I’ve recently had the pleasure of meeting Val and John, husband and wife, and owners of DaisyMay Quilting in Martlesham Heath, Ipswich. Val and John have been long-arm quilting prized quilt tops since 2011. Valerie’s passion for quilting and John’s love of all things mechanical turned out to be the perfect combination needed to start their own business. Val and John’s prized long arm quilting machine, a Gammill quilter with Statler Stitcher and Breeze Track, came all the way from America and had to be made shorter to ensure it fit into their home!
I arrived with my quilt top and backing, eager to see the process in action – and what a fascinating experience it was! I found myself in awe at the size of the quilting machine and nothing short of amazed at the amount of preparation and skill involved in long-arm quilting – having never seen the process in action before, I had pictured the machine just getting on with the quilting. In reality, the time spent quilting was a fraction of that spent preparing the fabrics, setting up the machine and aligning everything, and totalled some three hours for my small quilt.
First the top and backing were pressed to within an inch of their lives. Then we pinned the top and bottom edges of the backing onto the rollers. These were turned to hold the fabric taught and large clips applied to each edge to dampen unwanted vibration. Onto the backing went the wadding, which was stitched to the top edge to hold it in place. Once the wadding was secure, the next stage involved positioning the quilt top onto the wadding, basting it into place along the top, then down the sides in four sections, finishing up at the bottom of the quilt. This step ensures that whilst being quilted, the top doesn’t shift and that the top, wadding and backing all stay lined up, helping to prevent pesky ripples.
Before any quilting could be done, John first needed to set up the computer, establishing the design, the positioning and how many repeats per row. We opted for the Robinia pattern in a beautiful lilac thread, a contemporary, simple trailing leaf design which we felt would reflect the floral elements in the fabric and emphasise the beauty of the Gutermann fabrics.
Then came the moment I’d been waiting for – John pushed the start button and after a single stitch to pull the bobbin thread up, the machine was off, snaking its way across my quilt, with John standing constantly by to ensure a perfect result. It was truly mesmerising! Due to the size of quilts, they need to be quilted in sections, in my case two rows of stitching at a time; each time John had to reset the stitching, alter the position of the quilt on the rollers and ensure everything lined up, as well as checking that the pattern was still in line with the previous rows.
It’s clear to see John and Val have such a passion for quilting and turning fantastic quilt tops into professionally finished treasures. Usually clients will drop off a quilt top and backing and return a few weeks later to pick it up completed. Val and John’s clients tend to be local but their reputation for exceptional quality and customer service is quickly growing and DaisyMay Quilting is increasing in popularity further afield, too. If Ipswich is a bit far for you to travel, Val and John are happy for tops and backing to be sent in the post and to return the finished item in the same way. They offer a growing selection reasonably priced backings and waddings and Val also offers a binding service – she is well known for her trademark piped binding! DaisyMay Quilting offer incredibly competitive prices (just take a look at the cost calculator on their website) and you can be sure you’ll receive top notch service that will do your quilt justice.
If you’d like to make this quilt top, instructions will be in Simply Homemade magazine over the next few months. I’ll be sure to keep you posted when it’s out!
Phone: 01473 625951