We received a lot of response and we appreciate the interest in our newsletter.  Here are some of the comments:
From Ann W., Virginia Beach:  "OK.  What kind of hammer and what does that do?"
---I have seen using a regular hammer with a base of wood underneath.  There may be more specific tools with curves and such for garments, but, for a quilt, I would not need that.  I have heard of this several times and tried it once just to see what effect it has.  For myself, I found that by going slower with the machine (which did not have the regulator on) I did not have the issue of breaking stitches as much.  I also found that making sure the bobbin was wound consistently made a big difference.  For more suggestions on the long-arm issues, read the next comment and look for forums online.

From Vivs from Bear's Quilt Shop, Garden Grove, CA:   "As a long-armer, I've been seeing a lot of open seams lately too. My main issue with this is that if a thread breaks in a seam pressed to one side on a quilt, then you probably will never know it has failed.You are going to have to pull a lot of stitches and move the fabric at least 1/4 inch to see through to the batting.If you press open, however, and a seam gives, you start having bat beard through immediately.This leads to fussing with the area, and the seam just gives more.Even if the seam stays sound, if your bat is prone to bearding at all, and you have the relatively large gap between your stitches (as compared to the tight weave of your quilter's cottons), you are going to have issues.I've rarely seen issues with seams being too thick to sew through on the long arm.  On rare occasions like an 8 seam intersection, we might have too much bulk.  We'll often recommend trimming down the seam allowances in those points."

From Mary G.:  "I like to one side for locking seams, too...but I mainly don't open my seams because 1/4 seams are hard to press open and side is much easier and faster."
From Debbie F., Tonawanda, NY:  "i like seams pressed to one side due to the fact that i use most of my quilts. i can just see one of my grandkids poking at their quilt with their toes or making a tent just to split a seam enough to see the batting inside.  when pressed to the side if it happens to split open, the fabric is what will be peeking through and it will be less noticeable. in a nutshell the quilt seems more "iron clad" this way."

From Sylvia L.:  "I found your letter on opening seams interesting, but, I do not like opening seams.  I like to use one color thread, usually ecru or beige.  If I open seams, this thread may show, also, I do not like burning my fingers opening a ¼ inch seam."
From Kelly S.:  "I make my choice based on the block design for example some star blocks that are a combination of 1/2 square triangles and squares are flatter when the seams are pressed open. For me it is as much about the visual aesthetic as it is the ease if[sic] quilting....and yes I an [sic] a long arm quilter!"

From Tina C., Plano, TX:  "About the seams being open or to the side:  Mostly, I think they should be pressed to the side for the reasons you state.  But, I love to make Lone Stars with the seams pressed open.  The intersections, being on the diagonal, are much easier to get perfect when the seams are open.  The center of the star can be sewn to the end of the diamond and then all eight go together and are perfectly flat and make a beautiful center.  No tricks are required to make the center go together.  You are very right about the tension, stitch length and also the color of thread being more important when the seams are pressed open.  Another time I would press them open is on tiny blocks.  Some blocks need some seams open and some to the side.  I guess I let the block do the talkin'."

From Dorothy Y.:  "I, too, was taught to press my quilt top seams to the side.  Like many of our "commandments" I've recently questioned, then challenged that one.  And my tops are better for it.  I've started pressing many of my seams open.  I find my points and corners match better with open seams.  "Nesting" sounds good in theory, but in the real world, the edge of two patches or units are not identical in length, and the unevenness of the feed from the top and bottom by the machine guarantee that things will shift.  I found I was "fighting" to keep units nested.  Now I pin on either side of the seams and they match well with less effort.  As for your remakr about uneven tension, that's a true issue that each quilter should solev.  Poor tension should be fixed, not worked around.  With regard to the stitching being the only thing holding the top together, no - the quilting does that.  Once the quilt is quilted, the quilting stitches hold the whold enchilada together."
---As you can see there are different experiences and different reasons.  I prefer seams pressed to one side for the same reasons listed here and in last week’s letter.   I also like pressing to one side because of the depth that these seams provide to the look of the quilt.  There is more dimension in the quilt with seams to one side than seams pressed open and I like that; whereas Kelly and Tina like the flatter look.  Dorothy has found that, for her, the open seams help with points matching for her machine.  I asked her what type of machine she uses and it was a Juki which is designed only for straight stitch.  Know why you choose one method over the other. Experiment if you are still not getting the results you want.  However you choose to press, choose it because it helps you enjoy your quilting more, not because someone said that is the way you must do it.

---Because I like to sew without pins when possible, because I have an easy way to press seams to one side successfully, because I like the fabric underneath to give the depth in the design and no stitches showing, and, because my seams lock easily and I do not have a machine that shifts the layers, I will continue to press seams to one side.
---Whichever you choose, enjoy your quilting!