Level-Up Your Longarming: APQS Longarm Certification



The time will come when you need to get serious about your longarm quilting. Maybe you recently purchased your machine and have pushed yourself as far as you can go on your own, or maybe it’s time to start taking in quilts as a business and you want some level of accreditation or credibility.

When that time comes, check out the APQS Longarm Certification course. Co-taught by Dawn Cavanaugh and Myrna Ficken, this 14-week course will turn you into the quilter you deserve to be.

Karen’s Story—Standing Out from the Competition through Certification

When Karen Kineman decided to go pro, she wanted a way to set herself apart from the competition, as well as starting her business, Graceful Touch Studio, on a positive note. Since few other longarmers in her area are certified, she felt that would give her a leg up. “I chose the Longarm Certification Class based on several things,” she says. “One was the price. I felt that the price was fair, and also the reputation was good.”

The feedback she received was excellent. “I feel as if I’ve grown as a quilter,” Karen says. “And I’m doing three times the business since receiving certification.”

Patricia’s Story—Longarm Machine Mastery

Patricia Hale, a retired physician, had no interest in going into business. After all, she was retired. But she had just gotten her HandiQuilter Avanti, and wanted to push her skills.

“I was trying to develop my skills on my own, but it was slow going,” she said. “I’d take a class at a shop, and then maybe I’d try it out when I got home, but I wanted something with more structure, with more of a regimen.”

Knowing that she had to turn things in made her work harder, she said. She put in more effort up front, and it was that effort that helped her improve. “That practice was incredible. I bought cheap muslin and cheap batting, and didn’t quilt anything else in that time.”


The practice you get in this course is incredible, says student Patricia Hale.

The most valuable lessons for her, Patricia says, were the rudimentary shapes that built muscle memory, and the instruction on tension.

For the basic shapes, students have to create them over and over, going at them from different directions. “I could measure in miles the fabric I went through honing those shapes,” Patricia jokes. “It jumped my skill level and control level. I developed a motor control of the machine doing this that made feathering, and all the rest of the course do-able.”


Building muscle memory through rudimentary shapes helps you achieve masterful control.

As for the lessons on tension, Patricia says, “This course was outstanding. It really, really was.” The amount of detail provided on all the variables was more than she’d ever seen, she says, “And I’d scoured the Internet for information on tension.”

Though the course is sponsored by APQS, what she learned absolutely applied to any machine. “I have no problems with tension anymore,” she says. “If something comes up, I know exactly what to do about it, and how to monitor it.”

The confidence that rings in her voice is striking. She knows exactly what she’s doing with her machine, and how to use it to create exactly what she wants.

“I was pretty proud of what I turned in for the final assignment, which was whole cloth quilting,” she says. Patricia confesses that she’s a bit of a rebel, and strayed away from the typical medallion-style, whole cloth quilting. Instead, inspired by a trip she took with her son to see the 2017 eclipse, Patricia created a mythical bird in variegated thread, using her feathering skills to create the tail. She thread-painted the eclipsed sun in the background and then filled the rest of the sky in with dense quilting.

“You send your homework assignments in, and they’re not returned, because the cost of shipping isn’t worth it. The items are donated,” says Patricia. “But this one, I asked for it to be returned, and included a return shipping slip. When I got it back, I entered it into the Vermont Quilt Festival.”

Her “homework assignment” now hangs in her house, with a second place ribbon pinned to it.


Comments (7)

  • Lynn D

    I am interested in taking this long arm certication course. Do you have more information on how this works> please send more information with pictures.

    July 12, 2018 at 1:19 pm
    • Tiffany Warble

      Thanks for reaching out! I forwarded your question and information to Vanessa for help. The team should be reaching out soon to provide more information.

      The Quilting Company Team

      July 18, 2018 at 4:25 pm
  • Marianne G

    I am also very interested in this program. Could you send me more info and how this would work for someone in Canada. Thank you in advance for your help.

    August 22, 2018 at 6:59 pm
    • Brenna Riley Gates

      Hi Marianne,
      As part of the APQS Longarm Certification, there are assignments that need to be mailed directly to the instructor. Here is a PDF with a list of the assignments and when they are due. You can do assignments early and send them all at once to cut back on the number of mailings.
      The Quilting Company Team

      August 31, 2018 at 6:06 pm
  • Marian M

    Will the course be run in 2019, and if so, when? I am just finishing the course this week. It is excellent! A number of people I know are interested in taking this course as well. Thanks.

    December 12, 2018 at 3:52 pm
    • Carrie Sisk

      Hi Marian – our apologies for the confusion. This course is no longer available for 2018 (we’ve noted this in the blog—thank you for bringing this to our attention), although you will find two courses that are currently available at the bottom of this article. They’re taught by expert longarm quilter, Angela Huffman, whom you may have seen on Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting PBS TV show. Keep an eye out in 2019 when this course is available once again. Thank you for your patience and your inquiry!

      December 19, 2018 at 3:06 pm
    • Carrie Sisk

      Hi Marian! This course is officially available for purchase and will begin on 3/19/19. Here’s the link to the course for more information: https://www.quiltingcompany.com/store/courses-videos/courses/apqs-longarm-certification-sponsored-by-fons-porter-2019-03-18. Enjoy!

      January 18, 2019 at 7:40 pm

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