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 following degree? In case 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 dimensions 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 pointers for newbie longarm quilters from Carrie Sisk!

Journey together with Carrie as she outlines her ups and downs whereas tackling a longarm venture 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 one of the simplest ways 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. Discuss 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 after 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 strive it however hesitant to presumably destroy my now eldest daughter’s quilt with shoddy quilting by yours really. However, after taking it for a check drive, I used to be hooked. I needed to quilt it on this wonderful machine.

Snowbirds by Wendy Sheppard

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

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

Simply as you’d when making ready to design your quilt tops, I like to recommend laying your completed quilt prime out and finding out it. You possibly can seek for quilting designs and motifs by way of internet browser, on Pinterest, in books like 501 Quilting Motifs… anyplace! I didn’t discuss with my quilt prime in its entirety earlier than quilting it, simply contemplated every row as a stand-alone quilting venture, and later realized I might have quilted the smaller triangles throughout every row as one unit as an alternative of separate models. Stay 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 place needle to material, strive placing pen (or marker) to paper. Draw as you’d quilt. Which means, place your paper how you’ll be framing your quilt. If it’s loaded on the quilt body horizontally, draw your design as in the event you’re quilting throughout your quilt, side-to-side. This fashion, you get a really feel for a way you’ll be transferring by your quilting. Loop-de-loops are an entire 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 all the time go in the identical route—I made a decision to apply 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 repetition. You’ll discover that it’s as in case your muscular tissues “keep in mind” your designs when you begin quilting. And, lastly, practising solutions the next questions: 1) How will I constantly quilt in order to not break thread? 2) In what order and route will I quilt my motifs? 3) Do I like how my motifs work collectively?

I assumed I might 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 pay attention. It’s superb how a lot your quilt backing and batting will begin to disappear as you quilt. I acquired fortunate and had simply sufficient that every little thing labored out, however I don’t suggest residing on the sting with regards 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 acquired to look at 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—unhealthy 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 discuss 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 shortly realized that retracing my stitches is less complicated mentioned than completed. Once I revisit straight strains in my longarming, I simply is likely to 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 difficult. Strive quilting curves to start out!

Tip #6: Strong Materials Showcase Your Quilting

In case you’re undecided you need your quilting to be entrance and middle, contemplate working with prints or batiks to your first spherical of longarm quilting. You’d assume this could be frequent quilting sense, however this thought didn’t even cross my thoughts earlier than I started. It was a little bit of shock after I whoopsied throughout my strong piecing. Like I mentioned, entrance and middle.

Discover how the quilting is extra obvious on the strong materials.

Tip #7: Reframing Your Quilt Mid-Quilting is Not the Greatest Concept

Sure, I did this. I needed to method 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, hearth, purpose method. When the secret is preserving issues sq., this won’t be the way in which to go.

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

I need every little thing 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 all the time 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 be capable of see previous the preliminary design. For my very own sanity, it needed to be completed. Stay calm and seize the seam ripper. A phrase of warning, nonetheless: 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 gives glorious on-line lessons, together with Longarm Fundamentals) whereas I used to be quilting, recalling her recommendation to calm down the physique when longarm quilting. It’s extremely straightforward to tense up if you’re tremendous centered and trying to remain on monitor. However, tense quilting is difficult on each a part of your physique and also you’ll pay for it later. It additionally signifies 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 value. In case you’re relaxed and calm (drawing out your designs previous to quilting helps right here, too—it builds confidence), it will likely be mirrored in your designs. In case you might use just a little 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, the perfect piece of recommendation I may give…

As you possibly can see, longarm quilting opens up a world of potentialities for quilters of all ability ranges. With the precise data and just a little apply, you possibly can create beautiful and complicated quilts that will probably be cherished for generations. And all the time keep in mind that errors occur to all quilters — even the professionals! Don’t be afraid to start out small and work your method up. With every sew, you’ll achieve extra confidence and refine your expertise.

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


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