SAL3 - Wonky Quilts!
Dear Ruthanna,


This is the fourth in the series of emails based on Ruth Grihalva's April Power Point presentation to the String-A-Long Quilt Guild in Porter County Indiana. The title was "Piecing Hints, Tips & Longarming Issues."

Her comments are based on our experience with over 10,000 longarmed quilts in our 20 year history. Additionally, Ruth has published over 160 patterns, three books, and two tools under the nom de plume of "Raggedy Ruth Designs."

However, these newsletters are written by her husband, me. I am writing these from Ruth's presentation notes. Nonetheless, I will be sprinkling my ideas in also.

SAL4 - Let Us Not Leave "Lettuce Leaves!"

Woops! I forgot to mention ways to fix "lettuce leaf" borders in SAL2! So, we'll have to put off "Diagonal Seams" until next time.

Fixing "Lettuce Leaves"

I will provide three methods of fixing "Lettuce Leaf" borders.

Ripping...The Quilters' Favorite Past-time

This method is the most "tried and true." We will often give the quilter the option of ripping-out the old borders and reattaching them according to our previous instructions in SAL2. Sometimes we will get permission from the quilter to fix the borders in this manner - for a fee.

One way or another, removing the borders and reattaching them is usually the outcome - either you or us.

However, sometimes the "lettuce leaves" begin at some point along the edge. Then, that is the point to which you rip-out the borders. Then reattach them using the pinning techniques in SAL2.

Stretch That Baby Out!

When we first started longarming in the early 2000's, we were instructed to stretch those quilts out, which also stretches out border problems. I even met a longarmer who boasted that he never put a tuck in a quilt.

The secret? Stretch the quilt sandwich [top, batting, and backing] as tight as a marching snare drum. This oftentimes works. However, the resulting quilt is often not square or rectangular. It also is very hard on the seams, causing them to come open, or unraveled. Neither of these is considered to be a good outcome.


This has nothing to do with the grapefruit drink. What I'm referring to is when the fullness is caused by a single small area in the center of the quilt. In those cases, using liquid starch and an iron can possible take up the little bit of fullness that is causing the problem, thus, allowing the quilt and its borders to lay flat.


Everyone [hopefully] presses the back-side of the top to get the seams to lay nice and flat. However, also iron the front. This technique has the ability to disclose at least three problems:

  • Unsewn and loose seams can be found. Unsewn seams because the nose of the iron will go into the unsewn seam.

  • Loosely sewn seam can often be spotted due to the exposed threads.

  • This allows the piecer the view and the time to see where fullness is occurring. That way it can be addressed before it is taken to your longarmer.

What's Next?

The newsletter prefixed "SAL05" will be on "Diagonal Seams". See you then!

If you would like to have Ruth give a presentation or workgroup to your organization, please let me know by email to [with your complete contact information, please] or by phone at 567.208.3572, my mobile.

Al Fin

I trust that this was of assistance or interest. If you have any questions that need to be answered, on this or other longarming or quilting topics, then please write to me at or call 219.255.8085.

Thank you for your time and interest.
May The Lord Richly Bless You!
Rick & Ruth Grihalva
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