I LOVE what I do…

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?

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