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A Time Saving Quilt, plus cat pictures!


I made a quilt recently – a real live pieced-into-squares quilt. I’ve finished (which is the key word here) two quilts before but this one is different – it’s a “normal” quilt, meaning I used a pattern with regular ol’ quilting cotton fabric (no weird fleece monsters made from scratch).

It’s kind of a big deal because I normally don’t quilt because it takes so long to finish but there’s a new quilt store in town close to where I live where I bought all the fabric (kind of ikat themed) and the pattern (this one, sans border. the patterns are printed on post cards).

But the most important thing was that I didn’t actually quilt this quilt myself. The store, Remnants, has two big long-arm quilting machines.


If you’ve never seen one before they’re big, long (this one was probably 10ft) machines that wrap the layers of the quilt (back, batting, top) taught and a sewing machine arm kind of floats over the whole quilt stitching everything together.


The end result is perfectly quilted (you can even pick from several stitching designs) and all you have to do is take it home and bind it yourself. Amazing!


This is really a game changer for me and quilting. Clothes sewing is still my focus and I may never crank out quilts like I do garments but if I feel the desire to make a quilt for myself or others this whole long-arm thing really makes a difference. My last quilt too me months to make. This new quilt with a very simple design took me about 3 days of my own sewing time. That’s nothing!


Which has got me thinking about patience in sewing. I’m completely impatience when it comes to sewing quilts but am I also impatience with clothes? Do I avoid sewing certain garments because they’re too tedious or require slow construction methods like hand sewing? Do I cut out linings from dresses because I think they’re too hot in the summer or because I don’t want to take the time to sew part of a garment that will never be seen? Do some of my projects turn into UFOs because I dread the amount of time it will take to complete something complex?

I do love instant gratification projects (knit tops with no darts, Scout tees, patterns with only a few pieces to cut out) but am I missing out on having a great learning experience by sewing something like a detailed trench coat or jeans with lots of top stitching because I don’t want to take a month to work on a project?

Do you have “project impatience” like I do? Has it kept you from finishing or starting a new pattern or project? Is there something I can do to fight it? I’m trying to be more relaxed in general lately when it comes to sewing, maybe that should include not stressing about sewing that may take more time than I usually want to spend on one garments.


Oh, well. In the mean time I’m just gonna chill on the couch with my cat and my new quilt!

Update: Since some of you asked, the cost of the long-arm quilting was $0.015 (one and a half cents) per square inch. My quilt is 60in by 45in so my quilt was about $45 after tax. That might seem like it would add up quick but I totally think it was worth it. I never could have done the stitch pattern that they made on my own machine and it saved me sooooooo much time. I’m not sure how much other stores charge for this service.

Comments (24) for post “A Time Saving Quilt, plus cat pictures!”

  • I think my first comment was eaten. If not, ignore my double comment. Was it expensive to have someone else quilt it? I have a quilt top from two years ago that I’d love to have someone else finish for me!

    • I guess it depends on what you think expensive is. This store charged $0.015 cents per square inch. So the bigger the quilt the more cash you’d shell out. And if you add up all you spend on the quilt top and back fabric, batting, binding, thread, *and* quilting then quilts can cost a pretty penny!

  • I think I sew a lot like you do- knits, basics, and fast wins! However, I prefer to tell myself that its not because I’m impatient, but because that’s the type of stuff I actually LIKE to wear. Learning new stuff is cool, but creating stuff I’ll actually wear is much better. At least that’s what I tell myself! Plus, I’m such a newbie that everything is a learning experience at this point.

  • I made my first large quilt a few months ago but quilted it myself on my regular ole machine… straight lines. I’m dying of jealousy of the machine quilting on this quilt! It looks so nice with the quilt top you sewed! And I’m on the same page with you with the ‘instant gratification’ projects. I’m a stay at home momma so my wardrobe can’t be super fancy and high maintenance right now. However I do throw in a more elaborate and detailed project every now and then.
    And is the quilting an expensive sort of thing to pay for?

  • Impatient sewing. Hmm, what an interesting topic! Let me explain how it meanders into my sewing world. I normally start out my project (typically a garment–my favorite thing to make), in a very relaxed state of mind; nothing rushy-rushy. In the middle of the project, I am completely absorbed and I’m going at a pretty steady pace, but nothing real fast. I totally lose track of time at this point in the game and it’s likely you’ll find thread and fabric clippings all over the floor, chair, and myself. πŸ™‚ As soon as I reach the “almost done” stage I begin to change into a speed demon; tying up all the loose ends of the project so I can wear the garment ASAP! Yeah, I’m a sprinter at the end, I suppose. Which isn’t a good thing when hems are concerned. Those poor hems, they never get the attention they need. I should work on that! So apparently my impatient sewing doesn’t kick in until the very end. Because of this I don’t shy away from large, complicated projects. I’m always looking to try new things and I don’t mind spending weeks at it.

    If you think you are avoiding extra steps in your sewing or large projects, you might want to try a tactic of mine that I’ve applied to my knitting. As you might have guessed, a lot of knitting projects take, well, time. Especially sweaters and afghans. That’s why I like to knit SEVERAL projects simultaneously. The trick is to choose projects that vary in complexity. Some should be boring and mindless, others should be really complicated and make you think continuously. The simple ones keep me calm and the crazy, “tangy” ones keep me interested. So you might want to try something similar with your sewing. Pick out two or more projects and work on them at the same time. Some should be your simple knit tops, skirts, etc., others should be fitted jackets, jeans, lined dresses, etc. This way, you will feel satisfaction in finishing the small projects while still making headway on those larger, more time consuming ones. You may have to change your needles and thread color from project to project, but it is well worth it!

    I love your quilt and the kitty! I’ve done two quilts in the past and am working on one for myself right now. Quilts are not easy for me to do. I’m not sure if it is the designs I choose to do or what, but I find quilting far from being a great stimulator for me. I lose interest in it fast, especially the piecing part. I’m more fond of the actual machine quilting; may be hard to do with my little sewing machine but I like it! There’s a quilt shop in my town with a long-arm machine, too. They even have the option of customers renting it. Something I would consider for the far off future! Every time I think of me using that machine, I see broken needles, bolts and nuts flying, and a screaming clerk, ready to bat, running after me with a fabric bolt raised above her head!! πŸ™‚

  • This is so beautiful you have done such a fantastic job! Quilts are great but again I think I sew some and get bored then put it down and come back to it weeks later so they tend to take forever to make. My mum is a massive quilter and she actually has one of those big tables/machines for quilting where she runs here sewing machine along. I tend to just throw it her way when I get to that part lol. But I love love love your quilt! Nice to see little kitty enjoying it she/he will probably claim now hehe.

  • Your quilt is so gorgeous and the piecing you did is amazing! The price you paid to get it quilted is really nice too!
    I’m currently in the process of making a quilt..ergh for a long time now and I don’t think quilts are for me. The only thing encouraging me is that I am using reproduction feed-sack fabrics ;D

    I’m way more interested in making bags and clothes now then ever before, just need the time! So your post is pretty much what I have been thinking about, lol.

    Your cat is so adorable! Loafin’ on that quilt!

  • What a nice quilt! I have limited sewing time (weekends only), so it’s nice to do more instant-gratification projects so I feel like I’m actually accomplishing something. But I think that it’s important to invest time into things that you really want or need. The time is going to pass one way or another, so a month will go by and you’ll have a gorgeous pair of jeans or jacket, OR you’ll have made two simple t-shirts (and watched 15 episodes of Law & Order). Nothing’s wrong with either scenario. But it is worth investing time in your craft sometimes. You can learn so much from tougher, more time-consuming projects.

  • I love your quilt — it looks great. I’m a new convert to “quilting by check” aka sending the quilt top out to a machine quilter. It is so much faster and means that quilt can be a weekend project instead of a 3 month commitment.

  • Dude, this is intensely awesome! I love your fabric choices too! Grey & yellow is a favourite colour combo. This whole “paying someone to top stitch your quilt” is a total game changer. I wonder if anyone does it online? I would totally make a quilt if I didn’t have to get all Amish with the handstitching…. And $45 is nothing. Especially to my poor tired hands.

    As for long to make garments… I’m a recent convert. I still love a bang it out project but that labour of love cape I made last year was so worth every handstitch. And honestly, those are probably the garments you will have forever and be able to pass down as well, since it is unlikely you’ll invest the time or money into something that takes a month to make if you don’t absolutely adore what you’re making. Maybe just start with a trench or something else that is really detailed and see how it goes!

    And Dixie my sweetheart; you gotta update your comment system! These captchas make me irrationally crazy.

  • Holy crap this is genius! I just started a patchwork thingie (okay, It’s sort of a simple quilt… there… I said it!) and I’m dreading the actual quilting-the-layers process. Truthfully I’m not even sure how I can possibly do it on my machine. But If I could spend, like 60 bucks and get it quilted… I would in a heartbeat!
    Your quilt looks super professional, and I bet it’s cozy too!

  • i’m working on a quilt and it will definitely be long-armed by my LQS, for exactly your reasons! it gives me all of the satisfaction of having designed and pieced the quilt, and none of the headache of doing the FMQ to finish it up and send it straight to the UFO pile… πŸ™‚

  • I love your quilt! It is beautiful. I had no idea that there were shops that would do the quilting for you with machines. I will have to search out one of those stores here in Toronto. I like the idea of quilts but I have neither the machine or the stamina to do the quilting. Oh, and kitty is so cute.

  • That’s a very pretty quilt. I love the colors. And a great service idea–another new shop I didn’t know about! I like to direct my sewing energy toward clothes, but I’m definitely big on long and intensive projects mostly because I get bored if I’m not learning something. Those involved projects do get faster as I get experienced with certain tasks or fit problems without a lot of pre-planning. I made a lined wool coat over Christmas and it took me three days; I seriously shocked myself! A few years ago this would’ve taken me a month or so. But then it’s the quick and dirty projects that tend to get more use and wear… so I try to balance it out.

  • Your quilt goes very well with your cat! Did you plan that?

    I am incredibly impatient with, well, everything. Muslins, handsewing, buttons, linings, seam finishings… I am trying to force myself to take more time with projects and ensure that they fit and won’t fall apart, but I always end up cutting corners. Quilts are nice because a) they are very pretty, and b) there’s no fitting or seam finishing involved, but I leave the quilting itself to my mother.

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