Let’s Get Started!
Are you contemplating buying a longarm quilting machine and wondering what’s involved?
Are you a new owner and not quite sure where to begin?
Are you already up and running but want to learn some new tips and tricks?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this new column is tailored just for you. The goal is to make sure you feel comfortable and confident using your machine.
Each column will focus on a specific aspect of longarm quilting and will take you step-by-step through that process. The Grace Company has graciously set up both an electronic machine and a computerized one at the Quiltmaker office. Because these Q’nique 14+ machines are very intuitive and fun to use, we’re using them in video demonstrations to reinforce the concepts you will learn in this column.
A longarm is a system that includes a machine, a table, a set of clamps and a frame. The frame consists of a series of three rollers for loading the quilt top and backing. The rollers also support the table. The clamps are attached to the table and keep the backing snugly in place. The straight-stitch only sewing machine has a larger throat than a traditional shortarm domestic machine. It’s fastened to a carriage that rides on the tracks, known as rails, attached to the table. The machine sits perpendicular to the table and rails with the needle side facing toward the quilter. The quilter stands to quilt and moves the machine using the handles and operating controls on the machine. Longarm machines can be set up with a variety of tools that allow you to adapt them to your particular style of quilting. There are several advantages to using a longarm machine rather than a domestic machine. My favorite is that you don’t have to layer and pin a quilt prior to quilting. Also, the rollers and clamps eliminate bunching or inadvertent tucks on the back of the quilt. Perhaps most important is that you don’t have to fight with the quilt. Instead of moving the quilt under the needle, you are moving the machine while the quilt stays still. Because there is more room under the head of the machine, there is plenty of space for the quilt to roll.
This is part 1 of the Longarm Quilting Demystified series
– read part 2 here!