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Freehand and Custom Differences


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Yes, you are right on track. Freehand can be edge to edge, but you do not follow a pattern - only the one in your head. Custom work would be making each border/sashing/block individual either by using rulers, templates, stencils or you could freehand each individual area by doing feathers or something like that.

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Here's my penny (someone else can chime in to get up to 2 cents :)). In my opinion,

"Custom" quilting is ANY quilting that pays attention to a specific part of the quilt, whether that be individual borders, blocks, or following the paisley design in fabric. Custom quilting can be accomplished free hand, by computer, using stencils, rulers, etc.

"Free hand" quilting CAN be custom, or it CAN be edge-to-edge overall. In our industry, almost everything is technically done "freehand" unless you are using a computerized system or your rulers. The dictionary defines "free hand" as "Done by the hand, without support, or the guidance of instruments; as, free-hand drawing." Even if you have marked the quilt with a stencil and are following the lines precisely, you are quilting "free hand."

A better distinction may be to define when a quilt becomes a "custom" project.

As soon as the quilting pays attention to ANY division or patch, even following the paisley design on fabric, we are doing custom quilting. This would also include quilts where part of the quilt was done in an overall fashion, such as meandering the body of the quilt, and doing a separate border design.

If the quilting IGNORES all distinctions/divisions on a quilt and like an overall design that pays no attention to borders, blocks, fabric, etc., you are doing "overall" or "edge to edge" quilting.

If someone asks me if my work is all "free hand" I say, "Yes." Then I explain when and if I marked the quilt, used rulers, or as CoffeeNQuilts put it, did "design as I go". I think it helps educate the non-long arm community about how this is really an art, and every long-arm quilter is an artist.

for what it's worth (maybe a penny is too much, now that I think about it :))


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Ok so now that we've established the "custom" part.....any suggestions about what to do with 16 yards of 54" fabric. Yes I said sixteen yards.

Is there a special batting you should use for an upholstery (chair) fabric, I think he will just want muslin on the back for stability. I'm assuming he will want the whole piece quilted in one run and not cut. Should a heavier thread be used? All suggestions and advice are welcomed.

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April when I first got started a zillion years ago...a person brought to me over 20 yards of LAME'....that slick shinny fabric. She wanted it cross hatched...yucko, and no I would never do it again.

BUT with your heavier fabric I would suggest a muslin like you said and depending how much he wants the quilting to show a very thin batting...and just follow the designs as you stated.

Again depending on how much he wanted the quilting to show I might use a King Tut thread, but as long as you have a good quality thread any thread that Superior has would be a good choice....they are all strong enough to handle the heavier fabrics and will show or not show depending on which you pick out.

However, I probably wouldn't use a light bobbin thread...like Bottom line...I would wind my own and use the same on top as the bottom. Hope this helps some...and maybe others will also have something other suggestions.

OH, before I forget....I also would suggest a smaller stitch length....because when the upholstery person goes to cut out the pieces you don't want you stitches to unravel.

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