Home Quilting Suggestions for Newbie Longarm Quilters: Everybody Can Longarm!

Suggestions for Newbie Longarm Quilters: Everybody Can Longarm!


Are you a quilting fanatic who’s able to take your craft to the subsequent stage? When you’ve ever marveled on the intricate designs and superbly stitched quilts created with longarm quilting machines, it’s time to dive into the world of longarm quilting your self! Don’t be intimidated by the scale and complexity of those machines – longarm quilting is an artwork type that’s accessible to everybody, together with first-timers. Simply check out the following tips for newbie longarm quilters from Carrie Sisk!

Journey together with Carrie as she outlines her ups and downs whereas tackling a longarm challenge for her soon-to-be-born daughter. The ethical of the story? Observe makes good and don’t be afraid to make errors — it’s the easiest way to study!

Once I began placing the Snowbirds quilt, designed by Wendy Sheppard, collectively for my soon-to-be-born daughter, I by no means dreamt it might take me three years to complete. Speak about a UFO (unfinished object). I suppose that’s not a very very long time for some folks, however I’m not one to let tasks marinate, so for me, this was far overdue. A pair extra issues I didn’t foresee once I got down to make this quilt:


Turning this quilt (meant to complete at 40″ x 49″) right into a toddler-worthy quilt (I added an additional border). And…


Quilting it on a longarm quilting machine

As soon as I completed piecing the quilt prime (whew!), our workplace had already obtained a Q’nique 14+ Quilter. I used to be excited to attempt it however hesitant to probably destroy my now eldest daughter’s quilt with shoddy quilting by yours actually. However, after taking it for a check drive, I used to be hooked. I needed to quilt it on this superb machine.

Snowbirds by Wendy Sheppard

And, quilt it, I did! I assumed I’d share some newbie ideas with you since I discovered loads on my journey. Nothing beats the precise expertise, after all (you possibly can hire time on a longarm quilting machine—examine along with your native sellers and quilt retailers!), but it surely doesn’t damage to go in armed with somewhat pleasant recommendation.

Tip #1: Plan Your Design or Motifs Earlier than Leaping In

Simply as you’ll when getting ready to design your quilt tops, I like to recommend laying your completed quilt prime out and finding out it. You may seek for quilting designs and motifs through net browser, on Pinterest, in books like 501 Quilting Motifs… wherever! I didn’t consult with my quilt prime in its entirety earlier than quilting it, simply contemplated every row as a stand-alone quilting challenge, and later realized I might have quilted the smaller triangles throughout every row as one unit as a substitute of separate models. Dwell and study.

Had I studied my quilt prime earlier than quilting, I might have quilted these models as one.

Tip #2: Observe Your Designs on Paper First

Earlier than you set needle to material, attempt placing pen (or marker) to paper. Draw as you’ll quilt. Which means, place your paper how you may be framing your quilt. If it’s loaded on the quilt body horizontally, draw your design as should you’re quilting throughout your quilt, side-to-side. This manner, you get a really feel for the way you’ll be shifting by way of your quilting. Loop-de-loops are a complete completely different animal when drawing them side-to-side quite than up and down. You’ll additionally discover the errors you’re inclined to make. My loops? They don’t at all times go in the identical path—I made a decision to observe these a bit extra.

First Timer Tips for Longarm Quilting (Everyone Can Longarm Quilt!)
Draw out your designs to extend muscle reminiscence.

Drawing out your designs beforehand builds muscle reminiscence—your mind turns into accustomed to that particular motor process by way of repetition. You’ll discover that it’s as in case your muscle groups “bear in mind” your designs when you begin quilting. And, lastly, training solutions the next questions: 1) How will I repeatedly quilt in order to not break thread? 2) In what order and path will I quilt my motifs? 3) Do I like how my motifs work collectively?

I assumed I may get away with 6″ as a result of… I’m distinctive? There’s a cause professional quilters suggest sure issues. And, there’s a cause they’re the specialists. So, when ZJ Humbach tells you to permit an additional 4″ on all sides of your quilt backing and batting, you hear. It’s superb how a lot your quilt backing and batting will begin to disappear as you quilt. I obtained fortunate and had simply sufficient that all the pieces labored out, however I don’t suggest dwelling on the sting relating to ending your quilts.

Tip #4: Begin with Free-Movement Quilting

Pantographs and rulers are enjoyable, however they take a bit extra know-how than free-motion. My first expertise with a longarm was superb—I obtained to observe the beautiful and gifted Daybreak Cavanaugh movie the APQS Longarm Certification on-line workshop and afterward, take her machine for a fast spin. BUT, it was additionally daunting as a result of it concerned utilizing a laser information… from behind the machine… following a pantograph design. That was sufficient to show me off of longarm quilting (I recklessly admitted defeat—dangerous quilter!) till I lastly recovered sufficient to find that free-motion quilting was heads-and-tails simpler. Now, I’m hooked!

Tip #5: Strive Curves First

I do know, I do know… quilters usually consult with “curves” as if it’s a unclean phrase. Nicely, not in free-motion longarm quilting. I made a decision to quilt a straight braid across the outer border and rapidly realized that retracing my stitches is simpler stated than performed. Once I revisit straight traces in my longarming, I simply may be utilizing a ruler (tip: longarm quilting rulers are particularly made for quilting on a longarm machine—they’re thicker and accommodate a hopping foot).

First Timer Tips for Longarm Quilting (Everyone Can Longarm Quilt!)
Straight edges are tough. Strive quilting curves to begin!

Tip #6: Stable Materials Showcase Your Quilting

When you’re undecided you need your quilting to be entrance and heart, contemplate working with prints or batiks on your first spherical of longarm quilting. You’d assume this might be widespread quilting sense, however this thought didn’t even cross my thoughts earlier than I started. It was a little bit of shock once I whoopsied throughout my stable piecing. Like I stated, entrance and heart.

First Timer Tips for Longarm Quilting (Everyone Can Longarm Quilt!)
Discover how the quilting is extra obvious on the stable materials.

Tip #7: Reframing Your Quilt Mid-Quilting is Not the Finest Thought

Sure, I did this. I needed to strategy my borders from the aspect, so as soon as I had the aspect borders and Flying Geese models quilted, I took the quilt off the body, turned it 90°, and quilted the remaining borders. Discovering the middle of your quilt prime after it’s been quilted is difficult. I had extra quilt backing and batting to take care of, so discovering the middle was extra of a prepared, fireplace, goal strategy. When the secret is preserving issues sq., this won’t be the best way to go.

Tip #8: Don’t Be Afraid to Make Errors!

I need all the pieces to be good earlier than I even know what I’m doing—it’s one among my issues. I’m making an attempt to be extra lenient with myself, but it surely doesn’t at all times take. Working example, I ended up ripping out a complete row of stitches—I made a decision to alter my design for the remaining rows and I knew I wouldn’t have the ability to see previous the preliminary design. For my very own sanity, it needed to be performed. Stay calm and seize the seam ripper. A phrase of warning, nevertheless: ripping quilting is a little more labor-intensive than ripping seams. It takes some time.

Tip #9: Loosen up Your Physique. Your Muscle tissues (+ Quilt) Will Thank You

I channeled the good longarm quilter, Angela Huffman (she provides glorious on-line courses, together with Longarm Fundamentals) whereas I used to be quilting, recalling her recommendation to loosen up the physique when longarm quilting. It’s extremely straightforward to tense up whenever you’re tremendous targeted and making an attempt to remain on monitor. However, tense quilting is tough on each a part of your physique and also you’ll pay for it later. It additionally implies that you in all probability gained’t be longarm quilting fairly often as a result of your physique can’t face up to the aches and pains. Plus, your quilting pays the worth. When you’re relaxed and calm (drawing out your designs previous to quilting helps right here, too—it builds confidence), will probably be mirrored in your designs. When you may use somewhat assist loosening up, we have now nice Quilting Ergonomics and No Extra Backaches webinars with Michael Engman (licensed private coach and orthopedic train specialist). And, one of the best piece of recommendation I may give…

As you possibly can see, longarm quilting opens up a world of prospects for quilters of all talent ranges. With the best data and somewhat observe, you possibly can create gorgeous and complicated quilts that will likely be cherished for generations. And at all times do not forget that errors occur to all quilters — even the professionals! Don’t be afraid to begin small and work your manner up. With every sew, you’ll acquire extra confidence and refine your abilities.

Have tons of enjoyable!
It’s only the start…


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