LLA

Looking for a Master Longarm Quilter to finish a portrait quilt

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Hello, I was suggested to look for a longarm quilter to finish my quilt.This quilt top is my first quilt I've ever made. I wanted to do a photorealistic portrait of Tom Hiddleston (the actor who plays Loki in the Thor movies) so after a year of hard work and lots of cutting I finished it. This quilt measures 100 x 100 inches (king size) and is made up of 40,000 1-inch squares which are 1/2" finished. I used 250+ different fabrics of mostly semi-solids and fine patterns in my palette.

However, because this is my first quilt, and the piecework is so dense, I have no idea how to finish it. It's difficult to show through photographs, but the quilt is extremely heavy, and stretches under its own weight when held up. It's unstable while unfinished, so it needs some sort of support.

I've heard suggestions of long-arm quilting, and also not quilting it at all and just stabilizing it and hanging it. Any advice is very welcome.
 

quiltfinal1small_zpsd23e9cd3.jpg

 

quiltfinal6small_zps3b34db82.jpg

 

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If you have any questions about my process, I would be happy to answer them. Although I must warn you, I am self-taught, so I sort of made up words for the terms that everyone else seems to know.

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I don't have any suggestions for your finishing, but I'm sure someone on the forum will have some ideas. You have come to the right place to find Master Quilters....so many great quilters "meet" here.

Your quilt is incredible!!! What a challenge for your first quilt....and it is fabulous!! My hat is off to you for your accomplishment. I hope you will share the finished quilt with us when done!


Linda Rhoades

2012 Blissed Lenni

Wrightwood, CA

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That is a fantastic portrait! I love Tom and you've captured him perfectly!

 

Since the fabric is so heavy that it stretches from its own weight, I would suggest you have it mounted instead of quilted.

Get some help from a framer that you trust. I would stay-stitch the edges to stabilize them without stretching and then add at least three inches of fabric at each edge. Maybe use black or dark gray fabric. Then you can have some stretcher bars custom made to accommodate the size of the portrait. Use Thermore or other very stable batting first and then place the portrait carefully so the edges of the tiny blocks just meet the edges of the stretchers. Wrap the extra fabric to the back and staple into the stretcher bars. You'll need custom bars manufactured, with braces in the corners or spanning across the middle to accommodate the weight of the fabric.

Even though I am a longarmer, I think that quilting the portrait will distort the careful placement of the colors and the delicate lines of the features. Just my opinion, though...


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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All I can say is WOW! If this is your first effort, I'd love to see your 100th!

 

As for finding a quilter, I would suggest doing some research. Yea, I'm sure you've alread thought of that, but a little direction might be helpful. Google the big national quilting events like Houston and Paducah, particularly the ones that emphasize machine quilting. (I'm hoping someone else will chime in here with specific shows, because I don't know them.) Try to find pictures of the entries, and look for ones that are similar to your project, or that include thread painting. If you find a quilter who's work you like, google their name, or visit sites like this one and ask if anyone has their contact information.

 

I hope this is helpful, and I wish you luck in deciding how to proceed with your project. It is phenominal!


1F9DFE34D41A6016711E24CB5113250C.png

2008 Millennium

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Caryl Bryer Fallert from Bryerpatch Studio does amazing pictorial quilts. She could also direct you to other quilt artists. The National Quilt Museum would also be a good place to find a reference to a quilter.

The museum had an amazing display of one quilters work. It was a childs face, and on close inspection you could see she had quilted pictures of other children into the face. Truly amazing. Good luck finding the perfect solution for your quilt. It is beautiful!!!

Chris

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I think I would also do a smaller practice quilt first with this technique and have that quilted. That way once you find a quilter you can show them your larger piece and then have them quilt the smaller one to see if this is the look you like before getting the larger one quilted. It's worth the extra $$ to do it that way. In the end you may decide that you'd prefer to have it mounted as Linda mentioned with just a bit of tacking every 25 blocks or so to keep it from sagging.

 

Fantastic work!


Cheers,

Tami Levin

Vancouver, WA

http://www.lemontreetales.com

http://www.thequiltedlemon.com

APQS Freddie with IntelliQuilter

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I agree with Linda... your work is fantastic and I am afraid that any thread added to it would detract from the over all look rather than enhance it.


Laura

my.doterra.com/naturespoweroils

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I agree with Linda as well about mounting your top on stretcher bars.  It is an amazing portrait.  As heavy as it is now, can you imagine adding a layer of batting & backing and then sleeping under it?  Hopefully you have a big wall where you can display this.

 

BTW, the quilt Chris is describing (large child portrait with smaller figures quilted in the background) is Ernest by Hollis Chatelain.  Google her work for inspiration.  Her quilts are whole cloth, painted with dyes. She is a photographer turned world class quilter but doesn't quilt for others.  Most international level quilters don't quilt for hire.

 

Again, your quilt is extraordinary…congratulations.  Nancy in Tucson

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I'm interested I the process you go through deciding where to place the blocks, especially with such a large quilt. Do you concentrate on a small area at a time? Do you arrange them on a large sheet and start sewing 12x12 blocks together? Do you digitize your picture to help in assigning colors? How long did it take to collect and cut all of the squares?

It's very unique!

Thanks


Heidi Patterson

APQS Blissed Millennium with Quilt Path

APQS Sales Rep - Educator - Authorized Service Rep

Boise, Idaho

208-861-5018 (cell)

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Laura was referred to me by our local quilt shop. I know that this project is way beyond my capabilities and have been wracking my brain trying to think of who could do it justice. I did contact one well known quilter whose work I really admire, but she isn't able to take it on at this time. Over the last few days, and after showing the pictures of the quilt to a good friend, we both concurred that quilting could very well ruin this incredible work of art.

What you see in the picture doesn't begin to show the detail. This portrait quilt is made up of 1/2" squares! Yes, you read that right! 1/2" squares! The background squares are all hand stamped with words and phrases from some of Tom Hiddleston's performances. It was truly an honour to see it in person.

I agree with Linda that it should somehow be mounted and "framed". It should hang in a gallery or the actor's home. I think if Tom Hiddleston saw it, he would be SO honoured and would want to purchase it!


14EABCCA535C11FE692767BF2F0B87E2.png

DIGITIZED Designs for Computerized Quilting

The POCKET GUIDES to Freehanding

eppd@telus.net

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This is seriously one piece of incredible art!!!!

Stunning beyond words and when I read 1/2" squares, it blew my mind! I agree with Darlene, I think if Tom saw it, he'd pay a substantial price to acquire it.

Congratulations on such beautiful work. :)


5D9B899E078457BB53D3F7C6030FEE84.pngJulie & "The Pearl Girl"

Hand guided 2012 Blissed Millennium with Glide.

http://heritage-keepsakes.blogspot.com.au

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The more I think about this, the more I think that Linda's advice to mount it on stretcher bars is the best. However, I do think that there should be a thin layer of strong cotton fabric behind it so that it can be hand tucked every twelve inches or so. That way it won't sag over time. But the tucks should be very near the seam allowances so that it doesn't distort the design. How big is this? It looks huge!


Cheers,

Tami Levin

Vancouver, WA

http://www.lemontreetales.com

http://www.thequiltedlemon.com

APQS Freddie with IntelliQuilter

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I would think that this would still sag if it was just mounted without any quilting.  Jamie Wallen comes to mind for a quilt like this.  It will take special attention to over quilt it but I think without a little quilting it won't be as stable.  Amazing work.

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I don't think it would sag if there was some sort of interfacing ironed to the back side of it, to stabilize it.  It is hard to tell just how it would behave without actually seeing it in person.  But I do think some sort of stabilizing would benefit it.


Laura

my.doterra.com/naturespoweroils

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That is amazing.  I agree with a few of the others. I would not quilt over his gorgeous face.  Maybe put an iron on stabilzer on the back and then hang it on a frame, or just keep it with no use.


8259635bf834a637a7febcce54170daf.png Sweet T's Custom Quilting Finley, TN  (731)-445-6411 sweet_t_quilting@yahoo.com

 

http://sweettsquilting.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/SweetTsQuilting

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I'm interested I the process you go through deciding where to place the blocks, especially with such a large quilt. Do you concentrate on a small area at a time? Do you arrange them on a large sheet and start sewing 12x12 blocks together? Do you digitize your picture to help in assigning colors? How long did it take to collect and cut all of the squares?

It's very unique!

Thanks

 

I used a computer program to draft the pattern.

Colour selection was done by cutting samples of my fabrics (I bought over 250 0.2m samples) and scanning them into my computer. I saved each swatch as a .jpg photo, and then used my rendering program and the folder full of fabric swatches to create the pattern based on the original photo.

 

This is the original photo I used as my source:

 

tomtest5_zpse3237445.jpg

 

Once the pattern was generated, I used photoshop to draw a simple grid. I chose blocks of 12 x 16 squares sort of arbitrarily because that was what fit my table space and was in easy reach.

When I completely arranged a block, I folded them over in columns, right over left, and then stacked them and tucked the stacks into envelopes.

I finished creating all of my envolopes labelled (C1R1, C1R2 Column1Row3, etc) before I started sewing.

 

I sewed my blocks by chaining them vertically, and then pressing them open individually. I actually completely burnt out my craft iron doing this. I guess it wasn't supposed to cover a year of near constant use.

Once they were chained vertically, I sewed them horizontally.

 

When all the blocks were made, I sewed them into pillars, which is why you can see vertical stripes in the picture.

 

I sewed the two sides together before I switched to the middle face and did the hand-stamping.

 

To do the hand stamping, I did all the wording in photoshop. I wanted to make this quilt special, so the quotes when read forward, are from the complete works of William Shakespeare. However, if you follow the green and blue colours, when read backwards, the quilt also has a secret message for those patient enough to read it. :) (Hint: It's not 'I love you Tom')

 

Once the wording was finalized, I bought several packages of sticker-paper for my printer. I printed off sections of my wording onto the sticker paper and cut + stuck them on teh appropriate squares. I used my pre-existing colour grid to help me with accuracy.

 

Stamping the quilt, just like every other part, was not so much difficult as just tedious. By stamping along one letter at a time, I didn't have to worry about spelling or grammar. I could just lift up the sticker and go A, A, A, A, B. B, B, B, C, C, C, etc until I had used all of my alphabet stamps.

 

(This was also helpful because it meant I didn't have to put my stamp down. The biggest waste of time was a stamp getting too full of fabric pigment to keep working, and I had to de-gum it with soap and water before I could continue)

 

Thank you all for all of your leads so far! I will do more research, and I have contacted a few museums to hear what they have to say about finishing the quilt.

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Thank you for taking the time explain the elaborate process you went through!  So many little steps...It is definitely a work of art and I appreciate you sharing it with us!


Heidi Patterson

APQS Blissed Millennium with Quilt Path

APQS Sales Rep - Educator - Authorized Service Rep

Boise, Idaho

208-861-5018 (cell)

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