I have been telling my friends about my new website and asking them to look. A non-quilter friend said to me, “What is Longarm Quilting?” So my conversation with her made me ponder what it is I do and why I love it so much. Then I thought it might be a good post. Next I decided to write this so someone who doesn’t know what Longarm quilting is will get it. So here goes…
I have this giant quilting machine. It sit’s on a frame 14 feet long , with special hydraulics to change its height. The machine itself, called the head, has:
- Throat size of 26″ x 10.5″
- Weight 49 lbs
- Horizontal wheels
- Take-up roller on a motor
- laser light
- Lower thread cutter
- Horizontal and vertical stitch locks
If it were a truck it would be a Mega truck with all the bells and whistles! It makes me Smile! When a farmer friend of ours saw it the 1st time he got real excited, something he could understand, A BIG PIECE OF EQUIPMENT!
My customers bring me their quilt tops to finish for them. They bring in a bag with a quilt top, backing and batting (the fluffy stuff inside a quilt). I help them figure out what quilting design would suit the quilt. I have learned how to help even the most unsure customer figure out what she wants. And that gives me a trill….
Next I load the quilt pieces on the rails of my machine, 1st the backing, then the batting and last the quilt. Now I can start quilting it.
I have over 400 spools of gorgeous threads in several different types to choose from. So Nummmmmmy! I load the machine with thread and then grab onto handles on the machine and manually move the machine over the quilt to form a quilting pattern, using the needle of the machine like a pencil. THAT is the really cool part. I feel like the artist I always wanted to be. I literally draw on people’s quilts all day long, and get paid to do it! Some of these machines have a computer system on them, but mine does not, nor do I want one at this time. The stitching you see on the quilts I do is all me!
Now there are endless things I can do on quilts. I can stitch an overall, or edge-to-edge design, which means a pattern floats evenly over the quilt with no regard to the pattern of the quilt top. So on this baby quilt a pattern of zoo animals is stitched across the quilt. To do these I can either do a freehand design that is just in my head, or I can put a patter pattern on the table on the back of my machine and follow it with my laser pointer.
Or I can do a custom design. That means I design a quilting pattern to fit each design element of the quilt. In the example on the right is custom work. It takes me longer to plan what I will do in each area, it takes longer to stitch these designs and the quilting is usually denser, so the cost of having this done is higher.
I have gotten so I see quilting designs everywhere. Walking down the street I see a pattern in the sidewalk bricks. Going into a friend’s house I see a pattern on her front door. LOL, the other day a passenger in a car, I saw a design in graffiti and was grabbing paper and pen from my purse to sketch it before I forgot! I’m sure my friend thought I’d lost my mind!
Beautiful quilt tops, gorgeous thread, thousands of quilt patterns running around in my head, a monster machine, and the most interesting customers. I LOVE WHAT I DO! Wouldn’t you?