ones I use as backing for another. They come out not quite reversible, but still kind of neat--and a good way to reduce the stack of flimsies.


I am on the same track! I was recently picked as the featured quilter for my quilt guild... and after a moment of excitement I started thinking "crap... I need to start getting those tops quilted"! So I have just purchased some sale fabric at a few different shops to start collection my backings. Then I will be looking for a great buy on batting. I plan to send off 2 quilts per month to my LAQ. Wish me luck!


I'm a piecer not a quilter, but personally, if there are tops you don't love anymore, auction them off.... Make it someone else's responsibility to quilt it and love it.


I have a longarm and have gotten one of my tops quilted this year and its because it is a gift. I work f/t and also love hand applique and hand quilting. Just not enough time to do it all. But I haven't pieced that many tops this past while. I think I only have put one top in the closet unquilted. But there are at least a dozen tops of mine waiting, and waiting, Everyone else's tops come before mine.

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