Longarmer Spotlight: Laurie Tigner

This week, I will be featuring interviews with a few longarm quilters. This is an area I know little about, so I thought it would be interesting to find out more! Today’s interview is with Laurie Tigner of Laurie Tigner Designs. Laurie designs applique quilt patterns, as well as being an award winner on many of her quilts.

Me: How were you introduced to long arm quilting? How long have you been doing it for?
Laurie: I basically started quilting by starting out at the longarm/quilting end….it was easier for me than the piecing part…..I had only done a handful of quilts before I started the longarming….it is still my favorite part of the whole process….

Me: What type of machine do you use, and what are some of the features on it that are your favorite? 
Laurie: Classic – no pantographs, no computer, no rulers (yet).  I have a small half circle that I cut out of wood to use as a stabilizer, but usually I just use my left index finger to help guide…..
Me: When you receive a quilt to be long armed, what is your process usually like?
Laurie: I always re-measure the top and bottom to see if they are big enough…it only takes once of trusting that someone made the bottom big enough…it needs to be a couple of inches larger (in each direction) than the top…..it takes a while to pin the back to the machine and if it is too small, well….you just have to take it off….that only happened once….but a good lesson.  I make sure the top is ironed, that there aren’t any major dark threads running loose that they forgot to trim….they really do show up if they are behind light colored fabric…..once it is on the machine…..I try to look at it again to see if I still like the original quilting ideas I had when receiving it…Changing your mind is a wonderful thing!
Me: What is your favorite type of quilt to work on? Do you like designs with a lot of negative space? Modern quilts?
Laurie: I love applique quilts….or quilts with negative spaces…..they provide a lot of play room…. Modern quilts are ok….they can be fun to quilt….but not a big fan of them in general…..some are phenomenal…others just too boring and lack the wow factor….(I am ducking from the incoming missles)  :)
Me: Do you have a certain quilted design that is your favorite?
Laurie: My favorite quilting design is my “quilted brocade”…..I developed it for my second Madonna quilt background a few years ago …I just love the process of doing it…
Me: Does thread color play a significant role in your quilting?
Laurie: It depends…it is definitely important…..I am fairly conservative with thread colors….I like thread to match or complement….I love when other people use strong, contrasting threads…..they can look fabulous….it is just not something I feel comfortable doing yet….
Me: What type of thread and batting are your favorite to work with?
Laurie: I love Aurifil threads…..my Gammill is very hard on the 50 weight    (and metallic threads), but the Aurifil 40 weight is just great on it….. I love silk thread as well…..  I have yet to find the perfect batting…..so many people bring me their batting and it is all different…..I try to adapt to what they like…..I  would love any and all batting companies to send me free batting to try…..Ha!!!
Me: I have never had a quilt long armed. If someone is new to the process, like I am, what kinds of information would you tell them about your work, and in turn, what kinds of questions would you ask them to make sure they receive the best finished product possible?
Laurie: I would say, bring your quilt to your longarmer in the best condition possible….don’t have dark threads hanging loose on the back, make sure your seams are pressed, make sure your quilt is pressed.  Make sure your back and batting are about 3 inches bigger than the quilt top on EACH side…..If you have a preference for type of quilting, make sure the longarmer knows your mind….otherwise, just say “do what you would do if it were your quilt”.  That is what people usually do with me and they have always seemed happy…. Make sure you let them know what you can pay….it is not a crime to say you can only spend x number of dollars….but do not try to get them to do show quilting for a meager pay…it is their business…it is how they make their car payments…..
Me: What helpful tips can you provide for more successful machine quilting at home?
Laurie: I do very little machine quilting at home….I don’t enjoy it….maybe it is my sewing machine….
Me: When you have time to sew for yourself, what kinds of projects do you like to work on? What is your favorite sewing project that you have made
Laurie: I like to do something totally different and off the wall….something that just appeals to me….I am working on an applique of the Hindu god Ganesh right now that will be very, very heavily embellished once I am finished with the quilting….. It is a longterm project as it is needleturned applique…. My daughter is adopted from India, so it will be an heirloom piece for her….bought the beads last fall at market and just can’t wait to be able to start beading it!!!
Thank you Laurie! You can find out more about Laurie by visiting Laurie Tigner Designs.

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