Saturday, November 5, 2011

Shout Out Saturday #1: Hello from Tops to Treasures

 I don't know about you, but I'm hungry for some new blogs to read.  My BFF Amie and I were talking the other night about how we are wanting new inspiration but keep seeing the same 10 or 15 blogs on everyone's  blogroll.  It's time for us to branch out and find new blogs to love, and we thought you might feel the same way.  This is the first post in what I hope will become a semi regular series called "Shout Out Saturday."  If you have a great suggestion for a blog you don't already see in *my* blogroll, email me with your idea and I will check it out.  Our first guest is Cindy from Tops to Treasures.  I follow her blog and I thought you might be interested in hearing about one of her areas of expertise...she is a long arm quilter!
Hello, my name is Cindy. We haven't met. Mary thought we should, so I am here to introduce myself.
Um...those are my feet...cute picture isn't it. Meet Montague and Capulet, my favorite slippers.
Where to start....I am obviously a blogger, with a silly sense of humor. I can't remember a time when I didn't enjoy writing. I suppose before I learned how it wasn't on my list of favorite things to do, but I've slept since then.
To me writing is a conversation...a letter to whom ever picks up the page. I adore letters. There is nothing as precious as a hand written epistle chuck full of thoughts and events and stories, folded up and tucked in an envelope received by post. I can't remember the last time I received one.
Writing is also about forming letters on a page. I am fascinated by the flow of ink from my pen and the gentle loops and curls as words form on a page. It is magical. Unfortunately, like my memories of my favorite past times as a preschooler, my eye sight has succumbed to the years. However, I get the same thrill from quilting.
I am a quilter....that is to say I quilt. The "-er" makes me nervous. I joyfully accept the "-er" in sister, daughter, mother, etc. God gave me those. The "-er" in quilter seems more ominous, like it should set a standard. I'm not sure I meet the qualifications for it. I'm less sure that I want to.
I've met plenty of "-ers" that have put me off. I'm sure you have too. They tend to be full of rules and free advice. I think I can honestly say that I admire their work. It is beautiful. I do feel a little sorry for their beautiful quilts....big money winners that travel around the country to be gawked at but never snuggled under. There is something sad about that. My best friend, Kelli, would look at me and say, "They taste like they don't got a dog," and we would both laugh and thank the writer of "Because of Winn-Dixie."
Rae, my Great Dane/Pyranese
I make quilts. I make them for friends and family, for people I love or who seem to need loving on. I make little quilts to swap with my on-line friends. Mini's are quickly becoming my favorite format. They are quick, require little financial commitment, and I can try anything. They are a good way to try out new technique.
I am also a long arm quilter. I own and operate Tops to Treasures...that is also the name of my blog, and my Flickr account. Over the past five and half years I've quilted over 600 quilts....quilts made by people like me and you, quilts intended to be gifts and comforters. I haven't quilted a single show quilt. I think I'm okay with that.
Now, so this post isn't just about me, here a few things to know about long arm quilters.
1) They don't know everything. Really, most of them are just like us. They may have an idea about how to quilt your top, it might be a good one too, but your ideas are just as good. Don't feel obligated to accept their word as "it."
2) If they are worth their salt they wont ask to be paid until they have delivered the work you asked for. They will give you a receipt outlining the work to be done, the costs, and time frame upon receipt of your project.
3) They can't always drop everything and quilt your quilt NOW. You might have to wait a little while. My turn around time is about three weeks.
4) Your quilt top does NOT have to be perfectly wrinkle free. When you iron a quilt the point isn't wrinkles. You don't need to iron it like it is getting ready for prom. Pressing a quilt is meant to coerce the various fabrics into playing nice with each other. You're turning coal into diamonds, not dust. When your top is mounted the table will stretch ordinary wrinkles out. Neatly folding a quilt top and backing material is okay.
5) The long arm quilter really does need the extra backing fabric they asked for. They have to have something to hold onto. Most long armers ask for 3 to 5 inches all the way around. If your top is 10x10, they would want the back to be around 18x18.
6) Flappy bits, like flanges and rick-rack can be a challenge. They move. Be sure to let the quilter know if you have incorporated any of these design elements into your project.
7) Long arm quilters like things to be square. Squares make life easier. They will love you forever if you make sure that your project has right angled corners and sides that are straight.
I'd love to share more of my quirky world with you. Stop by my blog any time!


  1. Great idea, Mary! Right now my life is so overwhelming that I just haven't been able to search for new blogs. Since they're so much cheaper than the ever-more-expensive magazines, this feature will enrich my life as well as those of many other people. Thank you so much!

  2. How fun is this?! Thank you for inviting me.

  3. Great idea for highlighting new blogs. I'm always looking but it does take time.

    And I LOVE Cindy's philosophy on quilts - I make quilts to be used and loved. I admire the "show" quilts but I want my legacy to be quilts made with love for my friends and family.

    Have a great weekend -

  4. I have over 300 blogs on my blog roll so stop by anytime. Unfortunately I spend more time blogging when I am on the computer than adding to my own blog, but I sure learn a lot from the blogs I follow. I haven't had time or money to take a lot of classes so am very appreciative of all I have learned from these people who share their talent on the internet!


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