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Quilt designer Eleanor Sasnett shares her long machine checklist for long quilting with a pantograph pattern.
Longarm quilting machines are huge time savers. Literally, they are huge. And they save quilters a lot of time.
While it’s possible to quilt through layers of fabric and quilting on a really sturdy sewing machine, there are a lot of changes around the fabric, and it can be a bit more challenging to envision the final pattern as a whole when you’re at it. focus on small areas at a time.
Longarm machines are relatively expensive and require a substantial amount of floor space, but they are incredibly satisfying for the more than a hobby quilter.
Plus, there are many people looking to hire someone with a long arm to finish their quilts for them, so it can be a pretty amazing business opportunity if you can make the investment.
Now if you are like some people I know, you go out and buy the machine without even knowing how to use one because you really want to finish your quilts.
In this case, or in the case of the avid researcher, here are 7 things to keep in mind when you start long quilting.
1. Tips for making a sandwich quilt
Preparing the layers is a much cleaner process on a long machine. Start by loading the backing onto the rollers, load the batting on top of the backing, and then load the quilt top on top of the batting.
Always remember that the backing and batten dimensions should be 6 inches longer and wider than the quilt top.
The reason for this is that the layers pull in the quilt. If you cut them all the same size, you can run out of batting and backing fabric before you finish the top, leaving different levels of fullness on the edges of your quilt.
2. Pinning for smooth layers
When you support the fabric heads on the rollers, it is important to pin the head to the point across the edge, starting from the center and working outwards to ease in the fullness and keep those layers centered.
Then, you will establish the center points on all sides of your quilt top and batting. You can mark it with safety pins (or curves). bastion pins) to differentiate them from T-pins.
Keeping these safety pins in place throughout the process will help you keep track of the center points.
Pulling the bottom layers from the sides with bungees, clamps and gauges will reduce the play so that they are smooth but not too tight.
3. Take your time
There are tons of ways to that’s enough without a long arm and they are all enough time. With a long machine, basting is a breeze! So you won’t feel the need to rush for it; Plus, basting spray is completely avoidable.
U The easiest way to get a straight basting line across the top of the quilt is to use the horizontal channel lock. With a 1/2-inch stitch, baste the batting to the backing, and then a second line across the top of the quilt through all three layers.
You may also want to use a ruler to check that it is right in relation to the fabric. Walking the hand behind the foot while jumping will help ease in the fullness of your border.
4. Pantographs open up a whole new world of quilt design
Tracing a pattern with a laser light to achieve the most flawless artistic designs takes the stress out of the quilting stage, which we all agree is the most fun part of the whole process.
Pantograph models can only be used on longarms, and are probably the main reason people buy these machines. You can buy, print, or even draw them yourself to finish your projects with quilted perfection.
You have to work from the back of the machine and the needle in the front of the machine will do the work. The patterns can cover the quilt space all over, or edge to edge in rows.
5. Longarm machine parameters
A basic checklist of adjustments on the back of the machine is required before sewing:
- The distance between the throat plate and the grip roller should allow your finger to fit just under the edge of the roller, not your whole finger.
- Make sure to align the laser with the needleSo when you trace the pattern with the laser, match the placement of the stitches on your quilt.
- then, align the rules on the model as they match the edges of your quilt.
- Finally, mark just past the edge of the model, the distance that will be between each row, usually between 1/2 and 3/4 of an inch.
While pantographs offer structured creativity, free motion quilting it’s a fiber artist’s dream!
The possibilities are endless on a long machine, because you can see the entire quilt on the frame, imagine your quilting design, and sew it there with the greatest ease. You can incorporate any kind of quilting motifs, shapesor alone meander around until you have filled the entire space.
FMQ is also wonderful because you can do very little work in the piecing stages and still make a super interesting looking quilt or other project by adding a lot of design in the quilting stage.
7. Quilting machine considerations
You may want to start by trying different machines along at your local quilt shops, possibly even taking a class or two to get a feel for the movement of certain brands and models.
Some features and accessories are really useful, such as channel locks, micro handles and overhead lighting. Remember to measure your floor space before you buy, including room to work around the frame, so you know what dimensions you’re looking for.
Keep in mind that some brands have parts that are cheaper to replace and are easier to fix down the road. If the machines are long and too expensive, there are similar ones alternatives to consider to best meet your quilting needs!
If quilting is more than just a hobby for you, you want your projects to be 100% done by you, and you have the space and resources, long arm machines can be fun, fulfilling and even lucrative.
If you choose to invest in one, you can find yourself learning new techniques every day, and making new friends in the quilting community.
Do you have other suggestions on quilting with a long arm? Leave a comment below!