A customer brought a quilt into the studio recently wanting freehand/custom-work done on her Radial Star Quilt. Taking three years to finish all thirty-six of these beauties, I almost felt guilty telling her it would take about 4-6 weeks to quilt it - and only because there were a couple people in the queue ahead of her, otherwise it would've been finished earlier.
She was thrilled I could get it done so quickly. Actually, it takes a LOT of time for design interpretation and implementation on either freehand, custom or heirloom quilting...
...Sometimes many design hours are needed before the quilting process even begins. What's my favorite part? I guess I'd have to say that seeing the design come to life on the quilt, right along with the happy expression of the customer when she sees the finished product.
This being said, I must pose a question to quilters: is it your goal to work for weeks or months on a project and then hang it in your closet, unfinished, unseen and unappreciated? Or is it to get a project done and gloriously move on to the next one? My suggestion is once you've finished piecing a quilt top, get 'em quilted so you can gift them or use them! If you aren't in a hurry, then tie, hand quilt or machine quilt your smaller projects on your domestic machine. But for those times you want a quilt completed quickly and professionally, hire a longarmer. This is exactly what the longarm industry was designed to do; to help you move onto the next tantalizing project while your quilter works on your last one.
A reasonable goal to get a quilt top longarm-quilted and finished would be within 1-4 months of piecing. Budget ahead of time not only for the fabric, but for the quilting. You can click on my Quilting Services page to get an idea of the charges.
Clean out the quilt closet, one at a time, and let's enjoy these quilted treasures!