The “Healing” quilt top is pieced and ready to be dropped at the quilt shop! A friend of mine asked what the quilt shop does to my quilts that I can’t do at home (and my husband has asked at least five times), so just in case you’ve wondered, too … they have a long arm sewing machine, very different from what I sew on at home, that makes the quilt making process much easier. I found these pictures licensed for creative commons use from Stephanie Vacher on Flickr. The backing, batting and quilt top are rolled onto bars, and the machine itself moves back and forth across the quilt.
From this angle, you can see the big roll of batting (below) that feeds between the front and back of the quilt.
The machines can either be pre-programmed with a quilting design or the quilter can guide the machine by hand. I love this colorful shot by Open Threads!
Here’s the Lava Meets Sea quilt freshly quilted and not yet cut away from the excess batting and backing.
This is so much easier than quilting at home, carefully laying out the backing, batting and top on the floor and pinning them together so they won’t shift as you jam them through your sewing machine. (More creative commons photos by Jessy Roos and athenamat.) At this point, the weight and volume of the quilt become factors as well. While you try to keeping sewing just where you mean the stitches to go, gravity pulls your heavy quilt off the table to the floor. Meanwhile, the size of the quilt makes it difficult to fit through the arm of the sewing machine. It is a great workout for your arms, but it doesn’t make for easy, relaxing sewing.
My personal policy is that anything larger than a baby quilt can go to the quilt shop. I know many quilters who love quilting on their home machines, I’m just not one of them. So as much as I loved piecing the Healing quilt, I’ll take it to Phyllis at my local shop, Quilts by Phyllis, for the actual quilting.