I'm so thankful to have friends and family who have shown excitement and support when I have told them I'm starting a longarm quilting business. I have found that these people fall into one of four groups of knowledge about longarm quilting. Scroll down to find your group or read all of the information if you like! The groups are:
What Is A Quilt? You have maybe been given a quilt or cuddled under one, but have no idea how they are made.
What Is A Longarm Machine? You have a general idea of how a quilt is made and have maybe seen one made or made one yourself, but are unfamiliar with longarm machines.
What Is The Advantage Of Sending My Quilt To A Longarm Quilter? You know how to make quilts and have only quilted them on your domestic machine.
What Kind Of Quilting Do You Do? You make quilts and send them to a longarm quilter who has done a particular kind of quilting and you're wondering what I do.
What Is A Quilt?
A quilt is basically a sandwich! Understanding this will help you get the idea of what quilting (the verb) a quilt (the noun) actually means.
Here you can see that a quilt is a quilt top, a layer of batting, and a backing fabric.
The quilt top can be a single piece of fabric, but usually it is many pieces of fabric sewn together, as you can see in the image above. Sewing the pieces together is unsurprisingly called piecing.
The batting is a soft layer and can be made of cotton, polyester, bamboo, wool, or even recycled plastic.
The backing fabric is either one large piece of fabric or, often, 2 or more pieces of fabric sewn together.
These three layers of the quilt sandwich are then sewn together either by hand or by a sewing machine. This is called quilting!
What Is A Longarm Machine?
Okay, so you know what a quilt is and you know what a sewing machine is, but what is this stuff about long arms?
Here are three sewing machines. See how they all have a needle coming down on the left of the machine and then kind of an arm going across to the right? Well, that's the arm!
The space under the arm is called the throat space. That little guy in the front has a throat space of 6.5 inches.
The machine in the middle (She's called Ethel) has a throat space of 11 inches. I was thrilled when I got that machine because I could push all three layers of the quilt sandwich through that space much easier!
Lucey the Longarm in the back has a throat space of 26 inches! And you can see that her set up is different from the other two machines. Instead of pushing a quilt sandwich through the throat of a machine to quilt the layers together, the machine moves over the quilt sandwich that has been attached to a frame. The machine is on wheels and moves in all directions.
What Is The Advantage Of Sending My Quilt To A Longarm Quilter?
I have been making quilts for 11 years now and for most of that time I quilted my own quilts. I didn't want to spend extra money to send my quilt to the longarm quilter and I wanted to learn different quilting skills. However, once I sent off a quilt to be longarm quilted, I wanted all my quilts to look that good. Here are some reasons to consider sending your quilt to a longarm quilter.
The results are so beautiful!
It is a great option for large quilts that are hard to fit through that throat space. If you have done this, you know it's a struggle!
NO BASTING! This for me is a big advantage. I have crawled on my kitchen floor with pins or basting spray and made my knees and back ache from the process. And I had to clean the kitchen floor before and after! Save your knees and back and let the pets clean the kitchen floor. ;) Also, if you still like quilting your own quilts, but don't like basting, I'm looking into offering quilt basting as a service I provide.
You have a finished quilt done quickly. You can drop off or mail your quilt to me and have it back in about a week.
What Kind Of Quilting Do You Do?
Quilt makers who have taken their quilts to a longarm quilter know there are a few different kinds of longarm quilting.
Hand guided or custom - Some people may use the word custom to mean another thing, but here it means that the longarm quilter guides the machine over the quilt to make the quilting design.
Hand guided with paper pantograph - The longarm quilter still guides the machine over the quilt, but follows a design that is printed on paper.
Computer Guided - The longarm machine has a computer system with motors attached to it that move the machine across the quilt according to the pantograph design chosen in the computer program.
I offer edge to edge computer guided quilting. This means that you select a pantograph design from my available designs (or select one I don't currently have and we split the cost) and the entire quilt is quilted with that design. Take a look around my website to answer any other questions you might have, and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you still have questions. I would love to work with you!